Tom Brady says it every year. He usually says it more than once a year. "Nobody," he explains matter-of-factly, "feels bad for the Patriots."
It's important to remember that before pointing out that the Patriots are last in line to claim players off waivers because they won Super Bowl LI. If they want to claim one of the non-vested players who will be released this weekend as teams reduce their rosters from 90 players to 53, they'll have wait for every other team in the league to pass on that player first.
Tough times for them.
That means Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio probably won't have a quality player -- someone worthy of an active roster spot -- fall into their laps this weekend. If they want one, they may have to get aggressive.
One way to jump the line? Offer up a trade. If the Patriots see a player on another team's roster that they like, and if they think that player will be released, they know they'll probably have to acquire him by sending off a sweetener.
Belichick explained the situation on WEEI Friday when he was asked about how the Browns offered Joe Haden to teams via trade but ended up releasing him.
"If you can find a partner it's not [difficult to trade]," Belichick told the Dale, Holley and Keefe program. "Sometimes it's hard to find a partner where your needs and compensation are what the other side wants. In our case, you know, Haden is a vested player so he terminated immediately, could sign with whoever he wanted to sign with.
"It's a little bit different situation than a player who has to go through waivers. A player who has to go through waivers, of course we're the last claim, so the chances of us getting a player through waivers, 31 other teams would have pass on him. Realistically if we wanted that player, we would have to trade for him. That's the reality of it."
So what can the Patriots offer to snag a player who is about to be cut? Something like the seventh-round pick they picked up in Friday's trade with the Seahawks -- which sent corner Justin Coleman to Seattle -- could be ammunition.
The Patriots already pulled one such move earlier this week when they sent a seventh-round pick to the Bengals and received linebacker and special-teamer Marquise Flowers in return.