In his 15 years with the Patriots, coach Bill Belichick has always focused on turning over the roster and using a variety of avenues to acquire talent at various times on the calendar. The same approach has been adopted with the 49ers, as general manager Trent Baalke explained to Dan Pompei of SportsonEarth.com.
"The way he uses all elements of transactions to improve the team and create competition within the team has impacted what we do here," Baalke tells Pompei. "Free agency, the draft, trades, every avenue possible the Patriots have done and they've done it very well. He's somebody I think a lot of people study."
Baalke's comments got us thinking about a chart detailing how the current Patriots' 90-man roster was constructed (how the player first joined the team):
Draft -- 37
Rookie/first-year free agency -- 35
Veteran free agency -- 13
Waivers -- 5
Trades -- 0
Last year, the Patriots had three players on the roster acquired in trades -- cornerback Aqib Talib, running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga. None are still with the club, and no other players on the roster have come to New England via a trade in which they had previously been playing for another team.
The numbers, which will be revisited when the team cuts down to 53 players at the end of the preseason, highlight the importance of developing younger players.