Barnwell's flawless NFL roster: 53 players, $188.2 million to spend

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Methodology In our efforts to try to build a perfect team under the $188.2 million salary cap while also maintaining some semblance of realism, we’ve upped the difficulty level from last year’s exercise.

Team restraints: We’ll draft at least one player from each NFL team, but no more than three from any one organization. No loading up on Patriots and Rams.

Finances: Each player’s cost is determined by his current cap number without any cap acceleration for the acquisition. Players whose teams restructured their deals to create cap space without adding extra money were not eligible.

Team composition: Our team starts with 32 draft picks from the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 drafts, with one player still on a rookie deal from each round, plus an undrafted free agent. You try choosing between Baker Mayfield and Derwin James. (We didn’t choose either.) Throw in a 2015 first-rounder playing out his fifth-year option and fill out the rest of the roster with 20 players on veteran contracts.

Special teams: To make this a more realistic roster, we’ve filled out the back end of the team with players who have a history of playing special teams at the college and/or pro level.

Scheme: It has worked the past two years, so we’ll continue to build an offense that vaguely resembles what Josh McDaniels does with the Patriots. Our modern attack requires versatile receivers and backs who can create mismatches in the passing game. Our defense is built around getting pressure with our front four, a la Jim Schwartz’s Eagles; fortunately, we’ve concentrated our spending along the defensive line. And the head coach? Let’s go with Bill Belichick overseeing everything.

Our attack is going to spend most of its time in 11 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) and 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs, 2 WRs) and make defenses uncomfortable with matchup issues before the ball is even snapped. Everyone in our lineup has the ability to run away from a missed tackle and run through — or over — a bad one. If teams want to spread out and try to flood the field with the defensive backs, we also have the offensive line to bulldoze undermanned boxes.

Spending difference from league avg.

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