Sprint executives on Wednesday once again touted the carrier’s spectrum holdings and turnaround performance, with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son declaring Sprint “welcome(s) the unlimited war because (other) operators don’t have the spectrum.”

The words of confidence came as Sprint heads into what is expected to be a busy deal-making season now that the FCC’s auction quiet period has lifted. But is the carrier’s bravado justified?

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told CNBC on Wednesday the carrier has already “talked to many people these last few days,” echoing comments he made on the earlier earnings call that Sprint has “a lot of options.” But Claure stressed Sprint isn’t going to leap at just any offer.

“We’re open to potentially doing new acquisitions. We’re open to potentially merging the company,” he said. “We’re open to many different possibilities. Obviously, the one that’s going to generate the maximum shareholder value is the one that’ll prevail. But make no mistake, the shape of the company, where it is today, allows us to be very patient.”

Investors obviously didn’t put much stock in Claure’s comments, sending shares on a nearly 15 percent slide by Wednesday afternoon.

But following a post-earnings conversation with Sprint leadership, Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche noted the market’s poor reaction to free cash flow and amorphous cost cutting goals might have been a bit overblown.

“One major factor impacting FCF is handset upgrades. Unlike AT&T, Sprint expects the number of upgrades to be higher YOY given its iPhone Forever/Galaxy Forever plans allow users to upgrade without a meaningful change in price plans,” she wrote. “This increase in volume and mix will negatively impact the working capital metric of the FCF calculation. Despite this, we note with each new device that is offered the S experience will get that much better in our view as these devices will be able to see the benefits from its carrier aggregation and HPUE (High Power UE) initiatives.”

MoffettNathanson analysts, though, honed in on what they painted as a broader bleak picture lurking beneath accounting tricks and slightly-better-than-usual results.

“What valuation would Sprint warrant if it were to have to go forward alone,” MoffettNathanson analysts pondered in a Wednesday note. “They are spending almost nothing on their network. Their margins – adjusted for accounting distortions – are still awful. And despite hyper-aggressive pricing, they are still only barely growing their subscriber base … At normalized levels of capital spending (calculated as $10 per subscriber per month, the long term average for all four carriers collectively and individually), the real [free cash flow] loss was $457M. Absent a merger, it is reasonable to ask how this picture is any more sustainable than it has been in the past.”

Technology Business Research Telecom Analyst Steve Vachon came to a similar conclusion, noting that Sprint has cut capex out of necessity since 2015 due to weak cash flow and that higher interest rates will soon test the carrier’s ability to manage its debt obligations.

“Sprint’s financial situation remains in a precarious state as the company faces over $11 billion of debt maturities through 2020 and the company continues to operate at a net loss,” he wrote. “After mortgaging assets such as network infrastructure and 2.5GHz spectrum through several special purpose entities created with SoftBank to raise capital, Sprint has few levers left to pull should its cash levels be depleted. This could put even more pressure on the company to pursue strategic alternatives, such as M&A.”