|03.06.15 at 7:02 pm ET|
After the Patriots designated their franchise tag designation on kicker Stephen Gostkowski earlier in the week, it became official on Friday when Gostkowski officially signed the tender, per the NFL transaction wire.
Gostkowski will made $4.59 million in 2015, thus becoming the highest paid kicker in the league.
Even though the franchise tender is good for one season, New England and Gostkowski have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, which the Patriots have done in the past with players they have franchised (Vince Wilfork being the most recent in 2010). If he doesn’t sign long-term, he will play the 2015 season with the franchise tag designation.
“Stephen has been extremely productive and a vital component to our success since joining our team in 2006,” the Patriots said in a statement when they announced they had franchised Gostkowski. “Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal.”
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|03.06.15 at 3:53 pm ET|
Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the NFL offseason and potential moves for the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
One of the most interesting and important decisions for the Patriots is how much to offer Darrelle Revis, who is set to become a free agent. Schefter believes that there are two teams in the front-running for Revis: the Pats and the Jets.
“I think other people will be interested, but I think those are the two most logical landing spots,” Schefter said. “This is probably [Revis’] last big contract, so this is how I would lay it out, and I believe this is how he will lay it out: … Would you rather stay where you’re comfortable, and make a little less? Or would you rather go back where you once played and make more, and not be assured of the type of success that New England seems to have every single year and has had every single year since roughly 2000.”
If the Pats are not able to resign Revis, they may have to get creative to piece together an effective secondary.
“If you lose him, and you lose Devin McCourty, then you have some real holes in the secondary,” Schefter said. “I think the Patriots have always done a tremendous job sifting through free agency and finding some real value. … The problem that they’re going to have I think is that these top cornerbacks are going to go for big dollars.”
Another important decision the Patriots made was to not pick up Vince Wilfork‘s option, which allows him to become a free agent.
“I think he’d like to continue playing, that’s certainly what it sounds like,” Schefter said. “And the question becomes what kind of offers he can solicit from other teams.”
So far this offseason, the Patriots’ AFC East division rivals have been busy making moves to improve their teams. On Friday morning, it was reported that the Jets have agreed to terms with the Bears on a deal for receiver Brandon Marshall. It is unclear what the Jets gave up to bring in Marshall, but Schefter believes that “it will involve a late-round draft pick. Not much.”
Earlier this week, the Bills were able to bring in running back LeSean McCoy.
“The Bills are saying, ‘We’re going to run the football,’ ” Schefter said. “The Jets are trying to figure out what they’re doing at quarterback, but they’re adding weapons. So you see the direction that they’re going right now. And these teams are doing the best they can under the circumstances.”
However, the Bills and Jets may need a quarterback to truly take on the Patriots for the AFC East title.
“Who in that division right now has a quarterback that’s going to challenge Tom Brady and the Patriots?” Schefter said. “And right now you don’t see anybody that’s going to do that. As long as that’s the case, New England will reign supreme.”
For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
|03.06.15 at 3:41 pm ET|
One day after making a really bad joke about Darrelle Revis‘ travel plans to an expo on the West Coast, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report is reporting more serious news about what the Patriots plan to do with his $20 million option.
Cole reported Friday afternoon that the team plans to decline the option and avoid the $25 million cap hit. Cole says the Patriots should know by Monday if Revis indeed plans on hitting the open market or negotiating with the team. Revis and his representatives are not technically allowed to negotiate with the Patriots during the three-day so-called “legal tampering” period that begins Saturday at noon since Revis is technically under contract for 2015.
If the Patriots were to decline the option beforehand, making him a free agent, that could change. Players eligible to negotiate with the Patriots during the “legal tampering” window including Devin McCourty, Shane Vereen, Akeem Ayers and Dan Connolly, since they are not under contract for next season.
Cole characterized the Patriots as “confident” a new deal could be reached and that the Jets would be ready to “swoop in” if it falls through.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier in the week that there was little doubt among industry insiders that Revis would be hitting the open market, and that the Patriots would also be declining the $20 million option.
Patriots owner Jonathan Kraft told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan in the days after the Super Bowl win over Seattle that the team considered the second-year option to be a place-holder all along, as the team hoped to work out a long-term extension.
— Jason Cole (@JasonPhilCole) March 6, 2015
|03.06.15 at 11:58 am ET|
A couple of big-name wide receivers are on the move, and it affects two of the Patriots’ rivals.
According to multiple reports, the Bears have agreed to trade Brandon Marshall to the Jets. ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that the deal will become official when free agency opens Tuesday afternoon.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Marshall struggled with injuries last season, his ninth in the league, and finished with just 721 receiving yards. Heading into 2014, he had surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in seven consecutive seasons.
Marshall, 30, has had his share of off-field problems, including last season when he allegedly went on a rant in the locker room after a loss to the Dolphins. In New York he would be reunited with new Jets coach Todd Bowles, who was an assistant in Miami when Marshall played there.
Meanwhile, the Colts announced Friday that they will not re-sign Reggie Wayne, making him an unrestricted free agent next week. Wayne has not said if he plans to return in 2015.
Wayne has spent all 14 of his NFL seasons with Indianapolis and is the franchise leader in regular-season games (211) and second in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,345), receiving touchdowns (80) and consecutive games with a reception (134).
“Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement. “When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses.”
|03.06.15 at 7:28 am ET|
Join Chris Price of WEEI.com to break down all things Patriots and the NFL on Friday at noon. Price will answer all your questions about the offseason, as well as the landscape of the league as some key dates draw closer.
|03.05.15 at 4:37 pm ET|
Revis has a team option for 2015 worth $20 million, with a cap hit of $25 million. It is believed the Patriots will not pay that and release him prior to Monday’s new league year making him a free agent. Once that happens Schefter believes it will then come down to the Patriots and the Jets for his services.
“I believe that it will come down to the Patriots and the Jets,” said Schefter. “I think the Jets are going to pay him short of whatever he wants to bring him back there because not only could they use him, it would be a huge moral, emotional victory for that franchise to bring him back there, get him to finish his career there.
“I don’t know what New England is going to offer him, I really don’t. Say it’s $10 million, $11 million a year, $12 million and you’re the Jets and offer $15-16 million a year. Worth it to go back to New York to finish your career for a few million dollars more where you would be saluted as a king? I don’t know. It’s a question of what you find most important, what you value most in your life and what you want to do with your career.”
Ultimately, since Revis has made a lot of money over the course of his career, and won a Super Bowl title this past season, it will be what the cornerback values most.
“He’s in a situation where he’s made how ever millions over the course of his career — $70, $80, $90, $100 million dollars. He now has a Super Bowl ring. He’s played on a highly successful winning team in an organization or he has struggled in certain seasons with other teams,” Schefter said. “Now what do you want to do? Do you want to go get one last big deal from a team that is out there, and there will be a team like the Jets that is willing to give it to him, or do you want to go back to New England for less money and finish out your career knowing that as long as Tom Brady is there in that place, you’re going to be competitive every year?
“What would you decide? That is a decision he gets to make now and he has a lot of leverage here because he’s got the ring, he’s got the money, so really it comes down to what is most important to him and I don’t know what that is right now.”
As for McCourty, Schefter said he was “surprised” the Patriots franchised kicker Stephen Gostkowski and not McCourty. With McCourty now set to hit the open market, he believes he will get some strong offers, some that might compel him to leave New England, a place he loves.
|03.05.15 at 3:55 pm ET|
The Patriots are considering all of their options when it comes to their wide receivers, and one of them may be veteran Brian Hartline.
According to Cleveland.com, the Patriots are among a group of four teams seriously considering making a bid for the 28-year-old veteran of five NFL seasons and may have already made a preliminary offer. Hartline hit the market after playing just two of the five seasons in his contract he signed with the Dolphins in March 2013. Miami signed him for five years and $30 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed and a $7 million signing bonus.
Amendola, 29, signed a similar contract at the same time, inking for five years and $28.5 million with $10 million guaranteed and a $6 million signing bonus. Amendola’s production picked up in the second half of this season and he played a key role as a kick returner. He had five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the Seahawks. He also had two touchdown receptions in the playoff win over the Ravens.
Still, Amendola’s targets and catches were down drastically in 2014, his second season in New England, catching just 27 passes for 200 yards and only one touchdown on 42 targets. He caught 54 passes for 633 yards on 83 targets in 2013. His biggest impact came on kickoff returns, returning 20 kicks for an average of 24.1 yards.
Cleveland.com reports that the Patriots could be willing to cut Amendola and replace him with Hartline if it clears cap space and gives them more flexibility.
The Patriots are reportedly in the mix with the Texans, Browns (Hartline went to Ohio State and is from nearby Canton, OH), Bears and possibly the Colts. The Dolphins have already not ruled out making a run again at the receiver, who was a fourth-round pick of Miami in 2009 and has played his entire six-year career in South Florida. Hartline caught 298 passes for 4,243 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2012 and 2013, he became just the fifth receiver in Dolphins history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Last season, Hartline was relegated to a back-up, grabbing only 39 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns.
If he chose his hometown Browns, he could help fill the void left by Josh Gordon, who’s serving a minimum one-year ban for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.