|02.26.13 at 1:28 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who broke the news about Tom Brady‘s new contract Monday, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss the ramifications of the deal.
King said he thinks Patriots ownership initiated the discussions.
“I think it started with Bob Kraft, he and Jonathan talking, ‘It’s time to try to put a deal together to make sure that Tom Brady never leaves New England. And in addition to that, we need some cap relief.’ It was a good marriage for the Patriots, I thought,” King said.
“And Don Yee, Brady’s agent, I think deserves a lot of credit. You’ll hear a lot of agents, if you talk to them off the record, they’ll really be critical of this deal: ‘Yee got taken to the cleaners, Brady could have gotten a lot more money.’ Of course he could have. Everybody knows he could have. That’s not Brady’s goal. Brady’s goal is to walk into training camp every year — if you told Tom Brady right now that somebody would write him a check for 3 million more dollars this year or he could use that 3 million as part of a deal to go get Dwight Freeney, what would he rather have? He’ll take Freeney any day of the week, I guarantee you.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it isn’t really that way.’ It is that way. That’s the way Tom Brady is.”
There has been widespread speculation that part of Brady’s incentive in accepting a below-market deal was so that the team could afford to pay his friend, receiver Wes Welker.
“I don’t know if Tom has said anything to them about Welker. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I don’t know that it’s happened,” King said. “I think the Patriots are basically going to try to say to free agents, ‘Look at what Tom Brady did. If you want to be on board a team that’s going to have a chance to win the Super Bowl every year, you’re going to have to do the same.’
“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they did it with Dwight Freeney or any of the other guys in free agency — if they want to go for a big franchise receiver, a Mike Wallace. I think that’s going to be an interesting thing to watch, whether any guys they sign take a little bit below their market value because Brady did it.”
|02.26.13 at 9:56 am ET|
Receiver Brandon Lloyd might not be retained by the Patriots, who are tired of his “erratic behavior in the locker room and on the practice field,” according to a report from Boston Globe NFL writer Greg Bedard.
Bedard, speaking with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, explained that the frustration with Lloyd extends throughout the organization.
“Everybody [is sick of Lloyd],” Bedard said. “I was surprised at that. I hadn’t really heard that until I talked to a bunch of people this week. If you polled people in the Patriots organization, from the coaches to the players, I’d say a good majority of them would not want Brandon Lloyd back.
“He wasn’t terrible, but he’s just so inconsistent — not only on the field, but personality-wise. It just grinds on you after a while.”
The Patriots were careful to build protection into the deal they signed with Lloyd last offseason, knowing his history of alienating coaches and teammates. If they cut Lloyd now, they can avoid paying him a $3 million option bonus and save $4.9 million against the cap in 2013, according to Bedard.
Bedard said the Patriots will meet after the scouting combine to determine a plan, but they can’t make a move yet because they are so thin at wide receiver.
“There will be some people in the organization who say, ‘Look, we can’t line up tomorrow at wide receiver, so we need to pick up Brandon’s option.’ And I’m sure one of those people is Josh McDaniels. He obviously vouched for Brandon, bringing him in there. And he’s also the offensive coordinator, and I’m sure he’s not thrilled with the prospect of bringing in a bunch of wide receivers who don’t know this system.
“It’s going to be an interesting debate. I know that most people would like to move on from Brandon Lloyd. At the end of the day, will they be allowed to? I’m not so sure.”
Lloyd, who played under McDaniels in Denver and St. Louis, had 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games this past season. In two playoff games, he had 12 catches for 102 yards and one touchdown. He has especially been criticized for his lack of yardage after the catch. But it’s his personality that appears to be the bigger issue.
“You talk to people with the Rams, you talk to people with the Broncos, you hear these same tales that he’s just inconsistent [in his behavior],” Bedard said. “We knew this when he was coming here. ‘¦ This is why he’s well-traveled. I think he’s a good guy. He’s just different. How long can you put up with that? I think it really grated on some people this year.”
|02.25.13 at 7:03 pm ET|
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski required surgery last week to address an infection in the left forearm that had already required a pair of surgeries. Schefter noted, however, that Gronkowski’s latest surgery is not expected to impact his availability for the 2013 preseason or regular season.
Gronkowski’s elbow infection was caught early enough that he is likely not miss any extended time and is expected to be for camp, tweeted Schefter.
Gronkowski broke his left forearm in November while blocking on a point-after attempt against the Colts. He missed the next five weeks, returned in the regular season finale and then suffered another fracture in the Patriots’ divisional playoff win against the Texans that required another procedure and ended his year.
In 11 games, Gronkowski, 23, caught 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns.
For complete Patriots coverage, visit weei.com/patriots.
|02.25.13 at 4:35 pm ET|
According to Peter King of SI.com, Tom Brady and the Patriots have agreed on a three-year extension that will keep the quarterback with the Patriots through the 2017 season, when he’ll be 40 years old.
The new deal will pay Brady $27 million over three years, which is significantly below market value for the two-time NFL MVP. At the same time, it gives the Patriots some financial relief, as the salary cap is expected to remain flat for the next few years.
King reports Brady will get a $3 million signing bonus immediately and will play for base salaries of $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017. The deal also gives the Patriots an opportunity to potentially sign a host of key free agents, including wide receiver Wes Welker, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and cornerback Aqib Talib, all of whom are set to hit the free agent market next month.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|02.24.13 at 9:44 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — One of the most beneficial parts of the NFL scouting combine is being able to bounce stuff off Mike Mayock‘s head on the final day of media availability. Mayock, who of the big-name draft analysts is far and away the most accurate, provides a trustworthy perspective after extensive scouting of players.
Mayock’s press conference is usually among the most crowded on the final day, so while it’s hard to get a ton of questions in, we were able to get his thoughts on a few guys who have been linked to the Patriots.
On West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and could be a fit in the slot for the Pats:
“You’ve heard me say a thousand times probably: Fast guys run fast, and it’s not a story. So I expected him to run fast. But what it does for him is that worst-case to me, he’s a second-round pick. Worst case. If you buy into him as a route runner and toughness, and if you can get him enough touches every game for him, he might be a first-round pick.
“The NFL has evolved into more and more of a college look — spread the field, get the football in the playmakers’ hands, and that’s what he is. He’s a playmaker, he’s a mismatch. I can only imagine being a nickel [back] or a safety and having to line up across from him in a slot knowing he runs a 4.35, knowing how quick he is. He’s really a difficult matchup and that’s what this league is. So I think all that time does is just endorses exactly what we thought of him on tape.’
On fellow West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey, who had 25 touchdowns last year but doesn’t measure off the charts at 5-foot-10 with a 4.50 40 time:
‘Stedman Bailey is really a good football player. There are questions about his size. How fast is he? He’s probably a 4.5 or whatever he is. What I see is an instinctive, smart receiver that catches [the ball]; he’s a natural hands-catcher, and because [Tavon] Austin and Geno Smith get all of the attention, he kind of fell into the background. But if you watch him in the red zone on tape and his understanding and knowledge of route running and defenses, he’s one of the more smarter and instinctive receivers in this draft. I’d be surprised if he gets out of the third round.’
On receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred from Tennessee to Tennessee Tech after failing three drug tests in three years and also having coachability issues.
‘He’s a gifted guy. I don’t think he ran as fast as he had hoped to today. You put his tape on against Oregon at Tennessee Tech, and you go, ‘Wow.’ He caught four or five balls early against a team way better than them and they double-teamed him the rest of the way. He has some drops on tape, he’s a gifted kid. The more important thing is how do you figure the kid out? He’s had some significant off the field question marks and that’s going to hurt his value.’
On former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu:
‘I like him. He’s a better football player than he is an athlete. He’s short and he’s probably speed-deficient, which is not a good combination. But what I think he is is a hell of a football player. He’s a slot defender, a nickel-type guy with return skills. How he handles not the public meetings because I would expect him to say all of the right things, but how he handles things
privately with all of the teams and whether they buy into him or not are the most important issues.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|02.24.13 at 1:35 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — D.J. Swearinger certainly has the sort of resume that would catch the eye of the folks in Foxboro.
The defensive back out of South Carolina has played all four positions in the secondary for the Gamecocks over the course of his college career, and the 5-foot-11, 210-pounder is known as a physical defender who has good versatility. He was a four-year starter for Steve Spurrier, and had six picks and 16 passes broken up at USC.
So it’s no wonder that Swearinger said Sunday afternoon that he met informally with two Patriots scouts already. He added that he’s always had an affinity for the way New England plays defense.
“I like the New England style of defense and I like coach Belichick and how he does things and how disciplined he is,” Swearinger said Sunday at the combine. “They win championships, and I think I can help them be a part of that.”
At South Carolina, he played in 52 of the 53 games in four seasons, making 33 starts and recording 244 tackles while moving back and forth in the secondary. He said he doesn’t have a preference as to where he ends up at the next level.
“I’m a leader, first and foremost. I have great ball skills. I’ve played every position on the back end, from corner, strong safety, free safety, to the nickel. I’m a versatile player. I’m not only just a safety — I’m an athlete,” he said. “I want to be a ball hawk. I really don’t have a preference — I just want to make plays.”
The Patriots are usually at or near the top of the league when it comes to takeaways, and Swearinger’s approach to forcing turnovers sounds like it would fit nicely with New England’s style.
“It’s the playmaker mentality — teams want to see turnovers. They want to see you make plays. Just going in and securing the tackle and hoping to get a turnover at the same time. Just being a playmaker,” he said. “It’s a big risk, but that’s why you have to secure the tackle first and then strip the ball.”
|02.24.13 at 1:17 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — The Patriots need help in the secondary any way they can get it, whether at corner or safety, so the idea of a guy who was recruited by Urban Meyer and tries to play like Ed Reed would have to be in Bill Belichick’s wheelhouse.
Florida’s Matt Elam, the younger brother of Chiefs safety Abram Elam, fits the bill there. Though he hasn’t met with the Patriots yet, the rangy and versatile defensive back should get a good look from the Pats as they determine how to spend the 29th overall pick.
Elam hits hard and covers a lot of ground despite not being the biggest guy at 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds. He figures to be the second safety off the board behind Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro on draft day, but Elam feels confident that he’s this draft’s premier safety.
“I play very hard, and I love to strike people,” he said. “I feel like that’s what helps me stand out the most. I’m very versatile. I can cover slot receivers, I can go down and cover, I can go in the [tackle box], I can play in the post. I feel like that makes me stand out the most.”
Elam has former Gator safeties to look up to (Reggie Nelson among them), but he models his game after Reid, a Miami product who has been linked to the Patriots should he not return to the Ravens.
“I watch film on Ed Reed all the time, every week,” he said. “I look forward to [watching] him all the time.”
Although Meyer’s days in Gainesville are in the past, one should never overlook the connection between his guys and the Patriots. With mixed results, Bill Belichick brought on Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham and Aaron Hernandez in 2010, among other Gators that have landed in Foxboro in recent years.
“When they come back, I always talk to those guys about [the NFL],” Elam said of his former teammates currently playing in Foxboro. “They tell me it’s a different league. A lot of bigger and tougher guys, faster guys, but that’s expected. That’s why I go out to work every day.
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