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Report: George Godsey joining Patriots’ coaching staff

02.17.11 at 5:36 pm ET
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George Godsey, who has spent the last seven years as an assistant at the University of Central Florida, is set to join the Patriots coaching staff, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. The move was confirmed by UCF head coach George O’€™Leary.

‘€œGeorge has been with me for a long time as a player and coach,’€ O’€™Leary added in a statement released by UCF Athletics. ‘€œThis is happy news to see him get this opportunity to expand his coaching career with a great organization like the New England Patriots. I wish him good luck there. We have already begun a search for his replacement and are doing our due diligence with that.’€

Godsey joined O’€™Leary’€™s staff at UCF in 2004 as a graduate assistant. He was the Knights’€™ quarterbacks coach from 2005 through 2008. Godsey coached then took over coaching the running backs from 2009-10.

It’€™s not known what position he would have on the Patriots’€™ coaching staff. However, with Bill O’€™Brien making the move to offensive coordinator, the position of quarterbacks coach is open, and given Godsey’€™s background, that would seem to make the most sense. Godsey played quarterback at Georgia Tech from 1998-2001, and set the school record for career completion percentage (63.3) and ranked second in career pass efficiency rating (143.64). As a senior, Godsey set a Georgia Tech record with 249 completions, and he ranks third all-time at the school with 41 touchdown passes, fourth with 6,137 yards and 484 completions and fifth in attempts with 765.

Read More: Bill O'Brien, George Godsey, George O'Leary,

NFL players and owners agree to mediation

02.17.11 at 5:34 pm ET
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Two weeks before the collective bargaining agreement expires, the NFL and National Football League Players Association agreed Thursday to mediation in their labor dispute. The two sides have agreed to bring in the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency that will oversee negotiations in Washington beginning Friday. Negotiations broke down last week, leading to the cancellation of one planned session. The players are expecting the owners to lock them out if the CBA expires on March 3 without a new agreement.

NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams

02.17.11 at 4:38 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.

Ryan Williams

Position: Running back

School: Virginia Tech

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 202 pounds

Achievements: Sporting News third-team All-American (2009)

What he brings: A big talent who probably could have used more time in college to boost his résumé, Williams decided to declare for the draft after his sophomore season. He runs hard and would provide that happy medium between finesse and power that the Patriots seem to lack. Some see him as a potential first-round pick, but his lack of production in 2010 make such a scenario unlikely.

Where the Patriots could get him: No. 33 or 60.

Notes: Williams missed four straight games in his sophomore season due to a hamstring injury, and when he returned, his carries went down. After getting 20 carries in the first two games of the season, he failed to get more than 15 in a game following his injury.

As will be the case with any running back prospect expected to go in the top two rounds, the big question is whether it is truly worth it. Laurence Maroney nightmares aside, investing a high pick in a running back is very hit-or-miss, and the team may be better off going for somebody in the middle rounds to complement BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead.

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NFL Draft’s potential Patriots: Miami CB Brandon Harris

02.16.11 at 10:52 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.

Brandon Harris

Position: Cornerback

School: Miami

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 195 pounds

Achievements: Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist (2009, 2010), All-ACC second team (2010), All ACC first team (2009), Third team AP All-American (2009), All-ACC Academic (2008)

What he brings: Harris possesses a very good size-speed combination and broke up 25 passes over his sophomore and junior seasons. His success as a sophomore made quarterbacks less willing to throw his way in 2010, but if he were to join a stable of cornerbacks that already features proven players like Devin McCourty and Leigh Bodden, pro signal callers won’t have as much of a choice. He has plenty of experience to back up his physical measurements, as he played in every game of his college career, starting all but seven as a freshman.

Where the Patriots could get him: No. 17, 28 or 33

Notes: While it would be surprising to see the Patriots use an early pick on a cornerback for a third straight year, it wouldn’€™t necessarily be the wrong move. Darius Butler took a step back in his second professional season and Bodden is coming off a shoulder injury.

If the Patriots were to select Harris in the first round, he would be the second Miami defensive back they have selected in the first round since 2007 (Brandon Meriweather) and the third Miami defensive player they’€™ve taken in the first since 2004 (Vince Wilfork). The 2010 draft was an odd one in that no Hurricanes were selected until late in the third round, when the Saints grabbed tight end Jimmy Graham with the 95 overall pick.

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It Is What It Is podcast Ep. 1: Talking NFL Draft

02.16.11 at 2:59 pm ET
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In the inaugural episode of the It Is What It Is podcast, WEEI.com Patriots writer Christopher Price breaks down what the future holds for the Patriots with WEEI.com’s DJ Bean. The two discuss the upcoming NFL Draft and what they will look at while attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis later in the month.

With the CBA uncertainty, will the Patriots be forced to spend higher picks on positions that could be addressed in free agency? Which players should the Pats have on their board. Is there a running back worth spending a top pick on? All those questions and more are answered in the It Is What It Is podcast.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

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Patriots issue statement regarding Logan Mankins and the franchise tag

02.14.11 at 8:04 pm ET
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The Patriots issued a statement on Monday night confirming the fact they had placed the franchise tag on offensive lineman Logan Mankins. Here’s the full text of their release:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ‘€“ The New England Patriots announced that they are utilizing the franchise designation on guard Logan Mankins. Last year, the Patriots used the franchise designation to retain the rights to Vince Wilfork. The designation was later removed when the two sides agreed to a long-term contract extension.

Tonight, the Patriots confirmed the use of the franchise designation and issued the following statement: ‘€œLogan Mankins is a tremendous player. He has been a fixture on our offensive line since we drafted him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft and he remains an important part of our future plans. Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach a long-term agreement, despite many attempts and proposals by both sides. That remains our objective in utilizing the franchise designation and we are hopeful that Logan will be a Patriot for many years to come.’€

Mankins has started 89 regular season games and 10 postseason games at left guard since joining the Patriots as a first-round draft pick out of Fresno State in 2005. He has earned three Pro Bowl honors (2007, 2009 and 2010) and has been selected to the Associated Press All Pro team three times (2007, 2009 and 2010). Last season, he earned the honors despite missing the first seven weeks of the season. Mankins joins Hall of Famer John Hannah as the only Patriots’€™ guards to earn Pro Bowl bids since the 1970 merger.

Since entering the starting lineup as a rookie in 2005, Mankins has been part of an offensive line that has helped the Patriots’€™ offense finish in the top ten in total offense five times: 2005 (7), 2007 (1), 2008 (5), 2009 (3) and 2010 (8).

Read More: John Hannah, Logan Mankins, Vince Wilfork,

What’s next for the Patriots and Logan Mankins?

02.14.11 at 6:18 pm ET
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The decision to place the franchise tag on Logan Mankins is the least surprising Patriots story of the year.

The Pro Bowl guard, who was designated as New England’€™s franchise player for 2011, will now receive a one-year guaranteed contract equal to the five highest-paid players at his position. There has been no official announcement as of yet, but according to ESPN’€™s Adam Schefter, the franchise offensive line number for 2011 is projected to be $10.1 million.

Oh, but if it were only that simple. First, in this contentious labor climate, the franchise tag as we know it might not even hold up. As we explained here earlier this month, the tag appears to be a sticking point between the players and owners. While the owners consider the franchise tag set in stone, the players association says that if there’€™s no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the tag would be meaningless, creating an uncertain future for the Fresno State product.

If the franchise tag does hold up, what’€™s next? In Seinfeld parlance, in this relationship, the Patriots have hand. Mankins (who was clearly steamed about the prospect of being tagged earlier this year) is under contract for another season in New England, and there’€™s little he can do about it. The Patriots could also deal him, but there’€™s not much of a market for a guard who makes $10.1 million a year, even one of Mankins’€™ ability.

However, one thing that’€™s important to remember is that the tag given Mankins was reportedly non-exclusive, which gives him the option to try and negotiate a deal with other teams. That would certainly help facilitate a trade. It’€™s not easy ‘€” by rule, the price for franchised player is two first-round picks ‘€” but teams do have the option to negotiate, and it’€™s something New England has done on two other occasions.

In 2003, New England franchised Tebucky Jones, and then dealt him to New Orleans for an impressive haul ‘€” a seventh-round pick in that draft and a second- and fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft. It was also the case in 2009 when they franchised quarterback Matt Cassel, hitting him with the non-exclusive tag. That drama ended when Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel were dealt to Kansas City for a second-round pick in the 2009 draft that turned out to be Patrick Chung.
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Read More: adam schefter, Asante Samuel, Logan Mankins, Matt Cassel
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