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Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard reports to jail to begin serving sentence for assault

03.01.14 at 2:37 pm ET
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Alfonzo Dennard reported to a Lincoln, Neb., jail on Saturday to begin his 60-day term for a 2012 assault on a police officer, according to the Associated Press.

According to corrections officers with the Lincoln facility, the 24-year-old Dennard was at the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility Saturday morning. After credit for good behavior and the three days he’s already spent in jail, he will have to serve at least 35 days in the wake of the incident involving a police officer outside a Lincoln bar, which took place days before the 2012 draft.

In April, a judge sentenced Dennard to two years’ probation, 30 days in jail and community service for the 2012 incident. However, the judge later extended his probation to three years and doubled the jail time after Dennard was again arrested in Lincoln in July, this time on suspicion of drunken driving. That charge was later dismissed in exchange for Dennard’s no contest plea for refusing to submit to a chemical test. He was fined $500 and placed on probation for the incident.

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Franchise tag and transition tag numbers revealed for 2014

03.01.14 at 12:00 am ET
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The salary cap information for 2014 has been released. Now, the franchise tag numbers have been unveiled. Here’s the complete list:

Franchise tags
Quarterback: $16.192 million
Running back: $9.54 million
Wide receiver: $12.312 million
Tight end: $7.035 million
Offensive lineman: $11.654 million
Defensive end: $13.116 million
Defensive tackle: $9.654 million
Linebacker: $11.455 million
Cornerback: $11.834 million
Safety: $8.433 million
Kicker/punter: $3.556 million

Transition tags
Quarterback: $14.666 million
Running back: $8.033 million
Wide receiver: $10.176 million
Tight end: $6.106 million
Offensive lineman: $10.039 million
Defensive end: $10.633 million
Defensive tackle: $8.060 million
Linebacker: $9.754 million
Cornerback: $10.081 million
Safety: $7.253 million
Kicker/punter: $3.205 million

As of Friday night — and with the deadline looming Monday afternoon — three players had been hit with the franchise tag: New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, New York Jets kicker Nick Folk and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy. While it’s expected that Folk and Hardy will sign their tenders without an issue, an interesting situation could be brewing with Graham, who is a tight end in name only. The Saints’ premier pass catcher, he lined up in the slot and split wide more often than in a tradition tight end position over the last year, and as a result, could argue that he should be identified more as a wide receiver than a tight end. That would significantly impact his franchise tag number — the one-year franchise tag numbers for a wide receiver ($12.312 million) and tight end ($7.035 million) are considerably different. As more and more hybrid players like Graham emerge, expect more and more of these cases to pop up.

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Answering some questions about NFL’s 2014 salary cap

02.28.14 at 8:54 pm ET
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Courtesy of the National Football League Players Association, here’s a quick primer on the 2014 salary cap, which is set for $133 million.

What is the 2014 salary cap?
The 2014 salary cap is set at $133 million per club, a $10 million increase over the prior year.

How does that number impact each team?
The $133 million is the per club salary cap. However, each team may, at its own discretion, carry over unused salary cap room from the prior League Year. Most clubs elected to carry over salary cap room from 2013 to 2014. The average carry over for those teams that elected to do so was $6.1 million per club. Thus, those clubs have an average of $139.1 million to spend on player salaries in 2014.

How is the salary cap calculated?
The salary cap is calculated by taking a percentage of all projected NFL revenues, subtracting projected benefits for the upcoming season, and dividing by 32 teams.

What are team minimum cash spends?
Under the current CBA, clubs have minimum cash spending requirements. For the years 2013-2016, clubs are required to spend an average of 89 percent of the salary cap over the four-year period. Leaguewide, clubs must spend an average of 95 percent of the salary cap over the four-year period. This creates a cash-spend floor, forcing historically low-spending clubs to offer overall competitive compensation for packages.

Are player benefits taken out of this $133 million?
The $133 million salary cap is the cap on active player salaries. In addition, each club will spend in excess of $33 million in benefits. This includes pension, severance, workers’€™ compensation, insurance premiums, disability benefits, etc.

Updated: Upcoming list of notable Pro Days

02.28.14 at 5:20 pm ET
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With the combine completed, the next step in the pre-draft process is the on-campus Pro Days. Thanks to various sites, here’s an updated list of some of the more notable Pro Days that have been scheduled –€” we’€™ll add to this list as more information becomes available.

March 3: Pitt, Ole Miss, Minnesota
March 4: Auburn, Buffalo, Eastern Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Slippery Rock, SMU
March 5: Texas A&M, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Central Michigan, New Mexico State
March 6: Missouri, Cincinnati, Clemson, Illinois, Nebraska
March 7: Ohio State, Arizona State, Southern Miss, South Alabama, Arkansas State
March 10: San Diego, South Florida, Troy, Villanova
March 11: UConn, Kanas State, Michigan State, UCLA, Temple, Toledo
March 12: Southern Cal, Michigan, Alabama, Boston College, Colorado, Colorado State, Marshall, Rutgers, Oklahoma
March 13: Oklahoma State, Hawaii, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Princeton, Wyoming, UNLV
March 14: Texas Tech, Kentucky, BYU, Kansas, Oregon State
March 17: Florida, Boise State, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rice, Virginia, Wake Forest
March 18: Florida State, Delaware, Montana, Murray State
March 19: Central Florida, Baylor, Cal, Central Florida, Utah
March 20: Fresno State, Notre Dame, Kent State, Missouri, Stanford
March 21: Vanderbilt, West Virginia
March 24: Iowa, Maine, North Carolina State
March 25: UMass, North Carolina
March 26: Duke, Indiana, Syracuse, Texas
March 27: Ball State, Georgia Southern, Johnny Manziel’s individual workout
March 28: Georgia Tech
April 2: South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington
April 3: Miami
April 8: Maryland, Penn State
April 9: Louisiana State
April 11: Tulane
April 16: Georgia

Three thoughts on Seahawks release of Red Bryant and how it relates to Patriots

02.28.14 at 5:05 pm ET
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From a Patriots’€™ perspective, three thoughts on the Friday release of defensive lineman Red Bryant:

1. Bryant is a veteran body in the middle — the 6-foot-5, 328-pound veteran has played multiple spots as a pro, lining up both at defensive tackle and defensive end, and has made a name as one of the more underrated linemen in the league. As a result, it was no surprise New England really went hard after him when he was a free agent in 2012. (He ultimately ended up signing a five-year, $35 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed with the Seahawks, and won a ring for his efforts.) But his experience with the Patriots left a lasting impression on him. During Super Bowl week, was asked about New England, and he told the Boston Globe: “€œ[The Patriots have] got a great history, great tradition, I have the utmost respect for coach Belichick and Tom Brady and Mr. Robert Kraft. My big brother, Ty Warren, he played there, and I called him and he gave me a background on what it would be like and the expectations and it would have been a great opportunity. The only thing that kept me was my love for the Seahawks, and I envisioned us one day making it to a Super Bowl.”

2. If he was going to be a fit with the Patriots at this point in his career — he turns 30 in April — he would be more of a situational player, a two-down lineman who comes off the field on third down and other passing situations. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 561 defensive snaps in 2013, the fewest since he had 291 snaps in 2010 (when his season was cut short by injury), and is known more as a run-stopper than a pass rusher, at least as it stands right now. According to this really detailed breakdown on Bryant, he played on 46 percent of Seattle’€™s defensive snaps this past year, 51 percent of snaps against the Niners in the NFC title game, and 18 snaps in the Super Bowl against the pass-heavy Broncos. If Bryant and the Patriots could come to a match on money, contract (two years with a relatively modest signing bonus) and expectations (a two-down player who could augment the work of other veteran linemen like Vince Wilfork), the two could make for a good fit.

3. Bryant is also really well regarded as a locker room presence. A smart and well-respected veteran, he was an extremely popular figure with the Seahawks. Even if he does have to take a pay cut, it wouldn’€™t be a surprise to see him stay in Seattle: He’€™s a fan favorite on a Super Bowl champion, his father-in-law is former Seahawks great Jacob Green, and he’€™s credited Pete Carroll for helping revitalize his career with a shift from defensive tackle to defensive end. While Bill Belichick has had an affinity for collecting veteran defensive linemen at the end of their careers and trying to squeeze another year or two out of them before they rode off into the sunset, it would likely take a lot to pry Bryant from the Seahawks.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Red Bryant, Tom Brady

3 thoughts on Patriots decision to cut Steve Gregory

02.28.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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A couple of thoughts on the Patriots decision to release safety Steve Gregory:

1. Gregory signed a three-year deal with the Patriots worth $7.05 million in March 2012, and the decision will reportedly free up between $2 million and $3 million in cap space. With the new year — and free agency — just around the corner, this is as much about money as it is overall performance. As a result, New England will have a little more financial flexibility going forward.

2. In 2014, Gregory was the starter at the strong safety spot, and according to Pro Football Focus, was third among all defensive backs in total snaps with 849 (he trailed only Devin McCourty and Aqib Talib). Gregory, who missed two games with a finger injury last season, appeared to struggle at times over the course of the year with angles, but he was very highly regarded by the coaching staff and his teammates for his smarts. Several of his teammates indicated over the course of the 2013 season he was one of the smartest players they had ever been around, and indicated that he would make a very good coach.

3. Looking forward, the Patriots have a variety of options currently on the roster at strong safety, including Duron Harmon, who just finished his rookie season, as well as Kanorris Davis, who spent the bulk of the season on the practice squad. In addition, it appears that Adrian Wilson is rehabbing with an eye toward returning for 2014. Regardless, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Patriots seek out another strong safety-type in free agency or the draft in hopes of replacing Gregory.

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Agent: Patriots to release veteran safety Steve Gregory

02.28.14 at 1:11 pm ET
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The Patriots will release safety Steve Gregory on Friday, according to his agent David Canter.

The 31-year-old Gregory, who spent the last two seasons with New England, started 23 regular season games for the Patriots in that stretch. His best season came in 2013, when he played in 14 games (staring 11), and had 79 tackles (50 solo) and one sack, to go along with three passes defensed.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder has spent eight years in the league. Prior to signing with the Patriots as a free agent prior to the 2012 season, he was with the Chargers for six seasons.

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