|Revisiting possibility of Reggie Wayne as a potential Patriot||07.20.15 at 11:21 am ET|
The “Reggie Wayne-to-New England” rumors are pretty familiar around these parts. The veteran receiver has always intrigued Bill Belichick and the Patriots, going all the way back to 2012 when Wayne was a free agent. He ended up returning to Indy, but the courtship was enough to catch the attention of the rest of the NFL.
Belichick has always been very open about his admiration for Wayne. He called him one of the best “route runners” in the history of the game last year, and despite the fact that Wayne turned 36 last November, said that the former Miami product is “still dangerous with the ball in his hands.” In this context, it’s also important to remember that the Patriots have not been shy when it comes to kicking the tires on former Colts: Joseph Addai, Anthony Gonzalez, Marcus Pollard, Dallas Clark and Austin Collie all got at least a brief once-over from New England after they departed Indy.
According to reports, Wayne has drawn the interest of several other teams, including the Ravens, Texans and Packers. (From this viewpoint, despite the fact that the Broncos have reportedly “backed off” in their pursuit of the veteran, the siren song of playing with Peyton Manning again at a new address would certainly be a big attraction for Wayne. As a result, Denver certainly cannot be discounted.)
In the end, the Patriots would likely have to weigh the importance of his presence in the lineup against the likes of younger pass catchers like Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms, as well as (to a lesser extent) Brandon LaFell, all of whom play a similar role as Wayne. Wayne does not play special teams, and that will also figure into any personnel decision the Patriots make at the wide receiver position. In the end, however, the question surrounding Wayne is a simple one: Does Belichick and the Patriots believe Wayne can provide an upgrade, even in a situational role? If the answer is yes, there’s certainly no harm in the Patriots at least exploring Wayne as an option.
|Who will be the next over-35 quarterback to win a Super Bowl?||05.26.15 at 11:16 am ET|
Last season, Tom Brady entered into select company on a couple of levels. He wasn’t only the third quarterback to win four Super Bowls as a starter, joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw — he became the fifth quarterback to win a Super Bowl after his 35th birthday, joining Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett and John Elway.
In truth, this could be considered a pretty good time to be an older quarterback. This season, six projected starters will be 35 or older (Peyton Manning, Brady, Drew Brees, Josh McCown, Carson Palmer and Tony Romo), and while it’s early to handicap the field, it seems to be a safe bet that at least four of them will make the postseason. But which one of them has the best chance of joining Brady in that exclusive company and being able to boast of winning a ring after his 35th birthday?
Here’s a look at the field:
Peyton Manning: Despite the fact there was talk he wouldn’t return for an 18th season, Manning is back in camp with the Broncos. After seeing how he struggled to the finish line last year with Denver, there are questions about his health, as well as a few members of his receiving corps. At 39, he’s slated to be the oldest position player in the league this season, and if he wins a Super Bowl this year with the Broncos, he’d be the oldest quarterback in NFL history to win a title.
Drew Brees: The Saints’ signal-caller turned 36 in January, and while he’s talked about playing into his 40s, he shown little sign of slowing down. He led the NFL in several major passing categories in 2014, including passing yards (4,952, first), completed passes (456, first) and passing yards per game (309.5). Despite the fact that New Orleans was 7-9 last season and underwent some serious personnel changes in the offseason, as long as he stays healthy, Brees will certainly be able to keep the Saints competitive for the foreseeable future.
Josh McCown: Truthfully, we’re just including him on this list because he’s become the default starter for the Browns this season. McCown, who will turn 36 in July, has had some nice moments for the six other teams he’s played for over the course of his career, but at this stage with Cleveland, is a longshot at best to become the next plus-35 quarterback to win a title.
Carson Palmer: The former Bengal, who will turn 36 in December, was looking good as a possible darkhorse last season, as he led the Cardinals to a 6-0 start. Then, he wrecked his knee and had to watch the rest of the season from the sidelines. If he stays healthy this year, it’s reasonable to think that Arizona has progressed to a point where it can be a serious playoff threat in the NFC West.
Tony Romo: Well, he’s certainly not lacking for confidence when it comes to the 2015 season. The Cowboys quarterback, who celebrated his 35th birthday last month, was able to get the first playoff win of his career last year against the Eagles, and if a catch is truly a catch, then there’s the very real chance that Dallas pulls the upset on Green Bay in the divisional playoffs and is going against the Seahawks in the NFC title game. If the Cowboys can keep the running game moving after losing DeMarco Murray and Romo is truly over any past late-season or playoff meltdowns, then Romo has a chance to join fellow Cowboy Staubach and the rest of the over-35 crowd that took home a title.
|Chiefs QB Alex Smith: QBs ‘particular’ about their footballs||05.13.15 at 9:26 am ET|
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said Tuesday that while he has yet to check out the specifics of the Wells Report and Deflategate, he knows that signal-callers can be “particular” when it comes to the state of the football and how it’s broken in.
“As far as breaking a ball in, I’ve never heard a quarterback ever altering the inflation of a football,” he said. “But certainly some quarterbacks prefer brand new balls and some guys prefer them to be worn in a little more. It’s kind of team to team, quarterback to quarterback.”
“I like them right out of the box,” Kansas City backup QB Chase Daniel said. “That’s just how I throw them. That’s how I have my entire life. I just haven’t paid much attention to it.”
Smith and Daniels are just the latest current quarterbacks to weigh in on the situations. Peyton and Eli Manning have acknowledged fellow QB Tom Brady as a friend, but mostly steered clear of any sort of definitive statement. Meanwhile, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick gave a clear defense of Brady via Twitter late last week, saying, “Let it go and let Tom be great.”
|Colin Kaepernick throws support behind Tom Brady: ‘Let Tom be great’||05.08.15 at 11:51 pm ET|
Colin Kaepernick was the first starting quarterback to weigh in publicly on what Tom Brady is going through, and it appears that the Niners’ quarterbacks is firmly in Brady’s corner. Kaepernick tweeted out the following Friday evening:
No football in the world is going to help you win by 38! Let it go and let Tom be great! On to the 2015 season #7tormsComing
‘ Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 8, 2015
Later in the evening, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, speaking at a fundraiser in Indy, was asked about Brady’s situation.
“Like I said, I’ll speak it as clearly and slowly as I can. He’s my friend, he’ll always be my friend,” Manning told reporters before a fundraiser for the Indianapolis children’s hospital named in his honor. “I don’t know what happened, I don’t have much more than that for you.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Report: Peyton Manning prepared to take $4 million pay cut to stay with Broncos||03.04.15 at 4:13 pm ET|
According to a report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Jeff Legwold, the perennial All Pro quarterback is ready to take a $4 million pay cut to play for the Broncos in 2015. He was scheduled to make $19 million next season. According to Mortensen, Manning will agree to the pay cut to free up cash for Denver to be aggressive in the free agent market, potentially signing their own targeted free agents.
There had been speculation that Manning had been considering stepping away from the game after 17 NFL seasons, not including 2011, when he sat out his final season with the Colts due to a neck injury.
The money would be guaranteed, assuming he passes his physical.
Manning, who turns 39 in March, is also scheduled to make $19 million in 2016, the final year of his five-year, $96 million deal he signed when he landed in Denver in 2012. Manning was fourth in the NFL in passing yards in 2014 with 4,727 yards and second in the league with 39 touchdown passes. If Manning agrees, he will be the second marquis quarterback to re-do his deal in the last three months. On Dec. 29, Tom Brady signed a three-year, $27 million restructured contract, converting $24 million in full guarantees to an injury-only clause with the Patriots.
Manning played the last month of the 2014 season with a quadriceps injury. The Broncos lost to the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs at home. That playoff loss was his ninth “one-and-done” of his career.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 4, 2015
— Jeff Legwold (@Jeff_Legwold) March 4, 2015
|Report: Peyton Manning working on restructuring contract with Broncos||02.26.15 at 8:30 am ET|
Manning, who will turn 39 in March, is scheduled to have a $19 million salary both in 2015 and 2016. With the Broncos having a number of their own free agents to potentially re-sign, the team is looking to free up some cap space, and with Manning turning 39 years old, as well as looking at Tom Brady restructuring his contract to help the Patriots, this move was essentially just a matter of time.
The quarterback finished fourth in the NFL in passing yards this past season with 4,727 yards and second in the league with 39 touchdown passes.
Manning played the last month of the 2014 season with a quadriceps injury and underwent a fourth neck surgery four seasons ago. The Broncos lost to the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs at home.
The report adds the Broncos and Manning’s representatives, led by agent Tom Condon, hope to reach a conclusion on a revised contract by early next week.
All this would lead to believe Manning will indeed return for his 18th season in the league.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|Jameis Winston plans on winning Super Bowl next year, wants to be viewed with Tom Brady||02.20.15 at 5:49 pm ET|
When meeting with the media Friday at the NFL combine, quarterback Jameis Winston certainly didn’t lack confidence.
This came up when he was asked if he saw it as a competition between he and Marcus Mariota as to who would be the No. 1 overall pick.
“I’m not into no competition type of thing,” Winston told reporters. “I’m in it to win games and be the face of someone’s franchise. This is no competition between just me and Mariota, because one thing about me, I plan on winning the Super Bowl next year so it’s going to be me vs. Peyton Manning and Jameis vs. Tom Brady. I want to be viewed like that.
“After all this combine stuff, you’re not going to hear no more about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. I want my name to stay relevant for the next 15 or 20 years of my career.”
Before taking any questions, Winston admitted he’s had some issues in the past and he’s putting them behind him.
“First off, before we start anything, I want to let you all know I know made mistakes and I know I have a past but right now it’s about me moving forward and earning the trust of all these 32 teams out there,” Winston said. “And by saying that, I’m a competitor and I know what I’m capable of doing so I will be throwing [Saturday] at the combine.”
A picture surfaced on the internet this week of Winston working out, which caused some people to question his conditioning and overall shape. Winston isn’t worried about what his critics think.
“A lot of people thought I was fat, but I’m here, I’m proving everybody wrong,” said Winston. “I look good and I know it.”
Winston won the 2014 National Championship with Florida State before losing to Oregon in the Rose Bowl this past January.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.