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Who will be the next over-35 quarterback to win a Super Bowl? 05.26.15 at 11:16 am ET
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Tom Brady won a title after the age of 35. Which senior signal-caller has the best chance to match him? (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady won a title after the age of 35. Which senior signal-caller has the best chance to match him? (Elsa/Getty Images)

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.

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Read More: Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Josh McCown, Peyton Manning
Chiefs QB Alex Smith: QBs ‘particular’ about their footballs 05.13.15 at 9:26 am ET
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Alex Smith was the latest starting QB asked about Deflategate and Tom Brady. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Alex Smith (right) weighed in on Deflategate and Tom Brady. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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.”

Read More: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Deflategate, Eli Manning
Colin Kaepernick throws support behind Tom Brady: ‘Let Tom be great’ 05.08.15 at 11:51 pm ET
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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:

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.

Read More: Colin Kaepernick, Deflategate, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
Report: Peyton Manning prepared to take $4 million pay cut to stay with Broncos 03.04.15 at 4:13 pm ET
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It appears Peyton Manning is ready to take a pay cut to stay in Denver and play for John Elway and the Broncos.

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.

Read More: Denver Broncos, nfl, Peyton Manning,
Report: Peyton Manning working on restructuring contract with Broncos 02.26.15 at 8:30 am ET
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Peyton Manning will reportedly look to restructure his contract with the Broncos.(Elsa/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning and the Broncos are reportedly looking to restructure Manning’s contract with the Broncos. (Elsa/Getty Images)

In a move which isn’t coming as a surprise to many, according to the Denver Post the Broncos and Peyton Manning are working on restructuring the quarterback’s contract.

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.

Read More: Peyton Manning,
Jameis Winston plans on winning Super Bowl next year, wants to be viewed with Tom Brady 02.20.15 at 5:49 pm ET
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Speaking at the NFL combine Friday, Jameis Winston said he plans on winning the Super Bowl next year. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Speaking at the NFL combine Friday, Jameis Winston said he plans on winning the Super Bowl next year. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When meeting with the media Friday at the NFL combine, quarterback Jameis Winston certainly didn’t lack confidence.

The Florida State product said he plans on winning the Super Bowl next year and wants to be viewed with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

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.

Read More: 2015 NFL combine, Jameis Winston, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
Free Agent Snapshot: Orlando Franklin 02.18.15 at 11:58 am ET
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Orlando Franklin is one more versatile offensive linemen on the potential free agent market. (Getty Images)

Orlando Franklin is one more versatile offensive linemen on the potential free agent market. (Getty Images)

When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. With the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag, here are a few possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that all of these guys aren’€™t necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class — instead, they’€™re players we think would be a good fit in New England. We already featured C.J. Spiller,  Hakeem Nicks, Torrey Smith, Rahim Moore, Charles Clay, Jerry Hughes and Pernell McPhee. Here is a look at offensive guard/tackle Orlando Franklin:

Orlando Franklin
Position: Offensive guard/tackle
Age: 27, (turns 28 on April 12)
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 320 pounds

The skinny: The durable Franklin represents one of the most versatile offensive lineman to potentially hit the free agent market. He started his first three seasons out of the University of Miami playing right tackle for the Broncos before moving to left guard this past season. He has started 63 of a possible 64 regular season games in his four NFL seasons. As general manager John Elway and head coach John Fox considered options to replace left guard Zane Beadles (FA to Jacksonville) they decided on Franklin. The massive Franklin also provided more of a physical presence along the interior to boost the running game to protect Peyton Manning. Like the Bengals did in 2013 with Andrew Whitworth, the Broncos moved one of their long and powerful tackles inside to a guard spot to help open up holes on the interior line. When Franklin debuted with the Broncos in 2011, Tim Tebow became the starting quarterback midway through the season. Franklin was named to the All-Rookie Team by Football Outsiders that season after starting all 16 regular-season contests and playing in 98.2 percent of the team’€™s offensive snaps. Franklin was a key part of an offensive line that paved the way for the Broncos to lead the NFL in rushing with a franchise-record 164.5 yards per game.

By the numbers: Allowed the fewest sacks (3.5) in the NFL among 16-game starting right tackles in 2012 while becoming the first right tackle and just the sixth offensive lineman overall in Broncos history to start every regular-season game as a rookie in 2011.

Why it would work: Value added. If 32-year-old Dan Connolly leaves via free agency, the versatile Franklin would immediately step in as the replacement, adding depth to the experienced Patriots offensive line, allowing the team to part ways with Connolly, who signed a three-year, $9.7 million contract in March 2012. It’ll take possibly three times that total dollar amount to bring Franklin on board in his prime. But protecting Brady is of utmost importance. And some money could be freed if the Patriots cut left tackle Nate Solder, who is due a pricey $7.438 million for 2015. Also, if the Patriots feel they need that cap space to re-sign Darrelle Revis and/or Devin McCourty, they could work out a long-term deal with someone like Franklin and save the money on the front end. In addition to the money, there’s no doubting that the Patriots (or any team) would value someone who has proven as durable and versatile as Franklin has in his first four seasons.

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Read More: 2015 Free Agent Snapshot, Denver Broncos, Orlando Franklin, Peyton Manning
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