|Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole on M&M: Wes Welker ‘realizes this is the best place for him to be’||03.05.13 at 1:47 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports writer Jason Cole, who posted a story Tuesday morning indicating that Wes Welker has “mild disdain” for the Patriots because of how the team limited his role in the offense in the early part of last season, joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the situation.
Although Cole’s article suggests that a new contract for Welker will not be as easy as some thought after Tom Brady renegotiated his deal and freed up some money for the team, he said ultimately he expects Welker will be a Patriot when the 2013 season begins.
“He’s probably going to stay, because he realizes this is the best place for him to be,” Cole said. “Even if that costs him a little bit of money vs. what he can make somewhere else, you’d make the good choice and stay with a team that knows you well, is going to pay you decently and is going to give you every opportunity.
“Is he a little bit concerned about how things could go here in the future? A little bit. But I think that that’s going to get outweighed by the fact that playing with Tom Brady is the best option for him.”
Cole said the Patriots learned early last year how difficult it is to replace Welker, a rare case of Bill Belichick failing to prove a point.
“With the Patriots it’s always about who’s in charge, who’s the boss here. And that’s OK. That’s how Bill does things,” Cole said. “And I know that another part of this was they wanted to get [Aaron] Hernandez to take over more of that role so that they were ready to move on from Wes.
“And they also had a belief that Brandon Lloyd could be that guy. Because remember, Brandon Lloyd is Josh McDaniels‘ guy. That was the guy he ‘discovered’ when he was in Denver and turned him into a legitimate receiver. And it took an entire season for everybody to realize that Brandon Lloyd is just a guy. Pretty good, but he’s not a game-breaker, he’s not a game-changer. He’s not that consistent. You need to have Welker over there for the consistency. And as much as you might want to funnel the ball more to a guy like Hernandez and [Rob] Gronkowski, they get hurt.
“So, what do you want to do here? You need to have Welker, you need to have him over there catching a hundred, 110 balls a season and moving the chains along and doing that job.”
Added Cole: “I think that at the beginning of last year there was a distinct feeling within the coaching staff, ‘OK, we can set it up to move along, to move to somebody else.’ And then they discovered no, they really can’t, Welker’s still the guy.”
|Robert Kraft on Tom Brady deal: ‘I just really want to end his career as a Patriot’||03.04.13 at 7:05 am ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the impetus for Tom Brady‘s new three-year, $27 million contract was the fact that Kraft did not want Brady to finish his career elsewhere, he told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
“I presented an idea to him that I thought could work for both sides,” Kraft said. “We’re taking a chance making this commitment, and he’s taking one, in terms of his ability to maximize pay. I just thought if winning is the most important thing to him, and I think it is, and it certainly is to our family, this gives us the best chance to win. Hopefully we have an elite quarterback that, even if his skills decline even a little bit, he’ll still be better than 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the league. And his legacy — I already believe he’s the greatest of all time — if we win one or two more, he can solidify that.”
Kraft said he broached the idea of extending Brady’s deal when the two flew from Boston to Los Angeles together the week after the AFC championship loss to the Ravens, after thinking about it for “three or four years.”
“I was probably wearing my fan hat as much as anything else,” Kraft said. “I just didn’t want to ever see this become like Joe Montana leaving San Francisco, Emmitt Smith leaving Dallas, Brett Favre leaving Green Bay, Peyton Manning leaving Indianapolis. If Tom Brady played out this current contract and left us, there was no doubt in my mind that someone out there would pay him top dollar, and they should, for his ability, his leadership and his unselfishness.
“I was just trying to stay ahead of the curve. If we were going to have to pay him elite-quarterback money and have elite-quarterback cap numbers, I just didn’t think we would be able to build a team. We don’t want to have a team where we’re paying 18 to 20 percent to a player on the cap. I wanted to do something elegant that would work for everybody. I had been talking to him off and on for maybe 18 months, about how I wanted him to finish his career here, and about how we both have to be smart about it. I just really want him to end his career a Patriot.”
There has been speculation that because Brady accepted less than what he could have received on the open market, the two have a handshake agreement for the QB to be compensated down the road, perhaps even before this contract plays out. Kraft denied that, as well as a suggestion that Brady only agreed after receiving an assurance that teammate Wes Welker would get some of the money the team saved on Brady.
“No, no, no. This is a real deal,” Kraft insisted. “Look at our track record. We don’t do fake deals. The contract we have with Tom Brady is a real contract we will both live by.”
|Heath Evans on M&M: ‘Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth’||02.28.13 at 1:21 pm ET|
NFL Network analyst Heath Evans joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to defend Tom Brady against critics of the quarterback’s new contract and call out Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for being “an absolute fool” in his latest attack on the Patriots.
Brady generally has received high praise for his restructured contract, although there is a faction that is critical of him for setting the contractual bar lower. Some Boston media members sounded off on Brady on a local TV show Wednesday.
Said Evans: “There’s two parts of the media I never want to be equated with. One, I don’t know what I’m talking about, which those people don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t know who they are, but you can tell them they can call me and apologize any time they want for not knowing what they’re talking about.
“And then two, the idea that they actually think this is going to affect other people’s contracts. Here’s the thought: In 2015 our cap changes. The cap is going to increase $20 million a year. So if Tom is still playing lights-out football like I expect he will be, he’s going to go right back to the table and get a whole bunch more guaranteed money. He’s not affecting his overall purse very much as long as he’s still playing well, which — we’re betting on Tom Brady, he’s going to be here.
“They make news out of nothing. This isn’t news. This is one of probably the greatest quarterbacks of all-time saying, ‘Hey, I want to put myself in a position in my twilight years to win another ring or two, or at least get back to the big dance and have a chance.’ That’s exactly what he did. We should applaud Brady for what he’s doing.”
Added Evans: “It’s stupid media, and I don’t ever want to be a part of that.”
Suggs, the Ravens veteran who blasted the Patriots after the AFC championship game, joined The Big Show on Wednesday and insisted “the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots” due to their arrogance. Evans, who played fullback for the Patriots from 2005 until 2008, dismissed Suggs’ comments.
“He’s an absolute fool. He is,” Evans said. “Maybe he’s one of the best pass-rushers that we’ve seen in a long time, but he’s a fool if doesn’t believe that [teams respect the Patriots]. For me, I say things that I believe in. … I just speak the truth. And the truth is, people are scared to death when they step on the field to face Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, a healthy [Rob] Gronkowski, a healthy Aaron Hernandez, defensively Jerod Mayo is one of the best middle linebackers in this game, Vince Wilfork, there is no match for him.
“Terrell Suggs, shut your mouth and speak the truth. Are you a heck of a player? Absolutely, an amazing player. But give me a break. I watch this film, I watch how people move and react according to what the Patriots do. I watch this whole league sit back and try to copy them. Heck, [Ravens tight ends] Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta is a formula of what New England is trying to do.
“So, give me a break. Don’t just get on airways and speak nonsense. Watch game tape, know this game inside and out, and then speak your opinion based on facts that are truly evident to everyone across this business, that knows this business inside and out. When people come out speaking that nonsense, it screams of insecurity. It screams of the fact that, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we actually beat them again, somehow we got lucky and actually did it, and whoo-hoo, and now we’ve got a Super Bowl ring.’ That’s what it says to me.”
|Terrell Suggs: ‘I guarantee the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots’||02.27.13 at 4:34 pm ET|
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs joined The Big Show on Wednesday, discussing his frustration with the Patriots and explaining why he called them “the most arrogant pricks in the world” after Baltimore defeated New England in the AFC championship game.
“Do I apologize for what I said? No. Do I mean what I said? Yeah,” Suggs said. “Could I have worded it a little better? Probably, but the fact of the matter is you can’t really consider it a rivalry because you have a few more championships than we do, but this has been steaming for a while.”
Suggs pointed to the way Patriots players behaved when the teams met in the 2007 season as why he doesn’t like them, adding that the league bent over backward to accommodate Tom Brady after his season-ending injury in 2008.
“There was the whole invention of the Brady rule,” he said. “Years before, I hit Drew Brees and I accidentally tore his knee up. No rule was made. Of all the quarterbacks in the NFL who got their knees blown out when they got hit — Carson Palmer got his knee blown out — but then one guy got hit and changed the whole rule for the NFL?”
Suggs said that he doesn’t feel the Patriots “respect anybody,” and that he “guarantees the other 31 teams hate the New England Patriots.”
He also added that players who have played in New England share stories of what’s wrong with the organization, though he wouldn’t specify.
“The NFL is not very big,” he said. “You think we don’t talk to guys that have played for the New England Patriots, that have been on the New England Patriots that have been like, ‘Oh, it’s been like this.’
“It ain’t just me. Why did Bart Scott say the same thing? You think it’s just us? You think it’s just got something to do with us? No. This is because we have inside information. We know.”
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, while passing on a request to appear on Dennis & Callahan to talk about his restructured contract, offered an explanation for his decision to lay low.
“I don’t want to talk about this on the radio or anywhere else for that matter,” Brady wrote in an e-mail to John Dennis. “Athletes are always talking about money at a time when everyone else is struggling so badly to make it. We all make way more than our fair share. And I just think it reflects poorly on myself and my teammates. I really do just want to win, and that has and will continue to be the reason that motivates me and is the biggest factor in my decision-making process.”
Brady agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract that is well below his market value. It gives the team more flexibility to sign other key players, including Brady’s close friend, receiver Wes Welker. Reports emerged Tuesday that Welker and the team have started negotiations.
|Peter King on M&M: ‘That’s the way Tom Brady is’||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.”
|Report: Tom Brady, Patriots agree to three-year extension||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.
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2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
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- Rapoport: Gronkowski Forearm Surgery 'Imminent'; Likely To Be Monday
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- On Kyle Love