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We’ll likely learn a lot about Revis’ future next week. (USA TODAY Images)

A few weeks ago Patriots president Jonathan Kraft appeared on WEEI and talked about the future of Darrelle Revis, pointing out the option the team had for the veteran still technically kept him under contract and was simply a “placeholder”, and that the hope was to try and get a long-term deal done to keep him in a Patriots uniform.

At the time, Kraft was hopeful both sides would want to get something done in order to keep him here, and they were focused on trying to keep him.

“Hopefully both sides want to make a deal and we’ll be able to get one done,” said Kraft. “People understand that that’s a placeholder and we’ll get to work on trying to make it happen.”

As the March 9th deadline approaches the two sides don’t appear to be on the verge of any type of agreement, and according to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole the Patriots are going to decline his option on Monday and forego the $25 million cap hit they’d sustain by going that route with the veteran defensive back.  Cole reports that New England will know by Monday if Revis will hit the open market or if he’ll be negotiating with the team, and he classified the Patriots as “confident” in getting a deal done with him.

As it stands right now, per a report from, the negotiations between the two sides haven’t begun.

Just a month ago Revis described his decision to come to New England as a “no-brainer”, and now we’ll have to wait and see how he feels about staying here.

“This was a no-brainer,” said Revis following the Patriots victory over Seattle. “This was a no-brainer to come here and be a part of this organization and help be one of the missing pieces – that the organization felt – at the cornerback position.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter appeared on Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein on Thursday, and he pointed out that with the New York Jets among teams who will likely take a shot at getting him under contract.  But according to Schefter it will ultimately come down to what’s more important and what he’d like to do with the remainder of his career.

“I don’t know what New England is going to offer him, I really don’t,” said Schefter via  “Say it’s $10 million, $11 million a year, $12 million and you’re the Jets and offer $15-16 million a year. Worth it to go back to New York to finish your career for a few million dollars more where you would be saluted as a king? I don’t know. It’s a question of what you find most important, what you value most in your life and what you want to do with your career.”

It sounds like we’ll get a feel for what direction Revis is headed in this week.


Boston Herald beat writer Jeff Howe spoke to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Friday and he believes both Patriots running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen will be playing elsewhere in 2015.

“Vereen’s market right now is up to $3.5 million dollars a year, which is pretty much the going rate for running backs these days,” said Howe via CBS Boston.  “That is kind of what you can expect Vereen to look at this offseason. The Patriots have shown so far no willingness to go anywhere near that number, which is how they’ve treated running backs since Belichick has been around.”

Howe points out that Vereen isn’t a player who has enough production to warrant that type of deal and despite what he’s done at times in the passing game, he doesn’t believe the Patriots will pay him that much.

“$3.5 million dollars for a guy who still has never rushed for 400 yards in his career, and I know how valuable he is for the passing game, but I don’t see the Patriots moving anywhere near that,” said Howe. “If Vereen wants to get paid those figures, he’s probably gone.”

As for Ridley, he believes that looking at the Patriots current situation in their backfield that Ridley likely wouldn’t receive enough carries to warrant a big pay day after the season if he was to re-sign on a one-year deal coming off his ACL and MCL tear.

“I think Ridley wants to be back, but he owes it to himself that he’s going to get a one-year deal or something that looks like a one-year deal,” said Howe. “He owes it to himself to find a depth chart where he can go out and guarantee that he’s probably going to be no worse than second, earn some carries and maybe take on the lead role at some point in the season.”


– According to the Boston Herald, kicker Stephen Gostkowski signed his franchise tender on Friday, which will earn him a fully guaranteed $4.59 million for 2015.  That appears to be just a formality and the two sides appear focused on trying to hammer out something long-term for the veteran.   “Stephen has been extremely productive and a vital component to our success since joining our team in 2006,” the team said via a statement the day he was given the designation. “Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal.”  The two sides have until July 15th to get something done.

– After the Jets recent addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who they recently acquired in a surprising trade, Percy Harvin is set to hit the open market and there seems to be a belief that he could be someone who ends up on New England’s radar.  According to’s Chris Wesseling, he believes that the Patriots could be on the list of the veteran’s potential landing spots, especially given New England’s reported interest in 2009 after the team worked him out one day after he Vikings visited him.  According to the Minnesota Star Tribune the Patriots were going to draft him, but the Vikings snatched him away.  This is a team that has done a good job with players who have had troubled pasts, but given their current group of receivers it would be hard to imagine Harvin fitting in at the type of money he’ll likely be seeking.

– Speaking of which, another player whose name continues to be mentioned as a potential target is Andre Johnson, whose current situation in Houston has become contentious and the Texans have given the disgruntled receiver permission to seek a trade.  Gordon McGuinness of ESPN Insider calls the Patriots a “perfect match” given who would be throwing him the football and the fact he wouldn’t have to be the primary focus of the offense.  Johnson has two years and $21.5 million remaining on his existing deal, and if the Patriots were to acquire him they would definitely have some work to do in order to rework the numbers to fit him in.  He’s an explosive player, there’s no question about it and putting him on the field with Tom Brady would likely be a lethal combination.  But given his reaction at a reduced role in Houston, it would be tough to imagine how he’d react to how many passes he would likely see here in New England.  Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon LaFell accounted for 248 of Tom Brady’s 373 completions in 2014.  So there’s not much left to go around, although he would certainly make them even more dangerous.

– Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston believes the Patriots level of need at the guard/center position is moderate to high this offseason, and believes that Dan Connolly will be one of their priorities and given his history with the team, he’s an obvious fit here in New England. Other names he mentions that fans may want to keep an eye on are Justin Blalock (Falcons), Clint Boling (Bengals), James Carpenter (Seahawks), Orlando Franklin (Broncos), Todd Herremans (Eagles), Rodney Hudson (Chiefs), Mike Iupati (49ers), Chris Myers (Texans), Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders).

– The Boston Herald reports that receiver Brian Tyms, who is an exclusive rights free agent, is working on a deal to remain with New England.  Tyms caught 5 passes for 82 yards including a memorable 43-yard touchdown against the Bills in Week 6, which was the 6th longest scoring reception for a Patriots receiver last season.

Wilfork had some great moments during his career in New England. (USA TODAY Images)

The news about Vince Wilfork on Thursday proves that the NFL rolls on no matter who you are, and sometimes it happens at the expense of guys that are loved by their team and their fans and it’s hard when the business side of football gets in the way of keeping that story going.

In Wilfork’s case, he’s a player who has been a key component to the Patriots defensive line since being drafted 21st overall in 2004, and he’s been an incredible teammate, leader, and friend to a lot of players in that locker room.

Looking back to the day he was drafted, his story was an interesting one and he’s a player who was already at a maturity level well above and beyond what most players his age tend to be at.  Having lost both his parents two years prior in 2002 over a six month span, it caused him to have to grow up in a hurry.  At just the age of 20 he was married to his current wife, Bianca, and had two children.  After being drafted, Wilfork didn’t care about his big contract or buying a new car, or all the crazy things young players tend to do with it.

“I already have a car,” said Wilfork back in 2004. “A house is my main concern right now. Getting familiar with the area and that is it.”

He’s had plenty of great seasons here as a Patriot, playing a key role in New England’s championship run in his rookie season as well as helping be a part of a decade where they’ve continually won ten or more games. Despite coming off of his Achilles injury in 2013, he had solid year for the Patriots after finishing with 47 tackles as well as an interception and a pass defensed. He also played in 68% or more snaps in 10 games last season.

It’s been quite a run, and it’s one that you could almost see coming back when he first got the news.  The former University of Miami standout told the media the day he was drafted that the fact this was an organization that cared about winning was why he was so excited to be a part of it.

“I loved [being picked by the Patriots] because New England loves to win, they love to play the game and they know a lot about winning,” Wilfork told the New England media in a conference call that day. “[When it was announced I was a New England Patriot] I just fell in love right there.”

Wilfork said in a statement yesterday that he still believes he has plenty of gas left in the tank one year removed from his Achilles injury.

They won a lot of games thanks to him, and it will be tough not seeing the number 75 on the field for this team next season.  Unfortunately everything comes to an end eventually, and now the Patriots will head into 2015 having closed a chapter with a player who was just as good off the field with all of the charity work he’s done with he and his wife.  Guys like him don’t come around very often, and it was quite a run.  

He’ll definitely be missed.


ESPN’s Adam Schefter was on Mad Dog Sports Radio on Thursday and gave his thoughts on where Darrelle Revis may end up, and he believes it may come down to a bidding war between the Patriots and Jets.

“I believe that it will come down to the Patriots and the Jets,” said Schefter via “I think the Jets are going to pay him short of whatever he wants to bring him back there because not only could they use him, it would be a huge moral, emotional victory for that franchise to bring him back there, get him to finish his career there.

“I don’t know what New England is going to offer him, I really don’t. Say it’s $10 million, $11 million a year, $12 million and you’re the Jets and offer $15-16 million a year. Worth it to go back to New York to finish your career for a few million dollars more where you would be saluted as a king? I don’t know. It’s a question of what you find most important, what you value most in your life and what you want to do with your career.”

Schefter also went on to say that he was surprised that Devin McCourty wasn’t given the franchise tag designation instead of Stephen Gostkowski.

“It was a little surprising to me that McCourty wasn’t tagged and they went with Gostkowski,” Schefter said. “I think once McCourty gets to market he’s going to get a lot of interest from a lot of different teams — Philadelphia, both New York teams. Look, what team in the league doesn’t need a safety? If you’re in that position, I think he is going to command big dollars.

“I think it is going to be a big enough offer that compels him to leave New England, a place he’d like to stay. He wants to be there. He’d like to stay there. This is going to be a business decision and I think there are going to be some teams out there that make it a hard enough business decision for him to leave.”


– As we get closer to free agency it appears the rumors are starting for players the Patriots may have on their radar as they start kicking the tires for some new players for next season.  According to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline is a player the Patriots have expressed interest in.  He was cut by Miami last week.

– Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been a person who has taken an interest in many different issues over the years, and the latest one appears to be trying to do his part to help in the battle of marriage equality.  According to the Huffington Post the New England Patriots organization was one of 379 corporations and employer organizations to sign a friend-of-the-court, or amicus brief, urging the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage.  Other pro teams included the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays.  You can read the full list here.

– According to WHDH Tom Brady is about to play a round of golf with a former major champion.  The Super Bowl XLIX quarterback will reportedly play a round of golf at Augusta National with four-time major champion Rory Mcllroy next week.  Augusta National is the home of the Masters Tournament, with the 79th edition scheduled to be played from April 9th-12th.

– Bill Belichick was on hand for Clemson’s pro day on Thursday, with reporting that Belichick watched defensive tackle DeShawn Williams while he was there, keeping an eye on him during his foot drills. Williams told the website he hoped he made an impression. “Yeah, I saw him give me a look during the foot drills,” Williams told the website. “He was like, ‘Who is this guy?’ But I got his attention, and that is a good thing. But whoever picks me is going to get a hard-working guy. I am not a guy what will be showboating but I will get the job done.” Sounds like a Patriot.

– Patriots running back Shane Vereen is going to be honored on March 26th. According to Vereen will be honored at the Hyatt Regency form 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The City of Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean is expected to present a key to the city and honor Vereen at the event. Vereen will also reportedly speak to the attendees about his career path and will answer questions.

Patriots have until March 9th to decide on Revis’ massive option. (USA TODAY Images)

As the Patriots head into next week there will be some interesting decisions to be made as they try and do the best they can to keep their championship group together, although there will likely be changes heading into 2015 that will see some current players who won’t be around for kickoff in September.

One of the biggest issues facing the team is the obvious one in Darrelle Revis, who has a massive option that some reports say will cause him to hit free agency if it isn’t picked up.  One would believe the Patriots are trying to hammer out a deal and that Revis should be their top priority, but after New England franchised Stephen Gostkowski, it seems to lean in the direction that Devin McCourty is going to reach free agency and that the they may instead be prioritizing the veteran cornerback in their future.

Keeping the two initially seemed like a possibility, but after the Patriots opted to franchise Gostkowski, that immediately became more difficult.  However, the team clearly felt that the franchise number for McCourty was too high and the good news is placekicker won’t have to be a priority this offseason, but potentially finding a new safety might be.  Given the issues this team has had in the secondary in recent years up until this past season, losing someone like McCourty would definitely sting and it’s hard to see Duron Harmon or Patrick Chung being guys who can fill his shoes or be the same type of player in coverage.

But in the event deals don’t get worked out and both Revis and McCourty hit the market, there will likely be plenty of suitors lining up to add that caliber of player to their roster, and it’s going to probably become a big problem for New England.  The Patriots have a host of other deals that need to be restructured or extended (Nate Solder, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola, just to name a few) so if some team opens their checkbook and the two receive above-market value offers, all of a sudden the Patriots priorities will shift dramatically and will be tough to imagine they’ll recover as quickly as they did a year ago when they replaced Aqib Talib‘s signing in Denver by signing Revis.  This year, there’s not really anyone out there that will measure up to put the minds of fans in New England at ease of losing a guy that finally helped them secure their fourth title.

Needless to say the only constant in the NFL is change and it appears to be on its way in one form or another.  There was a lot of optimism a couple weeks ago that these two would be in their plans for next season.  Now we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks if they’ll even be around and if not, the challenge will begin for Bill Belichick and company to formulate a plan on how they’ll handle life without them.


Just imagine the Patriots having to face McCourty against the New York Jets next season.  It’s not a happy scenario but it sounds like the veteran would be open to it after some of his comments in the NJ Advance Media where the native of Nyack New York said that he would be open to signing with a New York team.

“I would be lying if I said that it wouldn’t be cool being back home,” McCourty said. “But I also know being back home comes with some new stresses and different things that way with family and friends being so close. For me right now, everything is open. I don’t want to turn something down. I’m willing to leave everything open and see how it works out.”

For now he’s following the lead of his agent, who looks to be ready to take his client to market and McCourty is ready to take these next few weeks in stride and explore all his options.

“Now it’s deciding what to do next as far as visits and different offers and what will happen from there,” McCourty said. “I’m talking to my agents and seeing what’s best for me and getting their opinion and what they’ve heard and what they know as of right now.”


– Ben Volin has a good long look at some of the big decisions facing the Patriots, which he points out could be “franchise altering”.  Among some of the players that will be in focus when it comes to having their deals altered or extended will likely be obvious names like Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, along with Vince Wilfork, Nate Solder, Brandon Browner, Sebastian Vollmer, Jerod Mayo, Danny Amendola, and Kyle Arrington, just to name a few.

– Interesting to hear on the radio outside the New England market that so many people seem to believe Houston’s Andre Johnson could land in New England. Given how little spending money the Patriots have and so many key players of their own they need to sign, it would be hard to imagine them opening up their wallet and giving it to a guy who seemingly could be a problem in an offense where he likely wouldn’t be “the guy” given that they already have three guys in Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon LaFell who accounted for 248 of Tom Brady’s 373 completions in 2014. That doesn’t leave much more to go around and unless he’d be happy with a reduced role – which he doesn’t appear to be open to in Houston – it would be a surprise to see him land here.

– The Patriots added long-snapper Tyler Ott on Wednesday, who spent part of the 2014 training camp battling Danny Aiken. Aiken is slated to become a free agent on March 10th and the signing is interesting since Ott didn’t land with another NFL team in 2014. That’s a position that doesn’t get much talk unless something goes wrong, so it may be one to keep an eye on heading into next year in the event Aiken isn’t retained.

– Shane Vereen joined us for a fan Q&A on Twitter yesterday and talked about a variety of topics, and had some fun answers to a few questions he was asked. One of the more notable ones was his answer when asked who the most difficult player he’s had to pass block against. His answer? Teammate Jamie Collins. Other questions included:

Q: When you first got here, how long did it take for you to really get a hold of the Patriots offense?

Vereen: I would say a couple months to learn it but a whole season to really get it


Q: Who do/did you model your game after?

Vereen: Walter Payton is my favorite running back of all time I always wanted to be like him

You can read the entire session by CLICKING HERE.

– The Patriots apparently were one of 22 teams who attended Minnesota’s Pro Day on Wednesday and were also on hand for one held in Virginia. Obviously this is a key time for their scouting department as they start gathering information heading into the draft, but many of these players could be guys who end up making an impact as an undrafted player and as we saw from Malcolm Butler, those are sometimes the ones who make plays when you least expect it. According to several reports the Patriots are expected to visit Clemson’s Pro Day today.

– In a tidbit highlighted by Phil Perry of, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star telegram the Patriots conducted a private workout with Texas A&M tight end Cameron Clear. Clear is 6’5″, 277lbs and could be on their radar to compliment Rob Gronkowski as the Patriots may be looking to upgrade the position on the other side, which for now has Michael Hoomanawanui and Tim Wright.

10 Questions With Patriots Running Back Shane Vereen

Patriots running back Shane Vereen took some time with us on Twitter this afternoon for a quick fan Q&A, and here’s a quick recap of our interview with the veteran free agent back:











Great stuff.

Bill Belichick’s offseason has already been a busy one, and things will likely be heating up on the personnel front in the weeks to come. (USA TODAY Images)

Some quick notes on this Wednesday morning:

Patriots head coach apparently spent some time at Auburn’s Pro Day on Tuesday as the team turns the page and starts preparing for the 2015 season.

There will likely be quite a few names mentioned in the months ahead as we get closer to the NFL draft, and it appears that Belichick and his staff are already taking a look at some players who could be on their radar when it comes time to make this year’s selections for the NFL Draft.

Photo by Zach Bland/Auburn University

Auburn had 21 players as part of their Pro Day, including wide receiver Sammie Coates – no relation to former Patriots tight end Ben Coats – who told the Montgomery Advisor that he was suprised when he saw Belichick on hand to take in the event.

“I turned around and seen the Super Bowl champ back there and I was like, ‘Whoa. He in Auburn. Did he know where that was?'” Coates told the newspaper. “But that was good to have him out here to watch us perform and I was very excited to see him back there.”

Coates was a player that Belichick apparently “watched closely” according to, although Coates downplayed their interaction.

“I was excited to meet him,” Coates told “He just told me, ‘Good job, keep working hard,’ and that’s all I needed. I didn’t need to hear too much more than that.”

As for Bill Belichick, he didn’t speak at the event and declined interview requests.


With Devin McCourty seemingly on his way to hit the free agent market, it sounds like the fact that he’s going to have teams begin courting for his services has both himself and his family excited to see how the process plays itself out.

“My mom keeps telling me this whole time, ‘You’re not going to play football for that long, you have to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along,’ ” McCourty told the Boston Globe Tuesday night. “Having a twin brother [Jason, a cornerback for the Titans] that wasn’t a free agent — he signed an extension with Tennessee — it’s an exciting time for both of us, and really my whole family.”

The veteran safety still sounds like he’s prefer to stay in New England, but it also appears that while understanding the business side of things that it will ultimately come down to how things go when he becomes available.  McCourty told the newspaper if the Super Bowl victory was his final game as a Patriot, it was a great finish.

“If that was the last game, then what a way to go out,” he said.


– The Patriots signed Ray “Bubba” Ventrone on Tuesday as their assistant special teams coach, filling a void created by retired special teams coach Scott O’Brien.  The team had promoted Joe Judge into O’Brien’s role and now Ventrone will get the opportunity to work with Judge to coach the Patriots special teams group heading into the 2015 season.  The name Ventrone likely rings a bell as his younger brother was memorable for being a part of a host of transactions, which as Jeff Howe points out involved 29 total, (signed 13 times, released 11 times, promoted from the practice squad to the active roster five times) from 2010-12, including 22 transactions (signed nine times, released eight times, promoted five times) in 2011.

– It appears Bills head coach Rex Ryan is already looking to make a little noise after pulling off a blockbuster trade to acquire Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.  According to Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports, one Bills source said, “Holy s—, this went down in 20 minutes…’  His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is denying the deal has been finalized since it can’t become official until until March 10th, but Bills running back C.J. Spiller announced he’ll be leaving as a free agent, so that more or less confirms that something is likely going down.

– Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post feels that Ndamukong Suh could be a good fit in Miami, and despite the salary cap space the team has there is still a possibility that having a guy like Suh go to the Dolphins could attract other players want to play there and potentially even take a discount to do it.  He spoke to former Dolphins Pro Bowl guard Keith Sims, who feels that adding talent like that would give them an edge that the Patriots have been able to have.  “If you get a guy like Ndamukong Suh, it would attract other free agents to be part of the mix, something the Patriots have mastered for years, of putting together a team that is typically in contention so players would take less money to come and be part of that championship-caliber team,” said Sims.  Habib also points out that the fact that the state of Florida has no income tax, which obviously comes into play on the types of deals these players tend to sign.  Hopefully it doesn’t happen, since most fans would prefer to keep a guy like Suh away from Tom Brady.

– Patriots owner Robert Kraft was recently listed as 
No. 381 on Forbes’ list of world billionaires with a 
net worth of $4.3 billion. That’s up 199 spots on the list from where he was last year when Forbes called him the 580th wealthiest man in the world.

– NFL Films has released the Patriots Super Bowl DVD, recapping the incredible run the team made last season.  These are typically incredibly well done so if you haven’t ordered yours yet you can do so on via This Link.

Patriots S Devin McCourty was not franchised by the team and may reach free agency if an agreement can’t be reached in the next week. (USA TODAY Images)

Following Monday’s decision to use the franchise tag designation on kicker Stephen Gostkowski, it was interesting to find out that apparently the communication between New England and safety Devin McCourty doesn’t seem to be as good as it probably should have been.

According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, McCourty didn’t really know what the Patriots were going to do from that standpoint until the decision was made.  Now it seems like he’s starting to believe he could end up elsewhere.

“I guess it’s more realistic now that (there’s) a chance that I might not be back there,” McCourty told Anderson. “Or there’s still a chance that I will, but I guess (there’s) more of a chance now with the franchise tag going to Steve that I could be playing in a different place. Still, keeping an open mind and trying to enjoy the process.”

For now it appears that McCourty could very well be headed to free agency and that could be bad news for New England, who may see one of the league’s top safeties receive an offer far above what they may be willing to pay him.  The franchise tag number for the veteran was $9.6 million and the decision to target Gostkowski instead likely may have more to do with the fact it was a number they felt was simply too high.

There’s still time to get a long-term deal done as well as a chance to still bring him back, but it sounds like his time in New England could very well be coming to an end.  Needless to say it will remain one of the bigger things to watch in the weeks to come.


For anyone hoping Darrelle Revis may have had enough fun in his first season to try and take a shot at winning a second ring and may have been eager to get a deal done, it appears that the veteran may have alternate plans and may be focused on still getting maximum value.

According to Adam Schefter Revis may also be headed to free agency as unless the Patriots pick up his $20 million option for the 2015 season, he’s apparently ready to test the market.

Darrelle Revis has a clause in his contract that says he can’t be tagged,” Schefter said via NESN. “There’s a $20 million option bonus payment that would carry a $25 million cap number. The bottom line is, it would surprise me if New England picked that up. So, the chances are — not chances are, it’s going to happen — Darrelle Revis is going to hit the market. He’ll be another coveted free agent.”

Now the bigger question will be whether or not Revis wants to remain a Patriot, or if he’ll simply continue his stance of the business of the NFL and go wherever he’ll get the most value.

“This all comes down to whatever Darrelle Revis wants to do,” Schefter said. “He’s got a Super Bowl ring, his career has been validated. He’s got one more big score left. One score in terms of big contract. So, does he want to take that big contract with a team like the New York Jets, who are dying to make a run at Darrelle Revis? Or the Buffalo Bills? Or is he willing to take less to go back and play with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and be in the environment he’s been in in New England? “That’s a call that only he can make.”

Hopefully if the two sides are close he’ll opt to stay, but for now it’s looking like there’s a chance this team may look quite different next season.


Some good news for those who wish the worst for one of the biggest Patriots killers, as it appears the Tennessee Titans appear to be on the verge of cutting Bernard Pollard.  Pollard finished 2014 on injured reserve after tearing his Achilles and the 30-year old will now be headed to free agency.  Here’s to hoping he ends up somewhere playing for a team New England won’t face next season…

With $55 million dollars to spend, the Jets are reportedly making a “big push” for Revis, if he is cut loose before his bonus money is due. According to SI, Woody Johnson has told GM Mike Maccagnan that it needs to get done. Johnson made comments about the same thing publicly in December which led to a Patriots charge of tampering. If Revis is released and signed by the Jets, how would the league view those tampering charges then?

While Revis talk is dominating talk in New England, the “Spring of Suh” has begun.  Lions DT Ndamukong Suh was not franchised and will be a free agent when the period begins on March 10. He’s the biggest name, both figuratively and physically to be looking for a new team. His potential suitors are deemed to be the Raiders, Colts, Dolphins, Bears and Jaguars. Other top free agents include Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray, Packers WR Randall Cobb, Broncos TE Julius Thomas, Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin, and designated pass rushers include the Bills Jerry Hughes, Steelers Jason Worilds and the Redskins Brian Orakpo.

With the NFL mandated salary cap set at $143.28 million for 2015, the Patriots had over $6 million in carryover from 2014 which was slashed down to just over a million due to adjustments. Right now, the Patriots cap for 2015 is $144,578,084. The Patriots are currently more than $11,280,000 over the cap. They now have a week to remedy that situation. With big contracts of Revis, Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo being looked at, the Patriots have some work to do…

With the Patriots using the franchise tag on K Stephen Gostkowski, they join only four other teams to use the tag in 2015. The other four teams include: Justin Houston, Kansas City, Dez Bryant, Dallas, Demaryius Thomas, Denver, Jason Pierre-Paul, NY Giants. The Dolphins placed a transition tag on TE Charles Clay which means other teams can make an offer to Clay, but Miami will have the opportunity to match any offer made.


Franchise Tag Gives Patriots More Time For an Extension For Gostkowski

The Patriots gave Gostkowski the franchise tag designation Monday. (USA TODAY Images)

When Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri headed off to Indianapolis back in 2006, New England was left with quite the dilemma after losing one of the most clutch kickers in franchise history.

Given how much of an inexact science the NFL draft is, they were fortunate that year to grab Stephen Gostkowski in the fourth round in April and he’s quietly been better than the Patriots could have ever hoped for given the man whose shoes he ended up filling.

He had a decent start to his career after finishing 20-of-26 (76.9) during his rookie season, including a perfect 1-of-1 from 50+ yards. He finished the 2014 season with a career high kicking percentage of 94.6%, which was also a single-season record for the Patriots while becoming the team’s all-time leading scorer during their victory over Miami on December 14th. He currently has 1,179 career points.

On Monday as he approached free agency, New England made sure they didn’t let him get away after giving him the franchise designation.  The deal, if he signs it, is reportedly worth $4.5 million in 2015, although according to the team it sounds like the goal is to get a long-term deal done with the veteran out of the University of Memphis.

“Stephen has been extremely productive and a vital component to our success since joining our team in 2006,” said the team via the statement they released. “Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal.”

The Patriots tagged Vinatieri twice, locking up him up in 2002 which later lead to a 3-year extension. “Both the Patriots and Adam are excited,” his agent, Neil Cornrich told the AP at the time. “Adam is looking forward to having the opportunity to remain a Patriot the rest of his career.” When the deal ran out they tagged him again in 2005, but it only ended up being for one year. He left for good at the end of the season.

For Gostkowski, the question will be whether or not New England will get a deal done long-term with the veteran, who turned 31 back in January.  Obviously at this point no deal has been reached nor has he signed the tender, but our own Miguel Benzan recently proposed a potential 5-year deal, with $19 million as a value that might make sense along with a $5 million signing bonus.  As Benzan points out, such a deal would make Stephen the highest paid kicker with an APY of $3.8 million and give New England a salary cap figure that would work for the team.

For now that’s all just speculation, but we’ll have to wait and see what the two sides eventually agree to.


Looking back, it’s hard not to make the case that the Patriots don’t win the Super Bowl without Danny Amendola. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots have some interesting personnel moves to make this offseason and for the first time in a while the wide receiver position is no longer as big of a priority as it’s been in past years.

New England got some terrific production for the second straight year from Julian Edelman, who once again went out and put up some impressive numbers.  Edelman caught 92 passes for 972 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season in 2014, missing the thousand yard mark primarily because he was a healthy scratch during the final game while the team rested some of their key players.  Newly acquired Brandon LaFell started off slow but ultimately settled in and became a key possession receiver for the Patriots, hauling in 74 passes and 50 first downs along with seven touchdowns.  He also had the second-longest reception of the season, which was a 56 yard fourth quarter touchdown against the Bills in Week 6.

Meanwhile, Danny Amendola was also a player who while he didn’t have a big regular season was big in the playoffs, finishing with 11 catches for 137 yards.  He also ended up with the team lead in touchdowns with Rob Gronkowski with 3.

Amendola’s a player who although things haven’t gone quite his way ended up being an important piece of the Patriots championship season.  He signed a five year, $31 million deal back on March 14, 2013, but production-wise he caught 54 passes in 2013 and then saw his playing time diminish this season while catching just 27.

But during the year Amendola stepped up and became a big contributor on special teams, returning 20 kickoffs for 482 yards and averaging 24.1 yards per return.  His postseason performance was ultimately one of the bigger stories because he did what hadn’t been done by an aging Deion Branch back in 2012 and Donte Stallworth in 2007, which was be able to consistently win one-on-one match-ups and get open during the playoffs.  His fourth quarter touchdown helped erase a 10 point deficit against the Seahawks and at the time pulled the Patriots to within three points at 24-21, while Julian Edelman caught a scoring strike one possession later that ended up being the game-winner.

However, while the Patriots didn’t get their money’s worth out of Amendola during his first two regular seasons, they got exactly what they needed from him in the playoffs this year and it’s hard not to make the argument that without him, they may not have won their fourth championship.  Granted his salary will likely be a topic of discussion but as our resident cap expert, Miguel Benzan, points out, it’s far more cap-friendly to reduce Amendola’s salary than it is to release him.

With a lower salary and his familiarity with the system Amendola already provides more than a free agent or a draft pick having become a viable threat offensively.  Granted he’s not in the higher-tier of the depth chart given where Edelman and LaFell come into play, but he’s good enough to give them depth and gives them a viable kick-returner.  The bigger question will likely be who takes over the fourth receiving slot next season, which will potentially be a battle between third-year player Aaron Dobson and whoever else they potentially bring in this offseason.

But for now if Amendola accepts the fact that he’s finally carved out a role with this team, even though he’s not “the guy” and will have to adjust his salary to reflect that, he’ll be headed into 2015 with an opportunity to get back to where he was before being signed here. After all, as much as fans praised Wes Welker for what he did in the regular season, the knock on Welker will be the plays he didn’t make in the postseason that cost the Patriots an opportunity to potentially win a couple additional titles. Amendola made them, and that’s about all Patriots fans could have hoped for.

“Hard work pays off,” said Amendola after the team won it all just one month ago. “All the work pays off.”

That it did, and although he wasn’t perfect, it paid off enough to win a Super Bowl.


Speaking of the wide receiver position, Aaron Dobson has quietly been hard at work behind the scenes to try and rebound from what has been a frustrating year for the former standout from Marshall.

Dobson suffered a broken bone in his foot at the end of the 2013 that didn’t heal properly and offseason surgery last March forced him to miss the ensuing minicamps as well as the first two weeks of training camp.  He was never able to get completely healthy and an injured hamstring in Week 13 on a deep route against Green Bay ended what was obviously a frustrating season for him, and he was a spectator as the team went on to win a championship.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe Dobson seems motivated heading into this season, spending his time at Fischer Institute in Pheonix.  It’s a facility where some big names have hosted players in past years, including fellow Patriots Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, while other NFL players this year reportedly include quarterback Carson Palmer.

Brett Fischer, who runs the facility, told the Herald that Dobson is “hungry” and has been doing all the right things.

“He is doing great,” Fischer said. “I’m really excited for him. He has put the time and effort into it, comes in early, gets all his work in and he is hungry. There are a few specific things we found, minor little things we’re working on, that make his program a little bit unique to everybody else’s. Nothing major.

“It’s a matter of him developing some areas that were just a little weak and get him back on the field.”

Dobson was a pretty dynamic player in college and is a player that at 6’3″ potentially gives New England a taller threat in their offense.  He kicked off his rookie season with a 39-yard touchdown to start his NFL career, and finished with the longest reception for the Patriots that season, which was an 81-yard touchdown against the Steelers in Week 9.

Needless to say the potential is there, now he just needs to get back out there.   Hopefully if he does, the Patriots could have a pretty formidable group once again next season.


Lost in the mix after his massive performance against the Colts in 2014 was Jonas Gray who went from hero to zero and became irrelevant after oversleeping just in time for the team to grab LeGarrette Blount after the veteran was released by Pittsburgh.  That transaction left Gray as nothing more than a spectator for much of the regular season, costing him an opportunity to capitalize on Stevan Ridley’s season-ending knee injury.  He finished the regular season as the team’s leading rusher with 89 carries for 412 yards, 201 of which came in the game against Indianapolis that will hopefully not be the only game he’s remembered for.

Gray told the Herald that this season was a learning experience for him.  “I’ve learned a lot,” Gray told the newspaper. “As a pro, you go through things in an NFL season that you wouldn’t have the year before, Look at Tom (Brady). He never thought he’d be talking about his job security in Week 4 of the season. So you go through things as a pro, you learn from them, you experience it, and you do absolutely everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do.” …

Today ends the two-week period teams are allowed to designate a player with either the franchise tag or transition tag, which will likely result in something happening as the day goes on.  At this point Devin McCourty and Stephen Gostkowski are two players who are about to become free agents and it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out and it could be somewhat telling about how the negotiations are going.

McCourty has already called the franchise tag “player-friendly” and something he doesn’t have an issue with, but if the designation is given to Gostkowski it could obviously be a big indication about how the negotiations are going.  The tough part is, given how sometimes things break down, the franchise tag is sometimes used to extend negotiations to hammer out a deal much like we’ve seen with Vince Wilfork and even going back to when they did it to get a deal done with Adam Vinatieri way back when.  But either way it’s going to be critical to lock up either Darrelle Revis or McCourty, although as has been mentioned in this space, both are a big key to this team’s success moving forward. …

The Patriots auditioned 300 cheerleaders over the weekend as they try and put together a group that will fill the 28 allotted spots for next season.  It’s a part time job that sees many of women who are still in school or are recent college graduates and many of them came a long way for this year’s tryouts.  At the end of this week’s audition judges will narrow the field to 40, who will then be invited back in two weeks for the next round of cuts. …

And finally, Rob Gronkowski was spotted with his brothers in Las Vegas over the weekend (pictured), spending some time at the Wynn Las Vegas’ club called Andrea’s.  Apparently Gronk spiked the cake on his brother Chris’ head.  Good times.

Will Ridley get a shot at redemption in New England in 2015? (USA TODAY Images)

It’s amazing how one great year can be so overshadowed by one bad one in the NFL.  But unfortunately this is a league that focuses on what a player has done lately and not who they were even a year ago.

That’s just the way it is and it’s always been that way.  Unlike baseball or any of the other sports, contracts and roster spots aren’t awarded thanks to lifetime achievements.  The world that is the National Football League is a revolving door of hundreds of players each year who start out with promise while many of them end up returning to normal civilian life.   Some go out and make a name for themselves.    Some slide down the ladder back into obscurity.  It’s not an exact science, and every year there are always players who surprise you on both ends of the spectrum.

For Stevan Ridley, he’s a player who has been on both sides of that fence.  The former 3rd round pick out of LSU evolved into a player who rushed for over 1,200 yards in just his second season, only to slam into a wall the following year and his timing couldn’t have been any worse.  Coming off of his frustrating 2013 campaign where fumble troubles derailed his follow-up season, Ridley was in need of a terrific 2014 as he headed into a contract year.

Instead, he ended up tearing his ACL and MCL against the Bills in week six.  Season over.

Just to add a little insult to injury, he got to stand on the sideline and watch his friends and teammates win it all without him.  Now he’s the forgotten man who has to not only prove his knee is healthy enough for him to get back to playing at a high level, he has to also prove that his rough patch is over and brighter days are ahead.

“Where I’ll be playing, and who I’ll be playing for, is still unknown,” Ridley told Sirius XM Radio Friday.  “But I know I’ve come in and done my job up to this point and now I have to put it in my agent’s hands to get me on another team, or stay where I’m at, and make sure I’m in pads playing ball somewhere next year. I know if you think about it too much it will worry you sick.”

Looking at Ridley’s entire body of work with more open-minded outlook, it’s been a long time since the Patriots had this caliber of talent in their backfield.  He’s a guy who has been one of the best combinations of quickness and explosiveness that they’ve had since back when Corey Dillon was with this team and changed the dynamic of their running game.  From there the Patriots went through a variety of running backs before Ridley came along, and as he weathered the storm in 2013 the addition of LeGarrette Blount ended up being a good thing for the veteran back.

Blount’s style is drastically different from Ridley’s, and the two did a great job of giving two different looks over the course of the latter part of the season.  Both played well in the final five games of 2013, and 2014 saw Ridley carry the ball 94 times without a fumble before that horrible afternoon against Buffalo where his season came to an end.

After heading off to what he thought were greener pastures by signing a contract as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Blount took advantage of Ridley’s misfortune after he was cut by Pittsburgh midseason.  From there he jumped back on board the Patriots’ offense and ended up being exactly what their ground game needed.  All the while, Ridley wasn’t back out there with him after being forced to undergo surgery and start focusing on 2015.

Now the Patriots will need to make a decision, and the obvious answer for Ridley and his agent is to try and reach a one-year deal to keep him here so that he can work his way back into what will likely be a productive offense yet again next season.  It’s great for the Patriots because they get a guy who doesn’t have a choice but to be at his best, and it’s always an advantage to have a guy who is playing with a lot to prove and a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Should he move on, it will be disappointing given what we know he’s capable of.  We already know Blount’s a solid back.  We also know what Ridley brings when he’s at his best.  He was just starting to show it again before he got hurt, and hopefully he’ll get at least one more year to get back on track here in New England in 2015.

McCourty and Patriots Headed for a “Serious Staredown”?

Greg Bedard of MMQB had an interesting take on the upcoming negotiations with Devin McCourty, and wonders if the negotiation may get contentious if McCourty balks at an extension after he’s given the franchsie tag designation.

From Bedard:

Safety Devin McCourty and the Patriots could be in for a serious contract stare-down before the start of free agency. Safety is now a premium position, and with the dearth of free-agent and draft talent this year, McCourty has a lot of leverage to get a top contract. And I’m not sure the Patriots would pay another top contract in the secondary if their plan is to keep cornerback Darrelle Revis. But I expect McCourty and the Patriots to get something done, amicably, at some point. Most likely scenario: McCourty gets the franchise tag and agrees to a slightly team-friendly deal down the road. He’s not a boat rocker. And there are more important things to him than money. The only way things get contentious is if the Patriots tag McCourty and then he balks at an extension. The Patriots don’t like that (see Welker, Wesley).”

Hopefully that doesn’t end up being the case.  McCourty recently talked about the fact he felt the salary cap was a “team-friendly” number, and hopefully the two sides can come to an agreement to keep him here for the foreseeable future.


Cleaning up some of the items that didn’t make it in here from earlier this week,  it appears that the’s  Bryan Fischer believes that if Georgia running back Todd Gurley is sitting there when the Patriots go to make their pick at 32, they have to take him.”I don’t see how you pass up on Todd Gurley if he’s there at 32,” NFL Media analyst Curtis Conway said. “They may not go running back in the first round, I could see running back more in the second round for the Patriots. But if Gurley is sitting there at 32, you have to take him.” … Heading into 2015 another question mark is the receiver position, mostly because Aaron Dobson hasn’t quite settled into a role yet after battling through injuries and other issues that have set him back.  Mike Reiss talked about him in his mailbag this week, and believes Dobson isn’t necessary considered to be a roster lock and the Patriots could address the position in the draft.  “There aren’t a lot of Megatrons and Bryants around, but this wide receiver class is deep and you might be able to get part of what you’re looking for after the first round. On Dobson, I think it’s fair to say that any honeymoon-type period is over. Entering his third year, he isn’t considered a roster lock from this perspective.” … Vince Wilfork is apparently investing in technology, with a report this week pointing out that a smartphone app – Boston’s “Wigo” that helps college students answer, ‘Who’s going out tonight?’ – has apparently raised an additional $1.5 million in funding and Wilfork is on one of their investors.  According to the report, it’s been downloaded at 1,400 campuses in the US so far and could be something that appears on its way to catching on. …. Former Patriots tight end Ben Coates is apparently headed to the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame’s class of 2015.  According to, the Greenwood native and former Patriots star will be among several notable names to be honored on May 11th. … We’ll end on an entertaining note this morning.  UBC Professor Marina Adshade had an interesting take on how the Super Bowl affects men’s “desire for porn” in the Huffington Post this week.  From the article, “When Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass at the goal line, near-certain victory turned into certain defeat; Seahawks fans were left feeling crushed and, at that moment, each and every Patriots fan felt like a champion.  And you know what champions do? They go forth and procreate.” Hopefully your Sunday night a few weeks ago helped to prove this study correct.

Brady made a few more plays with his legs in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)

Tom Brady may not be Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, but looking back at some of the changes he made to his game in 2014 it was hard not to appreciate some of the improvement he made with his mobility.

He was much more successful when it came to using his legs last season, picking up 57 yards rushing the football during the regular season, and that yardage total would have also been a little higher had it not been for his 15 kneel-downs where he lost some yardage.  Oddly enough Brady didn’t have a negative carry at all last year after having two in 2013, which is a credit to the push he got from his offensive line, which took a lot of heat during the early part of the season when the team was struggling.

Looking at the numbers, there was quite a jump both in yardage and first down conversions compared to 2013 and here’s a quick breakdown of his totals:

2013: 32 carries, 18 yards, 5 First Downs
2014: 36 carries, 57 yards, 11 First Downs

2013: 17
2014: 15

Negative Carries:
2013: 2
2014: 0

No Gain:
2013: 4
2014: 5

1-5 Yards:
2013: 7
2014: 12

6-10 Yards:
2013: 1
2014: 2

Over 10-20 Yards:
2013: 1
2014: 2

One of the bigger things that stands out is the fact he had 11 rushing first downs last season, compared to just 5 in 2013.

Brady running with the football isn’t exactly something Patriots fans want him to make a habit of, but it had some enjoyable moments.  One of the more memorable ones in 2014 was the 1st down he picked up after a 17-yard run on third-and-11 against Miami in December which helped spark a 41-13 rout of the Dolphins.

That got the crowd fired up when Brady took a shot after lowering his shoulder on his way out of bounds.  He’s not exactly fleet of foot, with teammate Julian Edelman giving the veteran quarterback a hard time after the game was over.

“It was the slowest 17 yards I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Edelman.

It was Brady’s third longest career run and his longest since 2007 after he rushed for 19 against the Colts that season.  His longest ever was a 22-yarder against the Bengals back in 2006.

He took the ribbing from Edelman in stride, even poking fun at himself later on his Facebook page while comparing himself to a cheetah.

Brady’s a guy who’s always focused on getting better, but as much as it’s nice that he’s been taking off a little more with the football, hopefully this is a weapon he’ll try and limit since taking an injury would certainly hurt them.  After all, the Patriots need his arm more than his legs in order to come back and try to do it all again in 2015.


Northwestern Tackle Deon Simon was apparently caught off guard at the combine, and offered his thoughts on meeting Patriots head coach Bill Belichick last weekend.

The 6’4″, 332-pound defensive tackle was surprised to meet the Patriots’ head coach, and in his “Around the NFL’s draft diary” explained the experience.

“I didn’t exactly think Bill Belichick was going to be there,” said Simon via  “But when I walked in the door, he was sitting right behind the door and he stood up and he shook my hand.

“It felt unreal, I mean, you always see him on television and I mean — that’s Bill Belichick! To have the opportunity to be in the same room with him and in the same presence, it was really exciting. I was just trying to hold my composure.

“It was on Saturday night. He was asking me about my background, personal stuff, but in the back of my mind, all I’m thinking is, man, that’s Bill Belichick.

“There were a few people in there, Bill and six others from his staff. In most of my meetings, the technical questions were mostly the same. They would set up a base defense and ask me where to line up. They’d show me an under look, a 3-4 defense, a 4-3 defense, just trying to read the offense. They’d ask me to read the opposing offense — 21 personnel, 10 personnel, the base fronts.

“It was just an amazing experience, something I’m never going to forget.”

Great stuff.


Former sports agent Joel Corry had a piece on on Darrelle Revis, and points out there’s certainly urgency to get a deal done for the Patriots given the window they have to get a deal done, and Revis has the leverage.  “Retaining Revis is New England’s top offseason priority. The Patriots have an exclusive negotiation window to rework his deal before the March 9 deadline for the option year and he becomes an unrestricted free agent on the following day. The problem for the Patriots is Revis has the leverage in the situation because of how he performed in 2014 and the team’s limited ability to prevent him from hitting the open market.” … Jonas Gray gave an interesting interview to the Boston Globe’s Nick A Zaino III and talked about his interest in stand up comedy, among other topics.  ” I had a friend of mine who did a little stand-up himself. One day we were all hanging out, and I literally kept making everyone laugh, and so did he. So he gave me some advice, “You should think about doing stand-up.” And he said, “One thing you should do is, any time you say something funny and everyone laughs, you hear a joke, you think it’s funny, you write it down, you put in your notes, you put in a couple of keywords, you come back to it, and you try to turn it into a joke.” Next thing you know, I’m doing that, and next thing you know, I’ve got 200 jokes. I’ve got a ton of jokes. I was telling him some of the material; he thought it was great. And he gave me advice to just go ahead and do an open mike one night. I did the open mike, I videotaped it for him, sent it to him, he loved it.”  You can read more of the interview here … Mike Reiss took a look at a potential Devin McCourty contract and feels five years, $45 million along with a $10 million signing bonus would be a good number to get a deal done with the Patriots safety.  One would hope that locking him up for that long would be a possibility, especially if they get a similar deal done with Revis.  We’ll have to see how it plays out … If you’ve ever heard the “free money” that could be owed to you by listening to the commercials on sports radio recently in Boston, they emphasize that a lot of people have no idea they have unclaimed funds waiting for them.  According to, it appears State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s staff has tracked down some stars who are owed money by the state, including Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.  Former Patriots TE Christian Fauria does a commercial for on WEEI and brags about the fact he bought a “flat screen tv” and even “a couple of DVD’s to go with it.”  Although one would believe that those other two guys have made just a little more money in the NFL than he did and won’t need to use whatever money they’re owed to buy one. … And finally there were reports about Shane Vereen seeking $5 million per season, but appearently that’s not the case.  Vereen recently took to Twitter to shoot down those reports, laughing off the notion, saying, “Haha not true but who wouldn’t be?!?!” … Speaking of Twitter, we’ll soon have an an announcement in the coming days about the fact we’ll be doing something fun with a current Patriot next Wednesday afternoon.  If you’re on there it should be a good time, so stay tuned.