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The Jets are apparently trying to turn the tables on Patriots owner Robert Kraft. (USA TODAY Images)

One thing you can say about the Patriots offseason so far as we finish out the final week of March, it certainly hasn’t been boring.

With the Jets currently under investigation by the NFL following accusations from the Patriots of tampering with cornerback Darrelle Revis, New York tried to turn the tables Tuesday after filing charges of their own against New England stemming from comments made by Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft mentioned Revis briefly Tuesday as the NFL owners meetings continued, saying that he’s obviously disappointed the veteran is no longer a member of his football team.

“I speak as a fan of the New England Patriots,” said Kraft via CSNNE.com. “We wanted to keep him, we wanted him in our system. We have certain disciplines and we had hoped it would work out. It didn’t. We just don’t think about the short-term decisions. For example, next year we have three very good young defensive players coming up (for contracts) and we have to factor that we just don’t look at this year, we look out at the next few years. We’ve done okay doing that.

“[The Jets] are the team that drafted him. I think he feels a great commitment there, so we understand his going back and we’re sorry he didn’t stay with us.”

Those comments were apparently enough to make the Jets believe they could try and make a case for the league to potentially find them similar to the ones owner Woody Johnson said back in December when he said, “Darrelle is a great player and if I thought I could have gotten Darrelle for that, I probably would’ve taken him. And it was our best judgment to do what we did. Darrelle’s a great player — I’d love for Darrelle to come back.”

Needless to say, Rex Ryan may be in Buffalo, but the rivalry between these two teams rolls on.

Johnson was asked about the tampering charges by his football team but didn’t have much to say.

“It’s just something the league is looking at,” Johnson said via ESPN New York. “So, I’m not worried about anything. I’m worried about getting better.”

And now he’s trying to get back whatever draft pick they might eventually lose once the NFL ultimately makes their ruling.  It’s a curious move on their part given the difference between the two comments and the context, but given what we’ve seen since the deflate-gate investigation by the NFL, it’s impossible to predict the outcome since the league’s history of how it’s handled these situations all season has been questionable at best.

It’s obvious that these two situations are fundamentally different and this is just the Jets’ way of trying to show how they feel about the charges against them, which clearly they disagree with.  Unfortunately, it’s obvious that Johnson made poor a judgement in his comments and despite this attempt, unlike what Kraft said Tuesday, it’s not the same thing.

The good news for the Patriots is, they’re probably going to cost the Jets a draft choice by the time this is over.

RYAN FIRES A SHOT AT THE PATRIOTS:

Apparently the battle between the Patriots and Rex Ryan’s former team has the Buffalo head coach feeling a little left out, and on Tuesday he made some comments to stir the pot and grab a headline for himself.

Ryan said via Boston.com during the AFC coaches breakfast on Tuesday, “They’re clearly the team to beat and we’re coming after them,”

Buffalo has added some talent to their offense this offseason after adding running back LeSean McCoy and receiver Percy Harvin, along with quarterback Matt Cassel.  It’s a group that should be better than the one he inherited, and it’s obvious that he plans on trying to unseat New England’s dominance in the AFC East.

Ryan talked recently about the fact the team “lost some good players” but the Patriots still have the majority of their talent on the offensive side of the football and remain the favorites in the Diviison heading into 2015.  There’s still a long way to go given where we are at this point in the offseason, and Ryan will have to wait a while before this can be settled on the football field.  But much like how it was while he was coaching the Jets, it appears the battles against the Bills in the coming years will likely be anything but boring.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– Lost in the shuffle at the running back position is Tyler Gaffney, whose name hasn’t been mentioned often but Belichick gave him some praise Tuesday, telling reporters that he’s been working hard after spending 2014 on injured reserve.  “(Gaffney was at Gillette Stadium) every day,” Belichick said via the Boston Herald. “He works hard. No question, he works hard. No issue with that.”  Gaffney’s an interesting prospect given how he was acquired.  He was a sixth round pick last season and Carolina attempted to pass him through waivers to put him on injured reserve, but the Patriots managed to claim him.  Now he’s a player who could potentially have the opportunity to make an impact this season and Belichick appears positive on his outlook.  “Good athlete, has good hands,” Belichick said. “I don’t think catching is an issue. He ran for a lot of yards. He really only had one year of production out there because of baseball.”

– Julian Edelman’s hit in the Super Bowl has led to a rule change this offseason, with the NFL passing a rule Tuesday that had been discussed during the owners meetings to improve player safety.  Edelman took a shot in the fourth quarter back in January while picking up a first down against the Seahawks and appeared dazed but stayed in the game, and now the officials will have an independent spotter above the field who can stop the game if he believeles the on-field officials haven’t noticed a player who may require a concussion test.  Belichick didn’t have much to say about the situation, telling reporters via the Charlotte Observer, “You’d have to talk to the medical people. I was coaching the game.”

– One of the rule changes proposed by Belichick was the addition of cameras down on the goal line to get a better view of touchdown plays.  That one didn’t pass, and there have been comments from a couple of different owners pertaining to cost and the fact the configuration of each stadium varies, which would make them difficult to install.  Belichick sounded surprised by the news. “It’s disappointing to hear that we can’t afford that as a league,” Belichick said via the Boston Herald. “They brought that up as a concern. It’s kind of surprising to hear that.”

– Another proposal suggested by Belichick was the ability for coaches to be able to challenge any play, which also didn’t pass.  The Herald reported that Belichick did have some support from Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.   “I supported Belichick’s plan,” Lurie said via the newspaper. “I didn’t think we should increase the number of challenges, but he’s right. You should be able to challenge anything. I understand it would cause some problems, but I supported the idea.  Too bad it didn’t pass.”

– According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer recently underwent offseason shoulder surgery following their Super Bowl victory last month, which has left him being forced to spend his offseason rehabilitating his injury after he reportedly had the procedure to repair his labrum.  It’s an injury that he reportedly played through last season.  He’s reportedly been spending time at Gillette Stadium recently as he continues the process of getting healthy for next season.

– Kraft had some encouraging things to say about Eagles coach Chip Kelly Tuesday and appears to like what he’s seen in Philadelphia.  “If I were an Eagle fan, I would be excited,” Kraft said via Philly.com. “He did an outstanding job in college. I know my head coach [Bill Belichick] has great respect for him. He’s trying to put his stamp on what’s going on there. This is a tough league, so there will be some challenges. But he’s an exciting guy to be around.”

– According to Christopher Price of WEEI.com Tom Brady and Devin McCourty were among players back at work at Gillette Stadium Monday, which also included safety Duron Harmon.  Players aren’t required to be at the team’s facility at this point in the offseason, but these two appear focused on trying to set an example for the other players as they look to try and repeat another championship run in 2015.


The NFL may enact a rule that would have, if it had been in place, taken Julian Edelman out of the Super Bowl during the final two drives. (USA TODAY Images)

Looking back at the Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks, Julian Edelman played a key role down the stretch, including catching what ended up being the game-winning touchdown to help New England secure their fourth championship.

But one play that was apparently discussed was the 3rd-and-8 play where he was drilled by safety Kam Chancellor yet didn’t skip a beat, some how staying on his feet and taking off up field for the first down after taking the football down to the Seattle 4-yard line.

Edelman seemed dazed after the hit but stayed in the game and two plays later Tom Brady found Danny Amendola for the touchdown, which pulled New England to within four points.

On the ensuing drive Brady targeted him twice, the last of which was a 3-yard touchdown that put the Patriots up for good at 28-24.  The receiver showed a lot of toughness during that final quarter and some wonder if he suffered a concussion as a result of the hit he sustained despite the fact he never came out of the game.  However, it seems like there’s a rule that may pass this offseason that could prevent a similar situation from occurring again.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, there’s a possibility that moving forward if a player sustains a hit like the one Edelman took, officials upstairs in the press box will be given the authority to stop the game to communicate with the officials down on the field and force the player to come off the field for evaluation.

Apparently the play involving Edelman was one that they felt was part of the problem as the league continues trying to address the ongoing concussion concerns.

“The Edelman situation was a play we looked at and it was part of the issue,” competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay told Reiss Monday. “There were a couple of other plays that go back a couple of years that we looked at and really it came a little bit from the health and safety committee just saying, ‘We got the ATC spotters, they’ve got a really good vantage point, they’ve got technology in their booth, they’re communicating pretty well with our trainers and doctors and we’ve got a pretty good rhythm going there, why would we miss a player where a player shouldn’t come out?’

“And maybe this becomes the fail-safe. So that was the genesis of it. We do not expect this to be a rule that gets used a lot. We expect it to be a fail-safe when people just don’t see this player and the distress the player may have had, the ATC spotter does and stops the game.”

Edelman was asked about the play in an interview posted last month by the New York Times and was pretty blunt with his answers.

Q. Did you get a concussion on that play?

A. Due to our team policy, I can’t discuss that.

Q. You stumbled after that play, but you stayed in the game. Does that mean you were not injured?

A. Next question.

Q. Were you tested for a concussion?

A. I went through all the protocols.

Fortunately he was only on the field for two more plays immediately after the hit before the offense came off the field and at the end of the day he appears to be O.K.  But as the league continues clamping down on situations where players don’t necessarily take themselves out of the game for the sake of trying to play through a hit like that, the league is obviously reacting accordingly.  As a result, next season could see a situation like that play out a little differently.

WOODY JOHNSON CLAIMS HE HASN’T SPOKEN TO REVIS:

With an ongoing tampering investigation going on it was interesting to hear Jets owner Woody Johnson talk about the signing of Darrelle Revis on Monday.

Oddly enough, despite paying him a salary that includes $39 million in guaranteed money, Johnson claims he hasn’t even spoken to the veteran cornerback yet.  That’s pretty ironic considering the fact he couldn’t quite keep himself from cooing over Revis in December, which sparked the whole controversy to begin with.  Now apparently he’s keeping with the plan of just saying he hasn’t talked to him.  At all.

“I haven’t talked to him yet, no,” Johnson said via NJ.com Monday at the NFL’s owners meeting.

When asked whether it seemed odd that he hasn’t spoken to Revis yet, Johnson deflected yet again.

“I haven’t talked to Darrelle,” he answered. “You can see it whatever way it is.”

One can’t help but take that as, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it until this investigation is over.”

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots were awarded a couple of compensatory picks last night, with the team being awarded a third-rounder (97th overall) and a seventh-rounder (253rd overall) due to a net loss of compensatory free agents LeGarrette Blount, Dane Fletcher, Brandon Spikes, and Aqib Talib balanced against the two signings of Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell.  Obviously the irony in that situation was the re-aquisition of Blount, but the Patriots certainly probably aren’t complaining.

– Robert Kraft talked about the chances for the playoffs expanding in the future and it appears that still remains a possibility.  “Well, we’ve had a lot of discussions. It definitely won’t happen this year — a lot of people want it badly,” Kraft said via ESPN Boston. “Of course, it gives their team a greater chance to be in. We’re analyzing the facts, but I think it’s something that could happen when we go long-term with our Thursday night [television] package, that we tie it in to that.”

– Kraft also said that “two teams” appear headed to the Los Angeles market, and it could happen within the next year.  “I really believe within the next year we’ll have two teams in this market. In there are good plans, but we have a little committee that we’re working with the different owners. We have some real good options.”

– The Patriots owner also talked about the loss of Vince Wilfork, which he called “one of the toughest things” he’s dealt with this offseason.  “That was one of the toughest things. It was harder than anything else [this offseason],” he said via ESPN Boston. “He’s someone we watched come in here; I developed a very strong personal tie to him. It’s the hardest part of this game, speaking as a fan and also someone who got to know he and Bianca and his kids. He wrote something beautiful; he’ll always be a Patriot and he’s keeping his home here.”

VIDEO: 2015 New England Patriots Offseason Preview: Offense

After the loss of Patriots defensive back Darrelle Revis, the good news is this is a football team that will be returning the majority of their skill players on the offensive side of the football heading into 2015. Here’s a video looking at the team’s outlook at this point in the offseason as they start getting ready for next season.


Bill Belichick’s brilliant mind appears to be causing changes to the NFL rule book this offseason.

This should be a somewhat interesting week as the NFL owners get together for their annual owners meeting out in Arizona, and the one of the big discussions over the coming days will likely be potential rule changes coming for 2015.

It’s been a topic that’s been at the center of attention in the media over the past few days, and here in New England it’s notable because of the three rules head coach Bill Belichick is proposing, which includes allowing coaches to challenge any play, moving the extra point back for the sake of no longer having it be an automatic play, and installing cameras down on the goal line.

Of the three, it appears that the one that might garner enough support might be the one to move the extra point back as other teams around the league seem intrigued at the notion of making that more of an important play than it’s been.  Giants owner John Mara seems like he’s behind it, although his concern is whether or not it will get the necessary number of votes to pass.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions about that and I think that one has a chance,” Mara said via ESPN Boston.  “I don’t know, again, if it’s going to get 24 votes. I happen to be in favor of that one and think it’s a good proposal because we have a play right now that is a ceremonial play. Why not make it a competitive play?”

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe went through some of the proposed changes by other teams around the league in his Sunday Notes, with a few interesting ones he highlighted by the Colts.  They propose teams not be docked a timeout for an unsuccessful challenge (which is head-scratching since as he points out, head coach Chuck Pagano is 11-of-14 on challenges the last two years), as well as teams being allowed to open their retractable roofs at halftime if they meet certain weather and procedural requirements.  Sure, why not add a little wind and change the elements for the second half if the Colts are ahead at halftime.  That seems completely fair.

The final one they’re apparently looking for is even more interesting.  They propose adding a 50-yard extra point attempt if a team is successful on a 2-point conversion as a way to encourage teams to go for two more often, essentially opening up the ability for a 9-point touchdown.  Between the extra point kick being potentially moved back and something like this, it would definitely keep fans glued to the television following a touchdown instead of heading off for a bathroom break.  The Colts’ suggestion seems a little radical, but it probably won’t be long before we do see changes made there as the NFL continues trying to make the game more exciting for the fans.

If nothing else, it will be a story to follow over the next few days as there will likely be changes coming.  Fortunately the Patriots have Stephen Gostkowski under contract for the upcoming season after placing the franchise designation on him, so should Belichick’s extra point suggestion pass, New England has a reliable guy to hopefully make sure it’s not quite as shaky as it might end up being for other teams throughout the league.

PATRIOTS TACTIC SEEMS TO BE ABOUT TO BE SHUT DOWN:

Bill Belichick’s ingenious idea to create confusion against the Ravens apparently caused enough of a headache among those who it seems don’t wish to have to think about formations, and it sounds like what we saw in January may not carry over into 2015.

Belichick exploited the eligible/ineligible player rule in their win over Baltimore, which was actually handled just fine by the officials considering they told head coach John Harbaugh not to cover Shane Vereen, who was ineligible despite being split out wide.  There is a rule proposal at this week’s owners meeting on the topic to limit it to within the tackle box, and it sounds like the owners are in favor of this change.

“I didn’t have a problem with what they did,” Giants owner John Mara said Sunday via the Boston Globe. “What they did was within the rules, so they had every right to do it. The question is, is that what we want in the game going forward?”

“Should the official just slow things down and make sure the eligible and ineligible players are clearly identified? Or should we make the ineligible player line up within the tackle box? And I think as a committee, we came down in favor of making him line up within the tackle box.”

So much for coaches having to think a little more during the game.  The easiest way to keep from being out-smarted by another coach is to eliminate the ability for him to do so, and it seems that may end up being the case this week.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– Another topic that could be discussed this week is the tampering charge against the Jets in regards Darrelle Revis, and Rich Cimini of ESPN New York points out that the last loss of a pick in this situation occurred in 2011, when the Lions tampered with Chiefs players and it cost them a 7th rounder.  Cimini actually suggests the teams swapping 4th round picks, which would mean taking the Jets 5th pick in the 4th round in lieu of New England’s, who aren’t scheduled to pick until the 32nd spot in that round.

– We’ll find out this week who the Patriots, who are obviously defending Super Bowl Champions, will open up against on what will be a Thursday night game, presumably a September 10th opener.  Last season’s opener took place down in Miami in a disappointing start after New England fell 33-20 in the Florida heat.  Hopefully starting the season in Foxboro this year will help them get off to a better start.

– Devin McCourty was in Maine on Sunday, with the veteran safety on hand as the city opened up a new Bob’s Store.  McCourty signed autographs and footballs and spoke to fans, who all seemed pretty excited at the opportunity to meet the recent Super Bowl champion safety.  WMTW has video from the event here.

– Texans head coach Bill O’Brien seems excited by being reunited with recently signed Vince Wilfork, telling the Boston Herald that he likes what the veteran brings in terms of his presence and experience.  “I’m very aware of what he meant to the Patriots and what he meant to the community in Massachusetts and Boston,” O’Brien said via the Boston Herald. “We’re thrilled to have him. With his experience, his playing ability, his leadership and his knowledge of the defense, he just brings a lot to the table for us that’s going to help our team and help our younger players.”

– UTSanDiego.com has an interesting read as the discussion of the Chargers future continues regarding a new stadium.  According to the article, which debates how much new stadiums help revenue, and how much that affects a team’s ability to win, it seems that teams in the top 10 in terms of revenue don’t always end up winners.  They cite the list from 2013 (the Patriots were number two) and mention the records of teams who lead the league in revenue and that their combined records were 77-83 the next year, with four teams making the playoffs, and one (Patriots) winning the Super Bowl.  They also point out the fact the top 10 teams revenue-wise from the previous two years went on to go 167-153, with seven teams making the playoffs and two (Broncos and Ravens) playing in the Super Bowl.

Finally, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady continues to enjoy his time off, posting a picture on his Facebook page and asking for help after his kids buried him in the sand while on the beach in Costa Rica.


Chandler should give the Patriots quite a weapon in 2015. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots had a solid tandem in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at the tight end position, with the organization even going so far as to lock up the two players for long-term deals to ensure that they would be able to keep the pair together for the foreseeable future.

Obviously Hernandez ended up being involved in off-the-field activities that now have him facing murder charges, which sent the Patriots back to the drawing board to try and find a player who could be a solid compliment to Gronkowski on the other side of the field.

Fortunately, it appears they finally found one, and Scott Chandler couldn’t be happier to be where he is after recently signing a two-year deal worth up to $5.3 million.

According to Chandler the decision ultimately came down to choosing between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.

“I was in a pretty good spot there, two really good organizations. That’s really what it came down to. I’ve been playing for a while and I wanted to be a part of an organization that has a pretty good chance to win,” Chandler said. “Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick have done an amazing job of not only creating that, but sustaining that for a long period of time. So I’m looking forward to going into this year and doing whatever I can to be a part of that.”

Chandler is a terrific player, with the 6’7″ tight end catching 47 passes for 497 yards and 3 touchdowns last season.  Against the Patriots he had a total of 7 catches, 6 of which went for first downs.  The Bills were also a perfect 4-of-4 passing to him on 3rd down, all of which were conversions.

That’s a pretty impressive success ratio and comparing him against Gronkowski, that was an area were the Patriots’ tight end excelled in 2014.   Tom Brady targeted him 37 times with 22 receptions last season, 21 of which went for a first down, including 3 touchdowns.

Now the big question will be how he’s utilized in the offense but the Patriots landed a pretty terrific player who has already given them quite the upgrade at the position.  The team had been relying on Tim Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui on the other side last season, but it appears now they may have a player who might be able to consistently give them some additional production.

Either way, they’re fortunate to have acquired him and he’ll definitely be an interesting player to watch in the coming months.

SHEARD THOUGHT THE PATRIOTS WERE GOING TO DRAFT HIM:

Back in 2011 the Patriots selected left tackle Nate Solder with the 17th overall selection, and also had the 28th and 33rd pick overall that year.  According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, recently added defensive end Jabaal Sheard thought he might have been one of those picks and believed that the Patriots were going to select him.

“I thought I was going to be drafted there, honestly,” Sheard told the Herald. “I got a second shot at it. Meeting with the coaches again, the same coaches, coming from a program where I was seeing new coaches every year, there’s some consistency there. I think that was huge. Just the fact that guys have been doing it for a while and I want to be part of that.”

Instead they traded the 28th pick to the Saints for a second round pick, who ended up being Shane Vereen, and a first-round pick in 2012, which they used to trade up to grab Chandler Jones.  They kept the 33rd overall pick and used it on Ras-I Dowling, which as we know ended up being a disappointment since injuries plagued him and they parted ways with him after just two seasons.  Sheard was eventually picked at 37 by the Cleveland Browns.

The good news is that now he’s here and the Browns ended up being the ones to develop him and he comes to New England as a seasoned player.  Hopefully he’ll be able to contribute in a big way to their defense in 2015 and he’s excited to get started.

“Coming from a not-so-good program to a great program that has been winning and doing well, I’ve just been excited,” Sheard said via the Boston Herald. “I want to win in the league, and I want to be part of a great organization. That was a big part of me signing.”

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, the Patriots are scheduled to work out Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder.  Crowder is a two-time All-ACC receiver who was also named all-conference for his special teams prowess in 2014, including two punt returns for touchdowns.

– The Patriots have also shown interest in Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson.  According to Ken Sugiura of AJC.com the Texans, Patriots and Chiefs were among teams who contacted Johnson’s agent following his recent pro-day.

– Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston has additional details of recently signed CB Chimdi Chekwa’s contract, which is a one-year deal with a total value of $825,000.  According to Reiss the deal also included a $50,000 signing bonus along with a workout bonus of $30,000.

– Patriots hero Malcolm Butler continues doing all the right things this offseason, with WMTW out of Portland reporting that the cornerback recently visited the Barbara Bush Children’s hospital and signed pictures, T-Shirts, and anything they wanted.  Said Butler, “It means a lot.  I’m sort of a role model right now, so I have to do positive things and give back.”  He’s been involved in a lot of charity work this offseason and instead of his new found fame going to his head, and instead of partying and living it up, he’s continued channeling it in the right direction and it’s something that definitely shouldn’t go unnoticed.  Good for him.

– According to Nick O’Malley of MassLive.com, Patriots running back Jonas Gray was recently awarded the key to the city in his home town of Pontiac, Michigan.  O’Malley spotted the post on Gray’s instagram account where the running back talked about how honored he was.  “Speechless…A young kid who grew up with a single mom in the inner city with big dreams! One of those achievements in my life that truly no one can ever take away from me and my family. The KEY to the City Of #Pontiac. Born and raised here and will continue to put the city on the map! Happy I was able to share it with my two bestfriends”.  Good stuff.

– If you’re interested in walking on the same field that the Patriots won the Super Bowl on in Arizona this past February, the opportunity may be a little easier than you might think.  According to the Arizona Caridnals’ website, the turf that was used at University of Phoenix Stadium in early February was recently installed at Tolleson Union High School, which is about 10 minutes away from the Cardinals’ home field.


Edelman has become quite the weapon in New England’s offense. (USA TODAY Images)

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has certainly come a long way since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft.

Back then New England selected the former Kent State quarterback with the 232nd overall selection and not many people thought much of the pick, especially not knowing at the time that he would be moved to receiver.  But his speed and quickness were noticeable during training camp that year and his evolution both as a punt returner and a receiver since then have been attributes that have made him a dangerous weapon in the Patriots’ offense.

He’s been tremendous since taking over after Wes Welker’s departure to Denver.   Over the past two seasons he’s caught 197 passes for 2028 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he lead the team with 54 first downs in 2013 and was 3rd on the club last season with 49 (Rob Gronkowski had 60, Brandon LaFell beat him by one with 50).  He’s a guy who moves the chains after leading the team with third down receptions in 2013 with 30, including 18 first downs and three touchdowns, and he finished tied for the lead in 3rd down receptions in 2014 with Gronkowski with 22, including 15 first downs.

Edelman caught the attention of everyone nationally after catching 9 passes on 12 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks, and it’s clear that he’s established himself as one of the best in the NFL.  His accomplishments caught the eye of Mel Kiper Jr., who recently did a “re-draft” of the 2009 NFL class, and Edelman made a massive leap up the chart, with Kiper Jr. selecting him 4th overall, which would have had him going to the Seattle Seahawks.

One anonymous NFL GM told Kiper that Edelman is “the toughest cover in the NFL right now.”  Given what we see on a weekly basis with the veteran receiver, it’s hard not to agree.  He’s become a valuable asset in this offense and with Gronkowski returning to form has become even more dangerous.  The addition of Brandon LaFell was a terrific compliment to Edelman in the offense last season and Danny Amendola also made some contributions down the stretch and was terrific in the postseason.

As a result this team has a pretty solid group of receivers coming back in 2015.  But it’s tough not to appreciate how good Edelman has been, and it’s good to see him getting a little recognition outside of New England now that he’s quietly established himself as one of the top targets in the league.

STEVAN RIDLEY EXPLORING HIS OPTIONS:

Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston held his weekly chat on Thursday and offered up his thoughts as it pertains to running back Stevan Ridley, who is still on the free agent market.

According to Reiss he’s not ruling out a return to New England for Ridley, but feels the veteran running back may be thinking that he’s better served to find a team that would allow him to maximize his opportunity to prove his value on a one year “prove it” type of deal.

“My sense on Ridley is that he’s looking for the right situation where he’ll have the best chance to maximize a one-year “prove-it” type deal,” said Reiss via his chat.  “So it’s not like he doesn’t have options, it’s just choosing the right option. That could ultimately be the Patriots, but right now, I don’t think that’s the mindset.”

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– Reiss has additional details surrounding Tavaris Cadet’s contract.  According to Reiss, the total amount of the deal is $1.715 million and includes a $65,000 signing bonus.  Cadet’s total base salaries are $660,000 for 2015, including a $50,000 roster bonus if he’s on the roster for week one, and a $760,000 base salary in 2016, and he also has two roster bonuses of $80,000 if he’s on the roster on the fifth day of the league year, and $100,000 or $6,250 per game.

– Reiss also has more details on Bradley Fletcher’s contract, which is a 1-year, $1.5 deal with a maximum value of $2.5 million and includes a $300,000 signing bonus.  According to Reiss Fletcher’s base salary for 2015 is $800,000, $250,000 of which is guaranteed.  It also includes a $100,000 workout bonus.

– One note that hasn’t been discussed too much recently was the trade talks regarding Eagles offensive lineman Ryan Mathis, whom the Patriots were rumored to be involved in.  According to Tom Curran of CSNNE.com the team was, in fact, not involved in those talks.  The Patriots still have most of their line intact and Dan Connolly still appears to be a player that the Patriots could bring back as he currently remains a free agent, although it’s likely we’ll still see additional linemen brought in over the coming months.

– Another point mentioned by Reiss during his chat Thursday was a tidbit on Kyle Arrington, who was exploited during the Super Bowl due to the tough match-up of having to cover Chris Matthews, who at 6’5″ had a field day against Arrington, who is 5’10”.  “Arrington’s lows are noticeable, like we saw in the Super Bowl,” said Reiss.  “I think that was a case where the Patriots’ coaching staff made a rare error of not putting the player in the best position to succeed. That wasn’t a good matchup for Arrington based on the size of the player he was covering and in retrospect, the coaches were slow to switch it. They are human too. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. That said, you go back to the AFC title game against the Colts and that was lockdown coverage by Arrington on TY Hilton. As good as it gets.”  Arrington overall had a good season in 2014, but that final performance is one that sticks out in the minds of many fans, and it’s not exactly fair.

– Manish Mehta has an interesting column this morning and is calling the Patriots “petty” as the NFL investigates the tampering charges surrounding the Jets and Darrelle Revis.  According to Mehta, the league sent an investigator to the Jets facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Sunday, March 8, during the three-day “legal tampering” window before the official start of free agency to interrogate general manager Mike Maccagnan and front office personnel about the pursuit of Revis.  Mehta also makes reference to SpyGate and DeflateGate (which as we’ve learned is seemingly a manufactured investigation about something the Patriots had nothing to do with but are now branded with thanks to the investigation) when discussing the Patriots and integrity.  Ridiculous.  He also goes back over the timeline about how Revis landed in Foxboro to begin with and backhandedly accuses the Patriots of tampering themselves with the Buccaneers.

– Funny story about local Patriots fan Ben Affleck, who apparently got just as emotional as most fans did when the Patriots won the Super Bowl.  His wife, Jennifer Garner, was recently on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and she revealed what he was like at the end of the game.   “Dude, there were tears,” said Garner via Patriots.com. “Seriously, it was like the greatest moment of his life. It actually was though. I birthed babies for him and I still have never seen just the pure joy.”


Ninkovich reportedly received a raise recently. (USA TODAY Images)

Last offseason the Patriots ended up having an effect on the rule book in the NFL and it appears that this year maybe another year where their suggestions could potentially be evaluated and implemented for the upcoming season.

Bill Belichick’s suggestion to raise the goal posts was one change that came into effect in 2014, with the uprights being raised an additional five feet to eliminate some of the judgement calls that officials have to make on field goals.  It actually ended up coming into play during one game this past season, with Denver kicker Brandon McManus’ kick hitting the top of the uprights while the Patriots were leading 20-7.  Had the ball instead crossed over the top, the Patriots would have seen their lead cut to 10 and it could have potentially changed the momentum of the game.

One rule that wasn’t changed was the extra point attempt, which he had suggested be moved back last year and it seems he’s making the same suggestion this offseason.  According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, the team has submitted three rule changes and once again, Belichick is suggesting that the kick be moved back to the 15-yard line, making the attempt a more competitive play.

He’s also requesting that coaches be able to broaden what can be challenged on instant replay, with coaches being able to be given the ability to challenge anything, including penalties.  As it stands right now the league already reviews scoring plays and turnovers automatically, so adding penalties would simply add to what is already being done to get the calls correct.

One other proposal that has been suggested is the addition of fixed cameras on the boundary lines to supplement camera angles already in use.  In a situation like this it likely comes down to whether or not the investment would be made by owners, but in a league where money is measured in the billions, one would think they could scrape up enough money to make it happen.

One additional proposal that seems to be coming from elsewhere is the fact that it appears the tactic the Patriots used against the Ravens during their Divisional Playoff win in regards to ineligible receivers being used outside the tackle box may come into play.  According to the Boston Globe, the proposal would allow any player who wears an eligible offensive number (1-49, 80-89) to line up in an ineligible position, but only inside the tackle box.  Under the proposed rule change, if a player declares ineligible and lines up outside the tackle, he will be penalized 5 yards for illegal formation.

The latter rule seems frivolous considering it simply requires some additional thought and preparation in a league that doesn’t always tend to think outside the box.  Now that the Patriots have, it appears other teams are pushing for a change.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, a known rival of Belichick, said the proposal would restore order to the rule being exploited.

“Unless we had some guidelines in place, this thing may get out of hand,” Fisher told the newspaper.

It’s ridiculous, and hopefully they leave it alone.

NINKOVICH RECEIVES A RAISE:

Adam Caplan of ESPN first reported on Wednesday that Rob Ninkovich received an adjustment in his contract that will pay him more money.

According to Mike Reiss Ninkovich’s compensation for 2015 was bumped up to $5 million, with $4.5 million fully guaranteed. He’ll reportedly receive the remaining $500,000 in workout and roster bonuses. He was previously scheduled to earn $2.45 million.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– The Patriots added a couple of corners on Wednesday, signing Robert McClain to a one-year, $1.24 million deal, and Bradley Fletcher to a one-year deal with a reported maximum value of $2.5 per ESPN’s Adam Caplan.  McClain spent three seasons in Atlanta with the Falcons while Fletcher played four years with St Louis but has spent the last two in Philadelphia.  Both were part of the four players to visit with the Patriots on Tuesday.

– Tom Brady joined Rory McIlroy at Augusta National last week but not at the golf course.  Acccording to ESPN’s Bob Harig, McIlroy ended up being surprised to find Brady along with Peyton and Eli Manning working out at the gym when the golfer got there.  McIlroy said it was “inspiring’ to see those guys being so dedicated.   “I was just surprised he [Brady] was in there; the Mannings, too. It’s their offseason,” he told the website. “It was to see all those guys in the gym before their season starts. They’re so dedicated and committed to what they do, especially those two guys, Peyton and Tom, they’re both in their mid-30s and they want to prolong their careers as much as they can.  To see them putting so much into it even after 15 successful years as a career and they’re still doing it — it was great for me to see, it was inspirational in some ways. … It was just nice to be in that little world for a couple of days and experience it.”

– While former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss may be saying his coaching career is over, it appears his son may be working his way up through the ranks.  According to the Tuscaloosa News his son, Charlie Weis Jr., has joined Alabama’s football program as a support staff member.  He had served in a similar position with his dad prior to Weis Sr.’s midseason firing last fall.

– Former Patriots LB Brandon Spikes took some parting shots on his way out the door when he left the team, and now that he’s no longer a member of the Buffalo Bills he’s apparently trying to mend some fences as he looks for a new employer.  He spoke highly of his former coach, Bill Belichick, during an appearance on NFL AM, crediting him with the success the team has consistently year-to-year.   “It’s the Hoodie. It’s Bill Belichick,” said Spikes via CSNNE.com  “He’s a genius. He just plugs guys in and his system works. My time there, I just learned how to be a true professional. It’s a first-class organization. They drafted me and a lot of teams passed on me. They gave me the opportunity and I’ll always be forever grateful for that.”

– Mike Reiss released additional details of the contract signed by Vince Wilfork in Houston, and it appears the veteran landed a pretty good deal for himself. The defensive tackle signed a two-year, $9 million deal that reportedly includes a $3 million signing bonus, $1 million fully guaranteed base salary for 2015 and a $1 million roster bonus (due March 24). Reiss reported that Wilfork has a $4 million base salary for 2016, which, depending on his performance, might be something to keep an eye on to see if he realizes the second year of the deal.

– The Sporting News offered up a pretty good “throwback Thursday” article this morning focusing on Tom Brady before he was drafted, who credited Drew Henson for pushing him to take his game to a higher level.  It’s interesting to hear a quote from Brady from back then about his fourth quarter mentality, with Brady telling the Sporting News at the time, “I think my best asset as a player is that in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, I have the desire to win and the feeling that our team is not going to lose.”  Fifteen years and four Super Bowl rings later, he’s certainly proven just how true that statement truly is.


After winning the AFC Championship, Belichick had to deal with the deflate-gate accusations that interfered with their preparation leading up to their Super Bowl showdown with Seattle. (USA TODAY Images)

Today marks the two month anniversary of the team’s AFC Championship victory over the Colts back on January 18th, 2015, and at this point there still has yet to be an end to the “DeflateGate” investigation that continues to drag on with little end in sight.

It’s been two months since the league launched an investigation into this debacle, and here we are in March without an end as it continues to drag on. The initial report by Bob Kravitz out of Indianapolis kicked off the whole thing, and Chris Mortensen of ESPN made it worse after he followed it up with a report from a source within the league’s office that 11 of 12 footballs were “significantly” below the required level.

From there, that’s where it started spiraling down hill with reports seemingly every other day that were contradicting.  Following Mortensen’s report, the league leaked another to The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that essentially debunked it by saying the balls were just “a tick” below.

And as we remember, it only got better from there.  A report by Fox Sports that said the league was zeroing in on a locker room attendant who took the balls somewhere on his way to the field, which we later learned ended up being the bathroom.   He was only in there for 90 seconds, which lead to conspiracy theorists trying to figure out how many balls could be deflated within that time frame rather than just letting it be dismissed at that point.

Bill Belichick’s angry tirade and explanation after doing his own investigation found that the preparation of the footballs coupled with the lower temperature on the field was the likely reason for the psi change, but that obviously wasn’t good enough to end the apparent witch hunt.

The league suffered a bit during this whole mess following a report that came from Adam Schefter, which further muddied the situation. Schefter revealed that an employee by the league gave a different football to Jim McNally, who is an employee of the Patriots that works the officials’ locker room at the team’s home games. An initial report by ESPN had said that McNally “tried to introduce an unapproved ball into the game”, but Schefter reported that McNally had been handed the ball from someone else. According to Schefter, a league employee has also been fired for taking the football and selling it for personal gain.  The NFL normally allocates those balls for charity.

To make matters worse, the NFL apparently has no proof that the Patriots did anything to alter the footballs because they don’t know what the starting psi was before the balls were turned over to New England.  The revelation by the officials during their press conference prior to the Super Bowl confirmed that after they essentially admitted that they don’t actually log the psi of the footballs before each game.

So with all that being taken into account, here we are, two months later with no word from the NFL and no other news or leaks regarding the Wells investigation.  Every smoking gun they’ve found so far has blown up in their faces, and considering the stance the Patriots have taken and how adamant they’ve been throughout that they did absolutely nothing to affect the integrity of the game, it’s hard not to believe them.  Needless to say, considering the damage they suffered reputation-wise during this whole experience, the Patriots can’t be happy with how it’s transpired to this point.

Roger Goodell did nothing to help after not coming out during the process and downplaying it while the investigation was going on. Instead the mishandling of the whole process subjected the team to further abuse in the media following repeated leaks from within his office, which left the Patriots in a tough situation as it played out through the national media and in many of the other markets. It’s inexcusable, and it’s not like this couldn’t have been figured out long before it ever reached this point.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com said on Tuesday that he believes this needs to be put to bed before the draft.

“It’s got to happen before the draft,” said Florio via CSNNE.com. “Because draft pick compensation is part of it. Whether the Patriots are punished or exonerated, I think they need to close the books on this one at least two weeks before the draft on April 30.”

But for now, nothing has changed.  Robert Kraft has asked for an apology and yet the NFL remains silent.  Hopefully they’re not thinking it will just go away because it’s pretty clear that Kraft isn’t going to find that acceptable.  One would have to think that in two months with all the resources a billion dollar corporation like the NFL has, they would have found something by now if there was something of consequence to report.

The fact there hasn’t been would lead you to believe that they still don’t have anything on the Patriots.  If that’s the case, the league just needs to suck it up and admit they made a mistake and finally put this to bed for good.

CADET SIGNED:

The Patriots signed a running back on Tuesday, with the team adding former New Orleans Saints running back Travaris Cadet.  The 26-year old had spent the last three years with the team, having played in 41 NFL games with 11 carries for 37 yards, as well as 45 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns.

In 2014 he had his most productive season, carrying 10 times for 32 yards along with catching 38 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.  He actually scored his first career touchdown against New England in 2013, catching a 3-yard touchdown during the Patriots’ win over New Orleans back on October 13, 2013.  He appears to be more of a pass-catching back and could be a potential candidate to compete for the role vacated by Shane Vereen’s departure to the Giants via free agency.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– The Patriots remain busy as they continue exploring free agent options, with Tuesday seeing them bring in four cornerbacks to Gillette Stadium, with ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss reporting that Terence Newman, Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain were all in town yesterday.

– Patriots owner Robert Kraft were guest speakers for the Hockomock Area YMCA breakfast fundraiser on Tuesday with Governer Charlie Baker at Gillette Stadium, with Kraft pledging $25,000 to the Y.  Kraft joked about the first time he met Y President Ed Hurley, and referenced one of the Patriots’ former players and current employee Andre Tippett.  “It was like getting hit by Andre Tippett because he asked me for a seven-figure donation,” Kraft said via the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.

– Mike Reiss shed a little light as to why a couple recent free agents ended up picking different destinations than New England to sign.  According to Reiss, linebacker Andrew Gachkar chose the Cowboys over the Patriots because his wife had ties to the Dallas area, which was apparently a factor in his decision, while defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker picked Detroit over New England because of a scheme preference in Detroit.

– You may have heard about Tim Tebow’s recent workout with the Philadelphia Eagles, although the quarterback hasn’t yet been offered a contract.  According to Quarterback Guru Tom House’s partner, Adam Dedeaux, the former Patriots QB has apparently improved quite a bit.  According to FoxSports.com, Dedeaux, who is the motion mechanics instructor at 3DQB in Los Angeles and worked with Tebow last weekend in Jacksonville to prepare him for the workout, Tebow is getting the ball out faster and has made quite a bit of progress. “From the moment we started working with him until now, his ability to get the ball out quickly has dramatically improved,” Dedaux told the website.  “His ability to spin the ball and to be accurate is better. He also understands when he misfires — he can be able to answer the question why and make the adjustment.”

– Local Houston radio personality Seth Payne likes the Vince Wilfork signing and he expects Wilfork’s presence inside to make quite a difference for Wilfork’s new teammate, J.J. Watt.  “Wilfork was playing out at three-technique (between guard and tackle) and in space a lot more than he had been previously,” Payne said via the Houston Chronicle. “In Houston, he’s going to be able to get back over the center, commanding attention in that A gap … and that really frees J.J. up a lot.  Even if your feet start to slow down a little bit, your hands and your brain still help you. And Vince Wilfork’s hands are very, very good, and his football brain is very, very good.”

 


Tom Brady and the offense still has some pretty good weapons returning in 2015. (USA TODAY Images)

While the Patriots have some issues to fix defensively in the upcoming months, there’s one solace that fans can take and that’s the fact that offensively this team is still in relatively good shape heading into 2015.

New England finished 4th in the NFL last season in points per game with 29.3, and they’ll return their entire receiving core, with tight end Rob Gronkowski (82 catches, 1124 yards, 12 touchdowns) coming off of a terrific 2014 campaign, along with receivers Julian Edelman (92 catches, 972 yards, 4 touchdowns) and Brandon LaFell (74 catches, 953 yards, 7 touchdowns) each finishing with two exceptional seasons of their own.  Danny Amendola (27 catches, 200 yards, 1 touchdown) recently restructured his deal to lower his salary, putting himself in position to improve off of a year where he re-established himself with a role in the kicking game and a solid playoff run in the receiving game, and waiting in the wings is Aaron Dobson, who could still become a weapon in a critical year for the receiver.  Free agent Stevie Johnson is reportedly set to visit Monday, and it will be interesting to see if he lands in New England as he could add another dynamic to a group that was pretty productive last season.

Recently signed Scott Chandler has been a player who has given the Patriots problems in the past as a member of the Buffalo Bills.  He caught 7 receptions on 10 targets against them in 2014, including a perfect 4-of-4 on third down (4 first downs).  Pairing him with Rob Gronkowski should be fun to watch, and he’s a player that fell under the radar a bit in terms of the significance of his signing as fans continue to lament last week’s loss of Darrelle Revis.

Their offensive line remains in terrific shape, with Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer set to anchor the line at the tackle positions next season, while rookie Bryan Stork had a terrific first season at center.  The biggest question mark for the Patriots remains free agent Dan Connolly, who has been one of the more consistent players at the guard position but the 10-year veteran might be looking for a bigger pay day than they may be willing to give him.  One interesting note was the Patriots’ interest in Eagles guard Evan Mathis, who the team was reportedly contemplating a trade to bring him to New England.  That would give them some additional options along with Ryan Wendell up front and we’ll likely see other players brought in as well.

At running back, Shane Vereen is now a member of the Giants, while LeGarrette Blount, James White, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden, and Tyler Gaffney are currently on the roster.  The odd man out currently is Stevan Ridley, who is still a free agent but hasn’t signed with a team a this point.  His name has recently popped up on the Cowboy’s radar, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see him come back to New England for a one-year “prove it” type of contract. However, one of the theories to shoot down that notion would be the fact he wouldn’t potentially get enough carries to cement his worth either here or on the free agent market after this season.

But overall it’s a pretty good group coming back off a championship season that should, once again, be among the NFL’s elite.  One would believe we’ll see some additional pieces brought into the mix but this is a football team with some pretty great pieces that with the addition of Chandler should make them even better.  Obviously the defense has some problems that still need to be solved, but it’s good to know that they still have a potent group on the other side of the ball at this point coming back next September.

 KRAFT JOKES ABOUT LOSS OF REVIS:

Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft spoke at the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Boston on Sunday morning and tried to make light over the loss of Revis talking about the negotiations.

According to Kraft, Revis may have been favoring the team, although his demands apparently became a little too high for them to reach an agreement.

“The money was about the same,” Kraft said via the New York Post. “[Revis] was actually favoring us, coming to us a little cheaper.”

Kraft then reportedly said Revis demanded a Boston street, Castle Island, be renamed “Revis Island”, which he claimed ended up being the deal breaker, which apparently drew quite a bit of laughter.

Obviously that wasn’t the reason and the real reason was likely the $39 million the Jets guaranteed him in just the first three years of the deal.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, free agent defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was reportedly in Houston visiting with the Texans on Sunday.  Wilfork recently said that he has several teams apparently interested in his services, and the familiarity with staff members like defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, linebackers coach Mike Vrabel and Anthony Pleasant are all there.

– Mike Reiss reported that free-agent linebacker Andrew Gachkar was in Foxboro for a visit on Sunday, but the Dallas Cowboys ended up getting his services after agreeing with him on a two-year deal.  His visit clearly signals that the Patriots are still exploring their options at that position.

– Another thing pointed out by Reiss in his Sunday notes was the fact that recently signed Jabal Sheard is a tough player, gutting out an apparent foot injury that almost put him on injured reserve.  He fought through it and he must be O.K. since it obviously wasn’t a concern for New England, who surely cleared him before signing him to a 2-year, $11 million deal.  But it shows you that he’s a tough player who isn’t afraid to play through pain, and that’s certainly a trait that you hope for in a player.

– Ben Volin of the Boston Globe pointed out an interesting fact in his own Sunday notes regarding the recent contract signed by Devin McCourty.  According to Volin, the $28.5 million in total guarantees set a record for safety contracts.  That just goes to show you how much the team values McCourty, who is now one of the building blocks in this defense moving forward.

– Following up on a recent note made here regarding performance based pay, the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin and WEEI’s Chris Price each had some additional figures and here’s a look at some players who received a bonus out of the $3.633 million given by the NFL to divide among its players.  For the Patriots, the top earner was Bryan Stork, who led New England with $232,728, followed by Chris Jones ($181,099), Jamie Collins ($176,321), Logan Ryan ($165,623), Tim Wright ($123,051), Jordan Devey ($115,806), Josh Kline ($107,289), Patrick Chung ($106,088) and Malcolm Butler ($84,902).  Also making the list was Tom Brady, who was given the big bucks after being named Super Bowl MVP (an extra $10,563).


Bill Belichick has a long offseason ahead as he tries to ready his team for another title run in 2015.

For the second year in a row the Patriots sat on the sideline through the early part of free agency, but as we’ve seen over the last few days there’s a methodical method to their madness as they start molding the 2015 version of this football team.

It’s not going to be easy.  This is a team that saw Darrelle Revis leave them for a division rival, along with fellow defensive back Brandon Browner heading back to the NFC after joining the New Orleans Saints.  Those were two obviously big losses that creates quite the challenge to deal with considering the improvement we saw from them defensively last season.

Shane Vereen is gone after joining the Giants, and so far the team brought in Reggie Bush for a visit, but according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald the two sides met on Friday but it seems they’ve yet to reach an agreement – although it’s not known if New England has even made him an offer.

The Patriots did add tight end Scott Chandler on Friday, with ESPN reporting the two sides reached an agreement on a contract which gives them an additional option opposite Rob Gronkowski heading into next season.  How that will affect guys like Michael Hoomanawanui or Tim Wright remains to be seen, but this is a team that obviously values that position and it’s never a bad thing to have too much depth.

Another name that popped up on the radar was receiver Stevie Johnson, with NBC4’s Diana Marie Russini reporting that the Patriots are targeting the free agent wideout.  This is a group right now that has Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, and Danny Amendola, as well as Aaron Dobson on the backburner as we wait to see what type of player he’ll be in 2015.  However, the team has already added Brandon Gibson and had been rumored to be in the mix for Percy Harvin, but Rex Ryan snatched him away and brought him to Buffalo, so it’s obvious that they may feel adding additional talent there is needed. Whether or not Johnson ends up in New England is difficult to say, as he was in San Diego visiting with the Chargers on Friday.

Defensively, one notable name they’ve added is defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard, who has quite a few people buzzing about the impact he may have on the team’s pass rush after accumulating 23 sacks during his four years in Cleveland.  With the loss of Revis and Brower, the easiest way to deal with the loss of two good corners is to allow opposing quarterbacks less time to survey the field, and hopefully Sheard’s signing is just the first of other moves ahead to continue to improve in that area.

It’s just the start of the process and there’s still plenty of time for things to play out.  But as we know this is a team that historically isn’t big on making the big splash but instead approach free agency in a way where they try and build depth to carry them through into the postseason.  Whether we like it or not, it works.  So we’ll have to wait and see what additional moves they make in the coming months and based on what we’ve seen in the past, there will be plenty more coming.

EDELMAN DOES HIS BEST BRADY/BELICHICK IMPRESSIONS:

Something a little different this morning. Patriots wide receiver recently appeared on the “Rich Eisen Show” and talked about a variety of topics, including what it was like to win a Super Bowl, his initial relationship with former receiver Wes Welker, and also did a couple of funny impressions during the segment.

You can watch it for yourself below:

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

– Patriots center Bryan Stork performed well during his first year in New England and became a big asset on New England’s offensive line, and according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald was rewarded with an additional $232,728.51 in performance based pay, which was reportedly the most money on the team in that category.

– So far Vince Wilfork remains a free agent, and doesn’t appear to be in any rush to make a decision in terms of finding a new team to play for. According to WEEI’s Christopher Price Wilfork’s agent, Kennard McGuire, said that “about five or six” teams are involved at this point. “Mostly AFC teams, couple in the NFC, that are looking to add a player of Vince’s magnitude,” McGuire told Price. “Vince is going to take his time.”

– Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen will apparently the first person in that family to announce their retirement, with a Brazilian newspaper reporting that the 34-year-old supermodel will walk her last runway show for Brazilian brand Colcci during Sao Paulo Fashion Week on April 20th. She reportedly still plans on honoring her existing contracts and will continue to model for Under Armor and Chanel.

– An interesting note in the Satesman yesterday on former University of Minnesota tight end Ben Utecht. According to the website, Utecht recently had an upcoming tryout with the Patriots but instead decided to retire from Pro Football. He’s a spokesperson for the American Brain Foundation and one scary note from the article talked about how the hits he took in the NFL affected him to the point where he completely forgot that he was in a friend’s wedding. Retiring is one of the most difficult decisions an athlete ever has to make, and good for him to be able to walk away and put his family first.