I apologize for the fact there were no headlines posted yesterday. I wasn’t feeling well and woke up late, so I was unable to get them up before heading into work. The good news is Thursday’s OTA sessions were open to the media, so at least there’s plenty to read this morning.
The topic of discussion yesterday was the fact that thanks to a report in the Denver Post, we learned that Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins was sent a letter from the team notifying him of their intent to lower his tender offer should he night sign by June 14th – the day before the start of mandatory minicamp.
Mike Reiss reported late yesterday afternoon that in order to have some form of negotiating leverage, the Patriots needed to send that letter to at least have that option – although he feels that the chances of New England following through with it is highly unlikely. He points out previous comments by owner Robert Kraft who has said on more than one occasion that he hopes to get something done to keep him here.
The Boston Globe offers up an interesting story with comments from other players, including Stephen Gostkowski – who was also a restricted free agent but signed his tendor. The Globe points out that one of the rules of the 2010 uncapped year stipulates that only players with six or more accrued seasons are eligible for unrestricted free agency. Previously that number has been four years, and unfortunately Gostkowski, along with Mankins, are victims of the system.
“The rules change and you have to abide by them, whether you like them or not,’’ Gostkowski told the Globe. “It’s just something that happens, and I’m just grateful to even get the tender and have a one-year deal, and to be part of the Patriots is what I want and what I wanted. I don’t make the rules, I just play by them.
At the NFL owners meeting back in March Mankins’ agent, Frank Baur, more or less echoed to the Globe a similar – although stronger – sentiment.
“He’s not very happy. There comes a time when there is a loyalty factor, a loyalty factor with a player who has never missed a game, never missed a practice. There is a strong bond between him and Bill Belichick, but right now he’s caught in the system.’’
Needless to say we’ll have to see how this plays out.
The Patriot Ledger offers up a good story this morning, featuring newly added quarterback Mike Teel. Teel offers up some good comments in the article, and also talks about teammate Devin McCourty and his brother Jason. The Attleboro Sun Chronicle also looks at Teel’s relationship with teammate Jeff Rowe, who Teel was with in Seattle.
The Boston Herald takes a look at the Patriots offense, pointing out that during OTA’s so far the tight ends have been more involved and ponders what changes they’ll be making offensively heading into this season.
The Herald’s Ian Rapoport talks to linebacker Pierre Woods in the notes portion of his take on Logan Makins’ situation. Woods said that despite all the competition at the outside linebacker position heading into camp he’s not scared, and is ready to compete.
“As a competitor, you can’t be scared to compete,” Woods said. “Certain guys got different things they bring to the table, so what I bring to the table is something different from everybody else. At the end of the day, you want to be out there, want to compete. Let the best man win.”
Rapoport also offers a great article about the relationship between Fred Taylor and New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, who is currently incarcerated after his gun accidently went off in a nightclub. The accident injured Burress as he ended up with a bullet wound in his leg, and also cost him his freedom. In honor of Burress Taylor wears a black bracelet with a simple phrase: “Free Plax.”
“He’s going to be all right,” Taylor told the Herald following a session of organized team activities yesterday. “He’s in great spirits, trust me. He’s positive. He doesn’t want to be there, but he’s got to do what he got to do. We’re not going to let him get his head down.”
Meanwhile Christopher Price of WEEI.com offers up a terrific look at the mix of veterans and younger wide receivers, and the dynamic it’s created in practice.
Obviously the topic of Tom Brady’s contract continues to come up in discussion, and the Boston Globe points out comments made by owner Robert Kraft yesterday, who appeared on Sirius Radio. In the interview Kraft calls the situation “complicated”, but says that they’re continuing to work on things.
“Look, we are so lucky to have Tom Brady,’’ Kraft said when asked about negotiations. “He’s under contract. He’s here. I’m privileged to have a pretty special relationship with him. And I think he knows how I feel about him. I think we both want to solve the problem, or the issue. I don’t know that it’s a problem . . . it’s complicated.”
Jeff Howe of NESN.com reports this morning that defensive back Terrence Wheatley isn’t happy about the fact that Colorado University is headed to the Pac-10. The former Buffalo who played at Colorado from 2004-07 doesn’t understand why the move was made, and offers up some good comments in the piece.
Finally the guys at PatsCast have released this week’s episode, so be sure to download it to your Ipod on your way out this morning. You can also find it on ITunes by searching “PatsCast” under the podcast section.
That’s it for now. Hope everyone has a good day and we’ll have updates throughout the afternoon as news becomes available.