FOOTBALL NOTES (2/24) — Going to a Patriots game will cost fans a little more after the Patriots announced that ticket prices will be increasing about 20%. Robert Kraft explained the move in a letter to season ticket holders.
“Since 1994, we have enjoyed four playoff seasons, including back-to-back division championships and one conference title. This recent success is what made last year’s 8-8 finish so disappointing for me personally and I’m sure for you as well. As a result we have made some changes in an effort to again become a championship-contending team. I believe Bill Belichick is the coach who can direct this team back to that level of play.”
The Boston Globe displayed the new pricing for seats in their article this morning saying end-zone seats will still be the least expensive ($31, up from from $26), followed by family section ($34, from $28), sideline ($47, from $39), cornerchair ($51, from $42), and chairback ($75, from $60). The Patriots were 24th in the league last season for ticket prices, and the increase still only ranks them 16th overall.
Troy Brown is reportedly being persued by the Philadelphia Eagles, but according to New Jersey Online does not have the ideal size Eagles head coach Andy Reid likes in his receivers. Kansas City, who Brown visited Monday, appears to be the most interested and just lost the bidding war with the San Diego Chargers over former Bears wide receiver Curtis Conway. The Cowboys are another team that may have an interest in Brown.
Former Patriots defensive coordinator Steve Sidwell is trying to lure free agent linebacker Tedy Bruschi to Seattle. According to the Globe however Bruschi would have to play middle linebacker, a position where he is somewhat undersized.
Patriots offensive lineman Heath Irwin is reportedly close to signing with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins on Tuesday lost their bid for a potential starting offensive lineman when the St. Louis Rams matched free agent Ryan Tucker’s three-year, $8.25 million offer sheet. The Dolphins inability to get Tucker turned their focus on signing Irwin and coming to terms with center Tim Ruddy on a new contract.
According to the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have offered Irwin, 26, a three-year, $3.3 million contract. Irwin is an unrestricted free agent and made $439,000 last year with the Patriots. Irwin started 13 games and played left guard for New England last season.
Another interesting fact came up this morning in the Miami Herald. While the Patriots claim to have no interest in former Bills runningback Thurman Thomas, their name continues to appear repeatedly in reports around the league at a run at Thomas’ services. The Dolphins seem to feel they have a little “niche” that the Patriots don’t in their quest to try and lure him to Miami. Miami is just a few hours from Thomas’ home in the same ritzy Orlando enclave whose residents include Tiger Woods, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark O’Meara. It’s hard to say if this could play a factor on whether or not he would choose Miami over New England, but one would have to say it’s doubtful since money would most likely be the issue. That’s one thing the Patriots currently have little of, and they are still interested in re-signing Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown.
Jumbo Elliott and cornerback Otis Smith may be dumped by the Jets soon to clear salary cap room. Elliott, who turns 35 in April, is expected to be released shortly. According to the New Jersey Online, Elliott’s salary counts $3.3 million against the cap next season and the Jets may be waiting to get a medical clearance for his ailing back before making the move. The long-time Giant, who spent the past four seasons with the Jets, played well last season despite a bad back.
As for Smith he’s 34 and has a cap number of $1.18 million next season as the team’s fourth cornerback behind Aaron Glenn, Marcus Coleman and Ray Mickens. He apparently became expendable when Coleman recently signed a five-year, $20 million deal. He may be a possibility to return to New England to solidify the right corner position which currently has Kato Serwanga and Tebucky Jones slated to compete for the starting spot.
Meanwhile though the Boston Herald reported that Elliott could be a possible candidate to come to New England, the news out of New Jersey is that Elliott reportely told friends he’d like to finish his career on the West Coast, possibly with San Diego, where he has a home.