We’re on to Tuesday, and here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories:
Battle for the Patriots 1st Round Pick Begins – Some interesting news on Monday after Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke to a group of reporters down at the NFL Owners meeting in Florida, revealing he sent a letter to the league more than a month ago outlining his reasoning as to why the Patriots should get their first-round pick back. He didn’t reveal what, if any, response the league had to his request.
“I personally wrote a letter to the commissioner responding to his comment that if any new facts came up, he would take them into consideration and I personally believe that when the league made their decision they did not factor in the Ideal Gas Law,” Kraft said to reporters via SI.com Monday. “They admitted that publicly. They have had a full year of being able to observe Tom Brady play with all the rules of whatever the NFL was and make any judgements there. We have laid it out pretty straight forward and now it’s up to them to decide.”
According to NFL Media Insider Judy Battista, that seems like a long-shot after an NFL source told her the team has “zero chance” of recovering the pick. Given the amount of money the league has already spent on their ridiculous crusade, that news doesn’t exactly come as a shock. Kraft already accepted the punishment and didn’t fight it, and the legal battle against them would be one that he’s already shown he’s seemingly not willing to undertake. Now he’s stuck hoping against hope that Roger Goodell will somehow see the err in his ways, which seems even more far-fetched than the logic Goodell continues to use for keeping it going to begin with.
“When you join the NFL it’s a partnership and you agree to abide by certain rules and conditions,” said Kraft. “We have tried to work the system as best we can, and now it’s working itself out.”
It’s not working itself out, as that decision was clearly made by Goodell a long time ago. With their first-round pick likely gone, now the best Kraft can hope for is that the league isn’t also able to take his quarterback away for the first four weeks of 2016.
Needless to say, the battle, and the saga and mess that goes along with it, continues.
Chiefs Fighting their Own Battle – Meanwhile, out in Kansas City, the Chiefs are already bracing themselves for a battle with the league after appealing fines and the loss of two draft picks for allegedly tampering with Jeremy Maclin a year ago.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told the Kansas City Star on Monday that they’ve already filed an appeal but wouldn’t say much beyond that given the fact it wouldn’t behoove him to do so until the outcome is reached.
The Chiefs lost their third-round pick this year and sixth-round pick next year as a result of the league’s decision, along with a $250,000 fine by the club and a $75,000 fine charged to head coach Andy Reid. The NFL also fined general manager John Dorsey $25,000.
Hunt said he didn’t seek Kraft’s advice given the Patriots’ own issues with the NFL, calling it a “very different” situation and emphasized how important building for the future is, which obviously requires having as many selections in the draft as possible.
“In this particular situation, it wasn’t something that I felt I needed to seek someone else’s counsel,” Hunt said. “Those situations, referring specifically to the Patriots, are very, very different than this situation.”
“What is important about the draft is you’re getting guys that can help the team in 2018 and 2019, so every one of those draft picks is important, and I have tremendous confidence that John will do a great job using the picks we have to build the team for the future.”
The result of the appeal remains to be seen. However, despite whatever the outcome may be, the fact the Chiefs appealed it and the Patriots didn’t is something that will continue to frustrate people here in New England.
Could Megatron End Up a Patriot? – Calvin Johnson my have announced his retirement, but he’s still getting a little pressure from his peers to consider coming back and if he does, they’d like to see him end up in New England.
According to CBSSports.com Johnson’s former teammate, receiver Nate Burleson, told him that he should take a year off and then come join Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
“Congratulations on your retirement, man. Now, take this year off … then find a way to land with the Patriots and get a championship ring,” Burleson wrote recently for NFL.com. “You deserve it.”
The road for that to happen wouldn’t be easy, but it wouldn’t be impossible depending on the severity of the salary cap implications for Detroit if Johnson elected to come back. He’s still under contract with the Lions, so they would own his rights. However, as John Breech of CBSSports.com points out, if the Lions couldn’t handle the cap hit (his base salary in 2016 is nearly $16-million) they’d be forced to cut him, which would allow him to sign elsewhere.
While the Patriots have been turning their attention toward younger players, Johnson would seemingly still have plenty left in the tank. He’s 30-years old, which is the same age Randy Moss was when New England brought him in back during their record-breaking 2007 season.
It’s obviously a fun scenario to ponder but he’d have to take a massive pay-cut in order to fit in New England. Johnson obviously has plenty of records and accolades but he walked away from football without a ring. Hopefully if it ever came to pass, that would be the overriding factor for Johnson in lighting up opposing defenses in this offense for at least one season.
While it seems far-fetched, many people thought Darrelle Revis would never be a Patriot either and that certainly worked out pretty well. Johnson has had players and celebrities in his ear about the possibility since hanging up his cleats. Now the only question may be, will he listen?
Rams DT Fairley Met With the Patriots Monday – According to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, Rams defensive tackle Nick Fairley was on a flight to Florida for the NFL Owners Meeting on Monday and revealed that he was on his way there to visit with members of the Patriots organization.
Fairley recently visited with New Orleans and left without a contract, and he’s an interesting prospect. He’s yet another former number one pick, having been selected at 13 overall back in 2011 and could be another reclamation project by Belichick who could certainly resurrect his career. He’s also listed by Pro Football Focus as the best available free agent still on the market at any position.
This marks the Patriots’ second time they’ve shown interest after the Providence Journal reported last year that New England expressed interest in Fairley but after they couldn’t reach an agreement, Fairley ended up in St. Louis after signing a 1-year deal worth $5-million.
The Patriots seem to have a formula in mind for this season and it remains to be seen if Fairley will be the next player added to the list of new additions for a roster that is shaping up to be quite different than it was in 2015.
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