Good morning and Happy Mother’s Day, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 5-8 notes and what’s happening around the AFC East.
Amendola Shows His Focus is on Winning:
For the second straight season, Danny Amendola has reworked his contract to remain a member of the Patriots. His latest restructure gives him a two-year deal worth $7.35 million dollars with another $750,000 available in incentives and bonuses.
Amendola could have dug in his heels and held out in hoping to either force the Patriots to either pay him his salary for this season, ($5 million base, $6.8 million cap hit) or forcing his release where he could get that much on the open market.
He decided that the chance to win another championship here was more important to him and his comments after signing his deal played that out.
Amendola has proven to be a very solid signing by the Patriots and his productivity over the last year and a half has been very good. He’s earned the trust of Tom Brady, has come up big in big situations and is a lock for this season.
Tackle is Still a Major Area for Concern:
Entering the NFL Draft one of the biggest areas to upgrade seemed to the offensive tackle position. We went on record as stating the Patriots should have drafted their future right tackle this season and got him ready to take some reps during 2016.
Both LT Nate Solder and RT Sebastian Vollmer were injured in 2015 and Vollmer, 32 has a history of back and knee issues that could easily rear their head again this season. Which is why it is puzzling at best why the Patriots didn’t address the position during the draft.
The swing tackle competition this season (as of today), remains between Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle, and Cameron Fleming. While the play along the entire offensive line should see a boost with the return of Dante Scarnecchia as the offensive line coach, it is still a big area of concern. As the NFL Game Rewind tape of the Denver playoff game can attest to.
Patriots Giving Back to the Community, a win-win situation:
The Patriots are very active in the community, and one of the hallmarks of every player’s contract is a stipulation that they’ll have to give back and make a certain amount of appearances in the community.
For the vast majority of the players, however, once they get out in the community, they not only do the mandated amount of appearances but much more. A good example of this was in Grafton on Thursday night. A basketball team of current Patriots players and alumni took on an All-Star team of Grafton police and locals with the money raised going to charity.
It was the 20th year of the friendly competition and the fans turned out in droves, as they do every year. Fan favorites were Voice of the Patriots Scott Zolak, Pats DT Joe Vellano, making his third appearance in the game and Safety Jordan Richards, both of whom had huge smiles on their faces all night long, including an autograph session at halftime. Zo interacted with the crowd during the game and continually got them fired up. Zolak does 10-12 charity games a year and is always a crowd favorite.
Patriots players and alumni get a youngster from the crowd fired up during a charity basketball game. (SBalestrieri/Grafton News photo)
Wearing a different hat on the night for the Grafton News and not reporting on your typical football fare, I asked Richards about doing these games with the team already back to work during OTAs.
He beamed another huge smile, “It is great getting back to work with the guys, but this is a welcome distraction,” he said. “We all love getting back out in the community and interacting with all the fans.”
BTW the Patriots team consisting of Vellano, Richards, Brandon King, Rufus Johnson, and Patrick Pass, Mark Levoir and Scott Zolak from the alumni came back from a halftime deficit to win big over the Grafton team that had some hometown ringers added this year. Here’s look toward Year 21.
Cyrus Jones Introduced to New England, Will Wear Number 24:
Top draft choice Cyrus Jones was introduced as is the tradition, to the media at Gillette Stadium this week and came across as an already polished and mature young man. He spoke about the influence his father had on him.
Growing up in Baltimore, Cyrus Jones was a Ravens fan but learned a healthy respect for Tom Brady stating that “anytime we played the Patriots, I definitely was scared of Tom Brady.” He added, “He’s a winner. Everybody likes winning. I consider myself a winner, so I’m looking forward to working with him and trying to get to another Super Bowl and win it.”
Jones will wear #24 and spoke about the recent tradition of those wearing that number for the Patriots including Ty Law and Darrelle Revis. But do you know who else wore that number for the Pats? PatsFans.com own John Morgan wrote a great piece a couple of years ago when Revis came to town on the entire history of the #24 for the Patriots.
East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:
Dolphins Ink Wake to Two-Year Contract Extension:
The Dolphins have inked DE Cameron Wake to a 2-year contract extension that should have the former CFL star in a Miami uniform for his entire career.
Wake’s new deal will pay him $10 million fully guaranteed over the next two years and will drop his cap hit in 2016 down from $9.8 million. At age 34, this may be his last contract. He tore his Achilles tendon last year and appears to be fully on schedule to return healthy this season.
Jets Introduce Hackenberg but Send a Message to Fitzpatrick:
Jets rookie QB Christian Hackenberg got his introduction to the NY media this week and said all the right things about wanting to learn the offense and building trust with his NY teammates but the big focus was on who wasn’t there.
Hackenberg, who wore number 14 at Penn State is wearing #5 for the Jets…for the time being as the team still hopes to work out a deal with incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick this season. Fitzpatrick wore #14 last year but apparently the two sides are still far apart on contract negotiations.
But the Jets are also sending a message as well, With the media in the locker room interviewing Hackenberg, Fitzpatrick’s locker was noticeably cleaned out. His nameplate was removed and a “New York Jets” plate took its place.
Bills Sign LT Cordy Glenn to a Five-year Extension:
The Bills freed up $7.5 million dollars in cap space this year by signing LT Cordy Glenn to a five-year extension that will pay Tyrod Taylor’s blind side protector up to $65 million with $36 million fully guaranteed.
Glenn’s cap hit will drop from $13.7 million in 2016 to just over $6 million which gives the Bills now just over $14 million in salary cap room. Now they have the cash to pay their draft picks and UDFAs as well as work a deal out with Taylor.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2015 Patriots Training Camp 2016 NFL Combine 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Danny Amendola Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady