Hopefully everyone had a good holiday weekend and as we kick off a shortened work week, here’s a look at some news and notes on this Tuesday morning.
Butler Likely Down the Priority List – Having Malcolm Butler replace Darrelle Revis and turn into a top-tier NFL cornerback was a key storyline in 2015, and it obviously threw another wrinkle into things as the front office now has some work cut out for them.
Looking at the defense as it stands right now, watching how the tandem of Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins have performed at this point, those two are also going to be a big key to the Patriots’ success in the coming years. As a result, this football team has a pretty good young nucleus in place if they can keep them together, and it’s arguably one of the best duos in the NFL. Those two are easily the most important in terms of trying to get them under contract, which likely played a big part in the decision to ship Chandler Jones off to Arizona.
That being said, Butler is also one of importance but when it comes to getting contract extensions done, these are usually all about timing. Butler’s absence so far this offseason has fueled speculation that he’s not happy with his current salary, with Mike Reiss having talked about that in his Sunday notes. According to Reiss, Butler has told his teammates and friends that he plans to push for an adjustment to his contract before this season.
Both Collins and Hightower are set to become unrestricted free agents after the 2017 season, while Butler isn’t set to hit free agency until 2018. There has been some speculation that he could hold out this season if he’s not given a raise, but that certainly wouldn’t be in his best interest. As our own Miguel Benzan pointed out on Twitter, a player needs 3 accrued seasons to become a restricted free agent, and 4 to hit free agency. At this point, Butler has just 2 accrued seasons, so if he was to do something crazy like hold out for an extended period, he could risk not reaching free agency until 2019.
Butler has to understand that a raise is likely coming, but not until New England locks up two of his teammates and two key members of their defense. Butler certainly has to be part of the Patriots long-term plans, but these things take time and they won’t know what they have to work with until they get those deals worked out first.
The Patriots let Revis walk and shipped off Chandler Jones with the likely intention of trying to keep this group together. Hopefully Butler understands that these things take time and that a raise will soon be coming his way. Other than Revis, it’s been a long time since New England had a cornerback who could be a difference maker in their defense, especially a young one like Butler, so it clearly behooves them to get a deal done. It would give him some security and reward him for all the work he’s put in to get to this point, and it will likely save them money in the long run.
Unfortunately for Butler, getting Hightower and Collins done first has a little more urgency given the fact the clock is ticking on those two. All that probably means for Butler is it just might require a little patience until it happens.
Butler has certainly earned a raise after emerging in New England’s defense.
Speculation Swirling Around Jastremski – The recent interview last week with comedian Jim Breuer has apparently got for some strange reason everyone wondering about the status of Patriots employee (or former employee) John Jastremski as the DeflateGate mess rolls on.
Breuer claimed to have spoken to Jastremski in Cancun Mexico last year on a Monday during the season following a home game in November against Washington. If Jastremski was in Mexico at that time, that seemingly suggested that he wasn’t employed by the team at that point, which is now fueling speculation about whether or not he might have been potentially let go from the club and if that’s the case, there’s speculation about whether or not the team could believe he’s guilty of some wrongdoing.
ProFootballTalk.com suggested that Jastremski could just potentially be on paid leave pending the outcoming of the ongoing court battle between Tom Brady and the NFL.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe apparently asked the Patriots about the status of Jastremski, which to no one’s surprise was declined. Why it matters is still a little questionable, but that hasn’t stopped the reports from continuing to wonder about the timing of the meeting between Jastremski and Breuer and what it means.
How this can be considered an important story-line seems a little ridiculous, especially since the bigger issue at this point remains Brady’s status for 2016. Why Jastremski is or isn’t a Patriots employee should be at the bottom of the list at this point and trying to tie any guilt to Brady based on that about as credible as the report that first brought his name to the forefront of a saga to begin with.
Big Papi Boycotting if Brady doesn’t play – David Ortiz is among many Patriots fans who isn’t happy about the current state of things with Brady’s suspension looming, and according to the Red Sox slugger, he doesn’t plan on watching the games if Brady isn’t under center when the season kicks off.
“I think it’s stupid, to be honest with you,” Ortiz told Sports Illustrated. “Put it this way: You’re talking about the one player that everybody wants to watch play. We’re not just talking about any player. We’re talking about Tom Brady. If I turn on the TV on Sunday to watch a Patriots game and I know that Tom Brady is not playing, I would turn off the TV. I don’t want to watch that game.”
It’s hard to imagine any other fan going to that extreme given their love for football, but Brady likely appreciates the ongoing support he’s continuing to get as this nonsense continues.
Brady Pays Homage to Pat Tillman – Brady is certainly a class act, and on Memorial Day he took to Facebook to voice his support for former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman, who was killed during his military service back in 2004.
Brady encouraged everyone on Memorial Day to “honor the brave men and women who have fought for our country” while thanking those who “made the ultimate sacrifice”.
“I hope everyone is having a fun Memorial Day,” wrote Brady. “I would encourage us all to remember and honor the brave men and women who have fought for our country to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. Thank you to our heroes and their families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us, to keep our country safe. May we honor you by striving to give our best every day. I would also like to honor Pat Tillman, who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country. Pat was a great NFL player with a bright future when he chose to leave the NFL and enlist in the Army Rangers. I was fortunate to play against Pat and his brother in high school. He was an exceptional person, warrior and hero in every way.”
“To support the Pat Tillman Foundation, a friend of mine will be biking over 50 consecutive days to cover the 2,800 miles of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route that runs from Canada to Mexico along the Continental divide (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico). Please use the link below to make a contribution on his behalf and honor Pat’s legacy:
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown