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Wednesday Patriots and NFL Notebook: Stevenson Excited For 2022

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
12 months ago at 2:14 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Wednesday Patriots and NFL Notebook: Stevenson Excited For 2022Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

A few quick notes on this Wednesday:

1) Jeff Howe had an interesting read in The Athletic looking at the role that quarterback’s salary cap numbers have factored into the success of various teams in recent years, and the numbers certainly painted a curious picture.

As Howe pointed out, since the league’s salary wage scale changed in 2011 with a rookie wage scale, seven teams each had quarterbacks who accounted for at least 15.8% or higher of their respective team’s salary caps.  Those clubs didn’t fare too well, while the ones who were below that number saw success.

QBs with a salary that took over 15.8% of the cap that Howe mentioned were the following:

2019 – Jimmy Garoppolo – 20.9% – Record: 4-12
2021 – Russell Wilson – 17.5% – Record: 7-10
2021 – Kirk Cousins – 17% – Record: 8-9
2013 – Eli Manning – 16.9% – Record: 7-9
2015 – Drew Brees – 16.6% – Record 7-9
2019 – Matthew Stafford – 16.2% – 3-12-1
2020 – Dak Prescott – 15.8% – 6-10

Looking at the quarterbacks who won Super Bowls over that span, each had numbers considerably less than those totals:

2020 – Tom Brady – 12.6%
2019 – Patrick Mahomes – 2.4%
2018 – Tom Brady – 12.4%
2017 – Nick Foles and Carson Wentz – 4.6%
2016 – Tom Brady – 8.9%
2015 – Peyton Manning – 12.2%
2014 – Tom Brady – 11.1%
2013 – Russell Wilson – 0.6%
2012 – Joe Flacco – 6.6%
2011 – Eli Manning – 11.7%

The subject came about discussing the likely pay increase Joe Burrow is set to receive, with his current salary among the reasons why the Bengals have such a solid roster.  What they end up doing there when Burrow finally receives his contract extension will likely reduce what they can do elsewhere, which obviously sets up what should be an interesting offseason for them.

That will potentially become an issue with Mac Jones in the coming years should he continue building on what was a solid rookie season.  Hopefully, when that time eventually comes, Jones will take a similar approach to Tom Brady and opt for more talent around him and more opportunities to build his own winning legacy in the coming years.

2) People have talked quite a bit about Bill Belichick’s coaching tree and how very few former coaches have gone on to have success, but this week has seen the focus shift to Sean McVay, who so far is having his own success from that standpoint.

McVay is getting ready to face off with former colleague Zach Taylor, whose Bengals team will face McVay’s Rams in this Sunday’s Super Bowl.  However, other former coaches also include Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur, the Chargers’ Brandon Staley, as well as current Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who has reportedly accepted the opportunity to take over the head coaching position in Minnesota with the Vikings.

So far, Taylor has made it to his first Super Bowl, while LaFleur has also led his team to the postseason.  The Chargers are an up-and-coming club that finished above .500 this season and with quarterback Justin Herbert already seem to be poised for future success.

As a result, it’s a pretty good group that’s come out of his system so far, which is impressive for a guy who is only 36-years old.  Granted, McVay got a little star-struck when he faced Bill Belichick a few years ago in a losing effort in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, but obviously who he was then isn’t who he’s become or who he might eventually go on to be in the future.

We’ll see if he can build on his own legacy this weekend but for now, it already looks like he’s done a good job grooming the guys around him.

3) One key question this offseason is going to be what the club decides to do about potential free agent, J.C. Jackson.

Jackson appears poised to break the bank this offseason, which likely doesn’t bode well for his future here.  Some of the talk has centered around possibly tagging him with the franchise designation and trading him, but it’s hard not to wonder whether or not another team would bite at that number.  That alone makes it a risky move for the Patriots, who would be hamstrung with his salary at that point.

NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry discussed the option in a recent column but he did suggest that if it did work out, it could potentially set New England up in fairly good shape.

Tag-and-trade deals that have gone down lately have yielded high-end draft choices for clubs looking to part with stars. Yannick Ngakoue was sent to the Vikings for a second and a fifth. Jadeveon Clowney went to Seattle for two players and a third. Frank Clark went to Kansas City with a third round pick and Seattle got a first, a third and a future second. Dee Ford went from Kansas City to San Francisco for a second.

Even though the Patriots have a variety of ways to create cap room this offseason, having Jackson play on the tag might be too rich for their blood. Of course his departure would mean a glaring hole at the corner spot, but perhaps the team could find his replacement with the pick they get in return. Or perhaps they could use that pick, pair it with their No. 21 overall selection and move up in the draft for a top-end cover man.

Jackson’s future is definitely going to be a story to watch and the Patriots also have the challenge of replacing both him and Stephon Gilmore as they try and rebuild their secondary.  After what we saw toward the end of the season, that definitely needs to be a priority as they try and keep pace with both the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs in what’s becoming an increasingly competitive AFC Conference.

4) It sounds like Rhamondre Stevenson is already hard at work getting ready for year two, with the running back already revealing his plans for the offseason as he tries to improve himself heading into 2022.

Stevenson recently spoke with ESPN’s Mike Reiss, saying that being more of a threat out of the backfield is something he plans on working on this offseason.

“That’s a big focus this offseason, just route-running and catching out of the backfield,” said Stevenson.

Reiss reports that Stevenson will spend time working with Michael Johnson Performance in Dallas, which he points out is where Stevenson worked with Bryan McCall last offseason.  Stevenson also reportedly said he plans on being in Foxboro during the team’s voluntary workouts.

Stevenson said that one thing that helped him this season was the fact that both he and quarterback Mac Jones were going through being rookies together, which helped the two relate and he said their relationship has been terrific, with Stevenson also able to confide in his quarterback on a personal level.

“That stress I was talking about, we were going through on the same path, so we had great chemistry already, a great relationship,” Stevenson said. “That’s a cool dude. I can talk to him about anything — football-related or not.”

Stevenson had a strong first season, finishing second on the team behind Damien Harris with 141 carries for 633-yards and 5 touchdowns in his rookie year.  He also caught 18 passes for 156-yards.

The fact he talked about increasing his role in the passing game is interesting.  James White remains a question mark after suffering a hip injury, with the team replacing him with Brandon Bolden.  However, it’s clear that they need to be better overall in that area next season so it’s hard not to wonder if the club might be considering giving Stevenson that opportunity depending on White’s health and future with the team.

For now he’ll spend the offseason working building toward next year but it already sounds like he’s looking forward to getting back to work.


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