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Patriots News 06-26, David Andrews Steps Up, NE A 12-Win Team? 

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
2 months ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Patriots News 06-26, David Andrews Steps Up, NE A 12-Win Team? David Andrews after practice / Steve Balestrieri

Good morning; here are your weekly Patriots news 06-26 and some NFL notes this week.

The Patriots 2022 training camp opens in about a month and should be an exciting time once again this year. The rookies report early on July 19, traditionally when injured or rehabbing players also report. The veterans report on July 26. Then the 2022 football season will get underway in earnest.  

RIP to former Colts and Ravens player Tony Siragusa, who parlayed a successful NFL career into a television gig with Fox Sports. His sidelines reports were always spot on and mixed with humor, where his love of the game shined through. 

Siragusa did the dirty work inside for the Ravens 2000 Super Bowl-winning team, eating up double teams to allow linebacker Ray Lewis to roam free and make plays. The 2000 Ravens set the defensive record for a 16-game season by allowing the fewest points and rushing yards.  

He was just 55 years old. 

Deshaun Watson Negotiating His Own Suspension? 

Yes, that isn’t a typo, the ongoing saga with Watson has taken a bizarre twist this week.  CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson was the first to report that “there’ve been recent attempts by the NFL, the NFLPA & Deshaun Watson’s advisors to negotiate a discipline settlement. However talks involving a potential number of games missed “fell apart” not being on the same page. As of now, the process moves forward, per league sources.”

Watson has said through his lawyers throughout this process that his wish was to clear his name. However, despite this, he has reportedly settled with 20 of the 24 lawsuits that have been levied against him. While one can argue the semantics of his not having any criminal charges brought against him, that isn’t clearing your name. 

So, the questions remain, “How long is the suspension for Watson going to be, and…” who ultimately decides it, Commissioner Roger Goodell or the NFLPA, Watson’s advisers and the league? The answer may end up being all three.

During the Tom Brady suspension in the Deflategate fiasco, Commissioner Goodell wrote in upholding Brady’s suspension, citing Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that the Commissioner has the authority to decide what constitutes conduct detrimental and if a player has committed conduct detrimental, what the appropriate punishment should be.

So, the Commissioner based his suspension of Brady on evidence of “more probable than not”, would probably rule likewise that Watson’s settling of at least 20 lawsuits would probably fall under the “more probable than not” category. And it would seem that his planned suspension of Watson may have very well been more than 17 games, although that is speculation here. 

But the bigger question remains why are the three parties negotiating Watson’s suspension? That is uncharted waters for the Commissioner’s office. And while he’s been anything but consistent in his rulings, this one is different. 

The NFL wants to avoid a messy appeals process that Watson’s lawyers will ask why the league is intent on suspending Watson, yet Washington owner Daniel Snyder has gotten off basically untouched. However, that appeals process is a sword that cuts both ways. It could also result in more evidence coming to light for the remaining four cases against Watson. Attorney Tony Buzbee indicated that two more lawsuits could be forthcoming. The negotiation between the three parties would apply closure to this and therefore no messy appeals process come to light. 

The Browns were fully aware that Watson could be suspended this season, the numbers of his contract in Year 1 reflect that.  

This situation won’t fade away anytime soon and will be a headache for the league for some time to come. 

Quick Hitters For the Patriots and the NFL:  

Pat the Patriot: The team’s iconic uniforms are finally making a comeback this year. The last time the team wore them was in 2012 and former QB Tom Brady seemed to think that the team should have wore them more. Brady’s reaction from Twitter: 

Here’s to wishing that the team would move those uniforms from part-time to full-time, especially the away uniform with the white jerseys and red pants. 

New OC For Buffalo, Will It Continue to Work? Yes, that question was tongue-in-cheek. The Buffalo Bills’ offense is stacked, no one is arguing that here. However, with all of the handwringing being done by fans and media members over the departure of Josh McDaniels and the lack of an experienced play-caller on offense for New England, there has been barely a peep out of what that means for Buffalo.

Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was responsible for a ton of Josh Allen’s rise the past few seasons, and now he’s gone, the head coach of the New York Giants. The Bills have turned to Ken Dorsey, the former QB coach who (gasp!) has never been an offensive coordinator or called plays before. 

But everything coming out of Buffalo is that the system, players, and play calls remain the same (ditto) and that the transition should be pretty much seamless. 

“Obviously, it’s going to be different,” Josh Allen said. “It’s a different voice in the headset. It’s a different mind calling the plays. The verbiage is still the same, the protections are still the same. Obviously, we’ve switched up a couple of things here and there with concepts and thought processes and stuff like that.” 

Amazing how that works…elsewhere.

Miguel Benzan aka @Patscap: The Patriots’ salary cap guru posted a tidbit (more below) that with rookie LG Cole Strange (1st Rd), and fellow rookie WR Tyquan Thornton signing their initial contracts, they now displace LB Raekwon McMillan and RB Rhamondre Stevenson on the team’s Top 51 list.

As only the Top 51 salaries count against the cap, Stevenson and McMillan’s contracts won’t count against the cap. 

Patriots 4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2”, in a bit, please check it out. The three of us finally got back together for the first time in a long while and we broke down the Patriots’ offense heading into training camp. 

Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame and the fact that especially Francis isn’t is an absolute travesty. Francis along with the Raiders’ Dave Casper changed the game with how teams used the tight end position…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.

David Andrews Reworks Contract, Entire Rookie Class Now Signed:

The Patriots and center David Andrews have agreed to restructure his contract, converting $3.15 million dollars of his compensation into a signing bonus. That move gave the team an additional $2.1 million dollars which the team promptly used to sign the remaining three members of their rookie class, Cole Strange, Tyquan Thornton, and Bailey Zappe to their initial pro contracts. 

Field Yates of ESPN was the first to report the news.

The move was a win-win for the Patriots as well as Andrews. By agreeing to this, the Patriots get their rookies signed and ready for training camp while they aren’t agreeing to any more cash on the books for Andrews, they also reward one of their key offensive players. For Andrews, the cash is now guaranteed. 

Prior to this restructuring, the Patriots had just $142,000 in cap space. By freeing up the cash with Andrews, the team was also able to add an additional $217,000 in cap space. The team now has only $359,634 in cap space remaining, according to @patscap.

David Andrews’ updated 2022 cap hit is now $4.275 million. Andrews is one of those players who were undrafted back in 2015 and has become an invaluable member of the team, rising to team captain in 2017.

The team needs about $10 million to function during the season to sign free agents in the case of emergency (injuries, illness, etc). Some of the players whose contracts could be restructured (with approximate savings according to Miguel)

Isaiah Wynn/Nelson Agholor being traded ($9.69 million, $9.09 million savings respectively)

Matthew Judon, converting 2022 salary into signing bonus ($6.64 million savings…no brainer).

Jalen Mills, converting 2022 salary into signing bonus ($2.1 million savings)

Jake Bailey, signing a contract extension ($2.4 million savings.)

Henry Anderson, being released ($1.89 million savings)

Rob Ninkovich Thinks the Patriots Are a 12-Win Team: 

Appearing on WEEI’s morning show, former Patriot and now ESPN NFL analyst Rob Ninkovich believes the Patriots will be better than they were in 2021. 

While ‘EEI’s website had to toss out their requisite daily negativity at the beginning of the piece, Ninkovich wasn’t having any of that. 

“I think they’re a 12-win team,” Ninkovich said on Greg Hill’s morning show. “Listen, six months ago I thought they were a nine-win team. What has changed from that nine-win team to a 12 that’s bumping up the wins? I’ll tell you what it is.

“Mac Jones, the reports and the progression this offseason at OTAs and minicamp. Number one, I think that he’s going to be better than we anticipate because he’s changed. If you see pictures of him, he looks different. He’s leaner. They said he’s been zipping the ball around, there’s more zip on the ball, and he’s got more control. I think he’s gonna command the huddle better this year because he’s out of his rookie phase. Now he knows this is his team.”

Ninkovich added that he believes the running game with Rhamondre Stevenson will be a Top 5 rushing attack in the league. He also added that the jury is still out on the defense but he likes the additions of the WR group as well. He pooh-poohed Bart Scott’s prediction that the team will finish last in the AFC East. 

“The receiving corps, I think they’ve improved too,” Ninkovich said. “Defensively, you have to have some pass rush. I think they’ll be a good defense. There are some question marks at coverage linebacker. … Some young guys are gonna have to step up. I have faith in them. I think they’re gonna be better than people are anticipating. Bart Scott saying they’re gonna finish last in the division — yeah, OK, can’t wait.”

_______________

“Jack played at USC in kind of a pro system there with Clancy [Pendergast]. He played in a pro system at Arizona State with Herm [Edwards] and Marvin [Lewis]. So, he has had a lot of pro coaching. Again, similar to Terrance, obviously new learning at this system and our adjustments and technique and so forth. We’ll see how it goes…

“I think what you see in the National Football League regardless of what the system is, it’s an NFL system and all the things that come with that, preparation, coverages, adjustments depending on what the foundation of it is but there is still a teaching element that’s used in the NFL.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on describing rookie Jack Jones’ style of play and asked to clarify what it means to play in an NFL system. 

_______________

“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

 


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Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Damien Harris James White Mac Jones New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots 2022 NFL Draft Patriots 2022 offseason Patriots linebackers Patriots running backs Patriots wide receivers Tom Brady


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    2 Comments
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    Dave Hunter
    Dave Hunter
    1 month ago

    Steve, I really enjoy your Sunday morning column as it’s essential reading for any Pat’s fan. On Sunday mornings it’s you and Mike Reiss. Appreciate your efforts.

    Dennis
    Dennis
    1 month ago

    Good column Steve.

    I put on my rose colored glasses and tried to see where Ninkovich was seeing all those wins.

    could only come up with a 9-8 season, or 8-9, depending on how the second game with Miami goes.

    Hope he’s right.

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