Chat with Mike Reiss
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNBoston.com New England Patriots blogger Mike Reiss stops by to chat.
Reiss joined ESPNBoston.com in September 2009 and is a native New Englander. He first started covering the Patriots in 1997 with the team's official newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly, before moving on to the MetroWest Daily News in his hometown of Framingham. From 2005 to 2009, he covered the Patriots for The Boston Globe, while also writing on the NFL. He started his popular Patriots blog in 2004.
Send your questions now and join Reiss Thursday at noon ET!
Mike (11:58 AM)
Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat. Getting settled and then we will get underway.
Mike (12:00 PM)
Next week at this time, I'll be chatting with you from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. We're balancing the draft and free agency and I always enjoy this time on the NFL calendar. Let's get to it.
Josh Maine [via mobile]
Will the Pats make the adjustments on d to not just to revamp but to get to the old-school super bowl winning d back? I believe they are real close with another corner and safety that have good coverage skills; add those and this d could be really scary. Also how would you feel about bringing in Harvin or Wallace. That would put us over the top
Mike (12:02 PM)
Josh, one thing to consider about the old-school defense is that there aren't old-school rules in place these days. Not that the Patriots couldn't stand to get better on D -- they certainly can -- but it's a different game now. I agree with your thoughts on what a solid cover corner and another safety would do for the defense.
Mike (12:02 PM)
As for Harvin and Wallace, I think the simple economics of it make it unlikely. That is a key question we have to ask with all these free agents, "at what cost?" If we don't talk economics, we're missing a huge part of the picture.
Pat (New York)
There is alot of data out there that suggests Talib was not that good here. But my eyes told me the defense improved alot once he got here and was playing. What is the truth? Is Talib just O.K.? and moving McCourty to Safety and Arrington to the slot is what did the trick or is Talib the real deal and should be signed?. I think there is enough youth back there and they could use a little experience.
Mike (12:08 PM)
Pat, I think the coaching staff was pleased with what Talib did in his time here. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. But they built a lot of what they wanted to do around his presence, and that should tell us something. With Talib, it's going to come down to cost. You'd expect his agent to shoot for the big deal in the Cortland Finnegan range (5 years, $50 million), and I'd be shocked if the Patriots are comfortable going there. Tennessee's Jason McCourty, depending on how one wants to view it, got a six-year, $43 million extension. Then there is Stanford Routt (3 years, $18 million) with the Chiefs. If I'm the Patriots, I want Talib back in the Routt range. Anything more, and you have to be prepared to walk away IMO.
Mike (12:10 PM)
So when answering the question, "Is Talib the real deal and should he be signed?", I think the answer is multi-layered: "Yes, he is the real deal. And yes, he should be signed ... but at a cost that doesn't prohibit the Patriots from making other moves." When we talk about free agency, I think framing the market is something I want to do a better job of. I've been studying the market at each position closely because I don't think you can just say, "Let him walk" or "keep him" without factoring in the dollars involved.
Tom [via mobile]
Hi Mike, thoughts on Glenn Ordway being let go?
Mike (12:11 PM)
Tom, I never like to see someone lose their job because we all know that could/will be us some day. Like many, I associate the WEEI brand with Glenn Ordway. I wish him the best of luck and appreciate the kindness he's shown me personally over the years.
Alec T. (Lehigh, PA)
This season is one of the first seasons in a while that the Patriot's running game wasn't a weakness. However this year I believe that the Pats should go after a RB in the draft. The draft class has too much depth for them not to choose one. I believe that they should go after Marcus Lattimore or Knile Davis which both would help the power running game. Do you believe that they should go after a RB?
Mike (12:12 PM)
Alec, this is one where I probably take the opposite point of view. Of all the positions on the roster, the two I'd be surprised they really zero in with are running back and tight end. I could make a case that they have one of the deepest running back corps in the NFL as is, with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and Jeff Demps. And then you have the possibility that Danny Woodhead, a free agent, could be back. If there is a prospect that simply represents too much value, I think they could go there, but I don't believe it would be their preference if all other things are equal.
Marc (Rhode Island)
Hi Mike, big fan here! I think people are vastly underestimating the negative impact Wes Welker will have the offense if he leaves. I understand that he's had a couple big drops the last two postseasons, but he's also been instrumental to the success of New England. I get that paying top-flight money will handicap the Patriots and people don't want that, but if there was ever a guy who deserved that big contract it would be Wes Welker. I like Edelman, but let's be honest, he's not nearly as productive as Welker is, he might be able to do more, but Welker is much more valuable and resistant to injury. I can only hope that both sides come to an agreement and I'm actually envisioning something along the lines of the Randy Moss extension (3 years 27 million?). Regardless, people won't realize the significance of Welker until the plays he made look routine become all of a sudden rarer and rarer.
Mike (12:16 PM)
Marc, it is surprising to me how the public/media perception has shifted a bit on this one -- from 2012 to 2013. Last year, it seemed to me like the general theme was, "They have to sign him!" This year, I sense it more in the context of, "He made a lot of money in 2012 and if he expects that much in 2013, maybe it's time to move on." I love that you tossed in the 3 years, $27 million because now you're framing the market. I think that would be fair, with about $10-12 million in bonuses and guarantees. I had suggested 2 years, $16 million in this week's mailbag. Somewhere in the $8-9 million per year range on a 2- to 3-year deal would be a nice compromise from this viewpoint. I'm not sure the Patriots feel the same way, so we'll have to see. ...
Mike (12:17 PM)
... One other thought here. The Patriots might look at it and say, "We're better with Welker, but could we live with having Edelman/Hernandez in the role for potentially 1/8th, 1/12th of the cost." That's another consideration in play.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Even though you Cover the New England Patriots,What is your Favorite MLB Team?
Mike (12:18 PM)
Chris, I actually grew up a Brewers fan. As an impressionable youngster, the teams of Molitor, Yount, Vukovich, Fingers etc. made a big impression on me. Paul Molitor was my all-time favorite. One of my professional thrills was meeting him toward the end of his career and shaking his hand and telling him how I looked up to him as a player as a kid. He couldn't have been more of a gentleman, thanking me and telling me how much that meant to him. Fun memory for me.
Mike (12:19 PM)
Now I pull for the Red Sox. Hoping the best for Ben Cherington.
Bijon(Detroit) [via mobile]
Good afternoon Mike my question to you is... Just like you I believe Tom Brady has 4-5 great more years left. Just based on his health and the good young talent on the team. But in the future they will have to think about a replacement. So my question to you is what kind of QB might the patriots want to have? A more mobile QB like RG3 or Cam? Or a prototypical QB like Brady?
Mike (12:19 PM)
Bijon, I'd focus on the quarterback who makes good decisions and is most accurate throwing the football. Those are the two keys to me. So I'd look less at mobile/prototypical and focus first and foremost on those two aspects.
Mike:Weneed more draft picks for this year, especially in round 4.If BB trades down, how far back does he go and what does he get in return?
Mike (12:21 PM)
Karl, one thing we can almost take to the bank this year is that Bill Belichick will be trading. It's part of his DNA. In terms of how far back he'll go, one thing we know for sure is that the decision won't be dictated by the old "value charts." Check out this review of last year's deal with the Packers in the second round.
Mike (12:21 PM)
Mike (12:22 PM)
So I'd just say that we can't definitively say one way or the other, but I'd be mildly surprised if he backs out of the first two rounds completely.
Mike, put yourself in Bill's shoes - forget the big names, which low risk, good value free agents would you pursue?
Mike (12:23 PM)
Jim, I'm probably a little less informed on the free agency at this time as I've been deep into the draft the last two weeks. But I've done some work there and here's one name that I put at the top of the list: Eagles CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Mike (12:23 PM)
Now I pull for the Red Sox. Hoping the best for Ben Cherington.
Mike (12:24 PM)
Think the Patriots have always thought highly of him. Maybe not what he once was, but I think they'd look to him as a solid fallback option if Talib gets too expensive.
I have been curious why no NFL team is interested in hiring Eric Mangini.
Mike (12:26 PM)
Me too, MarkJ. It's been three years. I think he's a good coach. You almost wonder if when he was let go by the Jets, if he would have been better to pass on that Browns job the next year. Maybe take a year off and then try to get back in. Easy to say that in retrospect. Meanwhile, I think he is excellent on ESPN (and not because that's where I work). Appreciate his insight. Think he knows personnel well too.
MIKE D (Sydney, Australia)
Hi Mike. I'm loving the "Advance Scouting" series you've got going on in the Patriots Blog. Great stuff. During the offseason, I try to stay optimistic when it comes to personnel moves and contract discussions involving Patriots players. However, I'm also pragmatic when it comes to these situations. So, naturally, I'm conflicted sometimes. Which leads me to Wes Welker. I want him to stay a Patriot, we all do. But the more I think about it, the more I feel the team may let him walk in Free Agency. I think the reason for this belief is the fact that if the team didn't sign him long-term last year, then why would they do it this year when there are some other crucial (younger) free agents to consider extending (Vollmer, Talib, etc.). I don't think the Pats would offer more money than last time, now that Wes is a year older. It's a lot trickier this year - I'm still keeping the faith - but what could lead us to believe that the team will re-sign Wes this year even though they had the chance but didn't do it last year? Thanks Mike.
Mike (12:28 PM)
Mike, I'm thrilled you're enjoying the "Advance Scouting" series. Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. has been great to work with on it. I've learned a lot myself about some of these prospects and I'm anxious to learn more at the Combine next week. On Welker, you bring up a great point. I'll counter with this: Maybe Welker's goals have shifted. Now with $9.5m in the bank from last year, maybe he's lowering his ceiling on what he's looking for. You just never know. I thinkif you're the team, you let it play out, hope you've accurately assessed the market, and prepare for any scenario if Welker tests the market (which I'm guessing will happen).
Mike (12:29 PM)
One other thing to consider is that with the salary cap not rising this year, fewer teams will have room for big signings. Could it lead to a depressed market? Perhaps. There will always be a few teams that dish out the big bucks, though, and all it takes is one. In the end, I think patient teams will ultimately be rewarded.
John Scaliti (Westfield, NJ)
What is the scuttlebut regarding Ras Dowling? Do the Pats think he can stay healthy and contribute the whole year?
Mike (12:31 PM)
John, this reminds me of Terrence Wheatley in 2010. Wheatley, like Dowling, was a second-round pick (2008, 62nd overall) and entering his third season he knew it was a make or break year. With Dowling, I think you don't expect anything if you're the team. That way, anything you get is a bonus. As we've seen the last two years, relying on Dowling is a risky proposition.
mike any word on armond armstead? Have you seen or met him and what are your initial thoughts??
Mike (12:33 PM)
Jim, a formal request has been placed to interview Armstead, but the Patriots are electing to keep him under the radar at this time. Maybe we'll get a better feel for him when the offseason program starts later this offseason. Initial thoughts: Intriguing prospect. Good physical measurables. Probably a little raw but will get good coaching from Patrick Graham and possibly Pepper Johnson. I think he'll earn a roster spot, and then what he does with it will be up to him. Will be fun to watch.
Jim Bob (Oregon)
In response to the RB comment earlier, if Lattimore drops to the 4th/5th round, that would seem to be good value...Right? Place him on IR for a year.
Mike (12:33 PM)
Like that thought, Jim Bob. We've seen the Patriots "store assets" like this in the past (e.g. Brandon Tate coming off ACL).
The law (....)
Mike concerned with the A. Dennard situation do you think he will even play in 2013 or be locked up?? He was the best corner on the field including talib in my opinion in 2012 and this would be a huge loss???
Mike (12:36 PM)
Reading the news reporting from the Omaha newspaper of the ongoing trial, it does make you step back and realize that this is out of Dennard's hands at this point. Sort of scary for him when you view it from that perspective. Without having a great understanding of reporting on trials and the legal system, it seems to me from afar it's a case of "he said/he said" -- two different stories. If I was on a jury, I'd need some more compelling evidence to put him in jail. Maybe I'm naive, but that was my sense of it all from this view. Not that it's connected to the trial or anything like that, but I've personally been impressed with Dennard from my limited interactions with him.
John McLean (Sacramento, CA)
Mike, do you think University of Florida safety Matt Elam would be a wise first-round selection for the Pats in the upcoming draft? I'm wary of his size (5' 10", 202 lbs). I think the team needs bigger, better DBs -- and I'm not even sold on keeping Devin McCourty as a safety. Your thoughts?
Mike (12:37 PM)
John, I think that could be a good, solid pick. Of course, a big part of this is knowing what else is available, and if one of those big DTs falls, I might be more inclined to go in that direction.
What about drafting Tavon Austin in the first round, franchising welker and signing Dwayne Bowe? Let woodhead and Lloyd walk your thoughts on this???
Mike (12:38 PM)
Can't do it, C. Not enough $$$/salary cap space to go around and build a competitive team, 1-53.
Hello Mike, any chances that the Patriots will go to the market for a big name this offseason?
Mike (12:39 PM)
Daniel, I'd be surprised if they do, but that's just a hunch. I loved the stat from ESPN.com NFL Senior Writer John Clayton that the top 7 spending teams in 2012 -- in terms of total payroll -- didn't make the playoffs. That reminds us that it's not always about big names/big money. It's about spending smart. The Patriots, by the way, finished eighth in total payroll last season.
Mike what is your hunch about the NFL draft what do you think the patriots do with their first three picks?
Mike (12:41 PM)
Pamela, if I had to fill out a mock draft right now, I'd probably lean toward a big DT. This draft is loaded at the position, so if someone like Alabama's Jesse Williams is there, sign me up for that possibility. Not sure he'll be there. One thing to always consider is that Bill Belichick is sometimes thinking 2-3 years ahead with his picks. Vince Wilfork has 2 years remainign on his contract and Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love enter the last year of their deals. That big DT spot will have to be addressed at some point and players with those physical measureables are sometimes hard to find. If that is what defines this draft, you might find some good value at No. 29 this year. After that, I'd think WR, DB and possibly OL would be areas come into play if things fall right.
I have always been a huge admirer of the Belichick and Patriot way where you keep everything internal and you keep you cards close to your chest. I do however want to see them make a claim and say who they want to stay in new england and who they want to get. In the end I feel like telling players such as welker and vollmer openly to the public that they want them there and need them would go a long way to keeping them and getting them signed sooner rather than later. What are your thoughts on possibly slightly deviating from the Patriot Way in that regard ?
Mike (12:42 PM)
Nick, I don't think doing it publicly is going to mean too much. It often comes down to doing talking with $$.
Ranegr Up Greenie (Cleveland, OH)
With all the draft talk swirling, what do you see as the Patriots biggest need? Many think it's a deep threat WR. Others think it's time to get a hard hitting safety. I think it's a legitimate pass rusher. My belief is that a strong pass rush makes everyone in the secondary look better. What do you think President Bruh?
Mike (12:44 PM)
President Reiss? Doesn't really have a solid ring to it, but I'll take it. I think the pass rush will be upgraded from Chandler Jones having another year under his football belt. I also like Rob Ninkovich. Could they get more pressure from the inside? Yes, I think they could and maybe Armmond Armstead helps there. I agree with the WR, DB areas. Can't hurt to get a big OT if Vollmer isn't back. I also think DT is an area, as noted, that could be in play.
CB in Utah (Murray UT via Belmont MA)
What will you be looking for when you are at the combine next week?
Mike (12:46 PM)
It's always tough to get a feel for prospects in such a short time, but the main thing I look for is how they handle themselves in interviews. A quick story: In 2011, I sat at Shane Vereen's table and came away from his brief meeting with reporters saying, "Sounds like a Patriot to me." And sure enough, he ended up being one. So what I like to do is combine some limited knowledge I have on the prospect (with Vereen, it was his pass-catching ability and playing in a pro-style offense) with the personal feel I get. You try to piece the puzzle together a bit. It's like a needle in a haystack approach, but it's fun.
Hi Mike, can you clear up some confusion I am having regarding teams payroll. You menioned the list of the top spending teams. Wouldn't all the teams be around the same? Somewhere around the cap? This has always confused me. Does it have something to do with overspending one year and then being forced to spend lower and later years?
Mike (12:48 PM)
Jim, the salary cap and total payroll are actually two different things. I don't want to get us bogged down here, but here's a quick example. If the Patriots signed you to a three-year, $9 million deal today, and it included a $3 million signing bonus and base salaries of $1 million in 2013, $2 million in 2014 and $3 million in 2015, this is the way it would break down...
Mike (12:51 PM)
Total payroll for 2013: $4 million ($3 million signing bonus plus $1 million base salary).Total salary cap charge for 2013: $2 million ($1 million proration of signing bonus + $1 million base salary)Total payroll for 2014: $2 million (accounting for $2 million base salary).Total salary cap cahrge for 2014: $3 million ($1 million proration of signing bonus $2 million base salary)Total payroll for 2015: $3 million (accounting for $3 million base salary).Total salary cap charge for 2015: $4 million ($1 million proration of signing bonus $3 million base salary).
Mike (12:51 PM)
That's a lot of numbers, but I hope it clears it up.
Mike, there has been some chatter about Demps being a draft day trade chip. Opinions vary on whether his value is actually the highest before he ever steps on an NFL field, i.e. the hype effect. Do you think BB wants to see what he has in this guy as a weapon on the field for the Pats in 2013, or do you think he'll be in play on draft day?
Mike (12:52 PM)
I think Demps will be around in 2013. No trade.
Jason D (NYC)
Mike, what is your view on Gronkowski's latest shenanigans? He needs to grow up plain and simple. He forfeited the right to act like a typical 23 year old drunken meathead when he signed a $50 million contract, the richest ever for a TE. He does not seem to be maturing at all and he appears to be thumbing his nose at those that think he needs to tone it down. Not good!
Mike (12:54 PM)
Jason, I have little problem with it as long as he doesn't hurt himself or someone else. That was the main thing that I thought when I saw the TMZ video. I'd be much more concerned if we were talking about a DUI or something along those lines.
Dan (Leominster, MA)
I'm canceling the Thursday night portion of my draft party. The only thing happening for the Pats that night will be the Jets screwing up their pick.
Mike (12:55 PM)
LOL, Dan. Wouldn't be a shocker. Nothing BB does on draft day surprises any more. One of my favorite stories from 2005: So we're getting ready for the Patriots' first-round pick and I write something along the lines of, "We don't know who it will be, but maybe the one thing we can say is that it won't be a guard. Bill Belichick simply doesn't value the position that much." ...
Mike (12:56 PM)
... "And with the 32nd overall pick in the NFL Draft the New England Patriots select Logan Mankins, OT/OG, from Fresno State."
Mike (12:56 PM)
Thanks for coming to the draft, Mike, and please drive home safely.
Ed Reed in A Pats uniform?
Mike (12:57 PM)
Cam, I think it's worth pursuing if he hits the market. One year, $5 million. If that gets it done, I think it would be a solid move. Not sure the Ravens will let him get away, though, if they can clear up their cap crunch.
Alex (New Jersey)
Hey Mike! I believe the need for a deep threat WR is not true. Receivers that can beat press coverage with ease are crucial because of the way that the Ravens played us. The only one that can beat press regularly is Gronk and that's it.
Mike (12:59 PM)
Alex, I think it has to be more than just a deep threat, that's a good point (I'd include Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker as receivers that can beat press coverage consistently). At the same time, I do think a Torrey Smith type speed option to threaten the deep third of the field would help them.
Mike, If you were BB would you extend Brady's deal and thus reduce his cap hit. If so what would be the deal you shoot for ?
Mike (1:02 PM)
This is interesting to me, Frankestein, because it's a situation the Patriots created with the $21-22m cap hits for Brady the next 2 years. That deal takes him to his 37th birthday. So he'd be 38 at the time the first year of the extension comes into play. How much do you want to invest now, when considering Bill Belichick's past comments that the decline often happens quicker for players at the end of their career? I think you have to be careful. Right now, I think I'd live with the cap charge and maybe revisit next offseason.
Krish (in his basemen)
Would they pick Boldin up if he is released due to salary cap?
Mike (1:03 PM)
Krish, not sure if you've seen it, but Boldin said he'd retire if the Ravens didn't bring him back. Not sure if he's just saying that, but it sounded pretty sincere.
Tom (Malibu, CA)
Mike, who in your opinion is more important to the Pats winning a SB next season, economics aside: Welker or Vollmer? I say Vollmer by a landslide. Protect Brady and diversify the offense.
Mike (1:06 PM)
Tom, they obviously both have value to the offense. I'd lean toward Welker. One of my conerns, from a Patriots perspective, is that the plan to build around Gronk/Hernandez is good in theory, but they haven't had the same durability as Welker. Over the last six years, one of the few things a Patriots fan has been able to count on is that Wes Welker is going to show up on Sunday and play at a high level. Is it always perfect? No, but I don't think that's easily replaced. Tom Brady calls him the heart and soul of the offense/team. From a Patriots perspective, I have concern losing my heart and soul. Good topic, though. Tough to do without economic considerations...
Mike (1:06 PM)
Let's go for another 5...
Neil (South Boston)
Mike, what are your thoughts on the Patriots looking at alternatives at kicker? While Gostkowski is mostly steady and reliable, he hasn't proven he has the coaching staff's trust in a big spot. Additionally, I noted per your post yesterday that he has a substantial cap hit. What do you think?
Mike (1:09 PM)
Neil, I could envision a scenario where this is the first year that Gostkowski faces some real competition in camp (similar to 2005 with Robbie Gould/Adam Vinatieri). The Patriots liked Gould and in retrospect, Bill Belichick regretted not finding a way to keep him (he's gone on to a solid career with the Bears). When the numbers start getting up there, a team as economically-conscious as the Patriots usually is going to start thinking about introducing potential alternatives into the mix. I think Gostkowski is solid, but it comes down to the same question as introduced earlier in the chat, "At what cost?"
Matt (Elon NC)
Where do you put Edelman on your list of re-signing priorities?
Mike (1:10 PM)
Matt, I think Edelman should be a fairly easy re-sign considering he's coming off injury. That likely will lead to a depressed market for his services and make a return to the Patriots on a short-team deal something that works for both sides -- the Patriots get to keep an asset and Edelman gets a chance to make it through the season healthy, produce big, and set himself up for another shot at free agency in the next year or two.
Aaron (Coventry, RI)
Is there a possibility that the patriots go for a qb in this draft? because there is only so long brady can play and they need to develop i dont think mallet has it and this draft class has a number of guys with the tools to make a good quarterback if developed. Also does brady go to bat to keep welker in new england?
Mike (1:12 PM)
Aaron, I'd be surprised if the Patriots pull a "Packers" and go for a QB in the first round like they did in the Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre dynamic. But a QB in the mid to late rounds is always a possibility. If I had to guess, I'd say "no", but it wouldn't be a shocker. Here is another thought to keep in mind: Matt Cassel possibly returning as a backup. I think they can find a backup out there and it seems to be too early to me to be thinking about Brady's replacement. I see 4-5 more good years for Brady. I won't bet against him.
Logan Mankins a surprise cut? With Connelly, Wendell, and Donald Thomas resigned is $10 million to much for a guard?
Mike (1:13 PM)
Jeffrey, I think BB wants Mankins on the team and knows he was playing through injury last season. I'd be surprised at that one.
Mike, any thoughts on Percy harvin or is this all blowing smoke?? chances???
Mike (1:13 PM)
Too much money, Johnny. I don't see it.
Hugo Chavez (Caracas)
Hi Mr. Reiss, how do you think the Patriots should address the role of coverage LB this offseason? Last season the blog connected them to Lavonte David a lot and there was buzz about wanting a speedy LB but it never came to fruition. Can you see them signing a cut veteran safety like Adrian Wilson and using them as a LB on passing downs? If not, what possibilities are out there?
Mike (1:16 PM)
Hugo, you have a great memory with Lavonte David. That was my outside-the-box first-round pick for the Patriots (their 2nd selection of the round), but as an "undersized LB", it didn't really fit their prototype. Do you happen to remember the experiment of having safety Tank Williams in training camp as sort of that hybrid LB/safety? That could be the answer and maybe it's Tavon Wilson, who is already on the roster. Maybe the Patriots need to get out of the nickel and play more dime. I understand all the talk about a coverage LB, and I thought Spikes/Hightower struggled at times in coverage, but then you look at the Ravens and they won with bigger LBs. Lot of good point to consider on this topic.
In terms of Harvin and "too much money", isn't it about time the Pats stepped up and got a real playmaker for Brady's last few years?
Mike (1:18 PM)
Ed, this makes the assumption that spending big money produces big results. It doesn't always work out that way. They've stepped and added some impressive playmakers/Brady protection in recent drafts -- Gronk, Hernandez, Ridley, Solder etc. It doesn't always work out, but I hope we can resist the idea that spending big bucks will yield the desired results. As John Clayton noted, the seven highest spending teams in 2012 all missed the playoffs.
Tim (Newton, MA)
Hey Mike,My question revolves around Seabass and the RT spot. I personally think he's someone worth investing in if the price is right (3 or 4 years at 5-6 mill per year). However, if he finds a better deal elsewhere, what ends up happening with that spot? Is it Marcus Cannon's job? Or do you think not resigning Vollmer will require immediate attention (draft or someone else in FA)?
Mike (1:19 PM)
Tim, I'd think Cannon is the leading candidate entering camp. I don't think they'll force a draft pick, but as Vollmer and before him Matt Light remind us, you can pick-and-plug at that spot beyond the first round if you do it right.
John F (Walpole)
There is quite a bit of talk about the Pats lack of draft picks in the middle rounds but couldn't that change if they lose Welker, Volmer and Chung in free agency? i would assume Welker and Volmer are both Tier 1 so if the Pats don't sign any Tier 1's from other teams, they should pick up a late 2/early 3 compensatory pick at a minimum, correct?
Mike (1:20 PM)
John, those compensatory picks would come next year. I have to sit down and crunch some numbers on if the Patriots might expect any compensatory picks this year (for last year's free agent activity). Compensatory picks are awarded based on a net loss of compensatory free agents from the previous year.
Adam (Portland, ME)
Is this the year we bid farewell to Patrick Chung?
Mike (1:21 PM)
Adam, I'd be surprised if he's back. A reunion with his former coach at Oregon, Chip Kelly, perhaps? Chung to the Eagles?
Schedule looks brutal this year Mike. Id be surprised if we dont have a challenger in AFC East next year. Will be good for our team though to play talented teams week in, week out.
Mike (1:26 PM)
Let's end it here, Paul. I don't see as brutal of a schedule as you. I still see the Patriots as a cut above in a weak AFC East, and that's six games we're talking about right there. Then ...playing the AFC North usually means you have to be prepared for some tough, physical games against bigger teams. To me, that's the toughest division to play within the AFC. Add in Houston and Denver and that's a challenge. Then you have the NFC South, which is a good division but nothing over the top in my view. So I think it looks pretty reasonable to me. Tough, but nothing that I say, "Wow, that's going to be a brutal stretch for them." We know that can always change, but that's what the snapshot looks like to me right now.
Mike (1:27 PM)
Thanks to everyone for chatting. Great stuff, as usual, from all of you. We went a bit long today. That's what happens when the football discussion gets going. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise, it's always football season.