Quick-hit thoughts from around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. One reason the Patriots might have waived receiver Isaiah Stanback last Thursday was economics. He was due a $25,000 roster bonus in mid-June and the Patriots might have figured it was too much to pay for a player who was a long shot for a roster spot at an already-crowded position.
2. The decision to table the vote for using the modified overtime format in the regular season is one reason I thought March's vote to implement the rule in the playoffs was flawed. I think it should be used all the time or not at all.
3. Indianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis, who annually seems to give Patriots right tackle Nick Kaczur fits, is reportedly staying away from voluntary organized activities because he wants an upgraded contract. The situation is somewhat similar to the Patriots, who have Logan Mankins staying away and – like the Colts – also have their star quarterback entering the last year of his contract.
4. It was amusing to hear Robert Kraft respond to a question about the status of contract negotiations with Tom Brady by saying he wasn’t doing the negotiating so he couldn’t provide an update. Really? Kraft might not be doing the negotiating, but it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t be aware of every back-and-forth between the sides. He didn’t become one of the NFL's most powerful owners by standing on the sidelines.
5. After June 1, teams can sign compensatory free agents without it affecting the formula for awarding compensatory draft choices. That could produce a minor uptick in transactions in the coming weeks.
6. The New York Jets aren’t wasting any time in projecting first-round draft choice Kyle Wilson as their nickel corner. He’s been paired with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in organized team activities. One natural comparison will be with Patriots first-round draft choice Devin McCourty, the cornerback selected two picks before Wilson. The Houston Texans are also running first-round pick Kareem Jackson (20th overall) with the starters at cornerback.
7. When the Seattle Seahawks released running back LenDale White on Friday, some Patriots fans on Twitter asked if New England might be interested. My opinion is no. Not their type of player on the field, or worker off it.
8. The Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints have a void to fill at linebacker, as last year’s starter Scott Fujita signed with the Cleveland Browns in free agency. It’s a long way to go until the regular season but former Boston College standout Jo-Lonn Dunbar was lining up with the top defense in recent practices
9. In reviewing Derrick Burgess’s last four games of the 2009 season as part of an offseason project, one Patriots defender who caught the eye was outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich. One of Burgess’s sacks, in fact, came because Ninkovich had a powerful inside rush (vs. Buffalo) and forced the quarterback to step up into Burgess' rush. Ninkovich earned his most extensive playing time in the final four games and I thought he built momentum to carry into this season.
10. The Patriots get back on the field this week for voluntary organized team activities and the team’s veteran players are expected to be on the field. Last week’s OTAs were for rookies and lesser experienced players in the system. With Tom Brady not spending as much time in Foxboro in the offseason, it’s a crucial stretch to maximize time with his new receivers.