Who will retire first: Tom Brady or Adam Vinatieri?

History suggests Adam Vinatieri should be able to outlast Tom Brady because of the wear and tear associated with the positions, but Brady should never be underestimated. Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

Exploring some hot topics around the New England Patriots in mailbag form:

Matthew, let's start with the tale of the age tape for these former Patriots teammates: Vinatieri, whose birthday is Dec. 28, is 45 years old. Tom Brady, whose birthday is Aug. 3, is 40. The oldest kicker ever was George Blanda (48), so if we use history as a guide, that's a three-year window for Vinatieri to match. I wouldn't bet against him. As for quarterbacks, Steve DeBerg and Warren Moon were the oldest to start a game at 44. So that gives Brady a four-year window to match the record as he aims to hit "cuarenta y cinco." I wouldn't bet against him either. While the bottom-line age favors Brady, one aspect that tilts the scales in Vinatieri's direction is workload. As a kicker, he isn't going to be subjected to the volume of hits that Brady will as a quarterback and injuries could ultimately determine the "victor" here. So put it all together and this is a close one, especially with Brady talking about family considerations in his interview with Oprah Winfrey, which is another dynamic in play. Still, I'll say that Brady will outlast Vinatieri, just because if there's one thing I've learned about Brady over the years, it's to be careful of underestimating him.

Reilly, this all ties back to the collective bargaining agreement and is topical with the Patriots announcing their reporting date for veterans as July 25. Here is how the NFL explained it when listing out some important dates this year: "Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players. Veteran players other than quarterbacks or injured players may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later. A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who report to camp, or join the club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice during the three-day acclimation period are required to complete as much of the acclimation period as remains. Players who report to camp, or join the club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice after the three-day acclimation period has ended may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical."

The top long-snapper in the NFL, Jake McQuaide, has a deal that averages $1.175 million per season to top the ranks (according to OverTheCap.com). But the difference between those in the top half of the NFL at the position is within $175,000, so it's a tight overall grouping at the position. I think the biggest thing Patriots long-snapper Joe Cardona can hang his hat on with his contract extension signed last week is $1 million in guarantees, which isn't matched by anyone other than the Jaguars' Carson Tinker.