In 2007, the New England Patriots hustled the Miami Dolphins out of Wes Welker. Welker, then 26, was given a second-round tender by the Miami Dolphins as a restricted free agent. For a young player on the rise on a poor team, the Patriots could pry him loose with a contract offer that included a "poison pill" and only have to fork over a second-round draft pick. In the end, the Patriots took pity on Miami and worked a trade instead, sending Miami their second-rounder and a seventh-rounder as well in exchange for Welker who they signed to a five-year deal. In the Patriots' system - and thanks to his own talents - Welker has been perhaps the most productive slot receiver in NFL history. My friend Mike Reiss wrote about the machinations behind the Welker signing for The Boston Globe back in 2007. Now, five years later, there's a player that's as close to Welker in style as any in the NFL. And he's been given the second-round tender as an RFA. Danny Amendola of the St. Louis Rams, who missed almost all of 2011 after dislocating his elbow in the season opener, is a player that had 85 catches for St. Louis in 2010. He's 5-10, 186 pounds. He plays the slot. He returns punts. He's 26 years old. He was undrafted out of Texas Tech. He was cut by two teams - the Eagles and Cowboys. The Turf Show Times, a Rams fan site, detailed the similarities last year. Could the Patriots pull the same move with Amendola that they did with Welker and set themselves up with Welker's successor? It makes sense. Except for the money. With Welker carrying a 9.5 million franchise tag and the Patriots likely looking at a wideout like Brandon Lloyd in free agency as well, that's a lot of money being flung at a position that New England's been miserly about spending toward. A new deal for Amendola to pry him out of St. Louis would only add to the wideout tab in 2012. Meanwhile, acquiring Amendola would certainly crimp any contract extension talks with Welker that the team could have between now and July 15. It could cause Welker to back at signing the tender at all and staying away from the team into training camp. But it would free the Patriots up from having to give a long-term deal to a slot man who turns 31 in May and it would bring Welker's eventual replacement in the fold. With free agency opening Tuesday at 4 p.m., we'll soon find out if the Patriots see the logic in making the same move with Amendola that they did with Welker. Let's hear from you in the comment section whether you think it's a move New England should explore.
BOSTON -- When you’re the Boston Celtics and you have your sights set on a star like Kevin Durant, the potential impact on your roster is undeniable.
That’s a good thing, right?
Well . . . not exactly.
One of the options that the Celtics are considering during the free agency period is whether to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before July 3 which would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.
But here’s the problem.
Boston could potentially waive Johnson and Jerebko, fail to get Durant or another elite free agent and see the duo gone for nothing in return while they play their way into a big contract toiling in the NBA’s basement with one of the league’s worst teams.
How you ask?
Multiple league sources contacted by CSNNE.com Tuesday night indicated that if the Celtics waive both players, it’s “very likely” that both will be claimed off waivers.
According to a league office official, waiver priority goes to the team with the worst record attempting to claim a player.
And what team had the worst record in the NBA last season?
Yup. The 10-win Philadelphia 76ers.
And what team was right behind them, or ahead depending on how you look at things?
The lowly, 17-win Los Angeles Lakers.
Johnson is due $12 million next season while Jerebko is due to earn $5 million, chump change in this new age of the NBA with the 2016-2017 salary cap expected to be around $94 million.
In addition, both players would join clubs in contract years. Couple that with each being relatively productive and there’s the potential for each player to have a really big season.
Johnson was the Celtics’ top rim-protector last season, in addition to being a solid pick-and-roll defender. He also averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds with 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocked shots per game.
And Jerebko shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range last season, and finished up the playoffs in the starting lineup.
The Celtics are well aware of how valuable both players were to Boston’s success last season, and how their production relative to their contracts makes them extremely important to whatever team they play for.
To lose them for what would essentially be a lottery ticket in the Durant sweepstakes, is certainly a gamble that it remains to be seen if the Celtics are willing to take.
Best-case scenario for Boston is to know where they stand with Durant within the first 24 hours of free agency which would then allow them time to make a more informed decision about Johnson and Jerebko’s futures.
As you can imagine, the Celtics are as eager as any team to know what Durant plans to do this summer.
Because the way things are starting to take shape with Boston’s pursuit of the former league MVP, he’s going to have an impact on the Celtics’ roster one way or another.
According to a hockey source, Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins “are preparing an offer sheet” this week for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba as an aggressive option to land a No. 1 defenseman after trades didn’t pan out at last weekend’s NHL Draft.
The Bruins have watched Trouba closely for some time, and clearly have an interest in the 22-year-old D-man with size, offensive abilities and a workhorse nature that’s seen him average more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league as a 19-year-old.
Trouba is coming off a six-goal, 21-point season while playing in 81 games for the Jets, and was a career-best plus-10 for Winnipeg. With Trouba, a restricted free agent, and the Jets locked into big money deals to fellow right shot D-men in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, the writing has been on the wall for some time that the Jets would need to give one of them up.
Now it appears the Bruins may be willing to put their money, and their assets, where their interest is, and come up with an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million for Trouba’s services.
Part of that high total is crafting an offer that the Winnipeg Jets aren’t going to match, and part of that is the Bruins’ own doing while casually tossing away their own draft picks. Because they sent their 2017 third round pick to the Flyers for Zac Rinaldo and their 2017 second round pick to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak, the Bruins must put together an offer sheet with an average annual value (AAV) of at least $9.3 million that will require Boston to give up four consecutive first round picks as compensation.
The good news for the Bruins: for offer sheet purposes, AAV is determined by dividing the total compensation offered by the lesser of the length of the contract, or by five. For contracts longer than five years in term, this will result in a higher AAV than simply dividing the contract total by the number of years.
Example: a 7 year offer sheet worth $49 million total, would be considered an AAV of $9.8 million ($49 million divided by 5) for offer sheet compensation purposes. That means the Bruins could make an offer sheet to Trouba in the $7-8 million per season neighborhood on a seven year deal, a reasonable contract if Trouba turns into the No. 1 defenseman that the B’s are envisioning.
The real price for the Black and Gold would be surrendering four first round picks, but the Bruins have made five first round picks in the last two years while stockpiling their prospect cupboard. The B’s have also been hit-or-miss with their first round picks, so sacrificing a few of them for a surefire, young defenseman would theoretically be worth the price.
Clearly the offer sheet route is the product of Bruins’ frustration at being unable to broker a deal for Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler last weekend in Buffalo, and at the realization that they need a stud No. 1 defenseman in order to again be competitive in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps even the threat of an offer sheet could spur the Jets into dealing Trouba, just as the threat of an offer sheet pushed forward the trades of Dougie Hamilton and Brandon Saad last season.
Dirty Water Media Bruins reporter James Murphy was also reporting the buzz that the B's are exploring their offer sheet option.
John Tomase, Chris Gasper and Gary Tanguay discuss is the Boston Red Sox recent slump is more than just a slump and also when John Farrell needs to start worrying about his job security again.