Analyzing a Gronkowski renegotiation

656254.jpg

Analyzing a Gronkowski renegotiation

The Patriots are always in the mood to renegotiate with young players whose work has exceeded their pay scale.

Especially if said player's future services can be had for a reasonable price when the renegotiation is done.

Sometimes the player bites (Jerod Mayo, Nick Kaczur, Danny Woodhead). Sometimes he doesn't (David Givens and Logan Mankins).

The Patriots are talking money with Rob Gronkowski. Our friend Mike Florio at PFT reports that they're actually done talking and Gronk's getting a raise for the final two years of his rookie deal (2012, 2013). Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, denied that and the NFLPA website still says Gronk is due to make 540,000 this year and 575,000 in 2013.

A pay bump over the final two years of his deal seems a lot more likely for Gronkowski now than an extension.

As the best tight end in football in 2012, Gronk is still just 23. He will become an unrestricted free agent at 25.

It's feels odd to think Rosenhaus would advise Gronkowski to delay his opportunity to be paid whatever the market will bear and sign an extension. Especially when the Patriots are surely going to lowball him.

But the Patriots are smart enough to know that it's good business on two fronts to pay Gronk more now. One, he deserves it and it looks bad if they don't. And two, it could buy goodwill in the future when it does come time to get a new deal done.

Contrary to perception, the Patriots often give those goodwill bumps to players who've outperformed their deals. Its when the deal is about to expire that muscle-flexing starts.

The tight end landscape in the NFL is going to be fascinating after 2013. Gronk, Aaron Hernandez, Saints standout Jimmy Graham and the Packers Jermichael Finley will all be unrestricted free agents.

What's the market going to look like? Well, Finley did a renegotiation in February, avoiding the franchise tag this year. He got two years and more than 14M.

The franchise tag will assuredly be in play for some in that group in 2014. And that will be a story unto itself since the 2012 tag of 5.4M is the lowest for any position except kicker.

Some in the group - potentially Hernandez - could try to claim they are wide receivers and not tight ends when that time comes (the tag for wideouts was 4M higher this year).

If the Patriots can get Gronkowski to extend his deal now, it sets them up to use their franchise tag in 2014 on Hernandez.

Meanwhile, you have to figure Wes Welker's camp watches this with interest. Not only are they hoping for an extension, they are wondering whether the Patriots would go back-to-back with the franchise tag on Welker in 2012 and 2013.

It's all a chess game.

NFL wants Brady, NFLPA to move it along with their rehearing request

paul_clement_nfl.jpg

NFL wants Brady, NFLPA to move it along with their rehearing request

It looks like the NFL is finally ready to put this whole Deflategate thing to bed. And now that it's won the most recent court decision, the sooner the better, it seems. 

Tom Brady and the NFLPA requested a 14-day extension to file their petition for a rehearing in front of the entire Second Ciruit Court of Appeals, which would double the normal amount of time typically granted to request a rehearing. 

But the league made a court filing on Monday saying "there is no need" for an extension beyond the normal 14-day window.

"The first pre-season game is just over three months away," wrote Paul Clement, co-lead counsel for the NFL. "Time remains of the essence."

Last week, the Second Circuit's three-judge panel ruled that Roger Goodell was within his rights as commissioner of the NFL to punish Brady with a four-game suspension due to Deflategate. As a result, district judge Richard Berman's initial decision on the case was overturned and Brady's suspension was reinstated.

Soon after the ruling was handed down, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah joined the Dan Patrick Show and explained that Brady and his team expected to have two weeks to put together its rehearing request. He did not, at that point, make reference to wanting extra time.

"I think the process now, we want to try to figure out and weigh all the options," Atallah said. "I think we'll do that in the next couple days. We have 14 days from the time of the decision to take any action or pursue any further appeal if we want, and I think we'll probably take up most of that time."

As soon as the request is filed, according to Pro Football Talk, it will act as a stay on Brady's suspension. That means he'll be eligible to play until a) the request is denied or b) the request is accepted, heard by the whole Second Circuit, and the ruling goes to the NFL.

If Option B is the scenario that plays out, it could take months, meaning it's possible Brady could play the entire 2016 season before a ruling comes down. 

New QB Brissett comes in with high praise from Parcells, Weis

snc_curranqb_0428161461990522618_3450k_1280x720_676767811601.jpg

New QB Brissett comes in with high praise from Parcells, Weis

Suddenly, there’s an awful lot on the plate of young Jacoby Brissett.

Drafted in the third round by the Patriots, he’s charged with learning one of the most difficult offenses to in the NFL, performing in one of the league’s most demanding programs, dealing with being two heart attacks away from being the starter for a dynastic franchise and living up to the advance billing that’s built him up as one of the great Americans of the 21st century.

Bill Parcells, who’s known Brissett since the NC State product was in high school, spoke to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The Tuna pumped Brissett’s tires up beyond all reasonable inflation levels.

“He’s a Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown-type player,” Parcells said, reeling off the names of one Pro Football Hall of Famer and two Patriots Hall of Famers. “That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s what New England is getting. Those kinds, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who’ve been successful — he’s very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.”

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who coached Brissett at Florida in Weis’ vagabond post-Patriots career, was also reached by the intrepid Guregian.

“I only got to coach him for one season, but I absolutely loved the kid as a player and a person,” said Weis. “I couldn’t be any happier that he ended up in New England.”

There’s much more from both Weis and Parcells but I’m not going to scavenge the whole article so click here to see it. 

Meanwhile, Josh McDaniels on Monday also spoke about Brissett in complimentary but far-less-fawning terms.

“We’ll find out more as we get to know him in our building, but I know we feel good about the kid,” said McDaniels. “He did a lot of good things in college. He played in a lot of big games and played against some really good football teams. He performed well and admirably for his team. He takes care of the ball, makes some smart decisions. He’s a big kid and sometimes he’s hard to bring down in the pocket. There are some other things that we’ll get a better chance to see and evaluate when he gets here, but I’m looking forward to working with him.”

We already heard from Brissett in his post-draft conference call and he was enjoyable. But it will be interesting to speak with him in the flesh when the 2016 rookies are introduced en masse. No doubt by then the Patriots will have stressed to Brissett the importance of being a name, rank, serial number conversationalist rather than delving too deeply into his pre-Patriots relationships with former New England coaches.

 

Patriots release a pair from end of roster

rashaan-melvin-new-england-patriots.jpg

Patriots release a pair from end of roster

After importing a fleet of corners over the weekend, the Patriots released veteran Rashaan Melvin on Monday.

Melvin was claimed off waivers in October of last season as the Patriots were combing the league for cornerback depth. He’d been with the Ravens previously and was targeted repeatedly by Tom Brady in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff win. Soon after joining the Patriots, he was on the field against the Giants in Week 9 when Justin Coleman got injured. It didn’t go well as Eli Manning sought Melvin out and chewed him up.

The Patriots released Melvin in mid-December and then signed him back to their practice squad.

The Patriots drafted Cyrus Jones on Friday and reportedly added four more undrafted corners (the team hasn’t confirmed those agreements yet) so Melvin became expendable.

The Patriots also released linebacker James Vaughters, who they signed to a futures contract in January.