Curran: McGinest is last guy who should rip Welker

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Curran: McGinest is last guy who should rip Welker

Less than a month after Bill Parcells selected Willie McGinest with the fourth overall pick in the 1994 draft, McGinest agreed to a four-year, 6 million contract with the Patriots.

In 1998, the Patriots retained the free agent McGinest, making him the highest paid defensive end in professional football with a five-year, 25 million deal that had 8 million guaranteed.

In 2002, the Patriots made sure McGinest stayed in New England with a four-year, 16 million extension that included 9 million in salary over the first three years.

Finally in 2006, after the Patriots cut McGinest because of cap concerns, Willie found a golden parachute in Cleveland signing a three-year, 12 million contract with 6 million guaranteed.

Over a 12-year period, McGinest signed contracts with a combined value of 69 million. NFL contracts being what they are, McGinest probably made about 50 million.

So when McGinest takes aim at Wes Welker, the response from Welker should be, "Easy for you to say, Willie, you got your money."

On Tuesday, McGinest sounded uncommonly ill-informed when he ripped Welker on the NFL Network.

"I just dont like the diva attitude," McGinest began. "Lets keep it real: prior to the Patriots, this is a guy who played three years, had 96 receptions and never had a 1,000-yard season. Due to a big part of the Patriots offensive system and Tom Brady, hes had five years where hes had over 100 catches. Of those five years until he got hurt 2010, he had over 1,000 yards receiving each year.Lets just keep everything in perspective: a big part of that is due to the Patriots . . ."

MORE: Welker, McGinest spar on Twitter

A little more perspective. Welker signed a five-year, 18 million deal with the Patriots in 2007 and -- in an era in which salaries ballooned -- he outperformed his deal. By a ridiculous amount.

Didn't bitch. Never mailed it in. Never made a public peep about how the Patriots were getting over on him.

Now Welker's been extended the 9.5 million franchise tag by the Patriots. Did he scoff at that? No. He did the opposite on the same set McGinest ripped him from.

"I mean, it's a lot of money. How can you ever be upset about that?" Welker said on April 13. "It's not a bad deal, so I'm not too worried about it."

The backstory to Welker's situation that eludes McGinest is that the Patriots applied the tag and released this statement on March 5.

"Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."
And there have been no talks held and no progress made toward ensuring that. So why would Welker want to sign the tag and show up for OTAs and a minicamp? Why reward the Patriots further with more loyalty when they haven't yet come close to meeting him halfway?

McGinest's finger-wagging got more personal and included more revisionist history when he said, "So look Wes, its time to take off the leopard-printed cowboy boots, get off the party tour and get back to work. During my tenure in New England, no matter how big you were or who you were, nobody said that they werent coming to a mandatory minicamp. If you know anything about New England, understand that youre expendable. Unless youre Bill Belichick or Tom Brady, youre expendable."

The minicamps are mandatory when you're under contract. Welker's not.

Check this out, the NFL salary cap was 52.388 million when McGinest signed for 5 years and 25 million. When Welker signed for 5 years and 18 million, the cap was more than twice that (109 million).

Ten years after McGinest got that 6 million rookie deal, Welker -- undrafted -- made 37,059 with the San Diego Chargers in 2004. Over Welker's next three seasons with the Dolphins, he made 932,000.

McGinest went to two Pro Bowls and missed 21 games in his 12-season tenure in New England. Welker's a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro who -- despite blowing an ACL -- has missed just three games in five seasons.

When it comes to bang for the buck, what Welker has brought the Patriots exceeds what McGinest brought them. And it's not even close.

If anybody's going to pound the desk and criticize Wes Welker, Willie McGinest is probably the last guy who should be doing so.

Garoppolo on Stork release: 'That's the business, I guess'

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Garoppolo on Stork release: 'That's the business, I guess'

FOXBORO -- Jimmy Garoppolo and Bryan Stork arrived to New England as part of the same draft class back in 2014, and over the course of the last two years, they developed a close relationship.

With Stork's release, only two of the team's eight draft picks from that year -- Garoppolo and running back James White -- have remained on the team's active roster uninterrupted. (Offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and Jon Halapio are on the current 90-man roster, but were released and re-signed since being drafted.)

"It's tough," Garoppolo said of Stork's release. "It's that time of year. There's a lot of movement between teams and players and everything, and it's tough to see one of your guys go like that. But that's the business, I guess."

With Stork no longer factoring into the picture at center for the Patriots, the starting role will fall to David Andrews, who was undrafted in 2015 but started the first 10 games of the season last year as Stork worked his way back from the short-term injured reserve list. 

Garoppolo said he has seen good work out of Andrews during training camp, and he likes the way the offensive linemen on the roster -- often subbed in and out during practices to create depth -- have worked together this offseason. 

"David, he's been doing a great job this camp," Garoppolo said. "The whole o-line as a whole, though, it's a good group of guys. No one gets mixed and matched more than those guys do. To be able to work with different people next to you all the time and everything like that. You're getting adjusted to them, they're getting adjusted to you. It's really a credit to those guys up front. They all handle it very well." 

Working behind Andrews at the center position during training camp have been Josh Kline and sixth-round rookie draft pick Ted Karras. 

Patriots release veteran wide receiver Nate Washington

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Patriots release veteran wide receiver Nate Washington

FOXBORO -- The Patriots cut down on their numbers at the receiver position on Wednesday by releasing veteran Nate Washington, Tom E. Curran has reported.

Washington, who will turn 33 later this month, was signed in the offseason to a one-year deal with $60,000 guaranteed. His presence on the roster provided the Patriots with some veteran depth as an outside receiver, but when he vomitted at the end of the team's first training camp practice and then missed several practices thereafter, he had difficulty making up for lost time. 

Washington did whatever he could in order to stay involved. Oftentimes he walked in and out of the huddle with teammates even though he would not be involved in the play, and during one practice he ran routes alone on an adjacent field while the Patriots offense went through plays nearby.

The former Steelers, Titans and Texans receiver was eager to prove he had more to give at this late stage of his career. Last season in Houston, in an offense similar to the one in New England, he caught 47 passes for 658 yards and four touchdowns. Prior to last season, during which he played 14 games, Washington had not missed a regular-season game since before the start of the 2006 season. 

With Washington no longer a factor in the wide-receiver picture in New England, the Patriots have one less competitor for what appears as though it will be just one or two open roster spots at the position. 

At the top of the depth chart Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell are essentially locks to be included on the final 53-man roster. (Amendola is on the physically unable to perform list at the moment but is progressing toward a return.) Matthew Slater can also be included on that list, though his contributions will come primarily as a special teamer.

That means Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper, DeAndre Carter and Devin Lucien could be competing for just one roster spot.

Washington's release gives that situation a little more clarity, but the overall picture is still a hazy one that may sort itself out over the course of the next two weeks.