There's a ton of smoke regarding Danny Amendola and the Patriots. Is there fire? Since free agency began on Tuesday, there have been consistent but unconfirmed rumors that the Rams restricted free agent wideout would be visiting New England. It's a possibility I broached before free agency opened, reasoning that Amendola's situation now is identical to the one Wes Welker was in back in 2007 before the Patriots ultimately traded for Welker. The first murmur of Patriots interest came Tuesday night from PFT poobah Mike Florio who said he'd heard a rumor Amendola was visiting. Amendola's agent, Erik Burkhardt, has steadfastly said that he "can't help."This morning,Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub tweeted(@ScottZolak) that "Danny Amendola was at The Place last night...hmmm"Burkhardt, in turn,would not confirm or deny Amendola's presence in Boston. Meanwhile, in came another tweet from a follower that Amendola's aunt died and his father lives in Scituate. The Patriots are extremely cloak and dagger to begin with, but, in the case of Amendola, one could see why they'd be even more secretive. Hosting Welker's obvious replacement on a free agent visit will make things sticky with an invaluable player. The Patriots put the franchise tag on Welker and are committed to pay him 9.5 million. They have until July 15 to work out an extension or Welker will play 2012 under the franchise tag. The Patriots want Welker to stay and reportedly offered him a fully guaranteed two-year deal worth 16 million last fall. Welker's camp wants a longer term and -- with the money flung at free agent wideouts over the past 40 hours -- probably wants more than 8 million per year. And the case could easily be made that he deserves both. If there's no extension, the Patriots will be in the position next offseason of franchising Welker for even more money (likely around 11 million). Again, 20 million for two years of ridiculous production without the payout of a huge bonus isn't totally absurd. But it's not going to be the first option for either side. So now, if the Amendola rumors and purported sighting are accurate,the Patriots are looking at options. Amendola missed 2011 with a dislocated elbow suffered in the season opener but Josh McDaniels got enough of a look at Amendola in St. Louis to know what he's dealing with. And what he's dealing with in Amendola is a Welker clone. We'll keep you up to date on this as information comes in.
FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.
With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.
Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.
The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.
Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.
With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.
Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”
Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”
When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.
“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”
Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."
BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. has been inching his way up the lineup recently, but tonight he makes a quantum leap all the way to the top.
With Mookie Betts getting the night off, Bradley -- riding a 29-game hitting streak -- has been moved to the leadoff spot by John Farrell as the Red Sox attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Rockies.
Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and Xander Bogaerts (thumb) both had to leave Wednesday night's game, but both are back in the lineup tonight.
Charlie Blackmon CF
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Nolan Arenado 3B
Carlos Gonzalez RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Gerardo Parra LF
Trevor Story SS
Daniel Descalso DH
Dustin Garneau C
Jon Gray P
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young RF
Blake Swihart LF
Christian Vazquez C
Clay Buchholz P
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have forfeited one week of offseason practices for violating the labor agreement on such workouts.
The NFL also fined the team an undisclosed amount Thursday.
When the Ravens had rookies and first-year players don pads at a minicamp, it was a violation of the CBA rules. The team acknowledged that on Thursday, saying: "We made a mistake and we are sorry for that. We accept the NFL discipline."
Baltimore's June 1-3 voluntary workouts have been scrapped. The team will have OTAs on June 6-9 and a mandatory minicamp June 14-16.
© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.