Kraft on money management: 'Sometimes our fans get upset'


Kraft on money management: 'Sometimes our fans get upset'

Robert Kraft was up bright an early for a Friday appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box". The Patriots chairman and CEO was joined by guest host Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans.

Kraft was his congenial self, first congratulating McNair on Houston's 2011 playoff run.

"We play you up in New England this season," the Texans owner teased, "and I don't think you'll be as gracious up there as you are now."

Houston will be without one of the best defensive lineman in the league, Mario Williams, for that 2012 tilt after relinquishing his talents to Buffalo.

McNair said it was tough to lose a key contributor like Williams. But that's business.

"What you're seeing happen is that there are a few stars around the league that are going to get a lot of money, and with a salary cap, that just means that there's less money to go around for the rest of the other players," he said.

"I think what this will do ultimately with the new CBA, which Bob Kraft helped on that tremendously, I think what it's going to do, it's going to allow the teams that are in the lower quartile an opportunity to move up faster because with the new rookie salary pool, less money is going to go to rookies. So those teams at the lower level are not penalized with the higher draft pick which would have cost them a lot of money. Now they have more money available to go out and sign other free agents and there will be good free agents out there that won't command the 96 million contracts."

Kraft was nodding in agreement.

Patriots fans -- connected via the emotional rather than financial aspect of the game -- are anxious about New England's perceived free agency failure. Williams was on the wishlist of many, despite how big a price tag he was expected to have. As each offseason hour passes, more big-name free agents re-sign, are traded, or strike agreements elsewhere -- everywhere other than New England, it seems. The team has instead brought in Steve Gregory, Marcus Harrison, and Jonathan Fanene; re-upped Dan Connolly and Matthew Slater.

Fan unrest over the lack of a sexy signing continues to grow, and it's not gone unnoticed by Kraft.

But, again, it's business.

"Bob makes a good point," he said in response to McNair. "When Mario -- and I don't know whether he was paying him 4 million 9 million -- but the point is when someone goes out and pays him 15 million if you paid him that, your team doesn't get better when you do that. I would say your team maybe gets worse because you have less money available for other players.

"And only your personnel people understand the chemistry of how that works. Sometimes our fans get upset. We're faced with a couple decisions like that, too. Both you and I want to see our teams win. It's how we manage the resources available to us that allows us to do that."

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

Click here for the complete story