Kraft once again hints at slow NFL cap growth

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Kraft once again hints at slow NFL cap growth

When Robert Kraft was asked about Rob Gronkowski's new deal on Wednesday, he hinted at something he's hinted at before: the NFL's salary cap will grow, but slowly.

Were trying to always plan ahead for the future, do our strategic planning, Kraft told the Boston Globe. In this age of salary cap, whats going to happen in the next few years with the cap, you have to have a core group of players that you can plan around as the foundation of your team.

The NFL cap has been a point of contention between the NFL and the NFLPA. The players believe that the cap will spike in 2014, the first year of the new netowrk TV deals. Owners, Kraft chief among them, disagree.

How would a slowly-growing cap help the Patriots? It would keep Gronk's cap number relatively low later in his deal. For a player who will likely be a huge piece of New England's offense, that's a big deal.

From PFT:
Gronkowskis deal has salary-cap numbers of 2.66 million in 2012, 2.75 million in 2013, 5.4 million in 2014, and 8.65 million in 2015.Although Gronkowskis cap number nearly doubles in 2014, it will still remain relatively low for a player who has become such a key part of the offense, until 2015 . . .
. . . In the end, the cap will grow, or not grow, based on a variety of factors, including the ongoing ability, or inability, of teams to sell all of their tickets to games. But to the extent that any 2014 increases in broadcast revenue wont be reflected by the 2014 salary cap, Kraft is correct. The salary cap comes not from revenues in the current year, but from revenues in the prior year. So any spikes in cash flow in 2014 wont be reflected in player salaries until 2015.

Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

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Van Noy sees playing-time bump as he learns Patriots language

When Kyle Van Noy was traded to the Patriots in late October, he had a lot to learn. He needed to understand the layout of his new team's maze-like facility. He needed to adjust to a new locker room. He needed to adapt to a new home. 

He also had to become fluent in a new language.

The former Lions 'backer was inactive for two weeks before he was comfortable enough with the Patriots system -- and the coaching staff was comfortable enough with him -- to get on the field. He played 29 snaps against the Niners in first game with his new club, then saw 28 plays against the Jets. On Sunday he saw his role expand as he played 40 of a possible 51 plays, which was more than Shea McClellin (38) or Dont'a Hightower (33). 

"Kyle has done a great job of working really hard to acclimate to what we’re doing, and he has had to learn really fast as far as the system, the communication, the language," said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on a conference call Tuesday. "It’s like when you go to a different system, offensively or defensively, a lot of times it’s just learning the vernacular and the verbiage . . . That’s a big part of it. Then getting more familiar with that kind of terminology and the communication is critical because there’s a lot of calls and adjustments, things like that that we’ve got to do on the field."

Van Noy was making some of those calls himself on Sunday as he wore the green dot on his helmet when Hightower was on the sidelines. Even with the added responsibility, Van Noy was able to play freely enough that he put together what might have been the best game of his three-year career. 

Used at the end of the line of scrimmage as well as in a more traditional off-the-line linebacker role, Van Noy was effective in defending both the pass and the run: He stuffed three Rams rush attempts, he recorded a quarterback hit that led to an incompletion, he drew a holding call, and he recorded an athletic interception when he tracked a wobbling Jared Goff pass that floated over the middle after Jabaal Sheard hit Goff's arm as the rookie released his throw.

After several of his stand-out plays, Van Noy was visibly excited on the field and later on the sidelines. It was the culmination of six weeks of work, learning as much as he could from a coaching staff that was eager to teach him. 

"He’s extremely prideful in his work and his approach to the game," Patricia said. "He’s very cerebral. He’ll ask a lot of questions. He really wants to understand what we’re doing and why, which is great. We’re trying to give him those answers and insight into kind of where some of this either came from or developed or situations like that so that’s really good."