Titans' Munchak aware of problems Patriots TEs present

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Titans' Munchak aware of problems Patriots TEs present

The Patriots extended Rob Gronkowski for six years and 54 million dollars back in June. Two-and-a-half months later, they extended Aaron Hernandez for five years and 40 million. The years to each deal are added on to the each rookie's remaining two years, which means yes, they'll be around for a while.

That sound you probably heard when those extensions were announced? NFL coaches and owners from around the league slamming their heads into a wall. With talented, physical specimens like Gronkowski and Hernandez, the Patriots offense is one to be feared for many more years to come.

Titans head coach Mike Munchak hasn't had the pleasure of trying to figure out how to disengage the tandem tight ends, but he seems to be well-aware that his hands will be full in trying to keep both Gronkowski's and Hernandez's hands empty.

"I think in general those guys do a great job on covering," Munchak said of Hernandez and Gronkowski. "Big guys, both their tight ends have done a nice job of that. And the film you watch of the mismatching with the linebackers. They create problems to cover, then with Brady's ball being so accurate even when you do cover them well, they have great hands and they make plays. Next thing you know it's second-and-two or first-and-ten and it's frustrating because you think you're doing all the right things and they still make plays on you."

Sounds like Munchak has talked to a couple NFL coaches about them, eh? But he'll have his own stories to tell come Sunday night.

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

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Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?