Welcome to Gillette for Patriots-Jets!


Welcome to Gillette for Patriots-Jets!

FOXBORO -- The first battle between New England and the Jets will fought under a clear, sunny October sky. Game time temperature is expected to peak around 61 degrees before falling back into the 50s.
Humidity is relatively low at 48 percent, but the 12-mile-per-hour wind could be a factor as the orange flags attached to the uprights are waving wildly at times.
Linebacker Bobby Carpenter was first on the field for warmups. He was joined shortly thereafter by defensive lineman Ron Brace and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, two players on the injury report who appeared to be making last-minute cases with the training staff to play.
Hightower has been bothered by a hamstring issue since Sept. 30 and has missed the last two games. Brace was limited last week in practice with a back injury.
The first two Jets to test New England's turf were quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Nearly the entire team ended up outside to warm up some two hours before kickoff. Tebow went through that rigorous throwing routine he became known for in Denver last season.
Both teams will break out of the AFC East's 3-3 gridlock Sunday evening. Finding out which lands on which side of .500 is the fun part.

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl


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?