1. The Patriots traditionally tread lightly at the start of free agency. Last season was an exception. But the compressed offseason was a big reason for that as New England grabbed Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. When the Patriots signed Rosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison back in 2003, both were brought aboard nearly a week after free agency opened. Adalius Thomas? He was signed the day after free agency opened. Clearly, the Patriots tend to let the water settle a bit in most cases.
2. Speaking of Adalius Thomas, the contract given to Seattle defensive tackle Red Bryant on Tuesday was the same as the one AD signed back in 2007 - five years and 35 million. Bryant got 14.5M guaranteed; Thomas got 20M.
3. Suffice to say this Tuesday didn't make it any easier on the Patriots when it comes to getting Wes Welker a new contract by July 15. Vincent Jackson got a five-year, 55.5M deal from the Bucs with 36M coming to him in the first three years. Pierre Garcon got five years and 42.5 million with 20.5 guaranteed. Marques Colston got five years and 40 million. Former Niners wideout Josh Morgan got a five-year deal that could convert to a two-year, 12 million deal. In other words, players who haven't been as productive as Welker are getting 8 million per with 20M or more guaranteed. It makes the ballpark figure of four years, 32 million with 20M guaranteed for Welker seem that much more reasonable a request. It could make him seek even more.
4. Brandon Lloyd, meanwhile, has gone to radio silence. Given the fact the Patriots like to do their business verrrry quietly - and that's a request they make of players they're speaking with - the less you hear from and about Lloyd, the more likely he is to be in talks with New England. And what will he and agent Tom Condon agree to becomes clouded as well with similar players getting 8 million per season.
5. Given the number of wideouts the Redskins have signed or gone after - Garcon, Morgan and Eddie Royal - it would seem that Jabar Gaffney is going to be on the outside looking in down in Washington. An effort by the Patriots to bring back "Jab", one of Tom Brady's preferred targets, seems quite likely.
6. Adam Carriker, who seemed a really nice, versatile fit on the defensive line for the Patriots didn't even get out of the Redskins sight. He was re-signed to a four-year 20M deal with 7 million guaranteed.
7. Michael Lombardi of NFL Network is very close with Bill Belichick. His information is solid. He tweeted that the Patriots are close to a new deal with special teams ace Matthew Slater and are working a "few other deals." One of them was with special teamer Niko Koutouvides. His agent confirmed for me a one-year deal worth the veteran's minimum of 850,000.
8. As they look around their division, the Patriots can't feel awful about what they see happening at this week. Brandon Marshall got dealt out of Miami. He only lit the Patriots up for 13 catches and 282 yards in two meeting in 2011. The Jets' aborted run at Peyton Manning wound up in a "sorry about that" extension for Mark Sanchez that led to "Sanchise" talking about how his new deal reminded everyone he was a team leader. And the Bills are about to pour their money into Mario Williams - a helluva player but the massive contract he'll sign is going to put strain on the whole team.
9. The Matt Flynn situation is going to get interesting. He's talking to the Browns and Dolphins. But the Dolphins are in on Peyton Manning still along with three other teams - Denver, Tennessee and Arizona. Will Flynn wait to see what happens with Manning before making his decision? And will the Browns, knowing that might be the case, give Flynn any ultimatum about an expiration date on their offer? Manning's timetable is going to continue to be the biggest story during this free agent period after this initial rush.
10. If you're the Browns and are content to make a run at free agent Matt Flynn - he of two NFL starts - and likely make him a fat offer, wouldn't you want to also consider a run at Brian Hoyer? A restricted free agent who can be had for a smaller contract and a second-round pick if he's lured away from the Patriots, Hoyer as an option that makes fiscal sense to me.