Hightower signing eliminates contract drama

Hightower signing eliminates contract drama

By Tom E. Curran

The final rookie of the Patriots draft class has agreed to terms. Donta Hightower, the 25th pick out of Alabama, got his deal done Wednesday according to our buddy at ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio.

Just yesterday, the estimable Paoletti looked closer at the unsigned first and second-rounders and noted the hangup for Hightower was a guaranteed fourth year.

We still don't know whether he got that fourth year guaranteed or not.

What we do know is that the off-field wrangling over dollars and cents won't be keeping any Patriots out of camp this year.

And, hence, there should be an air of tranquility down in Foxboro.

We've had our share of contract stakeouts down there over the past few seasons. From Mankins to Brady to rookies like Ras-I Dowling last year, the business side has intruded.

This year, it won't. At least not directly.

Let's be honest, there is zero doubt that Wes Welker wanted to know where he'd be playing in 2013. Working for someone is easier when you don't have to worry that you'll be shown the door in a few months.

But the fact Welker is franchised and has been lugging that tag along for almost six months means he's by now reconciled to his situation.

And while the rules of media engagement require us to ask about his "leap of faith" that fell flat, he won't say anything that's a direct shot at the Patriots. If inwardly he seethes, outwardly he'll be accepting.

Some people in my line of work will pine for a good contract dustup in camp. Picking at contractual scabs - basically worrying about other people's business - is an easy angle. Better to beat that to a pulp than discuss, ya know, football.

Of course, Aaron Hernandez is going into the final year of his rookie deal in 13 months...never too early to start asking....

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

patriots-amendola-112016.jpg

Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats. 

As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions. 

The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around. 

MORE: 

“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”

In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game. 

If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone. 

Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016. 

With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1. 

CSNNE SCHEDULE