FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were buffeted by questions about embattled wide receiver Julian Edelman on Wednesday. Neither the Patriots head coach nor quarterback bit on either the Edelman questions nor the broader behavior questions being tossed out. A news reporter from WHDH TV was borderline combative with Belichick, firing off repeated questions in the head coach's morning press conference. There were nine questions on Edelman at the start of the press conference. "I dont have any comment," Belichick said to the initial question. "I think his representatives made their comment on it, I dont have anything to add to it." Belichick allowed that he did speak with Edelman about the issue. He declined to reveal details of the conversation and whether Edelman would be subject to discipline. If he is disciplined by the team, the Patriots won't be sharing what the discipline is. Brady, after deflecting questions at the start of his press conference about Edelman, explained later how the team deals with PR issues that don't directly involve them. "You don't talk about it, answer questions when people ask, you just move on," said Brady. Kevin Faulk was more candid on the issue, referencing his own weed arrest in talking with media in the Patriots locker room. Thats over with now, Faulk said. Were focusing on the Giants right now. It happened. The worst thing that can happen, it happened. Now its over. Keep letting everybody else talk about it. Dont worry about it, you got a game to play on Sunday. I was actually in that situation in the offseason a few years ago. So, its one of those things it happened already, move on."Faulk echoed Brady's don't ask, don't tell approach to dealing with the controversy. Dont talk about it, Faulk said. Its hard for you not to hear it. Because the medias talking about it. But at the same time, its not being talked about in here. The thing being talked about is the Giants. As a veteran player, theres a couple of guys that guys will come talk to. That aspect of what they need to do or what they think. Hes talked to coach, hes talked to Mr. Kraft, and they discussed everything. Now, its a dead issue for everyone else on this team. Now, its for him to talk about it or his attorney.
David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl.
What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.
But in a roundabout way he might.
MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?
There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.
If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders.
Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.
Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).
For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich.
We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.
Ever since Derek Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension with the Raiders to give him the highest average annual contract value in league history, some version of the same question has been posed over and over again.
What does this mean for other quarterbacks looking for new deals?
Despite the fact that Carr's average annual value surpasses the previous high set by Andrew Luck ($24.6 million), and despite the fact that Carr's contract provides him the security that alluded him while he was on his rookie contract, his recent haul may not mean much for the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and other top-end quarterbacks.
They were already expecting monster paydays down the road that would hit (or eclipse) the $25 million range, and Carr's record-setting contract may not even serve as a suitable baseline for them, as ESPN's Dan Graziano lays out.
So if Carr's contract did little more for upper-echelon quarterbacks than confirm for them where the market was already headed, then does it mean anything for someone like Jimmy Garoppolo?
Carr and Garoppolo were both second-round picks in 2014, but from that point, they've obviously taken very different roads as pros. Carr started 47 consecutive games in his first three years and by last season he had established himself as one of the most valuable players in the league. Garoppolo, by comparison, has started two games.
Both players still hold loads of promise, but unless Garoppolo sees substantial playing time in 2017 and then hits the open market, he won't approach Carr's deal when his rookie contract is up.
ESPN's Mike Reiss projected that a fair deal for Garoppolo on the open market might fall between the $19 million that was guaranteed to Chicago's Mike Glennon and Carr's contract, which includes $40 million fully guaranteed and $70 million in total guarantees, per NFL Media.
Perhaps something in the range of what Brock Osweiler received from the Texans after Osweiler started seven games for the Broncos in 2015 would be considered fair: four years, with $37 million guaranteed. Because Osweiler (before his deal or since) never seemed as polished as Garoppolo was in his two games as a starter in 2016, and because the salary cap continues to soar, the argument could be made that Garoppolo deserves something even richer.
Though Garoppolo is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency following the 2017 season, there is a chance he doesn't get there quite that quickly. The Patriots could try to come to some kind of agreement with their backup quarterback on an extension that would keep him in New England, or they could place the franchise tag on him following the season.
Either way, Garoppolo will get paid. But until he sees more time on the field, a deal that would pay him in the same range as his draft classmate will probably be out of reach.