Belichick has his fax straight

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Belichick has his fax straight

There were a few interesting developments from the last day of Patriots mini-camp, which didn't take place yesterday at Gillette. I say didn't take place, because it didn't take place. Instead, Bill Belichick canceled everything at the last second, fueling speculation that the coach isn't as committed as he's been in the past.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to worry. Anyone have Rod Rust's number?

In Rust We Trust!

Anyway, how do you think Belichick spent his afternoon off: Maybe he and Linda made an early escape to Nantucket? Maybe "VI Rings" was calling his name from the Sound?

Or maybe it was all a trick, and Belichick had the locker room bugged with cameras so that he could study the way each player reacted to the cancellation. Maybe he wanted to see which guys were a little too happy about having the day off, while hoping to see at least a few disappointed faces.

Personally, I want to believe that Belichick spent the afternoon hanging at Chili's with Tom Thibodeau and Tony LaRussa; sitting around a high top, getting awkwardly drunk like the dudes in Hall Pass.

Yeah, let's go with that one. And let's take one more second to marvel at the fact that Belichick actually gave his entire team a Hall Pass. You're a good man, Bill.

Other than that, there was one other highlight from the Pats' non-practice: Apparently, despite all the drama surrounding BountyGate and the return of Drew Brees' mole, the Patriots are in communication with the Saints about teaming up for a few joint practices during Training Camp. Or I guess "communication" is one way to describe it.

Here's what Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt had to say about practicing with the Pats: "I got a fax from Bill Belichick this morning and we're taking a look at that."

Now that's funny. Belichick's working the fax! Why do I get the feeling that at this point every team in the league has one dusty fax machine (labeled: PATRIOTS) left in the corner of their office?

On one hand, I guess it's good that the fax machine is still in heavy rotation at Patriots HQ, because it will make the transition a lot easier for Rust Regime: Phase 2. On the other hand, I know it's a a good thing that Belichick didn't fax over the cancellation of yesterday's practice, because the players would still be out there waiting.

As Belichick watched through his binoculars, ready to cut the first one who walked off the field.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi discusses the odds that the New England Patriots franchise tag Dont'a Hightower and what he expects the Pats to get if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.