On Belichick's big night

656726.jpg

On Belichick's big night

So, do you think Bill Belichick's gone to bed yet?

What do I know, but I wouldn't be shocked to find out that he worked straight through the night. That, powered by a case of Diet Coke, a Bon Jovi box set, and the good vibes from a headline stealing first round, Belichick hasn't stopped since Thursday.

You know that scene in Social Network when they're at the dorm party and the programmers are racing almost in a trance through endless pages of code?

That's how I imagine Belichick for the last 24 hours (minus the vodka shots).

He loves it.

And after last night, so does New England.

Forget the feeling of actually getting to experience the first round of an NFL Draft. (You know, a night where the Patriots use a first round pick on something other than an offensive lineman.) Don't get me wrong, it was great. But even better than the Pats moving up twice and using both their picks is the fact that both picks made so much sense.

For the longest time, it's felt like Belichick was just slapping together random names and faces and trying to pass it off as a NFL D. Sometimes, it felt like he was just making it up as he went a long. But after last night, the present and future of this defense is really coming into focus.

Starting in the back, you have Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung at the safety spots. Imagine that? Stability at safety. It's April and we not only know who the starters are, but there's actually reason to be optimistic. McCourty and Chung that works.

Moving up, they now (ideally) have three young, athletic and exciting linebackers with Mayo, Spikes and Donta Hightower (Not too mention, some solid potential with newcomer Trevor Scott). On the line they have Wilfork in the middle, next to Kyle Love, and they'll hopefully bring back Andre Carter on the outside. You have Carter to help bring along Chandler Jones, and do other Andre Carter-type things. He gives you that presence even if Jones isn't immediately ready.

OK, now the cornerbacks are still a little shaky. With McCourty reportedly headed for safety, they have Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore and a still unproven Ras-I Dowling's coming back from last year. And veteran Will Allen newly in the mix. That's not awful, but they still don't have a legitimate No. 1.

But that's pretty much it. For all the chaos and uncertainty that's surrounded this defense in recent years, Belichick's defensive jigsaw puzzle is finally taking shape.

He'll be back at the table tonight.

Probably not on much sleep.

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

How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

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.

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.