Brady not getting sentimental about WR battle

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Brady not getting sentimental about WR battle

FOXBORO -- Everybody can't stay. That's the bottom line.

The Patriots have more talented and accomplished wide receivers in camp than available roster spots.

The team will likely keep four players whose sole job is wide receiver. Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker are on the team.

A good player -- and a guy who's got history with this organization -- is going to go. Might be Deion Branch. Might be Donte Stallworth. Might be Jabar Gaffney.

But it probably has to be one of them.

Asked about this battle for survival shaping up between friends, Tom Brady was almost emphatic in explaining why it has to be this way.

"I think competition is good for all of us," he began. "I think its up to everyone to earn the spot. You have to earn it every year. I think the one thing about this place is theres no entitlement to the positions out here. You do it based on what you earn and thats why you come out here every day working hard to develop that trust from your coaches and your teammates so that they want you out there.

"And part of being a team player is doing whats best for the team and if someone is better than you, then its better for the team for that person to play," Brady continued. "Thats why you come out here and you work hard. You work hard in the offseason to be prepared and you work hard in training camp to get an opportunity and then you work hard once you get an opportunity to take advantage of your opportunity."

So far in this camp, Stallworth is the backup to Lloyd, while Gaffney and Branch battle for the third wideout spot.

Gaffney is taking most of the reps with the presumed first team. Gaffney and Branch have not been seen on the field at the same time, amplifying the fact they are in direct competition. Money doesn't really enter into the equation with these guys. Gaffney is on a two-year deal valued at 2.3 million with a 250,000 bonus. Branch signed a one-year, 1.325 million deal in March. And Stallworth signed a one-year, 875,000 contract.

Branch, one of the most likable Patriots of the glory years and a brilliant sidekick to Brady for so long, is 33. He's up against it.

Brady the quarterback, cannot afford to get sentimental.

"The more good football players you have on the team, the better you're going to be," he reasoned. "Its better to have guys competing for spots than hoping guys were better than what they are. Its better to have a lot of good players than not have a lot of good players. Weve got some depth at the receiver position; I dont know how its going to sort out, but based on what we do out here on the field, thats everybodys opportunity: quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end. I mean, weve got a lot of competition at a lot of positions."

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.