Brady (thigh) understands sometimes he has to miss practice to stay fresh

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Brady (thigh) understands sometimes he has to miss practice to stay fresh

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady was not spotted at Patriots practice on Wednesday. Nor was he out on the fields behind Gillette Stadium last Wednesday. 

The hit Brady absorbed to his right knee back in Week 10, when Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor drilled him low, continues to be a factor for the 39-year-old MVP candidate. 

His attendance at and his participation in practice have been somewhat sporadic since the Chancellor shot: He was not on the injury report in the days following the hit, but during Week 12 he missed two practices and was limited in a third with a knee issue; in Week 13 he missed one practice and was limited in the next two; in Weeks 14 and 15, he participated in practice fully and was not listed on the injury report at all; in Week 16, he was back on the injury report -- this time with a thigh issue -- and was limited in his reps for the final two weeks of the regular season. 

Brady was asked on Thursday about the challenge of playing well on game days when his on-the-field work leading up to those games is not quite as intensive, or as frequent, as he'd like it to be.

"You always want to feel great on Sunday," Brady said. "You’d always like to practice every day, too. I think just some weeks it’s about prioritization. I’d like to do everything all the time, but sometimes that’s not possible.

"Practice is pretty demanding. Our practices certainly are, so sometimes if you practice it might set you back a little more than you would want. But everyone is dealing with different things and I think as a player you just have to try to be smart. You obviously want to practice because you want to be prepared to play, but sometimes if you overdo it, you’re not feeling as good as you want to on Sunday when you are playing.

"I think after 17 years I’ve got a pretty good balance for those things. I’m the type of person who likes to practice a lot. I’ve also been around long enough to know you’ve got to be smart too, so it’s just trying to find that right balance."

The Patriots are in a pretty good place at the moment in that they have three quarterbacks on the roster so when Brady needs a day off, Jimmy Garoppolo can fill in with the offensive starters while Jacoby Brissett takes the scout-team reps. 

Garoppolo's ability to give receivers, backs and tight ends a good look in practice, combined with Brady getting the rest he needs, has done wonders for the Patriots offense. From Week 12 on, the team went 6-0 and averaged 28.3 points per game. 

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.