Countdown to Camp: Secondary

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Countdown to Camp: Secondary

A position-by-position look on the Patriots heading into training camp. This position: Defensive secondary.

Comings: S Steve Gregory (FA, Chargers), CB Alfonzo Dennard (7th rounder), CB Marquice Cole (FA, Jets), S Tavon Wilson (2nd rounder), S Nate Ebner (6th rounder), CB Will Allen (FA, Dolphins)

Goings: CB Nate Jones, CB Antwaun Molden

Something To Prove: Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, Patrick Chung, Josh Barrett, Dennard, Gregory, Marquice Cole, Sergio Brown

Nothing To Lose: Sterling Moore, Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo, Ebner, Will Allen, Malcolm Williams, Ross Ventrone, Tavon Wilson.

Summary: There is talent at the back of the Patriots defense. Can it play with confidence and controlled aggression? That's been the problem. Start at corner, where Devin McCourty played scared and lost his confidence in 2011, undoing all the good he'd done in 2010 as a rookie. Then there's injury-plagued second-year man Ras-I Dowling, whose injury history is becoming a concern at the other corner. Safety Patrick Chung plays with aggression, but his smallish size and tendency to get dinged will have to be overcome for him to take the step toward becoming a Pro Bowler. Corner Kyle Arrington and safety Sterling Moore play with more stones than anyone at the back end and that's why they're fun to watch. Dennard, who plummeted to the the seventh round because of a pre-draft arrest, could hit the ground running as a corner with something to prove. Safety Steve Gregory is a free agent from the Chargers who is being paid starter's money. Barrett, Brown and Cole are on the bubble. Ihedigbo is a known quantity and a pro. Allen's on his last roundup. Ihedigbo will likely find a role. Ebner's a project. And Wilson will be groomed to play next to Chung.

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.