Curran: McGinest is last guy who should rip Welker

744624.jpg

Curran: McGinest is last guy who should rip Welker

Less than a month after Bill Parcells selected Willie McGinest with the fourth overall pick in the 1994 draft, McGinest agreed to a four-year, 6 million contract with the Patriots.

In 1998, the Patriots retained the free agent McGinest, making him the highest paid defensive end in professional football with a five-year, 25 million deal that had 8 million guaranteed.

In 2002, the Patriots made sure McGinest stayed in New England with a four-year, 16 million extension that included 9 million in salary over the first three years.

Finally in 2006, after the Patriots cut McGinest because of cap concerns, Willie found a golden parachute in Cleveland signing a three-year, 12 million contract with 6 million guaranteed.

Over a 12-year period, McGinest signed contracts with a combined value of 69 million. NFL contracts being what they are, McGinest probably made about 50 million.

So when McGinest takes aim at Wes Welker, the response from Welker should be, "Easy for you to say, Willie, you got your money."

On Tuesday, McGinest sounded uncommonly ill-informed when he ripped Welker on the NFL Network.

"I just dont like the diva attitude," McGinest began. "Lets keep it real: prior to the Patriots, this is a guy who played three years, had 96 receptions and never had a 1,000-yard season. Due to a big part of the Patriots offensive system and Tom Brady, hes had five years where hes had over 100 catches. Of those five years until he got hurt 2010, he had over 1,000 yards receiving each year.Lets just keep everything in perspective: a big part of that is due to the Patriots . . ."

MORE: Welker, McGinest spar on Twitter

A little more perspective. Welker signed a five-year, 18 million deal with the Patriots in 2007 and -- in an era in which salaries ballooned -- he outperformed his deal. By a ridiculous amount.

Didn't bitch. Never mailed it in. Never made a public peep about how the Patriots were getting over on him.

Now Welker's been extended the 9.5 million franchise tag by the Patriots. Did he scoff at that? No. He did the opposite on the same set McGinest ripped him from.

"I mean, it's a lot of money. How can you ever be upset about that?" Welker said on April 13. "It's not a bad deal, so I'm not too worried about it."

The backstory to Welker's situation that eludes McGinest is that the Patriots applied the tag and released this statement on March 5.

"Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."
And there have been no talks held and no progress made toward ensuring that. So why would Welker want to sign the tag and show up for OTAs and a minicamp? Why reward the Patriots further with more loyalty when they haven't yet come close to meeting him halfway?

McGinest's finger-wagging got more personal and included more revisionist history when he said, "So look Wes, its time to take off the leopard-printed cowboy boots, get off the party tour and get back to work. During my tenure in New England, no matter how big you were or who you were, nobody said that they werent coming to a mandatory minicamp. If you know anything about New England, understand that youre expendable. Unless youre Bill Belichick or Tom Brady, youre expendable."

The minicamps are mandatory when you're under contract. Welker's not.

Check this out, the NFL salary cap was 52.388 million when McGinest signed for 5 years and 25 million. When Welker signed for 5 years and 18 million, the cap was more than twice that (109 million).

Ten years after McGinest got that 6 million rookie deal, Welker -- undrafted -- made 37,059 with the San Diego Chargers in 2004. Over Welker's next three seasons with the Dolphins, he made 932,000.

McGinest went to two Pro Bowls and missed 21 games in his 12-season tenure in New England. Welker's a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro who -- despite blowing an ACL -- has missed just three games in five seasons.

When it comes to bang for the buck, what Welker has brought the Patriots exceeds what McGinest brought them. And it's not even close.

If anybody's going to pound the desk and criticize Wes Welker, Willie McGinest is probably the last guy who should be doing so.

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

The Patriots obviously got it right when they pushed away from the table during the Darrelle Revis bidding war in 2015. 

The once-great corner spent the 2016 season languishing on the field. He’s spending the early part of the offseason reacting negatively to backpack journalism after midnight. 

MORE PATRIOTS

But the alleged double KO by Revis and his buddies isn’t what prompts this submission. 

It’s the revelation from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the tampering the Jets engaged in when they were prying Revis loose from the Patriots was way, way more involved than what the NFL fined them for. And that Jets owner Woody Johnson knew all about it. 

Mehta leads his piece revealing that, long before free agency opened in 2015, Revis “was ready to squeeze more money out of [Johnson] who he knew would be willing to overpay for his services again.”

Mehta reports that, “back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion . . . 

“Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team's landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.

“Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.”

The Patriots -- who were in the midst of the Deflategate colonoscopy that resulted in absurd-level discipline -- lodged a complaint with the league over the Jets tampering after Revis signed with the Jets in mid-March of 2015. 

The Jets were fined $100,000 but weren’t docked any draft picks.. The tender wrist slap came, ostensibly, because Johnson moronically stated at a December press conference that he’d “love” to have Revis return to New York. 

Maybe Johnson wasn’t being a dummy. That comment provided cover for the league office -- which has a documented history of treating the two NYC franchises with kid gloves -- to let the Jets off easy. 

Mehta’s article is the latest offering from him since completing his heel turn against Revis. 

Mehta did everything but fly the plane to bring Revis to New York once the 2014 season ended. And this is what he wrote the day the Jets penalty came down: 

The NFL’s attempt to uncover any dirt was an exercise in futility, a witch hunt driven by nonsense from a hypocritical organization with no reason to feel threatened by its competitor. 

You may wonder what’s the point? 

Clearly, the Patriots got it right while the Jets cheated, got what they wanted, and are now getting what they deserved. 

And everyone already knows the league office’s investigations and operations arms under the brutally incompetent leadership of Troy Vincent are a laughingstock. 

All true. But if I don’t write this now, I may have no recollection of this particular instance of league corruption given the absolute avalanche of other incidents
 

Five Patriots listed among Pro Football Focus Top 50 free agents

alan-branch.jpg

Five Patriots listed among Pro Football Focus Top 50 free agents

When the free-agency period officially begins on Mar. 9, it looks like there will be several newly-minted Super Bowl champions available for hire. And judging by the list Pro Football Focus published recently, the Patriots seem primed to lose more top-end talent via free agency than any other club in the league. 

Of the Top 50 free agents scheduled to be available next month, according to PFF, five are Patriots: linebacker Dont'a Hghtower (No. 11), safety Duron Harmon (No. 17), corner Logan Ryan (No. 26), defensive end Jabaal Sheard (No. 27) and tight end Martellus Bennett (No. 28).

Though the team doesn't have a single Top 10 player, per PFF, no other club has more than four (Cardinals, Redskins, Packers) in the Top 50. 

And the Patriots probably should have had at least one other player included. 

Not LeGarrette Blount, though he set a franchise record for rushing touchdowns last season. Not Chris Long, though he led the team in total quarterback pressures as he played out his one-year deal in New England. It's Alan Branch, 32, who is coming off of arguably his best season in 10 years as a pro. 

A powerful run defender, Bill Belichick called Branch the team's most consistent interior defensive lineman, and late in the season the coach made it clear just how much value there is in having a player with Branch's stature (6-foot-6, 350 pounds) and athleticism up front.

"Alan has done a great job for us," Belichick said. "And along with his play, which is certainly significant, one of the things that’s really been impressive about him has been his play time. So in addition to his overall production he’s played a lot more than he has in quite a while in terms of number of plays. 

"From a production standpoint he’s got, again, quite a few tackles, tackles for loss. It’s hard to measure the disruptive plays but he’s certainly got his share of those. He’s played very well for us in the running game. He’s given us a presence in the pass rush of a long, physical player in the middle. That’s all been really good, and he’s played more plays so all of that is good. 

"How unique is it? I mean, yeah, guys that weigh 350 pounds and are athletic and long like he is; I mean they don’t grow on trees. They’re hard to find. Ted Washington had that kind of length and size. Ted was 6-5, but Alan moves better than Ted does, or did at that point in his career. We’ve had some other longer guys like Richard [Seymour] or guys like that, but they weren’t 350 pounds. There’s not too many of them."

Though he may not make everyone's Top 50, Branch should certainly be mentioned on any list of impact players Belichick and his staff are at risk of losing in a few weeks. It's a long one.