Danger in Patriots trading for future picks

191543.jpg

Danger in Patriots trading for future picks

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

It's pretty common knowledge that the Patriots are locked and loaded for the 2011 NFL Draft -- nine draft picks, six in the first three rounds. Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio andfriendsare going to be at liberty to do what they do best -- deal and seek value. And adding picks for 2012, as my CSNNE buddy Adam Hart points out, is likely a goal, too, since New England has just one pick in each of the first five rounds of that draft. But things could get sticky for the Patriots if they start making too many deals involving the future. The lawsuit the players are bringing in federal court against the NFL alleges the league is in violation of antitrust laws. And, as PFT's Mike Florio points out, the draft itself is a pretty good example of an antitrust violation because " . . . assuming the decertification of the union sticks, an effort by 32 separate companies to divvy up incoming workers easily runs afoul of the antitrust laws."Why was the draft legal in the past? Because the players -- as a union -- agreed in the previous CBA to allow the league to have a draft. No new CBA means no draft after this one. A lot of things would have to happen -- almost all of them bad for NFL teams, players and fans -- for the draft to go away permanently. But until there's a new CBA, there is no CBA, knowwhutImean? Hence, it's a bit of a dice roll to presume there will be a draft in 2012. Belichick measures risk and reward like a maniac on draft day. This year, one of the biggest risks he will likely take is dealing current picks for future ones when the future looks to be in doubt. So trading the 28th overall pick to a perennially bad team for their 2012 first-rounder could -- in essence -- be just like giving the spot away if things go from bad to worse between the players and owners. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

bill-belichick-patriots-practice-072916.jpg

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."