Green-Ellis, Woodhead are good enough for Pats

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Green-Ellis, Woodhead are good enough for Pats

By Rich Levine
Standing Room Only

In New England, everyone is the next someone.

Julian Edelmans the next Wes Welker. Devin McCourtys the next Ty Law. Is Ras-I Dowling the next Eugene Wilson? Hank Poteat was, and always will be, the next Hank Poteat.

But for my money (which, if you look at my pay stubs, isnt much) theres only one Patriot player comparison thats truly come to fruition.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis is Antowain Smith.

Check this out:

Last year, the Law Firm carried the ball 229 times for 1008 yards and 13 TD. In 2001, Smith carried the ball 287 times, for 1157 yards and 12 TD. Receptions? Smith had 19; BJGE had 12. Both have the same style, the same strengths, the same limitations. Neither will make you drop your jaw, but neither will drop the ball (BJGE still hasnt fumbled in 329 career rush attempts). Smith was, and Green-Ellis is the definition of solid. No flash, just solid.

Back in the day, Smith was complimented by Kevin Faulk the dynamic, do-everything back who kept the defense on their toes. Green-Ellis? Well, that brings us to another potential comparison.

Because its hard to look at Danny Woodhead and not envision him as the next Kevin Faulk.

I hesitate to do so, because it feels so disrespectful to all that Faulks accomplished (I felt the same way about the instant EdelmanWelker comparison), but the numbers dont lie. Or if they do, they dont lie that much.

Last year, Woodhead had 926 yards from scrimmage, a total that Faulk has only topped three times in his career and once since 2003 (he had 993 yards in 2008 with Matt Cassel as his QB). Of course, thats not all there is to the game. Theres the blocking factor. The leadership factor. The clutch factor. There are all sorts of heights (no pun intended) and measures of consistency that Woodhead must achieve before we can count on him the same way we did Kevin Faulk.

So how about this: For now, lets take Kevin Faulk out of it.

And lets just say that Danny Woodhead, regardless of who preceded him in his current role, is a fantastic compliment for Benjarvus Green-Ellis who in turn, is a more than serviceable lead back. Given the weapons around them, theyre more than enough to help the Pats to another title.

Will Stevan Ridley step in and contribute? Will Shane Vereen overcome the quiet preseason and save his rookie campaign? Are we worried that they dont have a fullback?

Those answers will play out along with the season, but for now, you should be ready and willing to go to war with Woodhead and the Law Firm.

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.