Mesko wins Ron Burton Community Service Award

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Mesko wins Ron Burton Community Service Award

FOXBORO -- Zoltan Mesko is your winner of the 2012 Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award.
The third-year punter addressed reporters Monday night at Charitable Foundation's Kickoff Gala at Gillette Stadium.
"Mr. Kraft pulled me aside during practice and told me. It's just a very humbling experience to be a part of such a lot of guys that have been we have Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo and the things they stand for. They're leaders in themselves. The Kraft family -- I can't thank them enough for putting forth that platform for us to be able to serve the community and to make a positive difference. Mr. Kraft, Myra Kraft -- exemplars in the community. I'm very, very humbled to be even a little grain of salt in the deal."
Kraft praised his player, saying the honor was well-deserved.
Zoltan is one of the best punters in the league, but he may be the leagues current MVP for his contributions in the community, said Kraft. In the 18 years since we established the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, perhaps no player has accomplished more in the community in such a short amount of time.
From the team's press release:
Last season, Mesko was one of the Patriots players who spearheaded the season-long Celebrate Volunteerism campaign, visiting Boys & Girls Clubs, hospitals, veterans homes, home makeover events and more to promote the benefits of volunteering. In October 2011, he joined several of his teammates in a one-day playground build for a Providence, R.I. community. Mesko also granted wishes for eleven youth from across the country who chose to meet Patriots players as part of the Make-A-Wish program.
During the holidays, Mekso was determined to make the season special for as many children possible by participating in every Patriots holiday activity. He helped children from homeless shelter programs select gifts during Patriots Gifts from the Gridiron and played games with more than 250 children from Massachusetts and Rhode Island during the Patriots Community Holiday Party. During the offseason, Mesko took it upon himself to organize a karaoke fundraiser, called Zolioke, where more than a dozen of his teammates sang karaoke, participated in live and silent auctions and interacted with pediatric patients to benefit Childrens Hospital Boston.
To Mesko, there's really nothing to it.
"I just feel like, the stage we're put on, we have this social responsibility to give back. Because when you look at it, there's a lot of good people out there that do a tremendous amount of things, but if I don't do it now, when am I going to start? If I don't do it, then who's going to do it? You've got to have that mentality, to be the first one to take action."

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.