Patriots deep WR corps using camp to adjust

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Patriots deep WR corps using camp to adjust

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO Much of the talk in the preseason has centered around the depth the Patriots have built up along the defensive line.

But when you look on the other side of the ball, the Pats have stockpiled quite a few receivers as well.

"We have good depth there," Belichick said. "We have 11 guys working. They're practicing hard."

The NFL strike may not have cost the league any games, but it hurt every team in limiting the amount of time players could work with each other. Not only does it raise the likelihood of a player getting hurt, but it also creates a sloppier atmosphere in training camp and, to some degree, makes it more challenging for teams to develop on-field chemistry.

That's why when you look back at the first few days of New England's training camp, dropped balls and missed assignments were seen everywhere.

This was especially noticeable at the wide receiver position, one that features newly acquired Chad Ochocinco.

"It's a new offense for Chad," Belichick said. "He's got that (challenge) compared to the guys that were here last year. But there's a number of players in that group that are also new."

In addition to trying to find a spot in the receiving rotation, there are those within the wideout group that will look to make their mark on special teams as well.

"It'll be interesting to see how things go when you take into account, special teams responsibilities and the competition overall as a receiving group," Belichick said. "We'll see how it goes. I'd say right now, it's deep and it's strong competition."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

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.