Patriots' Taylor: I've got that itch

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Patriots' Taylor: I've got that itch

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- It's beginning to get a "Fridays with Fred" feeling inside the Patriots locker room following Friday practice sessions. And it will continue to be that way until veteran running back Fred Taylor returns to game action.

Taylor (turf toe) hasn't played since Week 3, but did resume practicing last week with limited participation. Last Friday, he said he was ready to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but didn't get the call from coach Bill Belichick.

This Friday, Taylor said much of the same, but did sound a little more antsy, and a little more ready to suit up for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I feel pretty good," said Taylor. "I had a better week of practice. Ultimately, you guys know as well as I do. It's the coach's decision at the end of the day. So I'll just stay patient and see what that call is.

"I haven't played in a while, but I've got that itch. I'd definitely love to be back out there and keep improving.

"Belichick knows what's best for the team, going forward," added Taylor. "And whatever that is, I have to live with it, and just be ready for it. I had a very solid week of practice, a lot better than last week. I'm continuing to improve, so we'll see how it goes."

Media members are only allowed to watch the first 10-15 minutes of practice each day, so while Taylor has been listed with "limited participation," it's tough to tell just how he looks.

He described why he felt he had a better practice this week, than last.

"Getting some quicks back, some burst," said Taylor. "Just getting in and out of my cuts feel a lot better. And able to just mix it up with the defenders. Last week wasn't as much of that. But this week, the confidence is just getting better with each rep."

As much as Taylor believes he's ready to get back on the field for Sunday's game, he realizes that Belichick is going to make the right decision, either way. But he does believe he's convinced enough people.

"I'm just going to sit back, hit my knees, say a little prayer, and hopefully I can sway coach to be willing to take a shot with me for Sunday," said Taylor. "But I'll be patient to see. Whatever's best for the team, I'm all about that.

"I thought I showed some glimpses last week, where I could have mixed it up in certain situations. The same this week. But it's not my call. We'll see. We'll just wait on Sunday and see. I don't want to go one way or the other with this. But I had a pretty solid week, and we'll see how it goes."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

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.