Plenty of 'D' being played for Robert Kraft

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Plenty of 'D' being played for Robert Kraft

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
NEW ORLEANS - Robert Kraft's got responsibilities that extend far beyond the local entrant in the National Football League. Corporations, charities, businesses - he's got a plateful.
Still, it must have pained him to be absent from the final negotiating sessions with the players before the lockout began. He was in Israel on a trade mission with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Patriots left tackle Matt Light said he was disappointed Kraft wasn't at the final sessions. On Monday, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said,"I respect Matt and I appreciate Matt's comments, but we do a lot of things other than just the New England Patriots."Something that's particularly important to Robert is the economy and job creation for people in all industries across the Commonwealth," added Jonathan Kraft. "This is a trade mission that had been worked on for a long time. Israel is a real center of high-tech anda lot of Israeli companies are choosing to pick Massachusetts as their corporate headquarters and this was about solidifying that and having more companies be comfortable coming to Massachusetts and create jobs. It was something he'd personally been working on a long time and he wasn't going to give that up. He helped put the whole thing together and it was something very personal for him.
"That being said, he didn't miss a call concerning the NFL labor talks, he didn't miss an e-mail, and he was up to all hours of the night. He was intimately involved with what was going on in the negotiations."Colts owner Jim Irsay also had the elder Kraft's back. "Bob had had that trip planned," said Irsay. "Part of being an owner is juggling many things. He's certainly had an impact. There are some times when you have to keep many things going, when you have many business commitments and people are depending on you. His trip was important and the negotiation is important. It's his judgment on how he balances both. It's not right to throw him under the bus and say, 'He should have been there, he doesn't care.'
"Many of us have different businesses and different things we do. Government people depend on us so you have to keep those commitments, too." Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."