Patriots should have drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the first round

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Patriots should have drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the first round

It goes without saying that if the Patriots knew Tom Brady was going to be Tom Brady, they wouldn’t have waited until the sixth round to take him. They’d have taken him in the first round. 

Here’s the thing, though: Not taking Brady in the first round never hurt the Patriots. It actually might in the case of Jimmy Garoppolo. 

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The Patriots should have drafted Garoppolo in the first round. Seriously. 

Of course this is being said in hindsight, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. If the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in the first round rather than the second in 2014, they’d be paying him a bit more but they'd also have him for an extra year on his rookie deal thanks to the fifth-year option that exists for first-round picks. With Brady not yet done and potential years of franchising ahead, that extra season of Garoppolo’s rookie deal could prove to be crucial. 

First, a look back at the 2014 draft. As you may recall, Garoppolo’s selection in the second round turned heads. Them taking him a round earlier (which would have put his selection before Teddy Bridgewater’s) might have made those very same heads explode. 

That would have been the right move, however, especially when you consider what they did with that first-round pick. The Pats took Dominique Easley 29th overall, a player they put on IR in back-to-back seasons before releasing. He enjoyed a bounceback campaign with the Rams last season, but his 2017 season is already over after tearing his ACL in training camp. 

So say the Pats didn’t take Easley and instead chose to shock the world and take Garoppolo. Here’s where they’d stand: They’d have paid Garoppolo more by now (Bridgewater, taken three picks after where the Pats picked in the first, got a four-year $6,849,502 contract, whereas Garoppolo got $3,483,898 over four years), but they would not yet be facing the question of what’s next. 

Garoppolo will be a free agent at season’s end, at which point the Patriots might need to franchise him or use the transition tag to retain his services. Had they taken him in the first round and exercised the fifth-year option, they wouldn’t need to worry about the franchise tag until the 2019 season, at which point Brady would be 42. That’s a much easier pill to swallow for one year if they’re seriously entertaining making a switch to Garoppolo the year after in 2020. 

So what would that fifth-year option cost? For first-round picks taken outside of the top 10, the salary is calculated by averaging the third through 25th-highest salaries at the player’s position in the fourth year of the deal. My math has it at $10,419,705.70; CBS Sports (which has a chart and is therefore likely way more correct) has it at $12,198,000.

That isn’t chump change, but it is compared to having to pay for the franchise tag. This season, the franchise tag for a quarterback is $21.268 million. That number will only be higher a year later. 

The Patriots seemingly indicated by not trading Garoppolo this offseason that they believe in him. It was a bold stance to take when they seemingly could have gotten a haul of draft picks. If the Pats had taken as bold a stance on draft back a few years back, perhaps their future at quarterback would be just a tad less murky.

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Matt Light: Better ways to protest than kneeling during national anthem

Matt Light: Better ways to protest than kneeling during national anthem

Matt Light told the Boston Herald that watching the dozen-and-a-half or so New England players who kneeled during Sunday's national anthem was "the first time I’ve ever been ashamed to be a Patriot," and he expounded on that during a Monday appearance on Toucher & Rich.

"As a country, we face a lot of issues," he said. "We have a lot of things we have to do better. There are mistakes that get made, there's bad people, there's a lot of things out there, right? And as an NFL player, as a guy who spent 11 years in that locker room, I know the power that that platform creates . . . It gives you an amazing ability, if you want to try to help a situation or raise awareness, you can do it.

"But shouldn't there be some consideration as to how you do it? Shouldn't we ask of the leaders in that locker room, and the men that represent the Patriot brand, shouldn't we hold them . . . accountable for their own actions? And shouldn't we at least beg of them to consider what it is they're doing and the impact that it'll have in the greater community?"

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Light told the Herald he was at the game with a 91-year old veteran and the wife of a slain SEAL Team 6 member who was at her first NFL game. He said on Toucher & Rich:

"Now, again, I would just encourage people to say to themselves, 'Is there a better way to handle this?' And had they done that, they wouldn't have disrespected a guy like Dom Rasso, who is a SEAL Team 6 member, who I was standing next to, and also the widow of a SEAL Team 6 member who was there for her first game, and she literally cried.

"I mean, that's a shame. Because men decided that their way was more important than the other men and women in this country. And if you have something that you want to get a point across on, speak to it. Put your time and energy into it. Put your resources towards it. Do something. To take a knee during our national anthem sends a very clear message to many, many millions of Americans and it's not the right one. And they know that. Yet they chose to do it anyway. That's what I have a problem with."

Light didn't accept the arguments of former teammate Devin McCourty, and others, that the protest was against incidents of police mistreatment of minorities, and the disrespect many players -- particularly black players -- felt from President Donald Trump's remarks and Tweets over the weekend. Nor those of Patriot receiver Brandin Cooks, who stressed: "A lot of people think we're disrespecting the flag or the military, but my father was a Marine. My uncle was a Marine. My family fought in the Vietnam War. I have the utmost respect for the men and women that are fighting for our freedom . . . The message is more respect and unity and there's only so many ways that you can do it."

"This is so black-and-white and so simple. Right?" said Light. "So very 'x equals 8,' because that's the kind of a guy I am.

"The President of the United States . . . the way he does things, I don't agree with. But we all know what he was saying. We all know that he was saying that we should respect the national anthem. He never said that 'I don't like black people.' He never said, you know, 'I'm a racist.' Right? Which is what these guys are alluding to, that he must be a racist because he's saying that we should stand for the national anthem and he's trying to keep us down. Or whatever it is, right?"

That statement drew pushback from co-host Rich Shertenlieb:

RICH: What [Trump] did do, was he said that somebody who kneeled because they believed that there were black people who have been abused by the police system (as Colin Kaepernick did), that somebody like that should be fired because he did a silent protest.

LIGHT: I'm not sure how you got that.

RICH: Easily!

LIGHT: If he said that they should be fired . . .

RICH: He did!

LIGHT: . . . for taking a knee, which he did say, I'm not sure that you . . . all the other stuff you implied in that is something that . . .

RICH: Well, why did Kaepernick take a knee? Why did Kaepernick take a knee?

LIGHT: Listen, I don't know. Because Kapernick didn't go much further than taking a knee. He talks about racism and police violence and all these things, right?

RICH: He spoke at length about why he took a knee.

LIGHT: Right, right, right. So, and he took a knee for those things, right? And that was his decision to do that. I don't know why Devin McCourty and the rest of the guys took a knee, because I haven't seen them take the time to really articulate . . . As a matter of fact, only a few of them talked about it after the game. Again, I just encourage people to understand what's really at heart here. The President wasn't trying to subdue or keep people from taking some kind of a stand on what they believe in. Nobody does that. America stands for that. That's what we are as a nation. To have to say it's about free speech is a little ludicrous because we understand that we have free speech.

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Tom Brady on Donald Trump: 'I certainly disagree with what he said'

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Tom Brady on Donald Trump: 'I certainly disagree with what he said'

After beating the Texans on Sunday, 36-33, Tom Brady didn't want to delve too deeply into what went into his locking arms with teammates during the national anthem. 

"I just think," Brady said, "there's just a great love for my teammates."

He didn't want to get into Donald Trump's comments about players kneeling for the anthem, but he was willing to go there during Monday's Kirk and Callahan Show on WEEI.

"Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said," Brady explained. "I thought it was just divisive. Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day.

"I have been blessed to be in locker rooms with guys all over the United States over the course of my career. Some of my great friends are from Florida, Virginia, New York, Montana, Colorado, Texas. The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together -- guys you would never have the opportunity to be around. Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We’re all different, we’re all unique. That is what makes us all special."

Brady was one of several players locking arms on the Patriots sideline for the anthem. More than a dozen others, including Devin McCourty, took a knee. Just before and immediately after the anthem, fans booed the demonstration.

"I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do," Brady said of the response. "If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about."