Time nears for undrafted players to find teams

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Time nears for undrafted players to find teams

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Tom Brady said it on June 3, Robert Kraft said it on June 9 and this week has brought more of the same good news regarding the NFL lockout. Progress has been made, optimism reigns and the end of the labor strife looms. Once the lockout ends, all the college players who went undrafted in April will finally have a chance to hook on with NFL teams. Players like Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin, Oregon defensive lineman Brandon Bair and West Virginia running back Noel Devine are going to finally be able to say, "Mom, Dad... I have a job."Our friends at NEPatriotsDraft.com have a list of the prime undrafted guys. For the Patriots, a player like Bair may be very attractive. He's 6-6, 276 pounds and can play that five-technique defensive end spot the Patriots really didn't address in the draft. He's 26 years old having spent two years away from college on a Mormon mission. Normally, undrafted free agents are quickly signed by teams immediately after the draft. Because of the lockout -- even though teams and agents cannot have contact about players -- there's probably been a lot more time for research on the part of the undrafted free agents to figure out where they'd like to work. And there's been more time for teams to set their targets as well. "For undrafted guys, (agents) have to strike fast and get those players in because you don't want to be left standing up without a chair when the music stops," said agent Joe Linta."You need to know from your research prior to the draft theone, two or 10 teams who would be interested. For an undrafted guy, it will be sign first, ask questions later."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.

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During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.