Will Light pay heavy price for comments?


Will Light pay heavy price for comments?

By Tom E. Curran

NEW ORLEANS - Good for Matt Light, speaking his mind last weekand expressingdisappointment that Patriots owner Robert Kraft wasn't at the table for the final round of negotiations before the lockout. Now, whether Light's candor is good for his future employment in New England is another story altogether. A free exchange of thought and opinion is not always welcomed in Foxboro, especially when it doesn't mesh with what ownership says, does or believes. Light, a free agent coming off shoulder surgery, wants to return to the Patriots. Can and will his words be used against him when it comes time to decide whetherhe stays? It's not beyond the pale. Light made some pointed comments talking to media at Marco Island, Floridawhere the players association was meeting. No doubt, 100 percent. Im not going to lie to you, Light said when asked if he was disappointed Kraft went to Israel on a trade mission with Governor Deval Patrick.Light lamented that the people who'd ultimately be giving the thumbs-up of thumbs-down on the deal were not in the room. "We had people in that room that could get a deal done at any point," said Light. "They the league negotiators didnt seem to have the ability to do any of that when they had to the leave the room, make a phone call (to debrief owners who weren't in attendance). If it was me, I was in that model, I would have every one of my guys in those seats making sure that we had one voice and we could get a deal done."Ownershiptries to paint the players as the ones who wanted to decertify all along. Weak attendance by owners argues against that. So too does the fact that - on the last day before the lockout - commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly was given more latitude to make a deal. That tidbit made eyebrows rise among the players because, well, didn't he have that latitude before? It felt to the players like a bag job. One other sidelight: owners allege the fact that players decertified at 4 p.m. the day the CBA was expiring was proof they never wanted to do a deal. But had they not decertified and no extension to negotiations was granted, the owners would have locked them out at midnight. And the players would have forfeited their right to decertify for six months. We'll try to get Jonathan Kraft's thoughts on Light's comments down here in New Orleans.

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

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.