Belichick: Cutting players 'the worst part of the job'


Belichick: Cutting players 'the worst part of the job'

Some quick hits from Bill Belichick's conference call with reporters Friday:

The team announced eight cuts, which Belichick called "the worst part of the job." They need to make 19 more by 4 p.m. Saturday to get to the 53-player limit.

"It's always a tough time of year for myself and all the other position coaches as well," he said.

On offensive tackle (and first-round draft pick) Nate Solder: "A lot of stuff has been thrown at him the last month, and I think he's handled it . . . I thought he did some good things."

On Matthew Slater: "Matthew is such a hard-working player. Nobody outworks him. He's gotten better every single year. He's had a real good camp."

On who'll be the team's main kick returner: "We have a number of guys who have done it on this team. It'll be someone from that group."

On safety Brandon Meriweather, rumored to be in danger of losing his roster spot: "He's had a good camp."

On the struggles of rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett: "That's the NFL. Things happen in this league fast."

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl


Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

NFL Siberia can’t be all that bad. The Cleveland Browns have signed Jamie Collins to an extension that keeps him off the free agent market.

The former Patriot, stunningly shipped out of town on Halloween, has agreed to a reported four-year, $50 million deal with $26M in guaranteed money.

As eyebrow-raising as the move was at the time, this is an all’s well that ends well story.

Collins, a reluctant Patriot once it came clear the team wouldn’t to aim a confetti cannon of money at him, gets the desired big-dough deal. He didn’t drape himself in glory with his level of play this year in New England, but his agitation over making $900K this year was understandable.

The Patriots -- who made the deal not knowing exactly how it would work out with Collins’ fleet of replacements (primarily rookie Elandon Roberts and, October acquisition Kyle Van Noy) -- have played better defense since Collins has been gone and are headed to the Super Bowl.

Would they have been better if Collins stayed? The answer to that is a question: Which version of Collins, the irked one or the motivated one?

Collins did nothing to veil his desire for a huge contract, saying at the end of the season he’d stay with the hapless Browns if the money was right. Now that he’s decided the money was right, what kind of Collins will the Browns get? With $26M guaranteed, the Browns have tethered themselves to the 27-year-old Collins for a chunk of his prime. The shorter term is ideal for Collins because -- if he performs to his capability -- he’ll be able to see another lucrative deal before he’s too aged.

The deal will certainly be noticed by Collins’ former teammates, primarily Donta Hightower who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

The Patriots could franchise Hightower (last year’s tag number was more than $14M) but that’s not going to be ideal for either side. Hightower will want to get the windfall of guaranteed money that comes with a long-term deal and the Patriots may be reluctant to pay that much to a player that’s got an injury history and plays one of the game’s most violent positions.

A lot’s going to happen between now and the time the Patriots have to make their decision. A good deal of it will happen in the next 12 days. If Hightower stealthily saves the Super Bowl as he did in 2014 with his first-down tackle on Marshawn Lynch … how do you put a price on that?