Brady agrees to be plaintiff in potential suit

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Brady agrees to be plaintiff in potential suit

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Niiiice saber rattling!If the NFLPA chooses to decertify and bring the NFL to court to challenge the league's antitrust exemption, the three plaintiffs in the case will be Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. (What, no Cromartie?!)
It was later reported that Patriots guard Logan Mankins would join the three quarterbacks as a fourth plaintiff if the NFL is taken to court.
Understand, this news is almost ALL sizzle and no steak. Everything would have to go down the crapper before you see Brady, Manning and Brees striding into court side-by-each to make their cases againsta league that's earned the threemen more than a quarter-billion combined. But what this news does in the waning hours of the current CBA is let the owners: 1) know that the players will take them to court and make their lives a living legal hell with an antitrust suit the players will win (the franchise tag is - at its core - unconstitutional); 2) shows that the biggest guns are on board and willing to stand up for the guys they sweat with against the guys who sign their checks, and 3) lets the owners contemplate the visual image of these three well-spoken league icons nodding in agreement as a lawyer rips the NFL a newie. Oh, and 4) no doubt pisses off their respective owners. While this may be a wholly symbolic move, underestimating Brady's allegiance to his teammates and the rest of the league would be a mistake. He's already spoken out against the 18-game season. Meanwhile, his laborious contract negotiations with the Krafts in 2005 and 2010 took away the innocence he had when he was starting out. He's seen how the sausage gets made. He knows how much the owners make off the players' sweat, blood and cartilage (it's work the players choose andare well compensated for, I know). If anyone were to suggest Brady is biting the hand that's fed him, he could reasonably ask, "Who's been feeding who?"

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

Collins gets his pay day as Patriots prepare for Super Bowl

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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?