Curran: 40 lines on 20 issues


Curran: 40 lines on 20 issues

Twenty thoughts in 40 lines . . .

Last season, Brandon Tate was targeted 46 times and caught 24 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. In the Patriots' first 10 games last year, he was targeted 33 times and caught 18 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown.

Bonus! He also had 29 kickoff returns in the first 10 games, averaging 30.5 yards per return and taking two back for touchdowns.

The player that replaced Tate in the Patriots offense has been targeted 23 times and has 11 receptions for 201 yards. He hasnt scored a touchdown, he hasnt taken back a kick.

So that player Chad Ochocinco has 47 less touches for 987 fewer yards and three fewer touchdowns than Tate did. Of course, hes making about 5.5 million more than Tate, so it all makes sense.

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has a bruised foot suffered Sunday in the Eagles win over the Giants. Anything that helps slow down the player recently voted the second-fastest in the league in a SI poll of players is good news for the Patriots.

Ray Lewis felt badly about not being available to speak to the media on Tuesday so he released a statement, saying, I apologize for not being available as I normally am on a day like today, but I am taking every opportunity to get treatment on my foot to prepare to play on Thursday. What a weirdo, right?

For Monday nights live (LIVE!) Quick Slants show, one of the prop bets was which would be higher, the game-time temperature or the total points scored. The points scored came out on top, 37 to 33.

Why do cigarettes get a special litter dispensation? If you saw someone throw a straw wrapper on the ground or out a car window youd say, What the hell . . . but butts get a relative free ride.

Matt Lights ankle is going to be sore for a few weeks. But there is no danger of it being a long-term injury.

Kyle Loves Twitter avatar tells the story that Ryan Lilja may not be able to recall. The blossoming Patriots defensive tackle de-cleated Lilja on one of Kyle Arringtons picks.

Later, Love told me, It actually hurt. He's heavy, I actually hurt my back a little bit. I caught a glimpse of it on the Jumbotron. They're trying to hit us too. That's how football works.

Clearly, the crime-and-punishment portion of the NFL game is pretty screwed up right now. Whether on simple penalties a flag last week for Sterling Moore when he dislocated a teammates shoulder; fines handed out to players whose helmet-to-helmet contact is wholly incidental or initiated by the offensive players or shame-the-game infractions like 75,000 to Rex Ryan this week.

The whole thing needs an overhaul . . . and when that happens, how about fines by percentage? A first-offense dangerous hit fine should be .05 percent of a players cap number for that season.

So if Brandon Deaderick and his 468,000 cap hit get dinged for a blow to a quarterbacks head, hes out 2,340. And Shaun Ellis? Hes out 20,000 for the same hit thanks to his 4 million cap number.

So it needs some tweaking. At least its a thought.

Monday was the first time Jerod Mayo looked like the pre-MCL Jerod Mayo. Hats off to him and Aaron Hernandez for hustling back from those injuries, but its hard to maintain that level of play when youre playing three weeks after a six-week injury is sustained.

Well see what happens with Brandon Spikes in that regard. If he sits out through the Colts game, that would be four full weeks off.

The Eagles defense, considering the way they played against the Giants? Kind of a tough draw for the Patriots this week.

I dont know how much more talented physically the current Patriots secondary guys are compared to the ones whove been ushered out this year. But they sure seem a lot smarter.

My oldest kid broke every toe on his right foot skateboarding Tuesday night and I spent thenight in the ER and got home a bit late to properly finish this out. So,begging your pardon,I prematurely put a bow on this little number and wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Putting Gronkowski deal in context after Washington gives Reed extension


Putting Gronkowski deal in context after Washington gives Reed extension

Rob Gronkowski's contract with the Patriots continues to look like a relative bargain as tight ends around the league haul in big money on a per-year basis. 

On Thursday, Washington announced that it had come to terms on a long-term contract extension with tight end Jordan Reed. The deal is reportedly worth $50 million over five years, including $22 million guaranteed. 

That's not a bad pay day for a player who has missed 14 games due to injury over the course of his first three seasons. When healthy, he's proven to be one of the most dynamic players at his position -- playing more as an over-sized wide receiver at 6-foot-3, 236 pounds than a true dual-threat tight end -- and now he's being paid as such. 

Reed's new contract allows us an opportunity to take another look at Gronkowski's deal, which has come into focus ever since he sent out a tweet in March that indicated he felt as though he was taking a pay cut when the Patriots picked up an option that would keep him in New England through 2019.

In the tweet, Gronkowski said he doesn't play for the money -- and according to him he hasn't spent a dime of what the Patriots have paid him since entering the league -- but it seemed to be relatively clear that the structure of his contract was on his mind when he took to social media.

Gronkowski signed a six-year, $54 million extension in 2012. By then he had proven how important he was to the Patriots offense, but he had a lengthy injury history going back to his college playing days. At the time, a deal that both paid him at the top of the market and gave him a measure of security was welcomed with open arms.

Now here we are in 2016, and the market has shifted. The salary cap has increased and many teams have opted to pay their tight ends bigger chunks of the pie, sliding Gronkowski down the list of highest-paid players at that position based on average annual value. 

Reed and Seattle's Jimmy Graham ($10 million) now top the list. Kansas City's Travis Kelce ($9.4 million) and Jacksonville's Julius Thomas ($9.2 million) also fall in ahead of Gronkowski.

Considering where those players stack up with Gronkowski in terms of production, the Patriots' All-Pro seems to have every right to furrow his brow when he looks at his contract by comparison. 

It could be a while though before Gronkowski sees any alterations to his income, however. First and foremost, he still had four years remaining on his contract as it's currently constructed. The Patriots front office gambled and won with the deal they gave him four years ago, and barring a holdout, they'd have little incentive to re-work it. 

There's also the matter of where Gronkowski's deal falls in terms of the team's list of priorities. He's at least still paid near the top of the market at his position.

There are several of his teammates -- corners Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan, linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower, defensive end Jabaal Sheard and receiver Julian Edelman -- who are either a) about to become free agents after the 2016 or b) could make the argument that they're even more significantly underpaid than Gronkowski. Some fall under both categories. 

As great as Gronkowski has been, and as important as he is to his team's success, he may have to take his place in line when it comes to receiving a deal that more favorably reflects his value. 

Tom Brady, Vanilla Ice look like BFFs at Under Armour event


Tom Brady, Vanilla Ice look like BFFs at Under Armour event

Watch out Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Alex Guerrero. Tom Brady just might have a new best friend. 

At an Under Armour event that took place on Wednesday, rapper Vanilla Ice snapped a selfie with the Patriots quarterback, who was grinning from ear to ear. 

In South Baltimore, "Armour Day" was held in order to celebrate Under Armour's 20th year in business. Brady was one of many athletes in attendance, including Jordan Spieth, Lindsey Vonn, Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, Cal Ripken, Boomer Esiason and Roger Clemens. 

Brady is one of the faces of Under Armour, along with Spieth and Warriors guard Steph Curry. When he signed in 2010, he received equity in the company as part of the deal. 

Palazzolo: Mitchell ‘flashes really good downfield ball skills’


Palazzolo: Mitchell ‘flashes really good downfield ball skills’

Fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell is the next in a line of receivers the Patriots have drafted in hopes they’d click with quarterback Tom Brady.

As part of the Quick Slants the podcast draft recap episode, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus told Phil Perry that Mitchell looks to be a fit in the role previously filled by Brandon LaFell and Brandon Lloyd. Palazzolo said Mitchell could serve as a complement to Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Martellus Bennett.

“I think that’s where Mitchell fits in. And I think he does a pretty good job there creating separation on the routes the Patriots need him to run,” Palazzolo said. “He flashes some really good downfield ball skills.”

To hear Palazzolo’s analysis on the rest of the Patriots draft picks, use the Sound Cloud player below or search CSNNE on iTunes.