By TomE. Curran
It's pretty common knowledge that the Patriots are locked and loaded for the 2011 NFL Draft -- nine draft picks, six in the first three rounds. Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio andfriendsare going to be at liberty to do what they do best -- deal and seek value. And adding picks for 2012, as my CSNNE buddy Adam Hart points out, is likely a goal, too, since New England has just one pick in each of the first five rounds of that draft. But things could get sticky for the Patriots if they start making too many deals involving the future. The lawsuit the players are bringing in federal court against the NFL alleges the league is in violation of antitrust laws. And, as PFT's Mike Florio points out, the draft itself is a pretty good example of an antitrust violation because " . . . assuming the decertification of the union sticks, an effort by 32 separate companies to divvy up incoming workers easily runs afoul of the antitrust laws."Why was the draft legal in the past? Because the players -- as a union -- agreed in the previous CBA to allow the league to have a draft. No new CBA means no draft after this one. A lot of things would have to happen -- almost all of them bad for NFL teams, players and fans -- for the draft to go away permanently. But until there's a new CBA, there is no CBA, knowwhutImean? Hence, it's a bit of a dice roll to presume there will be a draft in 2012. Belichick measures risk and reward like a maniac on draft day. This year, one of the biggest risks he will likely take is dealing current picks for future ones when the future looks to be in doubt. So trading the 28th overall pick to a perennially bad team for their 2012 first-rounder could -- in essence -- be just like giving the spot away if things go from bad to worse between the players and owners. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at email@example.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
Tom Brady is supposed to have no contact with the Patriots regarding football during his four-game suspension. Will the NFL make sure that doesn’t happen? How can they?
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald discussed it with Toucher and Rich.
Michael Hurley discusses the NFL's investigation into Peyton Manning's alleged PED use with Toucher and Rich. Hurley wonders why their was such a rush to clear a retired player and continue the probe into still-active players.
The Patriots had a handful of veterans who missed spring practices back on the field Monday.
The team's website posted video of a training camp "sneak preview," featuring clips from a practice held three days before the official start of camp. In the video were shown offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back LeGarrette Blount and safety Duron Harmon getting in some work after all three were absent from OTA practices open to the media.
Solder suffered a biceps injury last season that landed him on season-ending injured reserve, which helped throw the Patriots protection in front of Tom Brady into a state of flux for much of the remainder of the season. Should Solder be able to participate in camp practices, as it appears will be the case, the team will have a stabilizing presence on the left side of the line as it prepares for the regular season.
Blount also landed on IR last season after having suffered a hip injury late in the year. He hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason and eventually signed a one-year deal to remain in New England. If healthy, Blount figures to have the edge in claiming the "big back" role that he's filled for the Patriots at different points over the course of the last three seasons.
Harmon sported a red non-contact jersey during Monday's workout, indicating that he may still need some time before he's ready for any kind of tackling drills this summer. The fourth-year safety explained earlier this month that he was "ready to go" for camp after "just trying to clean up some things physically" during the spring.