FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18:  Ted Washington #92 of the New England Patriots lifts the AFC Championship Trophy after the win against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18, 2004 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 24-14. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Ted Washington lifts the 2003 AFC championship trophy. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The team-building process doesn’t stop at the end of free agency; franchises are always looking to augment their roster. With that in mind, here’s a look at the five most important personnel moves the Patriots have made over the summer months during the Bill Belichick era.

Aug. 19, 2003 — Trade fourth-round pick to Chicago for nose tackle Ted Washington: The 2002 Patriots struggled to stop the run, and as the 2003 season dawned, it remained the Achilles’ heel of the defense. Enter the massive Washington, who was able to play a sizable role (pun intended) in helping craft a championship run defense. The 6-foot-5, 365-pounder shut things down up front in his lone season with the Patriots.

Aug. 2, 2009 — Sign free agent defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich: The former backup long snapper had been released by the Saints, but the Patriots scooped him up off the street for nothing. He started as a special teamer, and quickly worked his way into the starting lineup. The 31-year-old has turned into one of the foundational elements of the New England defense — in his six years with the Patriots, he has 35.5 sacks, including three straight seasons with eight sacks or more.

Aug. 6, 2009 — Trade third- and fifth-round picks to Oakland for linebacker Derrick Burgess: The 6-foot-2, 266-pounder out of Ole Miss was acquired by the Patriots roughly a month before the start of the 2009 regular season, and came away with five sacks and a forced fumble in his one year in New England.

July 29, 2011 — Trade fifth-round pick to Washington for defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth; trade fifth- and sixth-round picks to Cincinnati for wide receiver Chad Ochocinco: While these moves weren’t particularly impactful (Haynesworth was gone before the end of the season and Ochocinco looked terrified of making a mistake every time he took the field with New England), they made the list just because they were two outsized personalities who were acquired just after the lockout ended.

Aug. 26, 2014 — Trade offensive lineman Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick: The Patriots’ most surprising personnel move of the year saw the venerable guard shipped out of town in exchange for Wright, a move tight end who worked to complement starter Rob Gronkowski. While Wright didn’t have overwhelming numbers (and was cut the following offseason), he did set a new mark for dependability as a member of the New England passing attack.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

After a Jets fan group paid a plane to fly over Gillette Stadium trailing a banner that read, “Cheaters Look Up!” during the first day of the Patriots’ preseason practices last Thursday, diehard Patriots fan and Maine resident Richard Pate fought back in kind.

On Sunday, Pate hired a local pilot to fly a banner over Roger Goodell’s summer home in Prouts Neck, Maine, that read, “Comm. Goodell Jet Home to N.Y.” Following the spectacle, Pate attacked the NFL commissioner’s ruling on Tom Brady‘s suspension.

“There was absolutely no vindictiveness whatsoever with my banner,” Pate told the Portland Press Herald. “But the commissioner has been anything but impartial. He has put the Patriots at a competitive disadvantage with his ruling.”

Goodell announced his decision to uphold Brady’s suspension last Tuesday in a report distributed from the NFL’s offices in New York City.

“I wanted to send him a subliminal message. … Get back to work, get this issue resolved. You’€™re not going to get anything done by vacationing at Prouts Neck. Get back to New York City,” Pate said.

Brady along with the NFL players union have appealed Goodell’s decision. The case will be heard in federal court by a judge later this month in New York.

Pate hired John Apte, owner of Screaming Eagle Aviation in his hometown of Biddleford, Maine, to fly over Prouts Neck on Saturday and Sunday. Pate did not discuss the cost of the endeavor, but he did say, “…it was worth every penny.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email Sunday night that “[the NFL] does not have a comment” about the banner being flown over Goodell’s home.

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik

Mike Florio of NBC Sports and joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss Deflategate and the NFL’s campaign against Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Mike Florio

Mike Florio

Mike Florio of NBC Sports and joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss Deflategate and the NFL’s campaign against Tom Brady and the Patriots. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

When asked if Deflategate would have taken on its persona if Chris Mortensen had not reported the false information leaked by an NFL source, Florio determined it difficult to hedge either way.

“Well, it all depends on when that would have come out,” he said. “If the real PSI numbers would have come out before the ripcord was pulled on the Ted Wells lawnmower, then I think the Patriots would have been able to shout down the PSI numbers fairly quickly. … First of all, we’ve got two pressure gauges being used before the AFC championship game that vary by 0.45 PSI. Hard to make any reliable conclusions about anything. But on one of the gauges, it shows that the PSI numbers at halftime were fully in line with what the ideal gas law would have predicted, and I think Ted Wells never arrives on the scene. This falls into the category of inconclusive.”

Florio lauded the NFL’s public relations team for influencing the public perception of Brady’s guilt by implying that he destroyed his cellphone, the latest effort by the league to discredit Brady publicly.

“It was a genius PR effort by the NFL start to finish, beginning with 11 of 12 footballs two pounds under the minimum and ending with the, ‘Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone,’ masterfully handed to Stephen A. Smith last Tuesday morning,” Florio said. “And I know he gets sensitive about the perception that he was used by the NFL. Well, Stephen A., you were used by the NFL. They picked the right guy to hand this to. He blazed a path, he got the idea out there. … Four hours later, ‘Oh my gosh, Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.’ That was locked in and I went through that. … They dropped this ‘Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone’ and I’m like, ‘Hey, I can stop worrying about PSIs and I can quit worrying about whether Ted Wells should have been able to extract a confession from Beavis or Butthead with those text messages he had and I can feel like it’s finally over and they got it right: Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone.’

“And you had to read through every page, every word, every footnote, 20 pages, single-spaced, the Roger Goodell ruling to see that there were flaws in this conclusion that Tom Brady destroyed his cellphone. But from a PR standpoint, people … shut it down. They turn it off because they believe the NFL and the NFL has sold them on these buzzwords that make them believe that there’s no reason to take a closer look at this.”

Though he says he doesn’t believe the NFL specifically sought to bring the Patriots down a peg, Florio said some parties involved were willing to jump to unproven conclusions.

“I don’t think it was the NFL generally. I believe that there were people who were poised and anxious and ready to jump to a negative conclusion,” Florio said. “When the Colts made the complaint during the game, they decided, ‘OK, let’s see if we can catch them,’ and once they started seeing those readings under 12.5 [PSI], not understanding how the ideal gas law works, not having ever checked PSI measurements at halftime of any game or after any game or ever … that’s when this thing started down the path. The moment the false information was leaked to [Mortensen], that’s when I believe … that somebody below Roger Goodell understood that in the aftermath of the Ray Rice debacle, Roger Goodell could not afford to ever be perceived as going too easy on anyone again.

“Nobody ever says boo when he goes too far. When he doesn’t go far enough, as he did with Ray Rice, questions are raised about his competence and fitness for the job, so I think somebody recognized that, ‘You know what, once we get this thing rolling, there’s nothing the commissioner can do. He’s got to see this through, he’s got to be perceived as tough, he cannot afford to be soft on anyone after what happened with Ray Rice.’ That’s the only way I can explain the blatantly false information given to Mortensen by multiple sources. … We know now that on one of those two gauges, three of the four Colts footballs … were under 12.5 [PSI], so more falsehoods being perpetrated by the league. It’s clear now that this stuff was coming from the league office. The Patriots and no one connected to the Patriots would have been leaking it that way while arguing there has to be tampering on the part of the Patriots.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On what’s keeping Mortensen from apologizing: “Mort is in a tough spot and I feel bad for him. If you have multiple high-level people at the league office who are determined to tell a falsehood and they are reinforcing that falsehood, No. 1, what can you really say? And No. 2, you should be very upset because you’ve been lied to, and frankly, if you just keep your head low and fight through it, you have a lot of equity with those folks in the future about getting accurate information, because they owe you big time for unwittingly being their sword in all of this. The goal for ESPN and for Mort was to lay low and hope it all goes away.”

On if NFL executive Mike Kensil should be fired: “I don’t know. … The NFL needs to do exactly what those emails the Patriots released on Friday begged the NFL to do. They need to turn the microscope back onto themselves and they need to figure out who it was and who were the people [who leaked false information]. And Mortensen can’t give up his sources, but there’s got to be a way. … You’ve got to be able to figure out who it was that was calling Chris Mortensen, texting Chris Mortensen, emailing Chris Mortensen on or about January 19th, 20th, and you can get to the truth about who was in communication with him and you can get to the truth about who was disseminating that false information and you can make your decisions accordingly.”

Blog Author: 
Justin Pallenik
Darrelle Revis left the Patriots for the Jets. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis left the Patriots for the Jets. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

With the Patriots taking a day off from camp, that presents us with an opportunity to check in with eight of the players who were on the roster last year who have since moved on to new teams.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis: The Jets cornerback hasn’t taken any passive aggressive shots at his old employer over the last few days. Instead, he’s been working with the rest of the rebuild New York secondary over the course of the first few days of camp in Florham Park. The Jets Twitter feed provided some cool looking Vines of some of the one-on-one drills between Revis and wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Cornerback Brandon Browner: Browner, who turned 31 on Sunday, left the Patriots on good terms as a free agent over the offseason (he posted his championship ring and the nice note from Robert Kraft on Instagram last month), but the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder did reveal an intriguing nugget over the weekend: He told reporters that when the Patriots “asked me to take a pay cut, you know, it was time to get up out of there.” He currently projects as one of the two lead corners in the New Orleans defense for 2015.

Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: The longtime Patriot signed with the Texans in the offseason, and figures to be one of the foundational elements of Houston’s defensive line. Wilfork revealed this week that his daughter Destiny agreed to allow her father to sign with the Texans was if she could meet J.J. Watt. Mission accomplished.

Running back Shane Vereen: While there was plenty of talk initially about potentially utilizing Vereen in more than just a third-down role, it appears now that he’s starting to settle in as New York’s third-down option out of the backfield. Vereen said this week there are a number of similarities between the offense he was a part of in New England and what’s getting used to with the Giants.

Running back Stevan Ridley: The former Patriots back was placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of Jets’ training camp. Ridley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last October against the Bills, has expressed optimism that he can get back on the field sooner rather than later, but at the same time, he said in June he does not want to create “false hope” regarding his health. Ultimately, the goal is to be back on the field for Week 1 of the regular season.

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas: Casillas, who became an important backup and special teams contributor, signed with the Giants in the offseason, and the six-year veteran should fill much of the same role with New York this season.

Tight end Tim Wright: Wright, who was a bit of a surprise cut by the Patriots in June, returned to the Bucs. The 25-year-old, who set new marks for dependability in his one season in New England, will likely compete to back up Austin Seferian-Jenkins as Tampa’s primary move tight end.

Linebacker Akeem Ayers: To some extent, the situational rusher rebuilt his career last season with the Patriots, working in a nice complementary role to starters Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. He signed a two-year deal in the offseason with the Rams, and is attempting to transition back to working more as a three-down outside linebacker with St. Louis.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

It’s Tom Brady‘s 38th birthday and his wife Gisele Bundchen took to Instragram to send a birthday message saying: “Happy birthday my love! We’re so blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you for always giving us so much love. We love you! #Love #Family

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Patriots have claimed guard Harland Gunn off waivers, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Gunn is a 25-year-old who has been with the Cowboys, Saints and Falcons since he arrived in the league as an undrafted free agent out of Miami. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder has played in 12 games with one start in his NFL career.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

NFL officials have started to make their annual tour of training camps, and at most of the stops, it’€™s a chance for players and reporters to quiz referees about any new procedures or protocols for the upcoming season.

NFL officials have started to make their annual tour of training camps, and at most of the stops, it’€™s a chance for players and reporters to quiz referees about any new procedures or protocols for the upcoming season. So it was no surprise that when Friday at Steelers’€™ camp, officials met the the media and were asked about the new procedures surrounding treatment of the footballs — from now on, officials will mark each ball specifically and record the air pressure so they then can randomly test a ball in question at a later point if directed. It’€™s a routine that has grown out of the Deflategate drama.

Central Region supervisor of officials Gary Slaughter acknowledged there have been football inflation issues in the past.

“These are man-made products,” Slaughter explained Friday, specifically talking about the footballs. “There is a bladder and a valve. We have all checked them for many years. Sometimes when you check the ball in the locker room right out of the box, there could be a problem. (There) could have a slow leak, and you wouldn’t even know it at the time.”

For more Patriots news, check out

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
FOXBORO —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the return of LeGarrette Blount to Patriots training camp on Saturday, the first day of full pads practice for the defending Super Bowl champions.