ESPN NFL analyst Sal Paolantonio joined Middays with MFB Tuesday morning to discuss the latest from the NFL owners’ meetings, including the latest on the tampering charge against the Jets and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

ESPN NFL analyst Sal Paolantonio joined Middays with MFB Tuesday morning to discuss the latest from the NFL owners’ meetings, including the latest on the tampering charge against the Jets and Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Jets owner Woody Johnson made comments at his season-ending press conference about Darrelle Revis while the cornerback was still under contract with the Patriots. The Patriots reportedly filed tampering charges to the league, and then at the start of free agency Revis signed with the Jets.

Paolantonio believes the Jets should be disciplined with a “significant draft pick” taken away.

“They definitely broke the rule and the Jets should be punished,” said Paolantonio. “I think the NFL takes tampering very seriously and they should. Free agency is as unfeathered as you could possibly get it. We just saw a crazy round of free agency in the NFL with trades and teams signings players to these outrageous contracts and all kinds of player movement all over the league. You don’t have to be talking expeditiously to members of the media or to the public about other teams players.

“It’s not the way these ‘partners’ in the NFL want to be doing business with one another and I think the NFL is going to take it seriously. I think Woody Johnson did speak out of turn. I think he did break and rule and I think they should be docked a significant draft pick.”

The Deflategate investigation led by Ted Wells is now in its second full month. Paolantonio said there are a few theories to why the investigation is taking so long to complete.

“I don’t want to conjecture about that,” he said. “I think there are a lot of theories about why it is taking so long. One, that it was handled poorly. Two, that their investigation has determined that it was wide-spread all over the league. I know they talked to a number of teams around the league about it. So maybe that is also a plausible theory. The third is they don’t have the Patriots dead to rights and they don’t know what to do.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Bills-Patriots division rivalry is sure to be taken to a new level with Rex Ryan taking over as head coach.

Like with the Jets, Ryan knows the Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East and he and the Bills are not backing down.

The Bills-Patriots division rivalry is sure to be taken to a new level with Rex Ryan taking over as head coach.

Like with the Jets, Ryan knows the Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East and he and the Bills are not backing down.

“They’re clearly the team to beat and we’re coming after them,” Ryan told reporters at the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona.

Buffalo had one of its best seasons in years last year going 9-7, which was their first winning season since 2004. They also beat the Patriots in the regular-season finale at Gillette Stadium, possibly giving the organization some momentum going into 2015.

With the offseason moves the Bills made, along with the other teams in the division in the Jets and Dolphins, Ryan feels the AFC East is “the best in football.”

In his six seasons as coach of the Jets he went 46-50, leading the team to two AFC championship games.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to discuss what he’s heard about all NFL matters at the owners’ meetings in Arizona this week, most notably Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to discuss what he’s heard about all NFL matters at the owners’ meetings in Arizona this week, most notably Deflategate. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Roger Goodell told SI’s Peter King Monday Ted Wells’ investigation into Deflategate is “getting near the end.” Schefter said he hasn’t heard much, but like all the other league investigations, he does expect “stiff and stern” punishments if wrongdoing is found.

“I have not heard much about it at all,” said Schefter. “I do know they are having a difficult time connecting with Tom Brady at some point. I don’t know if they actually interviewed him or not. I still never heard the answer to that. I know that there were some issues trying to schedule an interview that I don’t know did or did not [happen]. I don’t know where they are at and I don’t know when we are going to find out. Obviously everyone is waiting on that.

“There are all these investigations going on simultaneously — the Browns texting, the Jets tampering [Darrelle] Revis or Falcons piping in crowd noise. I think we’re going to see a couple of these situations, some of these teams, losing draft picks. I don’t know how it will shake out, but I do think NFL will be stiff and stern in its punishment if it finds wrongdoing was done.”

Schefter isn’t surprised with how long the investigation has taken, and he looked back at Wells’ last investigation into the Miami Dolphins and the bullying allegations with the team a few years ago.

“No, because they retained Ted Wells and if you look back at the Miami situation they hired him roughly the first week of November and his report came out on Valentine’s Day, so that was roughly three and a half months,” said Schefter. “Ted Wells wants to be very thorough and he wants to go back to when they changed the ruling on the air pressures in the balls where they could take some balls out where Tom Brady and Peyton Manning lobbied so quarterbacks could dictate the air pressure in the balls, and so he’s going back to then. There is a lot of background work involved in this and because of that he is trying to be thorough and exhaustive and come up with something that is conclusive and tells the right story whatever that story is.”

The Patriots will play in the first game of the 2015 NFL season on a Thursday night in September at Gillette Stadium, customary for the defending Super Bowl champions. Schefter is hearing the most likely opponents are either the Eagles or Steelers.

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

On Patriots’ decision to allow Revis to sign with the Jets: “The reason they let him get to the Jets — a few reasons. It wasn’t like they let him get there. They made what they thought was a fair bid. The Patriots are very smart business people and they have handled their football operation in a very successful way over the years and they have a certain price they are willing to go to and they are not going to pay more than that. They are not one of these teams that gets into bidding wars.”

On the Jets signing Revis: “The Jets did what they had to do. They had all this cap space. Does it make sense? Is it going to make a difference of them winning the Super Bowl next year? Probably not. The Jets fans [are all fired up now]. They are excited. They don’t care.”

On the AFC East’s offseason: “I think the whole division has gotten very incestuous and interesting. We have Jets disciples spread throughout the AFC East. Mike Tannenbaum in Miami, Rex Ryan in [Buffalo] with some of his assistant coaches and we have a whole new regime in New York. It all branches out from New York and they are all trying to bring down New England and they are all making moves designed to try to slow down the Patriots. Now when you look at it, they all in my mind [got] better. Every single one of those teams has gotten better, but there are still a couple of factors that cannot be duplicated and that is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The quarterback and head coach. They still remain in place.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Nick O'Leary (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Nick O’Leary is Florida State’s career leader for receptions, yards and touchdowns by a tight end. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

NICK O’LEARY

Position: Tight end

School: Florida State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 247 pounds

Achievements: 2014 Mackey Award for best tight end, 2014 All-American, 2014 All-ACC first team, 2013 Mackey Award finalist, 2013 All-ACC second team

What he brings: O’Leary is a versatile tight end who has experience lining up in in several different formations. He is praised for his blocking ability, especially when matched up against similarly sized defenders. Scouts also like his ability to beat zone defenses, consistently hold on to the football, and compete for yardage after the catch. However, there are concerns that his size will limit his ability to effectively block bigger NFL defenders. He is not the most athletic tight end and is not expected to be a big-play threat, especially against man coverage. He is considered one of the most tenacious players in the draft.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 4-6

Notes: ESPN.com ranks O’Leary as the fourth tight end and 123rd overall in the draft. He finished the 2014 season with 48 receptions for 618 yards and six touchdowns. He ended his FSU career as the school’s all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (114), yards (1,591) and touchdowns (18). O’Leary didn’t miss a game in his final two seasons with the Seminoles. He finished fourth among tight ends at the scouting combine in the bench press, with 21 reps. He is the grandson of golfer Jack Nicklaus.

Related articles:

ESPN.com: O’Leary tough competitor, hard to play against

Video: Here are highlights from O’Leary’s 2014 season.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler
Julian Edelman was rocked pretty hard a few times in Super Bowl XLIX. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman was rocked pretty hard a few times in Super Bowl XLIX. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The Patriots have been at the center of many of the discussions regarding potential rules changes this offseason with several proposals, as well as some tweaks that may have been suggested by New England’s conference rivals following a bitter playoff defeat.

And now, in a roundabout way, there’s another rule change that may be put into place in 2015 because of the Patriots. In the second half of Super Bowl XLIX, wide receiver Julian Edelman helped move the chains with a big third-down reception, but after he withstood a bone-rattling hit, it appeared he was wobbly when he got to his feet. Edelman himself dismissed concussion talk after the game, but some people speculated if the receiver was indeed concussed as the result of the hit.

On Monday at the league meetings in Arizona, the competition committee discussed a new proposal where an independent official — what committee members referred to as an ATC spotter who viewed the game from a press box or similar vantage point — would have the power to radio to an official to stop the game if he notices a player who should go through the concussion protocol. The player would then be removed from the game and checked by trainers.

Falcons president Rich McKay, who serves on the competition committee, was asked if the Edelman play spurred the decision to be more proactive when it comes to concussion issues.

“The Edelman situation was a play we looked at, and it was part of the issue,” he said. “There were a couple of other plays that go back a couple of years that we looked at and really it came a little bit from the health and safety committee just saying, ‘We got the ATC spotters, they’ve got a really good vantage point, they’ve got technology in their booth, they’re communicating pretty well with our trainers and doctors and we’ve got a pretty good rhythm going there, why would we miss a player where a player shouldn’t come out?’ And maybe this becomes the fail-safe. So that was the genesis of it.

“We do not expect this to be a rule that gets used a lot. We expect it to be a fail-safe when people just don’t see this player and the distress the player may have had, the ATC spotter does and stops the game.”

McKay also expanded on some of the logistical aspects of what happens when the player is removed from the game.

“(The team) will be able to substitute. In the case of the offense, bring in the new player, the defense will have the chance to match up,” he added. “But we will start the play clock where it was, unless it was inside 10 seconds. Then we will reset back to 10. But the thinking is, we didn’t want to create a situation where a team could potentially gain a competitive advantage or disadvantage through this process.”

The proposal will be voted on this week.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots were awarded two compensatory picks in the 2015 NFL draft on Monday. New England will receive the 97th pick overall, a third rounder, as well as the 36th pick of the seventh round, No. 253 overall.

Robert Kraft and Vince Wilfork were together for 11 seasons. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Robert Kraft and Vince Wilfork were together for 11 seasons. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Seeing Vince Wilfork depart was “one of the toughest things” Robert Kraft had to endure as the owner of the Patriots, he said Monday.

“It was even harder than anything else,” Kraft told reporters at the league meetings in Arizona. “He’s someone we watched come in here; I developed a very strong personal tie to him. It’s the hardest part of this game, speaking as a fan and also someone who got to know him and Bianca and his kids.”

The veteran defensive tackle, who had spent 11 seasons with the Patriots, announced on March 5 that the team was not going to pick up his option, and that he would become a free agent. And on March 16, while bidding a fond farewell to New England, he announced he was signing with the Texans.

Kraft said Wilfork’s goodbye to the Patriots was “something beautiful.”

“He’ll always be a Patriot and he’s keeping his home here. Sometimes the player is more valuable to one team than other team given how they’re constructed. Losing Vince is probably one of the hardest things that happened. (There are) some emotional ties. He’s a pretty special guy.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price