Giardi and Price discuss the mega deal that CB Josh Norman signed with Washington and if he is worth it. They also relate it to the Pats and Malcolm Butler. Does the Norman deal mean that Butler is about to cash in and will the Pats go along for the ride? This leads to a discussion on other players the Patriots need to extend very soon.

[0:00:11] ... And now out. The short list of favored producers. Mike Furrey. And it big bid to bat looper has just risen to the top of the way everybody needs to take note. Of ...
[0:01:34] ... very often and he catches any cash is it quickly with the Washington Redskins five years 75 million more importantly. 36 million dollars over the first two years of that deal on the potential for fifteen ...
[0:09:00] ... would have been done one of these guys are ready. Dep the preemptive strike. Deon Butler earlier columns early or even high towers entering free agency that they would have. Lock one up and now go ...
[0:12:41] ... high tower he's the next Jerod Mayo he's the next guy's gonna Kentucky Derby and he's the next captain. You don't really know so much about cults are pretty fast and it's the whole all of ...






Danny Vitale, the SuperBack - a fullback/TE hybrid type - joins GIardi and Price on NFL Sunday to discuss the process of entering the NFL Draft, the combine and interviewing with various NFL teams including your New England Patriots.

[0:07:44] ... I'm really used stories appear resigned he runs. Someone to Padgett a Dallas Clark of course retired after the Indianapolis Colts. How much time you spend doing each of these things so that you are able to the sort of testy I am ...
[0:09:26] ... of spot a few elements in your game you know we mentioned Dallas Clark before is there a guy who is in the league now you can point to a six. A Yorker put a little ...
[0:12:48] ... things to buy a social media. Though I absolutely you know sorcery epic games like that. You know I'm not sure they got it figured out how to appeal. So that there would be huge help. ...
[0:18:24] ... guy may be key show Martin. Could grow into that guy baby Nate Washington becomes that guide there are guys who were on this roster now where I think have the potential to fill that role. ...






With the NFL draft only a few days away, Mike and Chris preview how things are shaping for the Pats and the rest of the league. It will be a strange this year since they don't have a first round pick - how will Belichick and company approach this dilemma? Also, would the Pats contemplate the idea of trading Jimmy G?
Mike Mayock knows what sort of player Bill Belichick likes to target come draft weekend. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

Mike Mayock knows what sort of player Bill Belichick likes to target come draft weekend. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports)

1. Predicting what the Patriots are going to do on draft weekend is always a bit of a fools’ errand. At the same time, there are some guys we’ve learned to listen to when it comes to Bill Belichick’s approach. It’s a small group that includes NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, a certified Friend of Belichick who seems unusually dialed in to the coach might do around the draft. (Maybe it’s because Mayock played briefly as a safety for the Giants when Belichick was an assistant coach in North Jersey, and the two have maintained a relationship ever since.) On a lengthy conference call with the media on Friday, Mayock was asked about what sort of player might appeal to the Patriots with the No. 60 overall pick, and whether or not New England is in decent shape because many pundits have suggested there’s not much of a difference in this draft between the 30th and 60th overall pick in terms of talent. He agreed, and listed three different positions and a handful of players who could end up with the Patriots.

Defensive line: “There’s got to be some defensive tackles, I would imagine, that are sitting there that look and smell like New England Patriots. I’m not sure if they’re looking for the three-technique quick guy like a Javon Hargrave from South Carolina State or Adolphus Washington of Ohio State or even a Sheldon Day (of Notre Dame), who is more of a nickel pass-rusher as a three-technique. My point is that they’ve got Malcolm Brown and Terrance Knighton that are big, strong, tough defensive tackles. (The Patriots) probably would like a three-technique type of guy that can get up the field and be really quick in the sub-package, and I think one of those type of guys will definitely be there.”

Running back: “I think the running back position could be interesting. (Utah’s) Devontae Booker, Kenneth Dixon from Louisiana Tech, (Jordan) Howard from Indiana, (Notre Dame’s) C.J. Prosise. I think the running back position could be very interesting there.”

Offensive line: “The offensive line thing is interesting. (Sebastian) Vollmer is 32 years old (and) had a bunch of injuries the last couple years. You start getting down into the bottom of the second round, and if you like the kid (Halapoulivaati) Vaitai from TCU, and (Auburn’s) Shon Coleman, (LSU’s) Gerald Hawkins, Le’Raven Clark (of Texas Tech), there are a bunch of names that could make sense for New England.”

2. While he’s not nearly at the same level as someone like Josh Norman — both from an on-field and contractual situation — the reps for Malcolm Butler must have taken note of the deal that Norman inked Friday night with the Redskins. While many of the details of the deal have yet to be revealed, initial reports indicate that Norman’s contract includes $36.5 million fully guaranteed over the first two years and could reach $50 million in total guaranteed cash, an astounding number for any player. Again, let’s make this clear: Butler isn’t Norman. But the deal is a sign that the market for good cornerbacks will only increase going forward. Put that against a backdrop where linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower are set to become unrestricted free agents following the 2016 season, and it could take some serious financial wrangling on the part of the Patriots to get Butler, Collins and Hightower all signed to long-term deals. Not saying it’s not possible — only that Norman’s new deal and another good year from Butler will really cost New England.

3. Every year, we like to have a little fun with some numerology posts, where we match up some new Patriots with a little history surrounding their new numbers in Foxboro. With the numbers for the new free agents coming out this week, we’ll fold the latest version into this week’s notebook:

53 — LB Ramon Humber
Linebackers Eric Martin and Jeff Tarpinian wore No. 53 the last few years, but the most distinguished No. 53 of the Belichick era was undoubtedly special teams captain Larry Izzo, who had it from 2001-08.

58 — LB Shea McClellin
Our buddy Matt Chatham wore it with distinction from 2000-05, but Jonathan Bostic, Steve Beauharnais and Tracy White all rocked No. 58 as of late.

65 — OL Jonathan Cooper
Not a great history — usually reserved for relatively anonymous offensive linemen. Jordan Devey, Nick McDonald and Wesley Britt have been the only three to wear it since 2008.

72 — DE Frank Kearse
Good number. Akiem Hicks sported No. 72 last year, and before that, it belonged to “Diamond” Joe Vellano for a stretch. But left tackle Matt Light was maybe the most notable No. 72 in franchise history.

83 — TE Martellus Bennett
Good number for a pass catcher — Wes Welker had it from 2007-2012, and Deion Branch wore it from 2002-2006. Bodes well for Bennett’s career in New England.

84 — WR Nate Washington
Another good number. Branch wore it during his second stint with the Patriots (2010-2012). In addition, Benjamin Watson (2004-2009), Shawn Jefferson (1996-99) and Darryl Stingley (1973-77) all wore in while in New England.

88 — TE Clay Harbor
Long a destination number for backup tight ends. Scott Chandler had it last season, while Matthew Mulligan, Sam Aiken and Kyle Brady also had it in their stints with the Patriots. (Shout out to WEEI teammate Christian Fauria, who made it his own when he was with New England from 2002-05.)

94 — DL Markus Kuhn
Ty Warren, Shaun Ellis, Justin Francis and Chris Jones all had No. 94 going back for the last decade or so.

95 — DE Chris Long
Long took No. 95 with the blessing of former Patriots’ defensive end Chandler Jones, who had it the previous four years before being dealt to Arizona this offseason. Our personal favorite — Roman Phifer — also had No. 95 from 2001-04.

96 — DT Terrance Knighton
Those digits have an up-and-down history in Foxboro in recent years: Adalius Thomas (2007-09), Jermaine Cunningham (2010-12) and Andre Carter (2013). A mixed bag, to say the least.

4. Our final Sunday pre-draft note deals with leadership. In the last five years, New England has made 48 draft picks, and 24 of them have been college captains. Last year, that included second-round pick Jordan Richards, fourth-rounders Trey Flowers and Shaq Mason and seventh-round selection Darryl Roberts. Over the last few years, the former college captains who have gone on to bigger and better things with the Patriots include Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower.

5. For those of you still holding out hope the Patriots will be able to figure out a way to beat the system on draft weekend, it’s important to remember that New England isn’t just prohibited from picking at No. 29. When it came to the punishment, the league added the wrinkle that if New England added a first-round pick via a trade, it would be forced to forfeit the better of the two picks. (Either the No. 29 pick or the one stripped by He Who Shall Not Be Named.) That being said, even with the Deflategate penalty, the Patriots could theoretically trade for the 30th, 31st or 32nd pick of the first round. Regardless, this is the fourth time in the Belichick era the Patriots have been without a first-round pick — they also were without one in 2013, 2009 and in 2000. “Our philosophy is we control the things that we can control,” Patriots personnel chief Nick Caserio said earlier this week when asked about not having a first-round selection. “Our job is to prepare for the draft and whatever our picks are, then be prepared to pick. A lot of that is out of our hands. There’s nothing we can do about that, so there’s no sense in spending extra time on it. … We’re just going to try and prepare for the draft and take advantage of our opportunities when we pick.”

6. Speaking of “integrity,” the Chiefs got the bad news this week that their third-round pick won’t be returned following a thumbs-down from The Ginger Hammer on a potential appeal of their tampering case involving wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Kansas City loses a third-rounder this year and a sixth-rounder next season, the harshest sanctions ever handed down in a tampering case. Per usual, the commish was the one who imposed the penalties, and also heard the appeal before going all Roman Emperor on Kansas City. Following the news, the Chiefs issued a statement. “We appreciate the opportunity to make our appeal on this matter, and we acknowledge the minor reduction in fines imposed,” team chairman Clark Hunt said. “However, we continue to believe that the facts of this case combined with the league’s inconsistent enforcement of its tampering policies do not warrant the most severe penalty for player-related tampering in league history.” Curious if there were any phone calls between Foxboro and Kansas City this week to commiserate about the situation.

7. It was an excellent round of free agency for the players this year, as the dollars were flowing at a record rate this spring. According to the NFLPA, an just over six weeks, 338 total players were signed, with 236 of those as unrestricted free agents, 20 as restricted free agents and 82 as “other” free agents. The total guaranteed money to players through this period was $1,026,095,000, an increase of 14.1 percent from last year and an all-time record for NFL free agency. With all that being said, there are a handful of free agents who are still on the market. Here’s a look at how a current roster of unsigned (and unrestricted) free agents might look. (You put this roster in the AFC South, and it could win you between six and eight games.)

Offense: Quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer; running backs Arian Foster and Reggie Bush; wide receivers Anquan Boldin, James Jones, Roddy White, Andre Johnson and Wes Welker; offensive linemen Jahri Evans and Will Beatty.
Defense: Defensive linemen Dominique Easley, Greg Hardy and Kroy Biermann; linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Donald Butler; cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie, Leon Hall and Jerraud Powers; safeties Will Hill, Donte Whitner, Dashon Goldson and Brandon Meriweather.

8. Speaking of free agent quarterbacks, the Jets continue to do an interesting dance with Fitzpatrick and Hoyer. Last week, reports indicated that while Fitzpatrick was out with some of his teammates from last year at a hockey game, Hoyer was dining with New York brass. Not to suggest that either one of them are Pro Bowlers, but with the draft looming, the Jets are playing a dangerous game when it comes to Hoyer and Fitzpatrick — fundamentally, New York finds itself as one of a few teams still playing musical chairs at quarterback. Depending on what happens over the next week with the draft, if the Jets aren’t careful, they could find themselves with neither one when the music stops. Two more things worth noting: one, the early returns on the QB Class of 2017 aren’t good. And two, in previous years, New York hasn’t been shy about pushing all its chips to the middle of the table and trading up for a guy they believe to be a franchise quarterback. Could the Jets trade up into the top 3 at the last moment to land either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz? It would cost a sizable portion of their draft capital, but with New York and the draft, no matter the GM, you never say never.

9. While we’ve written a lot about the relationship between the Patriots, the 3-cone drill, and their scouting of defensive backs and wide receivers, it appears that you can also draw a line between Seattle, the broad jump and offensive linemen. It appears that the Seahawks favor offensive linemen who perform really well in the broad jump, with the understanding that it’s a drill that measures explosiveness. According to this story, since 2012, the Seahawks have not drafted a single offensive lineman that has jumped less than a nine-foot broad jump. More food for thought when it comes to Seattle’s draft approach: since 2012 the Seahawks have not selected any of the 15 best O-line performers in the short shuttle or 3-cone at the combine. (In short, explosiveness trumps agility.) For a team that is undergoing a bit of a reboot across the offensive line, these are all stats worth keeping in mind when the Seahawks are on the clock.

10. This week on “NFL Sunday,” we’ll break down the draft with Josh Norris of Rotoworld and NBC Sports, and we’ll also talk with Northwestern’s Dan Vitale, considered the top fullback in the draft and a prospect that has drawn the attention of the Patriots. Join me and Mike Giardi from 9-11 a.m. on Sunday morning, only on WEEI.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots announced Friday they signed linebacker Tony Steward and long snapper Christian Yount. Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:

Steward, 23, is a veteran of one NFL season with the Buffalo Bills in 2015. The 6-foot, 241-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick (188th overall) by Buffalo out of Clemson in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played in seven games as a rookie before finishing the season on injured reserve. Steward was released by Buffalo on April 19, 2016.

Yount, 27, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2011) and the Cleveland Browns (2011-2014). He was released by Cleveland last May and did not play last season. The 6-foot-1, 250-pounder, originally entered the NFL with Tampa Bay as a rookie free agent out of UCLA on July 27, 2011. He made the 53-man roster out of training camp and played in seven games before being released. Yount then signed with Cleveland, where he remained through the 2014 season. He has played in 60 NFL games.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2016 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. Although the Patriots do not own a first-round pick due to their punishment for Deflategate — and there are restrictions on their ability to trade up — we will include likely first-round picks in case someone slips or the Pats are able to swing a deal.

VADAL ALEXANDER

Position: Offensive tackle

School: LSU

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 326 pounds

Achievements: 2015 All-America second team, 2015 All-SEC first team, 2014 All-SEC second team, 2012 Freshman All-America second team, 2012 SEC All-Freshman team

What he brings: Alexander easily gains leverage over defenders with his massive build, including long arms and strong hands. He is a very raw talent, as NFL.com writes that he has “natural power that just needs to be harnessed and unlocked.” Alexander has great balance and upper-body strength, making him tough to knock back and a perfect anchor for an offensive line. He was as durable as they come at LSU, starting all four years. He is very versatile and can play on both sides of the line. He played left guard for two years and earned second team All-SEC recognition. As a senior he moved back to right tackle, where he dominated and was named first-team All-SEC. The ability to not only play multiple positions but play them at a high level should serve him well in the pros. “I feel like I can play either,” Alexander said at the NFL combine. “I love the tackle position. I’ve played it most of my life, so I’m open to playing tackle or guard. I train as a tackle, and my mindset, knowing my physical play, I know I can always kick in.”

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: At the NFL combine Alexander ran his 40-yard dash in 5.57 seconds, completed 25 bench press reps, had a 95-inch broad jump, ran his three-cone drill in 8.04 seconds and completed his 20-yard shuttle in 4.90 seconds. When it comes to role models in football, he studies players both past and present. “Growing up I was always a big Walker Jones fan, with the Seahawks. Steve Hutchinson, played guard,” Alexander said. “Those two guys aren’t playing anymore. I think my LSU guys are doing pretty well in the league right now, La’el [Collins] and Trai [Turner]. Trai was in the Super Bowl. So guys like that I watch all the time, Zach Martin, he played tackle and moved to guard. I just try to take a little piece of each guys game and implement it.”

Related articles: Nola.com: LSU Guard Vadal Alexander’s heart has long been with the Tigers

DYST Now: LSU OL Vadal Alexander a great fit for Patriots

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the highlights of the Patriots’ offseason roster building, including free agent acquisitions of Chris Long and Nate Washington and the trade for tight end Martellus Bennett, providing a complement to Rob Gronkowski. Petraglia and Price also discuss the nominees for the Patriots Hall of Fame and the highlights of the 2016 Patriots schedule.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the highlights of the Patriots’ offseason roster building, including free agent acquisitions of Chris Long and Nate Washington and the trade for tight end Martellus Bennett, providing a complement to Rob Gronkowski. Petraglia and Price also discuss the nominees for the Patriots Hall of Fame and the highlights of the 2016 Patriots schedule.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

As he starts his time in the Patriots’ offseason program, Rob Gronkowski says he has no worries when it comes to his contract situation.

Rob Gronkowski is a busy man this offseason. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski has been a busy man this offseason. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

As he starts his in the Patriots’ offseason program, Rob Gronkowski says he has no worries when it comes to his contract situation.

“No, that’s not on my mind at all,” the Patriots tight end said in an interview with For The Win. “I started offseason workouts (this week). It just feels great to be back with the team working out, getting back in football shape and getting prepared for the season.”

In March, after the Patriots picked up Gronkowski option that will keep him around Foxboro through 2019, he Tweeted out that the move “basically equals a pay cut the next (four) seasons,” a statement that led some to believe that he was unhappy with his current deal, especially after seeing the likes of Dwayne Allen sign a four-year, $30 million contract with the Colts.

Gronkowski said the focus right now is “just playing football again.”

He added: “Whenever you’re away from it for a little bit, it feels good. But after a little bit, I miss it so much. And you can’t wait to be back on the field playing games again.”

For more on how many onesies he owns, an update on his new show on Nickelodeon and his thoughts on Kobe Bryant’s last game, check out the full interview here.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price