|Report: Patriots spent $140K in guaranteed money on UDFAs this year||05.21.13 at 11:06 pm ET|
The Patriots spent more guaranteed money on their undrafted free agents this year than any other team in the league, according to Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports and NFL.com.
According to McIntyre, the Patriots apparently spent $140,000 in guaranteed money on their undrafted free agents. Wide receiver T.J. Moe (who had several other suitors) got the biggest payday, as the Mizzou product received a signing bonus of $8,000 and $22,000 in guaranteed base salary (regardless of whether or not he makes the final 53-man roster) for a total of $30,000 in guaranteed money.
In addition, according to McIntyre, several other UDFA’s also got sizable paydays. Nevada tight end Zach Sudfeld has a total of $17,000 in guaranteed money ($12,000 signing bonus and $5,000 base salary). Offensive tackle Elvis Fisher of Missouri got $15,000 in guaranteed money, while Kent State guard Josh Kline ($14,000), Tennessee fullback Ben Bartholomew ($10,000) and safety Kanorris Davis of Troy ($10,000) also got at least $10,000.
NFL teams are allowed to spend a maximum of $78,170 in signing bonuses on undrafted rookie free agents this offseason, but there are no limits to the amount of guaranteed money teams can include in deals signed by undrafted free agents.
Of course, big dollars for UDFA’s is nothing new for the Patriots. Last summer, they outbid several teams for the services of running back/return man Jeff Demps, guaranteeing him a whopping $211,000 ($200,000 base salary guarantee, $11,000 signing bonus), regardless of whether or not he made the final roster. Of course, Demps ended up spending the entire year on IR before wanting to play football part-time while also running track, so while a sizable payday for a UDFA is nice (and tells you something how that player may be regarded around the league), it’s no guarantee of future success.
|Robert Kraft: Good news on Gronkowski||05.21.13 at 5:16 pm ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft had good news about the most recent round of surgery for tight end Rob Gronkowski, telling reporters Tuesday that it was “as good a report as we could’ve hoped.”
“That made me feel good,” Kraft said when he heard the news about Gronkowski’s latest surgery. “I heard about it late afternoon, and once again had a chat late at night after our dinner meeting was over. And so, we just hope for the best.”
Gronkowski had his fourth surgery for a broken left forearm that he initially injured during the 2012 regular season and limited him down the stretch. In addition to the injury, there was also an troublesome infection issue. Despite the fact that initial reports indicate that the infection has cleared, the Patriots owner said Tuesday that he wouldn’t declare the infection is gone, because, he said, even doctors aren’t completely sure it won’t return.
Speaking at the NFL owners meetings — which saw Super Bowl L awarded to San Francisco and Super Bowl LI awarded to Houston — Kraft also expressed interest in a possible Boston/Providence Super Bowl sometime in the near future.
The Patriots owner said a good test run would be Super Bowl XLVIII, which is set for February in New Jersey.
“We would love one day to hold it here if it’s a good experience there,” Kraft told reporters. “We’re looking forward to seeing this experience in New York and New Jersey.
“Part of what it will require is political people in Boston and Providence coming together so we could really have the right number of hotel rooms and have the support,” Kraft said. “It would require cooperation from all of the political folks who would have to gather together and want this and come together, like they do in other parts of the country.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Aqib Talib: ‘I wanted to be back, I’m back’||05.21.13 at 3:48 pm ET|
FOXBORO — When the Patriots season ended with a loss to the Ravens in the AFC championship last January, there was some doubt the day after whether Aqib Talib would be back in a Patriots uniform.
Talib told reporters the Monday after the AFC title game loss that he would let the business side run its course.
After signing a one-year deal for $5 million – a bargain to the Patriots –on March 16, Talib has decided that his business will be in Foxboro. On Tuesday, Talib took part in his second day of OTAs with the team and spoke publicly about his deal for the first time.
“I just let it play how it played,” Talib said Tuesday when asked why he decided to come back to the Patriots. “I just let it play how it played. I wanted to be back, I’m back. I’m happy to be here, ready to get to work.”
Talib’s deal included a $3 million signing bonus and a base salary of $1.575 million, which is fully guaranteed.
“It’s a great organization, great team, great teammates,” he said. “It’s just a time right now, what’s this month, May? It’s time to get in shape. That’s all we’re worried about right now, that’s all I’m worried about. Getting in good shape, best shape I can be in. Double-shirts, out here trying to get as hot as possible, get a good sweat and get in good shape.”
Getting in good shape is something of a theme this week as Kyle Love was let go last week and Love said it was because the Patriots felt he was out of shape. In January, Talib injured his thigh in the first quarter and was unable to return as the Ravens found their offensive groove without him on the field and advanced to the Super Bowl.
“Right now we’re just working on getting in good shape, getting the basics of the defense and the offense down,” Talib said. “We’re working right now.
“We get in good shape and you get the basics of the defense down. Before you start game-planning for anybody, you’ve got to have the basics of your defense down, and that’s what we’re getting down right now.”
This figures to be a huge year for Talib as he looks again for that big contract. He’ll have the advantage this year of starting from scratch with the Patriots. The 27-year-old cover corner got some work in on Tuesday covering Danny Amendola during OTA drills in shorts.
“It’s always good to have the whole off-season, the whole training camp with the same group, build that camaraderie,” Talib said. “Learn how each other speaks on the field, our terminology. That’s always good.
“It’s another opportunity to get better.”
|Kyle Love has harsh words for Patriots after release||05.21.13 at 1:44 pm ET|
Defensive lineman Kyle Love, was was released by the Patriots last week after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, had some parting shots for New England after his first workout Monday with his new team, the Jaguars.
Via to the Florida Times Union, Love said his diabetes was discovered after a routine blood test. “My mom and dad both have it, so I was bound to get it,” he said.
Love, 26, insisted he did not lose much weight or show up to offseason workouts in poor condition.
“It’s not like I lost 30 pounds,” he said, adding: “I was never out of shape — I participated every day, so I don’t know where that came from.”
Love, who signed a contract extension with the Patriots last summer, was not happy about being released on a non-football injury designation.
“That’s how they run their business up there; veteran guys who have been there for years and put in a lot of work get treated like rookies,” Love said.
Love, who had 65 tackles in 41 games over three years with the Patriots after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State in 2010, said he has more energy “since I cut out the sweets and a lot of the carbs” and is ready to move past his experience in New England.
“My wife asked me how I felt after the whole thing went down, and it was bittersweet,” he said. “You’re sad, but then you’re happy at the same time. I’m just trying to move on and not really worry about what happened.”
|Tuesday OTA notes: Tom Brady spends quality time with Danny Amendola and Mike Jenkins||05.21.13 at 1:29 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots wrapped up a relatively quick OTA session on the fields behind Gillette Stadium a little while ago.
With the understanding it’s tough to make any sweeping generalizations about where players are at this time of year because no one was wearing numbers and it was a relatively low-intensity session, here are a few notes on the practice, which ran roughly 90 minutes.
•Among the missing were tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Brandon Spikes, wide receiver Julian Edelman and running back Brandon Bolden. There were a handful of players who spent time on stationary bikes working out, a group that included right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and rookie wide receiver Josh Boyce.
•At running back, it’s clear Stevan Ridley is now in charge of the group. Leon Washington did get some reps with the rest of the running backs, and saw a lot of action as the primary option at kick returner.
•New wide receivers Danny Amendola and Mike Jenkins saw extensive time with quarterback Tom Brady — at one point, just about the rest of the team was on one field working in special teams drills, they were on the other field working together with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Rookie Aaron Dobson made a nice catch in traffic, while linebacker Dont’a Hightower picked off a pass from quarterback Ryan Mallett.
•Safety Devin McCourty, tight end Jake Ballard and tight end Aaron Hernandez all appeared to work in a limited capacity. Ballard did get some one-on-one time with Brady.
•Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, cornerback Aqib Talib and linebacker Dane Fletcher all spoke with the media at the end of the workout.
|Patriots HOF’er Tedy Bruschi on his fans: ‘I always felt like I was one of them’||05.21.13 at 1:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The most telling part of Tedy Bruschi‘s conference call with the media Tuesday morning, hours after officially being elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame, was how much time he devoted to thanking the fan base.
The linebacker made it a point that he always felt at home in New England and that was a big reason he played his entire career in Foxboro and never left.
“I always felt like I was one of them,” Bruschi said when asked about his relationship with the fans of New England. “I never felt like I was any type of a special person or that I was any different than any of the people that were up there cheering on the Patriots. I always felt the New England Patriots fans did their work, got their work done, they liked to come home and spend time with their families and when they had free time, they liked to cheer on their favorite team. That’s who I am also. If I wasn’t fortunate enough to play professional football, that’s who I would have been: a good family man to my wife and kids and then cheering on my local team. I think that’s who I would be. I think that’s why I related so much to them. I already got an email from Randy Pierce, ‘Zip.’
“I still have relationships with some of the fans who I’ve met throughout the years. He congratulated me through email and I’ve already responded. There are certain relationships you form. I was never shy about forming relationships with fans because I felt very connected to them. Being here in New England my entire career, my kids being raised here, I sort of feel like I’m a transplanted New Englander. That’s the way I feel. I still live locally. I think probably the most, with my kids getting older, they’re Patriots fans too. I think one of the most exciting moments for me after Mr. [Robert] Kraft gave me the news was I told my sons and to see their faces and how happy they were and them jumping up and down and giving me a hug, I think they were more excited than I was because I don’t do very good with individual accolades.”
Bruschi also made it a point to ensure the fans that the three championships he helped bring to New England means more than this accolade or his election to the college football hall of fame.
“Championships are better, so much better,” Bruschi said. “This was never my goal. The College Football Hall of Fame was never my goal — Hall of Fames were not my goal. If they’re a player’s goal, I think his priorities are messed up. Championships were and I’m glad we got that done, but this still is very cool.”
How close did he come to not playing for one team your entire career?
“Probably mostly after my fourth year when I took a couple of free agent visits to Green Bay and Cleveland and Seattle,” he said. “It just wasn’t the same. I knew that other teams were going to have to make an incredible commitment to me to pull me away from New England. But I felt like I owed it to myself to at least go through the process, which is probably the only time I ever did that. I did take a few trips, spoke to a few general managers and you go to Seattle and [Mike] Holmgren isn’t even there, as the head coach on the visit. I said, ‘Is this a joke?’ to myself, for a lot of these other organizations and why would I ever want to leave New England? That was probably the closest. I’m a loyal type of guy. New England was always the place that I wanted to finish. I didn’t know where I was going to start but I wanted to finish there.”
|Danny Amendola: I can’t be concerned with Wes Welker comparisons||05.21.13 at 1:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Danny Amendola isn’t worried about comparisons to Wes Welker.
The receiver, signed as a free agent this offseason, said Tuesday can’t concern himself with people who might try and make a connection between him and Welker, who signed with the Broncos in the offseason after six years in New England.
“That’s not something I need to worry about,” he said after Tuesday’s OTA session on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. “I’m worried about the playbook and getting the routes down and getting on the same page with my teammates. The good thing is, I don’t have to worry about that stuff.”
Amendola, who spent a sizable portion of the nearly two-hour session working with quarterback Tom Brady, said it’s easy to see Tom Brady‘s greatness after a few sessions.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I said it today — he darted me in the chest with one ball and I was just like inside my head, ‘Wow, this guy can really wing it.’ That’s why he’s Tom Brady.
“He’s a really good quarterback. Everybody knows that. [I'm] just trying to get on the same page — so far, so good,” added Amendola, who had the chance to work with him in Southern California earlier this spring. “More work is best going into the season. Any time you get a jump and get to work with each other, that’s good. We’re getting a lot of good work in here right now. That’s the most important thing.”
Amendola does have some history in this offense, as he had the chance to work with current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for a year in St. Louis.
“It’s familiar. When Josh was in St. Louis, I got to know it pretty good. It’s a little more intricate out here. It’s something to grasp, and I’m learning it every day,” he said.
“It’s the verbiage — it’s everything. That’s the most important thing. The vocabulary of the offense. I’m leaning, day in and day out, and studying at night.It’s a process. Second day, so I’m looking forward to the next practice and just getting ready for that.”
Amendola is one of several new faces at wide receiver for the Patriots this year. It’s a group that includes veterans Mike Jenkins and Donald Jones as well as rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. While he confessed to feeling a little like the new kid in school — even joking that he’s gotten lost inside Gillette Stadium a couple of times — there’s a feeling that he and the rest of the new guys are all in this together.
“Yeah, there’s a couple of guys here who have been here a while, but we’re leaning on them to really show us the ropes of the drills and the practice and trying to get the tempo going in the practice,” Amendola said. “We kind of thrive off that and we kind of get it going. I feel like we have a really good group. I feel like there are some guys coming from other teams with a lot of experience and it’s exciting to see what we’re going to be able to do.
“You have questions and meetings and you kind of thrive off each other. It’s definitely a group atmosphere and a group effort. That’s the way it goes.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
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