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New England Patriots Links 1/27/10 - Matt Light Says Team Needs To Toughen Up

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<em>Matt Light grimacing after dislocating his kneecap (ow! ow! ow!) in the Denver game</em>.
Matt Light grimacing after dislocating his kneecap (ow! ow! ow!) in the Denver game.

Matt Light talked with ESPN's Mike & Mike in the morning about his injury and the disappointing end to the Patriots season.

“As players, we all talked about it after the game. We were in the locker room and there were a lot of guys hanging their head and it’s a tough situation,” Light said. “We know we have good guys, quality players. But we have to be a more physical team, a mentally tougher team. We have to be guys that act like we’ve been there and done it before.”

Ian Rapoport converses with some potential Patriots targets including Michigan OLB Brandon Graham.

“I love watching the Patriots,” Graham said. “They’ve been winning most of the years and coach Bill Belichick – I just want to have a conversation with him, just to talk to him. When he’s on the field, he seem like he doesn’t say much. He seems like a nice guy, though. I keep hearing good things about him.”

I told Graham of the Patriots love for Michigan linebackers, whether Shawn Crable, Pierre Woods or even Prescott Burgess. He already knew.

“Pierre Woods was just telling me, ‘Keep going and everything’ll take care of itself,’ ” Graham said. “He didn’t want me to worry about it, because when I talked to him last year, he just gave me some insight and said the Patriots love a high-motor guy. ‘Keep running to the ball and don’t stop.‘ ”

Erik Scalavino explains why the Patriots can't re-sign Brady now, with the entire signing bonus hitting this year so his future years' salary cap hits won't be so high.

Because that's not how the salary cap works. When a player is awarded a signing bonus, he typically receives the lump sum right away. For accounting purposes, however, that number is divided by the number of years of the contract. The resulting figure is called the "prorated" portion that is applied to the player's salary cap number each season.

For example, if you sign a 5-year, $20 million contract, $10 million of which is your signing bonus, you would get your $10 million up front, along with your salary for that year, whatever that number is. However, your cap number for each of the five seasons would be your salary for that year, plus $2 million (the prorated portion of your signing bonus).

So, as you can see, giving Brady a huge signing bonus in an uncapped year wouldn't help the Patriots alleviate their salary cap burden. What they might be able to do, in your example, is give Brady (or any other player, for that matter) hefty sums in other kinds of bonuses (workout, roster, makeable performance goals, etc.) that aren't prorated.

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