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New England Patriots Links 2/28/11 - NFL Combine Continues

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<em>Sebastian Vollmer may play a bigger role in 2011 with changes in store for the Patriots offensive line</em>.
Sebastian Vollmer may play a bigger role in 2011 with changes in store for the Patriots offensive line.

Paul Perillo reports on the meeting between NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith and all of the league's certified agents Friday, with agent Drew Rosenhaus in support of Smith after being briefed on the currant state of affairs.

"He’s doing everything he can to get a fair deal for the players. He’s working extremely hard to come to a reasonable compromise with the owners," Rosenhaus said. "But he’s going to do what he can to protect the players, to get a fair deal, to make sure the players are prepared if there is a lockout, to prepare themselves should we miss the season, and to be strong, and to be unified, to have one voice."

"There’s some real problems for the teams here. It’s not just the players and the union," Rosenhaus said. "The owners need to be concerned, too. They’ve invested a tremendous amount of money in the players they have under contract. There’s no way for them to get better. They can’t sign guys, they can’t make trades. They’re limited during the draft. They can only trade picks. They can’t cut players once there’s a lockout. They can’t work their guys out. Their coaches can’t talk to their players. The drug program ends. This is really a huge problem for the owners. It’s not just us sitting here and saying ‘What about us?’ The owners have some significant issues. It is serious on their end. They’re feeling it right now. Believe me."

Christopher Price takes a closer look at the possible release of Nick Kaczur.

Kaczur signed a four-year, $16 million contract in August 2009, a deal that included a $3.4 million payout for 2012. However, after a 2010 season where he spent the whole year on the shelf because of a back injury, the Patriots were clearly interested in reworking his deal. Kaczur was having none of it, and so here we are.

So if Kaczur is indeed gone, the Patriots could conceivably open the 2011 season with colossal turnover along the offensive line, a position that had so much stability over the last few seasons: Left tackle Matt Light is unsigned beyond the 2010 season, and right guard Stephen Neal has talked about retirement. If Kaczur is gone, it could force the Patriots to find three new offensive linemen in 2011 … and that doesn’t include a disgruntled Logan Mankins, who was franchised recently but could still be dealt before the start of the season.

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Mike Reiss offers some quick-hit thoughts from around the NFL and with the Patriots.
  • Ian Rapoport says it's likely that Nick Kaczur is done with the Patriots, as sources say he is not amenable to taking a pay-cut based on his impending salary of $3.4 million.
  • Mike Reiss wraps up Day 3 of the NFL Combine with a Patriots twist.
  • Mike Reiss reports Willie McGinest is tutoring DE/OLB Chris Carter (Fresno State).
  • Mike Reiss reports mid-to-late-round possibility LB J.T. Thomas (West Virginia) was interviewed by the Patriots last night.
  • Ian Rapoport discusses the possibility of the Patriots drafting an interior lineman like G Danny Watkins (Baylor) or C Mike Pouncey (Florida).
  • Christopher Price talks about Gator safety Will Hill and the pipeline from Gainesville to Foxboro that previously has been free-flowing with talent.
  • Ian Rapoport looks at the options for the Patriots at outside linebacker in Indy.
  • Greg A. Bedard offers some notable quotes from defensive players at the Combine that will likely be on the Patriots' radar.
  • DJ Bean sees Muhammad Wilkerson as a logical option at DE for the Patriots.
  • Mike Reiss calls DE Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) a challenging projection at OLB.
  • Mike Reiss notes BC LB Mark Herzlich talked of inspiration and hope during his 15-minute session with media members Sunday morning, including his link with Tedy Bruschi.
  • Ron Borges profiles the inspiring journey of BC linebacker Mark Herzlich.
  • Ian Rapoport Combine Notebook - Saturday: QB Ricky Stanzi has Tom Brady's guru, Tom Martinez, helping him out; Thomas Dimitroff had high praise for Pats personnel director Nick Caserio; G Mike Pouncey (Florida) wants to play center and to be drafted ahead of his brother; Patriots signed safety Josh Barrett to a two-year contract extension.
  • Ian Rapoport Combine Notebook - Sunday: QB Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) didn't like the questions he was asked by reporters about his rumored drug use; Robert Kraft was in Indy last week to receive an update from the labor committee; DE Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson) wants to show the same versatility Vince Wilfork does; T Anthony Castonzo (BC) continues to impress; WR Julio Jones (Alabama) explained to reporters why NFL teams are drooling over his skills; and more.
  • Greg A. Bedard Combine Notebook: Decertification is in the union's plans, in an attempt to prevent a lockout and allow players to sue the league; T Anthony Castonzo (BC) stood out at his position drills.
  • AP (Boston Herald) Lockout could leave rookies with big challenge.

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