"I think he’s going to be one of the better cornerbacks to ever suit up for the Patriots," Law said. "He’s young, and for what he’s done this year, if he can just build upon that and do the little things and get better and better, he’s probably going to be one of the top two or three corners in the game. There are only so many Darrelle Revis’s out there. If he works hard, he’ll get close. That’s how much respect I have for that guy. He probably can do as much as anything I’ve ever done."
Ian Rapoport tells us if free agency started for the Patriots today, don't expect any high-profile additions at inside linebacker.
Possible free agent targets? Mathias Kiwanuka, Matt Roth.
Reason: The Patriots are set there with Mayo and Spikes for years. At outside, both Roth (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) and Kiwanuka (6-5, 265) have prototype size for the Patriots 3-4. Kiwanuka’s 2010 was cut short with a neck injury, and he had just 11 tackles and four sacks. He’s been medically cleared, but his health is still a question mark. When healthy, the Boston College product is seriously talented. As for Roth, he played for coach Eric Mangini’s Browns last year, and he doesn’t expect to be back. His history in a similar system, along with his toughness, makes him attractive.
Looking into the crystal ball: With no high-profile draft pick at outside linebacker, the Patriots are likely expecting big things from Cunningham. But they still could be primed to sign one free agent. Kiwanuka would be a bit of a project, as he’d have to learn to do more than rush. Without a mini-camp, that’s difficult. Figure Roth, a perfect 3-4 player who has a mean streak, is the best option. He had 86 tackles and four sacks last season, and would be able to hit the ground running the fastest. The lack of mini-camp means a free agent must be ready to play immediately. Roth would be.
Karen Guregian says if free agency started for the Patriots today, they probably wouldn't pick up any cornerbacks or safeties.
Possible free agency targets? Brandon McGowan, Jarrad Page
Reason: Familiarity, for one. McGowan provided a physical and intimidating presence in the Pats secondary two years ago before injury shelved him last season. The safety was also good in coverage with tight ends. Page was offered a second-round tender as a restricted free agent. He’ll likely be an unrestricted free agent under the new rules. He made a good impression while he was here this past season, but as an intelligent veteran safety with size, he could draw several suitors and be on the difficult side to sign.
Looking into the crystal ball: Thanks to the draft, not much to do here at corner. Safety is also in good shape, although Meriweather has a year to go on his contract. If the Pats don’t want to pay the two-time Pro Bowler big money, it could get interesting. With a logjam at safety and Sanders also in his final year, could the Pats choose? Meriweather would bring the most in a trade, though that’s become less likely thanks to the elimination of mini-camps. They’ll be looking for reinforcements at safety, but that won’t likely come until next year. If the rules change with Page, and he’s unrestricted, they’ll likely extend an offer to bring him back. The Patriots appeared to appreciate Page’s contribution.
- Patriots Today -Ty and the Tradition (2.59 min. video).
- Christopher Price reports Baltimore LB Ray Lewis will present Tom Brady on NFL Network's 'Top 100' Sunday.
- Mike Reiss talks about Pat Kirwan's article that breaks down the interior defensive line position, including a few Patriots players.
- Mike Reiss analyzes the interesting Patriots angle of Aaron Schatz' breakdown of the usage of empty formations across the NFL in 2010.
- Ian Rapoport notes Brandon Spikes is now being represented by Drew Rosenhaus.
- Christopher Price reports Patriots rookies Ryan Mallett, Marcus Cannon and Ras-I Dowling are attending the rookie symposium in Florida. (6.40 min. video)
- Christopher Price notes Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith addressed the rookies together and afterward issued brief statements to the media.
- Mike Reiss discusses who was the best veteran free-agent signing in Bill Belichick's tenure, Mike Vrabel or Rodney Harrison.
- Shalise Manza Young answers her weekly Patriots mailbag: Will the Patriots pursue Plaxico?
- ESPNBoston introduces fans to Equipment Manager Don Brocher, who has been with the Patriots for a whopping 39 years.
- ESPNBoston introduces fans to Video Assistant Jared Rita, with the team since 2007.
- Ian Rapoport posts his video of the day: Patriots owner Robert Kraft reflecting on Ty Law's career ... and dancing. (1.43 min. clip)
- Sports Tonight guest Ron Borges tells us what the Pats next move is post-lockout: Find a pass rusher and fix the defense on third down. (1.32 min. video)
- The CSN Sports Tonight Crew discusses the worst coaching decisions in Boston sports history. (5.22 min. video)
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East's best: No. 18 Sebastian Vollmer.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Best of NFL: AFC East coaches.
- Cris Collinsworth (Football Pros) Grading the 2010 Draft: Patriots and Bucs were big winners.
- Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) Top interior defensive linemen feature distinct skill sets.
- Aaron Schatz (Football Outsiders) Formation analysis: Empty backfields.
- Inside the playbook: the NFL route tree. (Nat'l Football Post)
- Doug Farrar (Yahoo! Sports) Higher education: Stop rate for safeties and for linebackers.
- Andy Benoit (NY Times) Top 10 running backs in the NFL.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Come on, NFL, allow players to celebrate good times.
- Jim Trotter (SI) Rookies educated about business side of football at symposium.
- Adam Caplan (Fox Sports) Top 15 defensive free agents.
- Pete Prisco (CBS sports) Ten free-agent deals that make too much sense.
- Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) Are NFL writers too negative?
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) NFL lockout isn't cause for player arrests.
- Mark Craig (Minneapolis Star Tribune) The 1987 NFL strike: Picking at an old Scab.
- Sam Farmer (LA Times) Is NFL labor peace breaking out?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Labor talks enter critical stretch.
- Albert Breer (NFLN) NFL owners and players arrived in Minnesota to join Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith for labor talks.
- Jay Glazer (Fox Sports) Smith's secret phone call dampens CBA hopes.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Is De Smith willing to do a deal?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Onus falls on owners to get deal done.
- Cris Collinsworth (Football Pros) The owners ready to settle for a small win?
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Goodell, Smith say these are "important" days.
- Dan Wetzel (Yahoo! Sports) Signs continue to point to pending NFL labor deal.
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) NFL talks progress despite spin control.
- Gregg Rosenthal (ProFootballTalk) The cost of a preseason game.
- AP Report (Patriots.com) NFL rookies struggle to make ends meet while locked out.
- AP Report (Patriots.com) Lingering NFL lockout hurting fantasy football companies.