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Ask PFW: Vince, DeSean and much more!

Posted Mar 25, 2014

Free agency has slowed down a bit, but there are still plenty of Patriots-related questions surrounding Vince Wilfork, DeSean Jackson and the draft to fill out this late-March edition of Ask PFW.

I heard that there is a plan to kick the kickoffs from the 40 yard line. I think it's a wrong decision as 1 component of the game (kickoff return) will be lost. I was even a bit sad when it became the 35-yard line. So should the Pats focus on KO return skills in case of selecting a player in the draft or it's time to accept that every kickoff will be a touchback.
Jozsef Bakk

Based on reports coming out the league meetings in Orlando this week, I wouldn’t expect the Redskins proposal to move the kickoffs to the 40 to be passed. It doesn’t sound like there will be any alterations to kickoffs at this point. Given that, I do think the Patriots need to improve their kickoff return game. Leon Washington was signed with that in mind last year but it never worked out. LeGarrette Blount was ineffective most of the year before his late big-play burst in that area. Josh Boyce could be an internal option to have a more regular impact role on kickoff returns this fall – assuming he’s on the team. If it’s not Boyce, though, then I think there does need to be some consideration as to adding a player who can have an impact on what has been a pretty impotent kickoff return game in New England for the last few years.
Andy Hart

I have no problem if Patriots trade out of the 1st round if no worthy talent slips to them at 29. In fact it may be a prudent strategy as a team is gaining a year on a rookie contract by trading from 1st round to 2d. My concern is Bill outsmarting everyone again and picking someone like [Tavon] Wilson. Do you think that [Michael] Lombardi may have a real say in this year's draft?
Stan Z.

I agree that there is a chance that trading out of the first round in this year’s draft might be sound strategy, but not for the reason you suggest. Rather, my logic for trading down would be due to the impressive depth of talent that supposedly exists in this year’s draft class. If it’s as deep and as good as everyone says, there is an argument for adding more players in the second or third rounds who could have an impact on success in the near and long-term future. If the right guy/guys aren’t there at No. 29, a trade down in this group might not be the worst thing in the world. As for Lombardi, I’m sure he’ll have a voice in the process leading up to the draft and maybe even on draft day. He has a long working relationship and friendship with Belichick. That should bring some working rapport and comfort. But in the end, I think Belichick will still make all the decisions that he feels are right. Lombardi will just be another experienced, trusted mind in the process.
Andy Hart

I read an old Ask PFW from mid-February I missed and someone asked you about the Pats pursuing CB [Brandon] Browner. Other than his suspension problems why were you against him being signed? Thanks for all the work u do BTW.
Casey Goddard

I may be wrong – and if I am I’ll get bombarded with emails telling me I am – but I don’t recall saying I was against New England going after Browner. My only concern early in the process was that the team would add Browner as a replacement for Aqib Talib and sell him as a No. 1 cornerback. But the way things worked out, with Browner fighting for the spot opposite true No. 1 cornerback Darrelle Revis, I like the situation. Browner is a big, physical corner, even working in a rotation with the likes of Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan I think it’s an overall upgrade of the talent at the position. His four-game suspension to open his New England career isn’t ideal, nor is his history of issues in the drug program, but he’s not the first player with those problems and won’t be the last.
Andy Hart

If DeSean Jackson was to be cut, do you think he would take a 1-year "prove it" deal with the Patriots?
Viraj Smith

No, I don’t. Jackson seems to be a guy very much driven by ego, status and money, with a huge emphasis on the latter. He’s a true diva playmaker – with all the good and bad that comes with that. If he hits the open market I think he’ll have a ton of options and won’t be looking for a short-term, short-money, prove-it deal. But I guess I could be wrong. I just don’t have much interest in Jackson.
Andy Hart

Any idea what the Pats plans are to fill the center position? It's a huge hole, both literally and figuratively, yet to be addressed. If I were Brady I'd be feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Bernard Leclerc

My guess would be that there is a chance that later in the process free agent Ryan Wendell will be re-signed on a reasonable contract. Or, Dan Connolly could move back to the position for his final year under his current contract. Either way, I don’t see it as a big hole or much of an issue. Brady has gone through plenty of centers over the years, with limited issues. Heck, he dealt with four different starting centers back in 2011. He had the third-highest passer rating of his career and second-most touchdown passes that season as the Patriots won 13 games with the NFL’s No. 2 offense in terms of yards and No. 3 unit in terms of points scored. I just don’t see the center position as a key issue right now and my guess is that regardless of how that role is filled, we won’t be talking about it much during the season. And if I were Brady I’d be anything but uncomfortable…I’d being enjoying my life as one of the most blessed men, in all areas of his life, to ever walk the planet.
Andy Hart

Everything I have heard regarding Vince Wilfork and his status has been around if we should keep him or release him. I have not heard any scenarios where we trade him either now or on draft day. Is it even a realist option to try and trade him? What would he be worth in draft picks? Is he worth a first-round pick? Or can he be used in conjunction with the Pats first-round pick to move up in the draft board? Thanks.
Patrick Connolly

Great work guys, why is the talk centering around Vince is about releasing him, why not look into trading him if he won't redo his contract, does he have a no trade clause?
Antonio Neves

With DTs A. Armstead and T. Kelly getting back healthy and the rookies Jones and Vellano playing well in their first season, do you think trading V. Wilfork and getting some additional picks in the draft is a good idea. If so what position do you see the Pats going after first or do you think BB might trade out the first round?
Jeremy Roberts

In theory, if a contract alteration can’t be worked out with Wilfork, then a trade might be a great idea. Unfortunately it’s not realistic. I don’t think there would be much interest on the trade market for a 33-year-old nose tackle coming off a torn Achilles who has a salary of around $8 million. Call me crazy, but I just can’t see teams lining up for that contract. Certainly no team would be willing to give up anything other than a late-round pick, and even that is a pie-in-the-sky dream of finding a team that would trade for Wilfork with an eye on re-doing his contract. Rather, those teams would just wait for the Patriots to release Wilfork, if that’s what this comes to, and sign him as a free agent to a more realistic deal at this point in his career/recovery process.
Andy Hart

Love the work you guys do, it keeps us fans informed and entertained throughout the year. My question is what do you guys think of the Patriots instead of spending a high draft pick on a tight end, but move year-two receiver Mark Harrison to tight end. He’s probably big enough to handle a little bit of blocking but his size and speed and skill set as a receiver would make him a beast in two-tight end sets with Rob Gronkowski. Then the Pats could draft in a position of need like a pass rusher or interior lineman. Thanks.
Ozni Rhodes

Harrison has intrigued me since the day he signed with New England. At 6-3, 230 he’s certainly a somewhat unique build for a receiver. Many thought in the draft process that his future was indeed as more of an H-back type. But we never got to see him practice last summer. So I really have no idea about his skills other than his report coming out of Rutgers where he finished his career with consecutive 44-catch seasons, totaling 15 touchdowns over two years. I see tight end as a huge need for New England given Gronkowski’s health and inability to stay on the field. Harrison, at best, would be a move tight end in the mold of Aaron Hernandez. But it’s not realistic to really count on Harrison being much of anything at this point. While the team has more information on him than we do, I think it would be a bit much to assume he’s just going to take over a reliable role on the offense. So I still see tight end as a need that warrants early draft consideration.
Andy Hart

With all the free agent and cap space talk this time of year. I thought I read somewhere that the NFL may give the Patriots some cap relief when it comes to the $7.5 million that Aaron Hernandez counts for against the cap. Is there any possibility of that? And when would it happen.
Nick Cabrera

There is certainly a possibly of a cap credit. But my understanding is that such a cap credit may not come for quite a while down the road as the legal process works itself out. I also have been led to believe that as far as cap credits go, and getting as much cap money back as possible, that the second case that Hernandez has been reportedly linked to in Boston a year prior to the one he was arrested for has an even greater bearing on the overall process that could play out with the league. And he’s yet to be reported as anything other than an alleged suspect in that investigation, so that case is even further from a conclusion. So it could be quite some time before we get a resolution on Hernandez’ cap charges.
Andy Hart

Is there any chance Adrian Wilson will make an impact on the Patriots this year?
Peter Borjestedt

So with Revis coming to NE, what are the chances he has a discussion with Adrian Wilson about number 24?
Tyler H.

Greetings from Texas! Does anybody have a clue how or if Adrian Wilson will be incorporated into the rotation at SS? Everybody was so excited about him last season, and I'm hearing next to nothing about him this year. #PatriotsNation
Caleb Tinsley

I have serious doubts as to whether Wilson will be with the Patriots come training camp, never mind have a role in the safety rotation. I’m actually a little surprised that he’s still on the roster at this point. He didn’t look very good at all last summer, even before the hamstring injury late that landed him on IR. Then, according to his own Twitter account, tore his Achilles at some point. So he’s an already slowing 34-year-old safety who missed all of last season. I just don’t see him as a good fit moving forward. I will be stunned if Revis doesn’t wear No. 24 in New England.
Andy Hart

I think AJ McCarron from ‘Bama would be a great 3r- round pickup. Reminds me of Brady, what's your thoughts on AJ?
Christopher Hicks

I’m not as in love with McCarron as some other people are, but he certainly could be an option as a mid-round developmental prospect for the Patriots. Hard to question his winning ways and overall leadership at Alabama playing under FOB (Friend of Belichick) Nick Saban. Personally I don’t see him having high-end NFL upside. He looks to me more like a bottom-half to bottom-third starter in the league, or quality backup. I think the next quarterback the Patriots go get should be seen as the potential heir to Brady. I can’t see McCarron as that.
Andy Hart

If we release Wilfork do you think we have to draft DL high in the draft such as the first round? Also, I think the need for a second tight end is a little overblown. We have bigger holes we need to fill rather than tight end in the draft. Also I read somewhere that the Patriots passed up J.J. Watt in the draft. That is crazy we would have the best defensive end in the entire league we would be unstoppable! PS -- what do you think about the Desean Jackson trade rumors? I don't think that we should waste that much cap space. We don't have that much left. Thank you for reading this bye!
Peter Gorman

I’ll start with the unbelievable meat of this question first. Sorry, it would make a good story but the Patriots never passed up Watt. He went to the Texans with the 11th overall pick in 2011. New England had the 17th pick in that draft, and selected Nate Solder. If Wilfork does end up elsewhere, I still don’t think that it’s necessary to take a defensive tackle in the first round. I think that role, of a run stuffing nose tackle type, can be filled through lower level veteran free agency or even later in the draft. I just don’t put as high a priority on that position right now in the modern NFL. Plus, with Tommy Kelly back and a couple young guys who earned experience last year, there are some in-house options. That doesn’t even take into account Armond Armstead, who Bill Belichick considered one of his top three defensive tackles heading into last season. If his health checks out, Armstead is an intriguing addition to the mix. Of course, that seems like a big if given his history. As I said in an earlier answer and in last week’s Make Your Case on Patriots.com, I don’t really have a lot of interest in Jackson. He’s a big-play guy, but not a true No. 1 receiver. He’s also a selfish dog at times. I’m just not all that interested, even given his immense physical talents.
Andy Hart

Do you think that if Wilfork wants to leave we might be able to make a good trade for DeSean Jackson addressing our deep threat problem? Then in the first round who do you think would be more likely to get picked up a TE or a defensive position like MLB or DT? Thanks for your time. Huge pats fan love what you guys do.
Derek Foltz

I don’t see much of a chance that the Eagles would trade Wilfork for Jackson, and take on Wilfork’s $8 million salary. It just wouldn’t seem to make much sense. I also don’t think too many teams, including the Patriots, would trade for Jackson’s $10 million salary. In the end, it sounds as if the only way that either player might/will be with another team in 2014 is if they are each given their release. As for the draft, I have targeted tight end and safety as the top two needs. Given how the prospects are shaking out, I think it might be best to take a tight end in the first round (Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Jace Amaro) and then grab a safety in the second (I love Deone Bucannon as a perfect fit for the Patriots).
Andy Hart

Hey guys, with Wilfork at the back end of his career or potentially off the roster could you see the Patriots doing what the Panthers did in last year's draft and doubling down on defensive tackles in rounds 1 and 2. Tommy Kelly isn't getting any younger and I also don't see a need to go tight end in the 2nd round if the big 3 are off the board (Ebron, Amaro, ASJ,) and there are proven vets still available via free agency be it Owen Daniels or Jermichael Finley. Love the show, keep up the good work.
Adrian Scarcelli

The only idea I like less than taking a defensive tackle in the first round for the Patriots would be taking defensive tackles with the team’s top two picks in the draft. I just don’t see the value in that position at this point to warrant such a massive investment on a team that still has other needs to fill. While I’m not arguing to force a tight end selection if the value isn’t there, and would be a bit dismayed if all the guys you mentioned are gone, I’m also not willing to count on damaged veterans to fill the void. We already have an injury concern with Gronkowski. I might be inclined to take a flier on Daniels, but not Finley. He has too many medical red flags and may never be healthy enough to play again.
Andy Hart

So... the Pats will obviously be looking at the safety position this year in the draft. With the obvious family ties, what are the odds we see the Pats take a chance on someone like Brock Vereen? Seems like he's got decent coverage skills, and he'll throw some nice hits every now and then. And if I'm not mistaken, he has the ability to play corner if necessary... could be a nice addition to the "Legion of Belichick."
Josh Baldwin

I haven’t seen much of Vereen play, but his scouting report is as a versatile guy who could play safety or nickel back. He’s a lower-round projection, though. So even if he were to join his brother in New England I don’t think it would be seen as the solution to the team’s issues at safety. It would be more as a special teams type and rotational backup, at least early on. He does have interesting speed, with a 4.47 at 6-0, 199 pounds.
Andy Hart

Andy, how do you feel about Patriots acquiring Mike Glennon from Tampa? He's tall, accurate, and has mobility in the pocket.
Calvin Kim

Given the regime change in Tampa Bay and the signing of Josh McCown, Glennon could be on the way out just a year into his career. I wasn’t wowed by him when we saw him in training camp practices in Foxborough last year, but he wasn’t terrible, either. He had a solid season as a rookie. He certainly has more experience at this point than Ryan Mallett. But is Glennon a future star or franchise type? I’m not willing to go there, but I’d take him as a backup, at the very least.
Andy Hart

With the news of Philly shopping DeSean Jackson could it be possible the Patriots trade Amendola and a 3rd-round pick for Jackson?
Lawrence Moses

Hey guys- always love your comments- helps to keep me sane out here in the desert. We have all heard that Amendola will cost as much whether he is released or kept on the roster. But what about a trade? I know his value might be a question, but how does it affect the cap if at all? I also saw that the Patriots are vying for DeSean Jackson; Is he really worth a draft pick? And would the Pats take over his contract? If he comes to N.E., whom do you see as most likely expendable?
Doug Tozier

Hi from India. Heard that DeSean Jackson might be traded due to some issues. If he is, do you guys see the Patriots trading for him? He's only 27 and in his prime. He'd be a great fit here.
Thanks.
Vikram Sakotai

Factually the Patriots certainly could trade Amendola and a third-round pick for Jackson. Philly was reportedly looking for a third-round pick for Jackson. And if you recall the Eagles supposedly had interest in Amendola last spring in free agency. For cap purposes, trading Amendola is really no different than cutting him. It would remove his salary from the Patriots cap, but the dead money would remain. My bigger issue, as I said previously, is that I think Jackson can be a real dog on and off the field and that he’s not nearly worth his $10 million salary. But if that weren’t an issue, then the trade suggestions are ridiculous. I just don’t see it happening at this point.
Andy Hart

With the draft coming up and free agency mostly with only depth players, do you see the mighty Patriots drafting Haggeman out of Missouri to replace Wilfork? I think there is enough depth in the draft to pick up a tight end in the 2nd round. Just thoughts. Thanks guys.
Justin Smith

Ra’Shede Hageman is a defensive tackle out of Minnesota. He’s considered a late first-round pick or maybe a second-round selection. He’s got a build of 6-6, 310 pounds, in the mold of Richard Seymour. I’m not sure at that height he’s an ideal replacement at nose tackle for the 6-2 fire hydrant that is Wilfork. Hageman is more a tackle/end tweener who might work better in the 3-4 as a 5-technique end. I’m must not in love with the idea of taking a tackle in the first round. Even then, I don’t think Hageman is the guy I’d select even if that were the case.
Andy Hart

Hey guys, had a bit of a thought with regards to Josh McDaniels & Nick Caserio. To me, it seemed like both of these guys had more senior positions outside New England if they wanted it. (Dolphins & Browns respectively) Is it plausable that the reason they didn't pursue these opportunities further is because of a succession plan situation coming up in New England? It’s been widely assumed that Belichick’s tenure as HC is tied to Brady’s longevity. With Brady turning 37 this year, and having possibly 2 seasons left in him, is it plausible that for 2017, Brady and Belichick are retired, and Caserio & McDaniels are GM & HC respectively?
Anthony Pearson

To turn a slight spin on Kevin Garnett’s famous quote, “Anything is plausible!” Caserio and McDaniels obviously have strong ties to New England, and the former college football teammates clearly have a pretty impressive working and personal relationship. So seeing them as the duo in charge of any team, including the Patriots, isn’t crazy. Two things, though. First, I’m not sure that Brady and Belichick are ready to walk away, even in a couple years. Second, if they do, the replacement(s) in the front office will be decided by Robert and Jonathan Kraft, and no one else. I’m not sure that they would be willing to sign off on some long-term succession plan at this point and tie their hands in terms of the future of the franchise. So, your idea isn’t crazy. I just don’t think it’s the present reality, either. More likely is that both McDaniels and Caserio saw opportunities with other teams that just lacked the stability and potential for success that they were looking for at this point in their careers. Hard to argue that perceived view, as both the Browns and the Dolphins seem like pretty poorly run franchises from afar.
Andy Hart

Who are we looking at for TE's this year? And we should consider Colt Lyerla, he's just like Aaron Hernandez!
Nicholas LaBarre

I’m sure the Patriots are looking at all the tight ends in the draft. Lyerla is an interesting talent, with skills that in some ways are pretty similar to what Hernandez brought to an offense. Of course he also has a number of red flags after leaving the Oregon program during the middle of last season and then being arrested for cocaine. Given the recent history of the Patriots with Hernandez, I’d be stunned if the team drafted Lyerla, even if physically he’s an intriguing talent who might fit well in the team’s offense.
Andy Hart

Do you think there is any chance the Pats might go after Andre Williams. The mock drafts I've seen have him available at 29. I know that RB is not an area of extreme need but I think he is a rare talent. Ridley is coming to the end of his contract and has ball management questions. Blount is not re-signed at this time and is limited in some ways.
Pat Mackey

No team will be going after Williams in the first round, and probably not in the first half of the draft. He had a great season at B.C. but is considered a mid-round talent. He’s a pretty big back with decent speed and great production. His quickness has been questioned, and he has virtually no value at this point in the passing game. I don’t think Williams is a rare talent, but he would be an interesting late-round pick to add to a committee backfield. I don’t expect that to be with the Patriots, but you never know.
Andy Hart

Hey PFW!! I have a draft related question for you guys. Because San Francisco has stock piled a lot of picks. Would you trade down with the Patriots 1st Round Pick (29 overall) for their two 2nd round picks (56 and 61) and three 7th round picks (242, 243 and 245)? I did the math for each picks "point value" and it is an even trade (640-641.8). Then the Patriots have more ammunition later to trade up into the 4th/5th round.
Jake Smith

As I said earlier, trading down will clearly be an option in a deep draft. Having multiple second-round picks in such a draft is interesting. But I’m still not in love with the idea. I also certainly have little interest in loading up on seventh-round picks. I think the Patriots have a very young roster already, and adding all those seventh-round selections is of little value to the team. I still think the Patriots need impact playmakers in a few different spots. I’d prefer to make those picks earlier in the draft rather than later. That would include the second round, not just the first. But for all the David Givens and Julian Edelman success stories in this world, I’m not lathered up to load up on seventh-round picks.
Andy Hart

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