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Ask PFW: A Ty-free zone

Since the Ty Law situation was discussed at length last week, we decided to make this week a Ty-free zone with regards to his contract.

Since the Ty Law situation was discussed at length last week, we decided to make this week a Ty-free zone with regards to his contract. Also, as has been stated many times, the official NFL schedule has yet to be released. We will post it on as soon as it becomes available.

When did the Patriots get rid of Bobby Hamilton?
Moosup, Conn.

Don't give up the ship just yet Nathan. Hamilton is a free agent and hasn't been re-signed by the Patriots, but he hasn't signed anywhere else, either. Maybe if Hamilton doesn't receive any big money offers around the league he'll be back next year. You never know.
Paul Perillo

I was reading your Q and As and couldn't help notice that Kevin Faulk's fumbles came up. Andy Hart said he's better now. Yeah right. He had two very costly fumbles that I can think of … Washington and Houston. I think Andy should look into Faulk's fumble history more. How many times did Faulk fumble (4 maybe) and where on the field were they?
Lebanon, N.H.

I totally agree with you, Andy Hart is out to lunch. But not necessarily with regards to Faulk's fumbling. He did cough it up four times last year, as you said. They came at Washington deep in Patriots territory (led to a touchdown), at Miami on the Patriots 40 (led to a field goal), at Indy at the Colts 11 (led to a field goal) and against Miami near midfield (led to a punt). (He did not fumble against Houston.) But he had 241 touches in 2003 and fumbled four times. That's not a terribly high number. Unfortunately, the NFL doesn't keep track of individual fumbles so I can't compare those numbers to other backs around the league. I'm sure there are some with more touches who fumbled less than four times, but I'm also sure there were some who fumbled more. Faulk has done a lot of work to improve that aspect of his game. Back in 2000, the only other year he had as many touches as he did last year (259), he fumbled six times. So there have been signs of improvement in that area.
Paul Perillo

Do the players sent to NFLE by their respective teams have a right to refuse, or are they contractually obliged to go if the team so desires? Does the NFLE have a draft from players allocated?
Paul Bissonnette
Goffstown, N.H.

No player is forced to participate in NFL Europe, but for younger guys looking to make a roster, it's certainly in their best interests to go since it's a great way to gain playing experience. NFL Europe does indeed conduct a draft where some of the players are selected while other are simply allocated to the various teams.
Paul Perillo

I am a Tom Brady fan. He is very sharp and consistent. This team has some real good depth at the quarterback position. I watched Huard as he led the Dolphins to the playoffs the year Marino went down. But I really like what I see when Rohan Davey is taking snaps. My question is how can the Patriots develop him and get him ready to start everyday, and either replace Brady when we can no longer afford him, or use Davey in a trade?
Scott Routhier
Sidney, Maine

You have some pretty special powers, Scott, because you've seen things most of us can't. Aside from a couple of mopup stints Rohan Davey hasn't taken any snaps as a Patriot. And the sparse few he has gotten certainly haven't been meaningful enough to prove anything. I agree with your opinion about Huard. If anything were to happen to Brady, I felt pretty comfortable with him as the backup. Now I'm not so sure with Davey and Kliff Kingsbury the remaining quarterbacks. Davey is set to begin the season in Europe where he'll get some valuable playing time and hopefully show some development. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots draft another quarterback in the mid-to-later rounds next month.

Do you think the Pats will sign Aaron Beasley? He would be great for the Patriots, and then it would be OK to dump Ty Law.
George Bissell
Chepachet, R.I.

I'm not sure if the Patriots have any interest in Beasley. He's at best an average corner who the Jets obviously felt comfortable enough to simply release, so I'm not sure Bill Belichick will be beating down his door. Even if the Patriots are interested, he in no way would be capable of filling Ty Law's shoes. The two aren't comparable individually, although I'm sure Belichick and Romeo Crennel could find a way to use Beasley effectively in the secondary.
Paul Perillo

Can Jarvis Green be the man to replace Washington in the 3-4 at NT? He had a great postseason and was definitely playing the interior against the Colts and the Panthers. So could we have our answer in house?
Jason Chubb
Halifax, Mass.

Green was given an opportunity to be the nose tackle last year in camp and the Patriots obviously felt they needed to upgrade the spot and traded for Washington. Green is a good young player making strides and he could see an increased role this year. I'm just not sure he's ready for an every down nose tackle role. As far as a pass rusher goes, he clearly has earned some playing time and will no doubt get it in 2004.
Paul Perillo

Looking at the DL situation and liking to get a solid veteran into the mix, do you think that Pats have an interest in Chad Eaton and bringing him back home? I know he was injured last year and really I am not sure on his rehab status but he seems to fit the Pioli/Belichick model.
Eric D
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Chad would certainly be a nice fit in the middle if he was healthy, but unfortunately he's not. According to reports in Seattle, the main reason Eaton was released in the first place was because he failed his physical. If that's the case, then I don't see the Patriots investing in him again.
Paul Perillo

How long does it look like Tedy Bruschi will be around with us. I know Bill and Scott like to pass a player on when they no longer fit the team chemistry. Does it look like this will happen anytime soon? I like the fact that he's a real standout player and not a hot head or a drag on the team.
Michael Irvine
Waysontown, Pa.

Do you see how big Ask PFW is getting? Even former NFL wide receivers are writing in to get their questions answered! I'm flattered, Michael. Anyway, Bruschi is under contract for the 2004 season so he won't be going anywhere this year. After that, I'd assume the Patriots would try to re-sign him for at least another two or three years. He's only 30, and he just seems to be getting better every year. I would be very surprised if the team played hardball with such a productive player, but you never know. By the way, you spelled you're name wrong … there's no 'e' at the end.
Paul Perillo

I know the Pats are in need of a quality RB who can be the workhorse. How out of the question would it be to pursue Rudi Johnson from the Bengals. He is a restricted FA that would cost the Pats a 1st and 3rd round pick. Do you think he would be worth the investment?
Travis Snyder
South Bend, Ind.

If they could somehow get Johnson for a reasonable amount of money, it wouldn't bother me to give up a first and a third to get him. But since the Bengals would likely match pretty much any offer, I don't see the Patriots or anyone else signing him. I would expect the Patriots to look to the draft for a running back (maybe they can pick up Julius Jones from your neck of the woods).
Paul Perillo

What type of injury did Eugene Wilson sustain on the long TD pass in the Super Bowl? I'm pretty certain that he didn't come back into the game, but I never heard what happened to him or what his prognosis was.
Middletown, Conn.

According to one of my many sources, Wilson tore his groin muscle on Muhsin Muhammad's long touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. He never made it back into the game and would like have been out a couple of months had the injury occurred in the middle of the season. I haven't spoken with anybody on his current status by my guess is he's rehabbing and will be ready to go come training camp.
Paul Perillo

Would Ty Warren be able to last the entire season playing nose tackle? I know you have to be big to play it so you last the entire season and occupy multiple blockers. That and which back would you prefer Steven Jackson or Kevin Jones? I think the Patriots have a chance to get one of them at 21. I personally like Jackson better. Fits the scheme and has a good speed/power ratio. Kevin Jones is just more a speed back. Again the question is which back do you prefer, not considering the Patriots scheme?
Chicopee, Mass.

Warren is 6-5, 300 pounds so I think that's plenty big enough to play the position and hold up for an entire season. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean he can do it. Warren may be better suited to play tackle in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4 than playing over the center. Some guys are just more comfortable in different spots. I'm not sure which spot Warren is most comfortable in. I do know that he seemed to be more productive as the season went on last year and I'm expecting big things from him in 2004.
As for my preference in running backs, I like Jones better. I think they're both solid and Jackson's actually rated higher in most of what I've read thus far. Both catch the ball well and both are pretty powerful runners. I like Jones' speed more (although they tested virtually the same on their pro days so maybe that's a bad perception on my part). I agree with you that both will be there at 21 for the Patriots to choose.
Paul Perillo

I have seen it reported several times that Jon Kitna was the only QB in the league to take every snap this year. Apparently I am having a brain cramp because I do not recall a point in the season that Brady missed a snap. Unless this is due to the Pats occasional direct snap to the running back or receiver?
Boston, Mass.

The lovely Ms. Elizabeth is indeed suffering a brain cramp (although a pretty minor one since this is a rather obscure factoid). Brady did not take every snap last year. Rohan Davey replaced him midway through the fourth quarter of the opener in Buffalo, and Damon Huard did the same in the fourth quarter of the final game against Buffalo. So I guess if you don't include games against the Bills, Brady did take every snap last year.
Paul Perillo

I like the comment Ty Law said about moving from corner to safety after his skills diminish. Must be an easy position to play. Heck, all you have to do is hit people coming over the middle. Piece of cake, right? Wonder what Rodney H. or even his buddy, Lawyer thinks of that comment?
Andy Silvia
Manteca, Calif.

First, I don't remember Ty saying anything about how easy it is to play safety. He was simply stating that when he gets older and perhaps loses a step of his speed he'd be willing to switch to safety, where speed isn't as much a priority as it is at corner. Many older cornerbacks make similar switches – Rod Woodson, Aeneas Williams, Ronnie Lott … the list goes on. As far as the skills necessary to play both spots, they're pretty similar. It's pretty fashionable to beat up of Ty Law right now given his recent statements, but saying he could move to safety down the road is certainly a reasonable assumption.
Paul Perillo

Don't you guys think the wisest move for the Pats on draft day would be to get rid of at least one, if not both, of their first-round draft picks? The wheeling and dealing the Pats have done over the last few years has ensured that not only do they get value talent, but they set themselves up again in future drafts. Perry from Michigan and Julius Jones From N.D. are exceptional talents (Jones ran in the 4.3s at he combine) and can be had in the late first and second round. Just an opinion from a Midwest fan who has seen these guys play.
Youngstown, Ohio

It all depends on how the first round unfolds. If the Patriots like the players that will be available in the latter half of the first round, then they should take them. If not, you look to trade. Sometimes teams make poor decisions and a player that you figured wouldn't be around by the time you pick is still there. If that happens, the Patriots would be foolish to trade. I'd assume, based on Belichick's track record, that the Patriots will make some moves. I'm just not sure they should move one of the first rounders.
Paul Perillo

What is the worst record any team has ever had and still made the playoffs? Who are they and deep did they go?
The Greek God KOKO
Swampscott, Mass.

In the strike-shortened 1982 season, each conference sent the top eight teams to the playoffs after a nine-game regular season. Both Cleveland (AFC) and Detroit (NFC) went 4-5 and qualified as the eighth seed, and both lost in the first round. For a full 16-game season, there have been four 8-8 teams that have qualified for the postseason, and all lost in their opening playoff game. The 1985 Cleveland Browns were the only one of this group to win their division. The others were the 1991 Jets, and the 1999 Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions.
Paul Perillo

What is the status of Richard Seymour, when is it up etc. Is it correct to assume that when he is finally a free agent the Pats will cut him loose like Woody due to what he can earn on the open market, assuming no injuries etc?
Portland, Maine

Seymour is signed through the 2006 season so his contract status isn't at the urgent stage yet. While a lot can change in a three-year time frame, my guess is you are correct in assuming that when Seymour's deal is up he will likely look elsewhere for big money. I'm sure the Patriots would like to keep him but my guess is Seymour will want to explore his options and see what's available in the open market. If that happens, like in Woody's case, someone will offer much more than the Patriots will be willing to pay. Unless Seymour signs an extension before his current deal is up, I don't think he'll remain a Patriot beyond 2006.
Paul Perillo

Could the Pats trade for a high potential running back in the draft? I'll ask you guys if the Patriots would be interested in a trade for LaDainian Tomlinson because he was the AFC's leading receiver, plus he was second in rushing. If I was Bill Belichick would I at least try. I mean c'mon why not? Please answer my question. I am a really, really big fan of the Pats.
Patrick Norton
Chesterfield, N.H.

First of all, stop begging. Second, I'm sure the Patriots would love to have Tomlinson in their backfield. Who wouldn't? The problem is San Diego, I'm sure, isn't hot on letting him go. Why would the Chargers, who are short on talent overall as it is, let their best player go? They need more players like Tomlinson so I don't see them trading one of their few commodities. As for the draft, like I've said earlier, I expect the Patriots to pick one somewhere early, and from the looks of things they might not have to trade up to get one.
Paul Perillo

I have a pretty simple question with I'm sure a complex answer. HOW is it possible that Miami can have so many good players and no salary cap problems? They have Ricky Williams, Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Patrick Surtain, etc. I know good players don't always make a good team, but it's ridiculous to watch a team with so many stars get more players like David Boston. How can they afford these players?
Stephen Morgan
Bristol, R.I.

The answer isn't that complex, Stephen. It all depends on how you want to build your team. Some like to have a nucleus of players who take up a large percentage of salary cap space. Miami obviously falls into that category. The Patriots don't like to have one or two players count for such a large portion of the cap, instead choosing to spread their money around as evenly as possible throughout the roster. Pretty much all teams are going to have cap problems at some point regardless of how they put their roster together. There are always increasing salaries from year to year and signing new players always requires more money. So either way you're bound to have some cap troubles. It just depends on how you choose to deal with them.
Paul Perillo

Andy, first I gotta say, "You crack me up, dude." I, along with many other Pats fans, go nuts reading questions from paranoid fans who can't recognize talent even after it won them the famous 2 of 3! So I decided to wrap it up in a nice and neat package for all of the fans who don't understand:1. Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli know what they're doing.2. Tom Brady is a good quarterback.3.Mike Cloud is a... BACKUP!!4.Kevin Faulk is worth his money.5. Ted Washington was looking for a retirement package.6.The 2004 schedule will be released in spring.7. If Ty Law leaves...It's not the end of the world (He's my favorite player in the league.)8. The Patriots are not going to sign Maurice Clarett, Terrell Owens, Keyshawn Johnson or any other locker room cancer for that matter.... And any other DRAFT questions will have to wait until April 24 to be answered. To address the punter concern I have to say this...Carolina might have sent the Super Bowl into OT with a more consistent kicker. The Pats won their two SB wins on the foot of a kicker. Never underestimate the importance of good field position and a reliable punter.

The lonely fan from Cali
Monterey, Calif.

TLFFC … I'm going to waive the normal five-year waiting period and induct you directly into the Ask PFW Hall of Fame. Great job. I really have nothing to add to any of your rants, except that I have to question your sense of humor if you think Andy is funny.
Paul Perillo (the not-so-lonely PFW guy from Mass.)

I've followed Michigan football for years. Brady and Law both came out of Michigan. By far two of the best players on the team. I watched them play in college and was thrilled to see the Pats draft them. I knew, no lie that Brady would become a great QB. I'm glad he is with the Pats. My question is: Could drafting Chris Perry be the "threes the charm" type of thing? Or trade for the A-train (Anthony Thomas) in Chicago?
Patrick B.
Madbury, N.H.

Since you "knew" that Brady would be a good quarterback, would you mind giving me the winning Powerball numbers for the next jackpot? Anyway, I noticed you left out a few Michigan products from the Patriots since I guess they wouldn't suit your argument. Guys like Chris Floyd, Damon Denson and Jon Vaughn haven't exactly worked out so it's not like drafting a Michigan player is a cure-all to any team's problems. And Chicago sure doesn't seem to be all that intent on keeping the A-Train so maybe he hasn't been the best fit either. I like Chris Perry and would certainly be interested in taking him at No. 32 or in the second round but there are other backs (Jackson, Kevin Jones) I'd rather pick earlier.
Paul Perillo
P.S. – Sorry Jen!

Does the release of A. Smith and resigning of K. Faulk, give M. Cloud goal line and short yardage duty?
John Haddon
El Segundo, Calif.

That depends if B. Belichick and S. Pioli decide to re-sign M. Cloud. Right now Cloud is a free agent so the Patriots would need to re-sign him first. The Patriots will definitely have another running back on the roster, whether it be a free agent or a rookie, come the summer.
P. Perillo

With the William Green situation being what it is in Cleveland, is it possible that the Pats could acquire him in a trade? Or is there any possibility that the Browns could let him go and cut their losses. I know he's a head case but he is very talented.
Bryan Donovan
Nashua, N.H.

Why would the Patriots want to bring in a guy like that? They've worked hard to find "the right" kinds of players and then they're going to actively pursue a problem child like William Green? I just don't see that happening.
Paul Perillo

Since we've lost a lot of free agents, do we qualify to get any compensation picks in the draft? If so, from previous year comparisons, what type of picks would we get?
Tim Gillette
Plantation, Fla.

Are you any relation to the stadium or anything? Anyway, the NFL has a formula to determine what if any compensation picks teams get after losing free agents. They are determined based on the previous years' losses so losing Washington and Woody wouldn't come into play until the 2005 draft. They might be in line for a sixth or seventh rounder for losing someone like Marc Edwards after the 2002 season, but most likely they won't get anything.
Paul Perillo

Of all the members of the Patriots current roster, which players have been on the team the longest and when did they become Patriots?
Craig Walker
Fayetteville, N.C.

Troy Brown is the longest current tenured Patriot. He was drafted in 1993 and will be entering his 12th season with the team. Willie McGinest was drafted the following year and would be next.
Paul Perillo

Wouldn't it be better if the Pats took their number 21 pick this year, parlay that into a 1st round pick next year with another team because we're close to the cap as it is, and I don't think we could sign two 1st rounders, or even a higher pick this year. Next year, let Ty Law and his $12 million cap hit go and take the $2.5 million dead money hit and we could go into the 2005 season with $10 million-$12 million under the cap for free agency, and the draft, and who knows, the team we trade with could be in the top 10 next year. It's a gamble, I grant you, but I like those odds better than going into this year, trying to sign everyone and redo some deals to make it under the cap where we would have to let go more impact players. Besides, I think Chris Perry will be available in the 32nd pick.
Walpole, Mass.

Like I said earlier, I would trade a pick for a future pick only if I wasn't interested in any players available. Signing the players won't be a problem. They'll make the room to sign the players without too much trouble. If there are players available late in the first round the Patriots like, they'll take them. There's definitely no guarantees that a trade for a first-rounder next year will yield a top 10 pick. I seem to remember a lot of people jumping up and down last year when the Patriots got Baltimore's first round pick this year figuring it would be a top 10 pick. But the Ravens made the playoffs and spoiled that plan. You never know how those things will work out. Also, don't forget that you can't just subtract Ty's $12 that you'd save on the cap next year without adding any increases in salary for the players you intend to keep. So you may drop $12 million by dumping Ty but you could adding several million in salary increases for other veterans.
Paul Perillo

Is there any truth to the rumor that the Pats re-signed Kevin Faulk solely because when calling third down plays Coach B just likes to say "Aww, Faulk It!"
Boston, Mass.

Nothing like a little sophomoric PFW humor to finish off the mailbag. Well done.
Paul Perillo

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