This upsets me no end. We expected it, but it is still a shock. I always hoped he would retire a Patriot, but I guess not. My question is this. Why did they out right cut Ty Law? We could have traded him and gotten some compensation. He is still a premier CB and is worth quite a bit. What were BB and Pioli thinking? This is one move that can come back to haunt us especially if he goes to a division opponent. Do you think he might end up in Cleveland?Chandrika
I know people might be freaking out that BB and Co. have just released Ty Law out of the blue. But after the whole Milloy issue two years ago, I told myself not to second-guess BB. So my guess and no one might care what I think, is that the reason the Pats released Law and did not trade him, is because he might have been not responding well to the rehabbing of his foot. Therefore no teams would want to trade for a CB whose health is unclear and we all know that Law wouldn't restructure, so there was no way the pats were going to bring back a broken Law with that $12 million hit.
Why was Ty Law released? Was there no option of trading him to another team and trying to get a draft pick of some kind out of the trade. I wasn't very surprised to hear that he was not going to be back next season because of his cap number and refusal to lower his price, but to lose one of the top 3 CBs in the league if not the best, and get nothing for it doesn't make much sense to me. Don't think that I'm doubting the coaching staff because I am not. I just don't understand why there wasn't a better option.Shane Hanson
I know this will be a hot topic this week, but I was wondering why they released Ty Law instead of trading him. They are already in jeopardy of possibly losing one of their star players on defense (Tedy Bruschi). I'm just surprised that they didn't even try to get some sort of compensation for Law. I know it's a business, but can they really afford to lose, what I believe to be, their two top starters.
If you look at the Ty Law release objectively, once the Pats realized there would be limited trade value now they did the only thing they could by releasing him I would say the timing is the only thing you could question. If you look back in history, I would guess that there has never been a seven-year contract with a significant bonus granted that has played through completion without restructuring. Law's contract would have counted 14 percent against the 2005 cap – for an aging, injured cornerback? This is not now and will never be the Patriots way of doing business.Steve McCumber
Why didn't they try to trade Law and get something for him? They let him go and have nothing to show for it. I am shocked that B.B. would do something like this.
I have no idea where Ty will end up, but early reports had Kansas City and Dallas in the running. Ty will definitely play somewhere in 2005, but I can't argue with the Patriots decision to let him go now. This was obviously the most asked question this week since many fans hoped the Patriots would trade the All-Pro and try to get something in return. The problem with that logic is the team needed the cap relief now in order to get in compliance before the March 2 deadline. The trading deadline isn't lifted until that same date, so the Patriots would have had to cut others (likely several) in order to get under the cap in time. Letting Law go when they did made the most sense – they saved $9 million and avoided having to let multiple players go. Yes he is still a premier corner but his salary was too high and he wanted a multiyear renegotiation in order to stay. Given his age and recent injury, the Patriots obviously didn't want to do that. I don't think the decision had anything to do with his current health or his rehab status. There has been no indication his career is in jeopardy. I've heard some reports from the Chiefs saying the injury is a concern, but I believe that's all just contract negotiations in an effort to keep the contract down if they choose to sign him. But I think the only factor that played into the Patriots decision was the $12.5 million cap hit, and releasing him when they did allowed the team to get under the cap.
Law fought the Pats and the Pats won. He was supposedly singing a very different tune from last summer, this offseason – what with his bad foot, the fact that he was expendable half this season, etc. Guess the song wasn't different enough. So instead of a cap hit of $12.5 million, the Pats get $3 million in dead money (something like that). My question is more about those great guys that do restructure to make life easier in the cap era. When you prorate the money over the life of the player's tenure, which I gather is the gist of restructuring, a big bonus and smaller "salaries," wouldn't that catch up to the team by now? I mean, every offseason it seems a lot of guys are restructuring on the Pats roster for the sake of the team. That means that the clock gets reset and the hits start piling up in later years. Thing is, we're 4 years into the Patriots Super Bowl Era. In the case of Law and Lawyer, I can see how you get out of some of those hits. But what about the players who do it and stay? Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather have a Bruschi than a Lawyer any day, even if I do lose my Woody along the way. But the point is, when does the bill come due for all this? And with Law gone, are we looking at trying to get back most of the free agent pool, or spend it on Brady and Dillon extensions? In Bill We Trust and all that, but who wants to wait around until the actual decisions when we can irresponsibly speculate?
I wouldn't necessarily say Law "lost," just like I wouldn't say Lawyer Milloy "lost" in their salary battles against the Patriots. And just to set the record straight, Law said many times last year that he would be willing to restructure his deal, just not to take a pay cut. The Patriots wanted both Law and Milloy to take cuts and they said no. In Milloy's case, financially, he actually won because he got more money from Buffalo than he was originally set to make if he stayed in New England before the cut. And we'll have to wait and see what kind of deal Law gets because you can bet he won't spend 2005 out of football. He'll likely sign a multiyear deal with a decent signing bonus. Now the Patriots are obviously fine without their services. But to say the players lost because they aren't here anymore isn't necessarily accurate.
The rest of your point is interesting. It would stand to reason that the due date for many of the restructurings is coming soon. The Patriots do a great job of tweaking things here and there and of spreading out the years when decisions have to be made. There will be a time when some of the restructures will lead to more releases, but trying to determine when all that will happen is tough. I agree with you that speculating is fun, but speculating intelligently in these matters is almost impossible.
Two things. First, I just want to rub it in … boy, did you guys miss the mark big time with your prediction that the Pats will retain the services of Law, because the team can afford to. Secondly, I have two questions: Would the team that signs Law be obligated to pay him what the Pats would have paid him next year? And how much are the Pats obligated to pay Law next year if he signs on with another team. Despite the multitude of incorrect and embarrassing predictions, I still think you guys are doing a heck of job.J Bains
Sorry J, it really was embarrassing how badly Bryan Morry messed up that whole situation. Anyway, whichever team signs Law will be able to negotiate a new deal with him because he's now a free agent. The Patriots don't have to pay Law anything this year but will be hit with about a $3 million cap charge, which amounts to the last year of his prorated signing bonus. Since Law already received the bonus when he signed the deal back in 1999, the Patriots aren't obligated to pay him anything.
I was curious, with the Law being a cap casualty, and for good reason with a $12-plus million-cap number, is it possible for a team to release a player and then re-sign them later? I know typically there is a cap penalty for releasing a player and I was wondering if a team re-signed that player would the penalty still apply, and thus would it be worthwhile to re-sign Law if his market value would permit a lower cap number.Brendan Mahoney
The penalties would still apply but there is nothing that would prohibitive a team from re-signing a player it already released. The team would then be responsible for whatever the new salary cap charge would be, plus any dead money left over from the original contract. In Law's case, his dead money charge was $3 million. So if the team re-signed him, the 2005 cap number would be a combination of the new deal plus the $3 million. It wouldn't be impossible to re-sign Law, but unlikely.
Now that Ty has been let go what do you think will happen with the secondary? Do you see the Pats picking up a guy like Rolle in the FA market, or do you see Wilson stepping in at corner and Guss Scott taking over the free safety position, or do you think a corner will come during the draft?
I would think the Patriots would be interested in selecting a cornerback, which is said to be a very deep position in this year's draft. Losing Law definitely is a concern, even with Randall Gay and Asante Samuel back after performing well down the stretch in 2004. I also think you're speculation of Samari Rolle being a possibility makes sense. Rolle is experienced and wouldn't command the kind of money Law was asking for. Plus he could provide some veteran stability to the group. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Wilson playing corner on a more regular basis, especially if Tyrone Poole doesn't return in 2005.
With the recent rumors that the Redskins may release or put Laveranues Coles on the trading block, do you think the Patriots may be interested with David Patten's impending free agency? I know it may be a stretch financially, but I remember an excerpt in "Patriot Reign" where Belichick was asked by a GM, two years ago, what he'd give to get Coles on his team. And Belichick replied, "I'd give up your second rounder for him." Any thoughts?
I don't think acquiring Coles would be out of the question. I'm not saying it's going to happen either, but Belichick has spoken highly of him in the past and generally that kind of talk is genuine. Patten is indeed a free agent and may be looking for more money elsewhere, and Troy Brown isn't getting any younger. Plus there's a chance the Patriots could lose restricted free agent David Givens. That would certainly make wide receiver somewhat of a need and Coles' experience and production would be attractive. However, I agree with your point that he may be too expensive for the Patriots taste and he won't likely be settling for a low-money deal.
Could someone please tell me why the NFL made us go to Pittsburgh to play instead of them coming to Gillette? I think we would have won the game and not broken our streak if the Steelers came to town. When was the last time the Steelers came to Gillette?
Pittsburgh last came to Foxborough for the Patriots Monday night opener in 2002 when they destroyed the Steelers, 30-14, in the first-ever regular season game a Gillette Stadium. As far as the Patriots having to travel to Pittsburgh last year, some of the games have to be on the road. You can't play all 16 at home. The league has a formula to make the schedules and it rotates so every team plays in all venues on somewhat of a regular basis.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won the last 14 regular season games last year. If they start 5-0 in 2005, then they will pass the Patriots record of 18 consecutive regular season wins. Hopefully the NFL will make the Steelers play the Patriots early next season, but if the Steelers do win their first five games will the Patriots 21-game winning streak even be mentioned in the NFL record books?
Yes, the NFL recognizes regular season streaks only in the official record book so if the Steelers surpassed the Patriots streak, Pittsburgh would sit atop the Patriots even though New England eventually won 21 games in a row overall, including the playoffs, while Pittsburgh lost in the playoffs. It's really not a big deal – I think most Patriots fans are far more concerned with winning Super Bowls than establishing records the NFL actually considers valid.
How many players can a team franchise every season? A co-worker of mine told me this is the last year for franchising players, is this true? Is he nuts? He is a Falcons fan after all.
I guess Falcons fans have a different rulebook than everyone else because this will not be the last year teams will have the ability to franchise players. The current collective bargaining agreement is in place through 2007. So the ability to use the franchise tag will remain in 2006. Whether or not those rules will remain in place if/when a new CBA is put in place remains to be seen. And teams can only use the tag on one player at a time. If a person is tagged and then signs a long-term deal before March 16, the team could then use the tag on another player that same year. But generally speaking only one player can be franchised in a given year.
I just read a question regarding opening day and who the Pats will play. I thought that the NFL had decided that the opening game would be on a Thursday with a rematch of the championship game with the Super Bowl winner at The Champs home field. So, please correct me if I'm wrong, but the Pats should be playing the Steelers, (who is a division champ) on the opening Thursday. A question though, if this is the case (championship game rematch), what would happen if one of the teams wasn't a division winner and the conferences weren't scheduled to play each other?Chris Sexton
You've answered your own question. The league obviously wouldn't be able to have the Patriots host the Steelers for the opener in a rematch since New England must travel to Pittsburgh in 2005. Some have speculated the Patriots could host Indy in the NFL opener this year since the Colts are scheduled to travel to Foxborough.
What is Eugene Wilson's status after leaving the Super Bowl? Did he break his arm? If so, was it a clean break? How much rehab will he need? I've been looking for info on him and can't seem to locate any.Kristian G
Ambergris Caye, Belize
The reason you haven't been able to locate any information on Gino's injury is because there really isn't any. He did indeed break his arm in the Super Bowl, but other than that there haven't been any more details to report. I would assume, similar to Rodney Harrison, that Wilson will be ready for mini-camp and training camp, but I have no definitive information to support that.
On the current Pats roster it says that PK Sam was suspended. Was that for the whole season, or was he also on injured reserve? How long are Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel signed for?
Sam was placed on injured reserve Oct. 20 but was then moved to the reserve-suspended list during the playoffs. The team did not specify why he was suspended. As for Wilson and Samuel, both will likely be around for a while. Wilson has three years remaining on his rookie deal while Samuel has two. Both should be fixtures in the Patriots secondary in the future.
Do you think that the Patriots would consider grabbing Jay Fiedler as an experienced backup QB to Tom Brady?
Not to sound like Belichick, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out. The Patriots signed Chris Redman, presumably to battle it out with Rohan Davey for the backup spot in 2005. Fiedler obviously was not available at that time, but Belichick has spoken highly of the former Dolphins quarterback in the past, often citing his impressive winning percentage. Having both Redman and Fiedler around to compete with Davey would not be a bad way to create competition.
From what I have read on the CBA, when a player is franchised (such as Vinatieri), the tender amount is 120 percent of his previous year's salary or the average of the top 5 players at his position, which ever is higher. What I don't understand is that it supposed to be based on salary, not the salary cap amount, yet every news source except John Clayton of ESPN, is reporting that Vinatieri's tender was $2.5 million, not the $1.787 million for the average of the top 5 kickers. Could you please shed some light on this mystery?Jeremy
According to the CBA, when determining the top five player salaries in order to compute a player's potential franchise number, "'salary'" means the total of the Paragraph 5 Salary, roster and reporting bonuses, prorated portion of signing bonus and other payments to players in compensation for the playing of professional football for the applicable year of the player's most recently negotiated Player Contract, except for performance bonuses other than roster and reporting bonuses." With that being the case, Adam's salary in 2004 was roughly $2.1 million, which means a he would be due 120 percent of that, putting his 2005 salary around $2.5 million if he signs the franchise tender.
Can you clarify for me whether this January's Super Bowl means the Pats won in 2005 or '04? Some people say the win is for the 2004 season. Is that correct?
Even though Super Bowls are played after the New Year, the championship is considered the previous year. So the Patriots latest title is considered the 2004 season.
What are your opinions on the Moss trade? Did the Vikings receive to little or too much? And how do you think it will affect the Patriots?Dan LeClair
In my opinion, the Vikings didn't get enough for a player of Moss' caliber. I know he comes with more than his share of baggage, but players with his skills and ability to change games don't come along every day. I would think he'd be worth a better player than Napoleon Harris and draft picks, but I guess his attitude kept the price tag down. But either way I don't think the deal affects the Patriots much at all. The Raiders already had a pretty good corps of wide receivers with Curry and Porter and they didn't win too much in 2004. Moss will certainly upgrade their talent, but I don't see the Raiders threatening the Patriots for AFC supremacy in 2005.
It seems that few in press are talking about a glaring need at ILB position. Wishing Tedy the best is wonderful, but what about the doctor's reports that he is done for NFL? With Tedy gone, and Phifer released, the only two ILBs the Pats would have are Johnson and Klecko. Even before Bruschi's health issue, ILB was a position in need. Now it is a must feel situation. I sincerely hope that Pats would sign Kendrell Bell and draft ILB in the first round.
Not sure what press you've been checking out Edward but most Patriots writers labeled ILB as an area of need even before Tedy had his stroke. While doctors haven't made any public comments on his future, there is obviously a strong chance that he won't be able to play in the future so this need becomes that much greater. Kendrell Bell would obviously be a nice addition as a young free agent available, although I'm not sure what kind of salary he would demand. He has experience playing in the 3-4 even though Pittsburgh's schemes aren't the same as the Patriots. But there's no question the Patriots are going to need to bolster their corps of inside linebackers – probably in free agency and in the draft.
Is there any salary cap relief when a player is either inactive for a game or is placed on IR? Why hasn't Stanley Morgan in the Pats Hall of Fame? He has statistics that would even give him a small consideration for the NFL Hall. He and Grogan should be rejoined together there.
Teams don't get any cap relief for either scenario. If a player is injured, his salary still counts against the cap as if he played in every game. Same for an inactive player. As for Stanley Morgan, the PFW staff definitely is in agreement with you. Morgan is the greatest receiver the team has ever had and there really isn't anyone who would qualify as a close second. He was a dominant receiver in his days and his longevity proved he was more than a flash in the pan. Morgan should be in the Pats Hall.
I know that Corey Dillon had a great season but he isn't getting any younger. He will be 30 starting the season and the running style that Dillon has could make him retire in a few more years. Kevin Faulk is a good change-pace-back, but is not starting material. So my question is: when Corey Dillon retires, will Cedric Cobbs take his place, will the Patriots go after someone in free agency, or will they draft someone.Chris Tansey
That's a great question. I agree that Dillon's punishing style will likely take its toll soon, much the way it did with Tennessee's Eddie George. Dillon should be around for another year or two, but who takes over at that point is tough to say. We haven't seen a lot of Cobbs, certainly not enough to make a determination on whether he's the back of the future or not. My gut feeling says no, and the team will probably look at the middle to late rounds of the draft to find another guy who might be capable of carrying the load. But Dillon was tremendous in 2004 and there's no reason to think he won't be able to do it again in 2005.
When will the 2005 schedule be announced?Patti Bishop
The schedule is usually announced sometime in mid-April just before the draft. Check with patriots.com and we'll be sure to have the information posted as soon as it is available.