Official website of the New England Patriots

Ask PFW: Handling your questions

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]()Ty Law, Joe Andruzzi, David Patten, Troy Brown, Roman Phifer...the faded ugly memory of Lawyer's release. No long-term deal with Adam Vinatieri or David Givens (medium tender pending?), and Tedy Bruschi finally breaks down and gets an agent. We watch...we cringe...we trust. We watch Peyton & Mike Vick sign for $100M plus and $30M guaranteed signing bonuses. But now the Pat's refuse to make good on Tom Brady's $60M w/$24M signing bonus, guaranteeing (only) half the bonus with an uncapped 2007 season on the horizon. Tell us it's OK, tell us Bob Kraft will fix it, tell us next season's "NFL Live" opener won't be a "What Were They Thinking?!" special on the world champs. Tell us what you can about the Brady deal. And tell the coach we'll find 12 million fans to kick in a dollar to retire Tom Brady as a Patriot--and make sure his "12" goes to Canton in red, white & blue. Tell us this unbelievable nightmare will go away soon...I need sleep.*
*Tom
Virginia

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]()I think that it is a joke, when you are not going to put out the money for guys like Ty Law Or Troy Brown, or even a lot of superstars that we had that we cut because their contract was too big. Now your talking about giving him $24 million signing bonus and six-years and $60 million dollars. What Is Up With That??? He is a good QB but don't forget about how he played against the Dolphins On Monday night. Tom is a great player but he isn't worth that much.. But I Don't Think Anyone Is.. What Do You Think??? Thanks for your time.*Big John*

One thing we have learned in the last few months is that winning has not caused any complacency to set in with the fans in New England. Three Super Bowls in four seasons and even the most minor of roster moves causes a stir in the fandom. And information revolving around the future of two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady, the face of the team during the team's recent run of success, becomes front-page type news. We had tons of questions and opinions on on his contract status after a newspaper report might have shed some light on the negotations. I posted a couple but everyone seemed to weighed in and so will I. The Providence Journal reported that the Patriots and Brady had essentially agreed to a six-year $60 million deal with $24 million in bonus money, but reported that the hangup was that the team wanted to pay the bonus in four installments and not guarantee the whole thing. First of all, we don't know how accurate the story was because it didn't name a source. Was it Don Yee? Was it Steve Dubin? Was it Robert Kraft or Bill Belichick? I'm not indicating that the story is inaccurate. Tom Curran is certainly a respected writer in the area. It might be right on. I don't know and I just don't think we should overreact based on one story. His contract has two years left and they're working on extension. It's not like he's a pending free agent yet. Let's calm down. At least the two sides are close to a deal and talking about a long-term extension. Did the story say this bonus issue was a deal breaker? It's a negotiation people. Brady obviously has plenty of value. I don't think that you and I are the only ones who know this. But do we just look at the deal Manning got and dump money on the guy? I think the Patriots want to be careful to maintain the team concept that is so important to their success while also treating Brady fairly with a market deal that also allows the team to remain financially stable in terms of cap dollars. They certainly don't want to create a Brady-is-above-the-team mentality. I think Tom, to his credit, recognizes and accepts this. So now it's merely a matter of negotiating until an agreement is reached. I think it will be reached sooner rather than later as long as "sources" keep quiet, which is bad for us in the information business, but probably good for both Brady and the Pats.

The Pats are usually mum concerning health problems. Do you think they're vague about the future of Bruschi in order to not show their hand in the up coming draft?
Moses Ip

I think you answered your own questions. The Patriots are always tight-lipped about injuries. And they are always vague when talking about the draft and free agency. Now, we are talking about a health matter that goes well beyond football or an injury and has to do with a person's future. I don't feel like the team or Bruschi owes us any information. I am willing to give him all the time and privacy he needs to deal with his condition. If/when he and his family feels like they have information they wish to share with the public, I will report it. Until then, all I know is that they appreciate the support of all the fans and are keeping this as private a matter as they can. And I think that's the way it should be.
Andy Hart

I believe the Pats are lying low in free agency because: #1. They are up against the cap and already have a competitive team. Which means they don't want to shorten their window of competitiveness by mortgaging the future on a big name free agent--even where there is a need. #2. They know in the long run it's more cost effective to build depth through the draft. I think their mantra is "improve the team each year" (within the budget) and this year, even with the glaring needs at inside linebacker and receiver, they are being patient. Do you agree that the best way for them to extend their window is to be patient right now while they already have a solid team?John King

I think the key word we need to remember, one we will here a lot from Belichick and Pioli in regards to free agency and the draft, is value. New England will do everything it can to get better in any way it can. But they won't go beyond the value they set on a player or draft choice. That's just the way it is. Reports indicated they pursued free agent Derrick Mason, and were reportedly very competitive in their offer. That didn't work out. Now I am sure they have moved on to other free agent options as well as draft options. While we will never know exactly what Pioli and Belichick are thinking and/or doing, I have little doubt they have a plan. How that plays out and what the results are, we will all just have to wait and see. But if recent history is any indicator, especially when it comes to tough decisions, Patriots fans have little to worry about.
Andy Hart

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]()I saw on in CNNSIs truth and rumors that many think that when Scott Piolis contract runs out after the 06' draft, he will go to the Giants to take over for Ernie Accorsi as GM. Who is the GM of the Patriots? Why would Pioli want to leave the Pats in the first place? Are the Pats unwilling to promote him to GM? Are they unwilling as well to pay him the large contract that the Giants are more than likely to offer? Scott Pioli may be as much a reason as Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft for the recent success of the Pats. Why on earth would they not want to pay him what he deserves, and promote him as well? I have already heard how Pioli would want to have his own team to "start from scratch" and that he needs a "challenge". Who in their right mind would want leave the most dominating and professionally run franchise of this millennium? Please help me on this one guys, because I am stumped.*Shane Cahill
Costa Rica*

It is all about how you look at it. Some people move on for the challenge of re-creating success with another team. Others move on for more money or power. Maybe the Giants offer Pioli's dream job, he did after all grow up as a fan of the team. Whatever the factors, we all make personal decisions that might seem crazy from an alternate perspective. One thing we do know is that as long as Belichick is in New England he will have the final say on everything. The team doesn't have anyone with the title of GM, but it doesn't matter. From top to bottom Belichick is in total control of the football operation at Gillette Stadium. I don't know if Pioli will ever end up going to another team to run his own show or not, but I can certainly understand why he would at least considerate it and I certainly wouldn't fault him for doing so.
Andy Hart

Belichick's comments on the release of T. Brown sounded awfully hedged. Is it so far fetched that he'll be back at the vet minimum or better? It reminds me of the situation with Jason Varitek last fall: he was worth more to the Red Sox than to anyone else. Isn't that true with Brown as well? Also, can you tell us when 3 Games to Glory III is due out?
Jason Jarvis

As I have said all along, I think there is a very good chance Brown will be back in his customary No. 80 Patriots jersey next season. Belichick's overly adoring comments make me feel even better about that and the fact that we haven't really heard anything about Brown visiting with or taking offers from other teams also strengthens that belief. But as long as he is free to go elsewhere there is always a chance that could happen and I think that would be a real shame. I understand that he wanted a deal for more money and a longer period than the Patriots were offering, but Brown is just one of those guys who shouldn't play for another team. Call it old fashioned but that's just how I feel (and based on the emails that's how a lot of fans feel as well.) And as far as 3 Games to Glory III, it will be available in the Patriots Pro Shop on April 19th or you can pre-order it now at Patriots.com.
Andy Hart

Do you have any records of a man by the name (or nick name) of Scooter McGruder playing for the Pats? Thanks.Mitch Jordan

Michael "Scooter" McGruder played as an extra defensive back with the Patriots in 1996 and 1997. During that time he played in 17 games with New England. Over his 12-year professional football career he also played with the Packers, Dolphins, 49ers, Buccaneers and spent some time in the CFL.
Andy Hart

I was watching a show on NFL agents the other night on the NFL network and one of the agents that happened to be highlighted was Derrick Mason's agent. The show was about how the agent to a free-agent gets deals done for their client with NFL teams. I was surprised to hear from Derrick Mason's agent that New England was a front-runner to sign Mason, who eventually opted to sign with the Ravens. In the end someone asked his agent "How close did the Patriots come?" and he replied "It was almost a done deal but it came down to things other than money." I then read somewhere else that it was true that New England actually did offer more money from the Ravens. Why do you guys think he would take less money to play for the Raven's who have a young, un-proven quarterback? My friend believes no one wants to sign long term deals with the Patriots because they know no matter what the do (i.e. Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy) they will not see any money from the last years of their contracts and could be cut at any time. A valid point but I refuse to believe that, any thoughts? Also, I heard since they spent so much time chasing Mason that is how we lost Patten and Brown, is there any truth to this? If it is to you see the Patriots chasing another big name wide receiver like Corey Bradford?Richard Fellinger

As far as Mason goes, my understanding is that family issues had more to do with signing in Baltimore than any perceptions about the New England franchise. But I am not sure we will ever have a definitive answer on that. New England aggressively pursued him, but he chose to sign elsewhere. It isn't the first time that's happened and won't be the last, but I don't think it is any trend. Players seem to make their decisions on a case-by-case basis, just as teams do. And as long as New England is winning it will be an attractive destination, just ask guys like Tim Dwight, Rodney Harrison and Rosevelt Colvin. In terms of other options at receiver, I don't think the team valued Patten as high as the Redskins did and Bradford is anything but a big name receiver. He's only caught more than 31 passes in one of his seven NFL seasons. I know the cupboard looks a little empty at receiver right now, but by the time training camp opens rest assured there will be plenty of bodies for Brady to throw to.
Andy Hart

In previous years, the Patriots have been very active in free agency after June 1st when many veterans are released. We currently have no depth at inside linebacker. Even if we draft one early, I'll think we'll still need more help. Can you speculate as to who might be coming available after June 1st?Ed Enman

I haven't done a lot of research on potential June 1 cuts, but one name I think Patriots fans should keep an eye on is Falcons inside linebacker Chris Draft. I've read that the seven-year veteran could be cut or traded. He has experience in the 3-4 and might be a nice holdover in the middle, especially if the Patriots draft a guy for the future. Aside from that, get back to me after the draft when I can turn my attention to other veterans who might be on the market. And remember, if it comes down to it I think there is an outside chance we could see Roman Phifer make a return to New England for 2005.
Andy Hart

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