When and how does the NFL decide on compensatory draft picks? Is it possible the Pats could get and extra third, two fourths, and a sixth for Asante Samuel, Donté Stallworth, Randall Gay, and Eugene Wilson?Jason Belliveau
What sort of compensatory pick will the Pats get for Asante Samuel?
Each spring, at the NFL's annual meeting (this year, it's in late March in California), the NFL Management Council determines which teams will be compensated with extra draft picks in the April draft. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams that lose more or better compensatory free agents than they acquires in a year are eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The number of picks allotted to each team (up to a maximum of four) is based on a convoluted formula involving salary, playing time, performance, and postseason honors. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.
Last year, for instance, the league awarded a total of 32 compensatory picks to 15 different teams. Those picks were slotted between the third and seventh rounds, based on the determined value of the free agents lost. St. Louis, as another example, signed as many free agents as they lost, but the Management Council determined that the ones they signed were of lesser value than those lost. As a result, the Rams were given one extra pick in last year's draft.
All that said, the Patriots could get some extra picks from the players they lost a year ago, but exactly how many is unclear at this point. We'll know for sure at the end of March.
Do you think we need a first- or second-round pick aimed at the O-line, like I do?
That depends, Dain. If there's a can't-miss left tackle available, I could see the Patriots taking him, possibly starting him off on the right side, and maybe down the road switching him and Matt Light. Then, New England would have a former All-Pro on the right and a future star on the left, bolstering an already-solid offensive line. I'm not sure the scouting department is going into the draft with this as their top priority, but if the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn't be surprised if they capitalized on it.
When are players supposed to show up for voluntary workouts? Do you think if Tom Brady is on schedule, he will show up to voluntary workouts?*Talwinder Singh *
The Patriots' offseason strength and conditioning program typically starts in early to mid-March. Given his need to get back into shape, I'd expect Brady to be here more than he was last year once the program gets going, assuming he continues to progress in his rehab between now and then.
How good do you think Tom Brady will be when he comes back? Will he still be MVP caliber and be able to bring the Pats back to the Super Bowl?Josh McGrath
Josh, if I had the answer to that question, I wouldn't be here writing. I'd be picking winning lottery numbers or cleaning up at a blackjack table. I understand you're anxious to know how Brady's doing, but the truth is, none of us will have any idea how he might bounce back until we see him running around on a football field again, which might not be until May, at the earliest. My advice to you is, be patient. The time is coming.
I follow the Patriots closely and can't think of hearing anything about a Patriots GM. Who is he?Michael Stevens, England
For all intents and purposes, he's Bill Belichick. But the Patriots don't have any front office employees with the title of general manager. So, the responsibilities are shared among Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio. Newcomer Floyd Reese, who's title is senior football advisor, will also contribute significantly in this regard.
Hey guys. I'm a huge Pats fan from Glasgow in Scotland (I have family in Revere, MA – explains the affiliation). I've been following PFW since last season and have never thought about bothering you guys, until now. I wanted to know your thoughts on my idea of the Pats potentially picking up Devery Henderson in free agency. This may surprise some readers in that his career high receptions sits at 32 for just under 800 yards, but having seen him a few times this season he looks like a deep threat/big play guy (which Gaffney failed on this year), and with Brady coming back and the possibility of a fearsome offense, I think he could blossom with the Pats. You guys have commented on how you don't see big money coming out of Foxborough this year, so would Henderson be realistic financially? Also, what do you guys think about Mike Brown from Chicago for help in the secondary? Cheers!Alan Granger, Glasgow, Scotland
Henderson is a distinct possibility. We were actually bouncing some free agent names around the office recently and his was one that came up. I don't think he would break the bank to sign, either, and he could challenge Gaffney for that #3 receiver job. I like Mike Brown, too. He's been a playmaker for the Bears in the past, but he has a bit of an injury history that concerns me and he's getting on the older side. He's another possibility, though.
*Erik Scalavino *
Hi, Quebec's #1 fan here ... Has there ever been a Super Bowl in New England? When will the next Super Bowl take place here? How is the decision made on where the Super Bowl takes place?
*Bill Armstrong, Canada *
Has New England ever been chosen to host a Super Bowl?*Ken Calci *
New England has never hosted a Super Bowl, and it's unlikely we ever will, if the current selection process is maintained. The NFL takes a long list of factors into consideration when choosing a Super Bowl site. Traditionally, the league prefers to hold the championship game in a warm-weather city (or a northern locale with a domed stadium) that has the necessary infrastructure (i.e., hotels, meeting facilities, transportation resources, etc.) to accommodate hundreds of thousands of fans, league officials, corporate sponsors, celebrities, NFL alumni, and other distinguished guests who converge on the area to take part in the week-long national holiday that the Super Bowl has become.
A committee of NFL officials meets regularly to select future sites, which are determined years in advance, to allow the host cities plenty of time to plan and make any upgrades to their facilities, or to finish construction of new facilities. Such was the case when Dallas was chosen for the 2010 Super Bowl a few years ago. The Cowboys were planning to build a new stadium, with a seating capacity of up to 100,000, which was a main reason why they were selected.
New England, New York, Chicago, Washington … all are great American cities with strong NFL fan bases. Yet, each has an outdoor stadium and a potentially wintry weather in early February. For those reasons, they'll likely never host a Super Bowl. The closest they came was in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when the NFL briefly considered giving New York and/or Washington the Super Bowl, but that idea didn't appear to have staying power. I'd love to see a Super Bowl in the cold and snow, as I'm sure a lot of other fans would. The odds are against it, however.
Hi guys, I'm a French Pats fan … wondering when the NFL will play a game in France? Your sport has a lot of fans over here and its influence is growing fast with several new clubs created all across the country.William Lefevre
Well, that's good to hear. I saw a poll recently (perhaps on NFL.com, but I can't remember exactly) asking in what other European cities besides London would fans like to see an NFL game played. So, there's already talk of growth in this area. Commissioner Roger Goodell is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, whose vision for the league was to make it a truly global sport, with not just games, but teams in other countries. The London games of the past couple of years – and New England's visit to Wembley this fall – are part of that long-term growth plan. I don't know when it will happen, but I'm sure Paris is on the list of potential sites under consideration for future games.