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Ask PFW: Peak to valley Pt. II

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]()I was wondering what the chances are of Ty Law staying with the Patriots next year. I know that he would have to restructure his contract, but do you think he would be willing to?*
*Craig O'Brien

As I said in a previous answer I think the chances of Law being back for 2005 are pretty good. And just to be clear, he doesn't need to restructure to be back. He played under a $10.5 million cap number this year and could play under his $12.5 million cap number next season. The cap is expected to go up to around $85 million for next year, so fitting Law under that as the team did this season wouldn't necessarily be that tough. I don't think he will restructure unless it means more money for him in the long run. He wants to be paid and if that means playing out the current deal, that's what he'll do. The only other option is a trade, because I don't think there is much of a chance the team will cut Law outright. He'll either play the deal out here or be traded.
Andy Hart

As Title Town celebrates another Super Bowl, its time to start looking at the upcoming draft. I feel that this draft class is relatively weak, I could see Pats taking one of two approaches, 1)Trade up and grab a premium LB or DB, and 2) Trade out of 1st round and begin stock piling picks for future drafts. I think the Pats have a lot of young players who may make an impact in the next 1-2 drafts, Marquis Hill, Guss Scott, PK Sam, Ben Watson and Rodney Bailey, lessening the need to make a big splash in the upcoming draft. What do you guys think? Keep up the great work.Kevin Patterson

Yes there will be players from recent draft classes that could make an impact next season, but that doesn't mean you don't try to have a good draft in 2005. I think your two areas of emphasis, linebacker and defensive back, are right on. Having just returned from the Super Bowl (these seasons seem to get longer every year) I haven't done a lot of draft work yet. But if you can get a stud linebacker, at the right price, you have to do it. Either way, expect the Patriots to be active in the trade market leading up to and during the draft. They almost always are. And as always, value will be the story of all trades and picks the team makes.
Andy Hart

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]()Hey guys, love the column. On to my comments...I think that even with the loss of Charlie Weis the Pats O can be even MORE dangerous next season? Corey Dillon is showing no signs of slowing and the return of the freakishly athletic Ben Watson should help improve an already great running game. Than there is the emergence of Branch as an elite receiving threat in the league (and no this not based on the Super Bowl MVP game, he has been getting it done all season). At the very least he should start drawing enough attention to free up even more of the field for the rest of the young and talented receiving corps. (assuming we re-sign Givens and Johnson starts playing up to his potential). The O-line has been consistently improving, more than holding their own in the playoffs against the NFL sack leader and than the most complex blitzing packages in the NFL in back to back playoff games against the Steelers and Eagles. And they have a pretty good QB too (understatement of the century). I am certainly going to miss Weis and his innovative play calling, but I also think we have the tools to get it done with or without him. Your thoughts?*
*Chris Moniello

The talent is certainly still there, but don't underestimate the value of creative and unpredictable play calling. Weis was a huge factor in the development of this offense and many of the players in it over the last five seasons. I don't see how there won't be, at least initially, an adjustment phase there. The one thing that has been a constant in New England over the last four seasons has been the coaching staff. That's changed now. It won't be a seamless transition, but the talent is there to move past it and, as you say, maybe be even more productive in the future.
Andy Hart

If Roman Phifer retires, will he count against the cap like Lawyer Milloy did when he got cut?
Jim Jacobs

Any bonus money Phifer has remaining on his contract, including any signing bonus he received (which I believe would be in the range of $400,000 for Phifer), would be accelerated to the 2005 cap. The dead money would be minimal because not only was Phifer's signing bonus small, but the 36-year-old also has only one year left on his current contract.
Andy Hart

What's the status of Tom Brady's and Corey Dillon's contracts? How long are they signed for and do you think they'll remain as PATS to finish out their careers?P.J. Dyring

Brady is under contract through 2006 with salaries of $5.5 and $6 million over the next two seasons. Dillon is under contract through next season with a salary of $3.85 million, although the incentives he earned this season will push his cap number much higher than that to almost $6 million. The team has likely already begun talks with both players as letting Brady get to free agency would be a dangerous proposition, while the team would be served well by extending Dillon's deal to lower his cap number for next season. If I had to guess, I would say that yes, both players will end their careers in New England. But with Brady likely having more than a decade left in his, an eternity in professional sports, who knows?
Andy Hart

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]()Is there any report as to the severity of Eugene Wilson's arm? Also, I felt good for Rosevelt Colvin in the Super Bowl. People had been a little down on his production this year, but I thought his disruptive role as pass rusher in the Super Bowl helped propel that Pats D. What do you think?*Will Higgins*

I have not heard anything from the team (big shock there!) but based on published reports my understanding is that Wilson broke his arm but that the injury did not require surgery. As for Colvin, he played as a defensive end with his hand down in New England's 4-3 look in the Super Bowl and was very productive in that role. I think he became a little more active as the season went on, but it will be interesting to see if Colvin can take that next step back to full health and production next season. My understanding is that with a hip injury like his, the second year is when you find out if the player will make a full return to pre-injury ability. If that can happen it should give the New England defense and pass rush a big boost in 2005.
Andy Hart

What type of compensation if any will we receive from Cleveland for Romeo Crennel?Carol Profo

None. NFL rules allow assistant coaches out of their contracts in order to take head coaching jobs with other teams. That's just the way it works and there will be no compensation of any kind.
Andy Hart

Could you please let Bill Belichick see this. Yesterday, the office which I work in closed early due to the snow storm. I was driving home and had passed a police officer on the opposite side of the road. I looked in my rare view mirror and he had turned around. I was nervous, but could not understand why? I wear my seatbelt, and everything I could think of was up to date. Anyway, he said that my inspection sticker was way over due. Yes indeed it was. I guess the color if not right, can even stick out in a snow storm. He took my license, registration and insurance card. After a short while he came back to my car, and said that this violation was a $128.00 fine. The officer looked at me and said, I am not going to fine you. I nervously smiled. He said are you going to ask why? So I asked. He said he loved my bumper sticker. My bumper sticker says... BELICHICK FOR PRESIDENT! In big bright letters. We talked a bit about this phenomenal year we had as Pats fans. He was very surprised to hear how much I knew about football. I live the whole football season planning everything I do around making sure I am home for the game. As the conversation slowly ended, I looked at him respectfully and said, "Sir" I work in town and will make sure to get a sticker tomorrow. He looked at me and said... 'Just call me Steve,' with a smile. Thanks to all of the team and coaches for a wonderful season! IT"S NICE TO BE A PATRIOTS FAN! Sincerely,
Linda J. Bastille

Since we all know that Belichick is a big fan of Ask PFW, consider your request fulfilled. And I am sure there are people all over New England running out to get Belichick bumper stickers in an effort to avoid speeding tickets and moving violations. Who knew the rewards of winning Super Bowls made it down to the fans, but you for one have already benefited from the winning ways in New England.
Andy Hart

WHEN IS THE SCHEDULE COMING OUT FOR THE 2005 SEASON? B/C I WOULD LIKE TO GO AHEAD AND GET SOME TICKETS RESERVED FOR NEXT YEAR... I WANT TO SUPRISE MY GRANDFATHER AND MOTHER WITH TICKETS BUT I HAVE TO KNOW WHEN THE GAMES ARE AND WHERE THEY ARE.. THANK YOU VERY MUCHJOHN WINDHAM

The NFL releases the schedule in the spring, usually in mid April. Hopefully you can wait that long and are still able to put your deviously kind plan into effect.
Andy Hart

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]()Thanks to the entire PFW staff for putting out such an outstanding product. I'm a subscriber, and I love "ask PFW". My question: How much of an influence was our new D.C. Eric Mangini in turning Randall Gay, and the rest of the "patchwork" secondary into a key component of a Super Bowl champion defense? Did the success of the secondary this season contribute to Mangini being elevated to coordinator?*Paul Bissonnette*

Mangini played a huge role in the success of guys like Gay, Don Davis and Troy Brown this season. In fact, the transitions of Davis to safety and Brown to corner were both Mangini's ideas. He has been the mastermind behind a secondary that has undergone a lot of changes over the last few seasons and the job he did with the group was remarkable. If he can bring that sort of leadership, ingenuity and success to the entire defense as coordinator, then the unit is clearly in very capable hands. As a young, hard working, dedicated coach, I don't expect anything less than a high level of play from Mangini's defense in the coming seasons. He has big shoes to fill, but I think he is up to the challenge.
Andy Hart

Hi -- Recently a local news person said the Super Bowl hat colors were chosen to remember Iraq, and or Desert Storm. I say bull, it's excuse for an ugly hat. How were the colors and design chosen, and by whom?
Mike Lake

Sorry to put a damper on what would be a nice story, but Reebok chose the colors for the Super Bowl in the middle of last year sometime and it had nothing to do with the wars in Iraq or an sort of tribute to the military. In hindsight it is a nice idea, but it didn't start out that way.
Andy Hart

Who do you believe will be the next offensive coordinator and will it be announced soon now that Eric Mangini is now the defensive coordinator?Paul Abbene

My first guess is Bill Belichick. Second, Brian Daboll. Please see my earlier answer on this topic, but long story short, I have stopped trying to predict what Belichick is going to do. It seems to be one curve ball after another around here these days.
Andy Hart

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