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Patriots Replay Fri May 29 | 12:00 AM - 11:58 PM

Ask PFW: What IF ... Jimmy Garoppolo?

What IF … Garoppolo plays very well in the first four games and looks like a starting-caliber QB on any team and with more upside, why is trading him away a sure thing? Brady will age, and Brissett may not come through as a worthy successor, while Garoppolo will be playing increasingly well for some team and Patriots wishing they had him say 3-4 years from now.

Is the Patriots loyalty to Brady such that they will never trade him even if it meant not being "best for the team"? And if they absolutely keep Brady, can they also keep Garoppolo IF he is a starting-caliber QB and perhaps rotate them?

Ken K.

I really do like the fact that you literally wrote using a big "IF." There is no question that Garoppolo's play in a potential September string of games will be a big part of how the future of the quarterback situation plays out in New England. No, I don't believe that loyalty to Brady would keep the team from doing what's best for the team. Even Brady himself has talked about that, but sometimes things are harder in action than in theory. The biggest issue is that right now Brady remains one of the top couple quarterbacks in the NFL. Until that changes, it's his job to lose. And until Garoppolo actually proves himself a worthy NFL starter, this point is basically moot. But, there is one thing that is assured and that's the fact that Garoppolo's contract will run out after 2017 and Brady's runs through 2019. So the timeline may be a huge issue. But it's still not a bigger issue than how the two in question play on the field. As that plays out we'll have a better idea how the team might handle things. I don't, however, see a scenario in which Garoppolo re-signs with the Patriots to remain the backup or rotate with Brady. If he plays at a high level this fall, I have to assume he'd want to find a place where he can be the full-time starter and franchise passer.

Andy Hart

If LaRon Landry ever returns to the NFL could you see him playing linebacker? He's plenty big enough and some teams have been experimenting with safety/linebacker hybrids. Could the Patriots use him now that Mayo has left or is he too risky? Sounds like something BB would try.

William Reed

Unless I've missed something, Landry is indefinitely suspended from the NFL and has not played in the league since 2014 with the Colts. He's going to turn 35 this fall. He was always an injury concern (he missed significant time in four of his last five seasons) and seemingly got way too muscular and big for his body. I don't think he's an option in any way for the Patriots or any other team at this point. I will say, though, the dude had massive biceps!

Andy Hart

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What are your thoughts about the running backs? Every roster projection I see leaves James White off the team. I honestly would love it if White stayed, in case if Lewis got hurt. I feel like D.J. Foster has gotten too much attention for an undrafted rookie. I feel like Blount, Lewis, Bolden and White will make the team, with Foster in the practice squad. What do you think will happen to guys like White and Foster?

Joey Wright

While I have heard people pose the possibility of White not making the team, most roster projections I see – including one from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and PFW's – have the third-year back making the team. Considering how good he was catching the ball over the second half of last season, and considering Lewis' health situation, I just can't see White getting cut. Foster looked good in OTAs/mini-camp before limping off with an apparent hamstring injury and missing time. He's versatile, which would seem to include a wide variety of potential special teams roles. Still, I think he's destined for the practice squad at this point with the possibility of an in-season call up to the roster. The real issue that could shake up the backfield is if the team adds another veteran running back – say Arian Foster. That could rearrange the depth chart and roster spots.

Andy Hart

Crystal ball time! At the end of the regular season, who will be the franchise leaders for rushing yards, receiving yards, rushing touchdowns, receiving touchdowns, sacks, interceptions, and Brady's passing yardage, touchdowns and interceptions (with and without the suspension)? Also, what will the Patriots record be and what seeding will they have in the AFC?

David Beckett

Not sure if this a trick question or not. By the end of the year Sam Cunningham (5,543) will still be the rushing leader in New England. Jim Nance (45) will still be the man in rushing touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski (65) will pass Stanley Morgan (67) in touchdown receptions, finishing the year with 79. Andre "Mr. 100" Tippett will remain the sack leader, while Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn will remain tied with 36 career interceptions. At the end of the season, assuming he only plays 12 games, Brady will have 61,669 yards passing, 458 touchdowns and 159 interceptions. If he plays all 16 games, Brady will have 62,777, 469 touchdowns and 162 interceptions. The Patriots will finish the year with a 12-4 record as the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Talk to you in January!

Andy Hart

I know it's a bit of a pipe dream, but if Von Miller can't come to some sort of terms with the Broncos, is there any scenario that the Patriots could get him? I know the asking price is steep, but he could have sort of a Lawrence Taylor-esque role in the Belichick-Patricia defense. Just asking...for a friend...

Charles Adams

Hey there to answer your question yes some people call me chuck lol. Anyways I know this is a far-fetched question but what do you think about the Patriots going after Von Miller? I know money would problem but remember the Pats did sign Amendola to big contract before they reconstructed it?

Charles Taylor

What's up, Chuck? No, the Patriots aren't going after and cannot go after Miller. The Super Bowl MVP received the exclusive franchise tag from Denver. He cannot negotiate with any other team. Beyond that, Amendola's "big" contract was in the range of $30 million. Miller's really big deal will likely end up north of $100 million. Not happening, even if it were an option.

Andy Hart

With injuries happening seemingly with greater frequency every year, and concussion litigation threatening to force the NFL to change football as we know it has anyone proposed slowing down the game? Getting rid of artificial turf and returning to softer and slower natural surfaces is one place to start, or how about engineering artificial turf to be much slower to run on and softer to land on. Then maybe the league could look at the footwear player use and engineer it to take some of the speed and grip out of the game. There are probably a hundred other things that could slow down the game vis-a-via high impact collisions. The point is if we slowed EVERYONE down it would not be noticed by viewers and potentially drastically reduce amount and severity of injuries.

An unintended consequence of slowing down the game might be better QB play around the league. Currently it is difficult (impossible) to find 32 individuals with not only the athletic skills to play the position but the brain power to diagnose the field in front of them and make the proper play based on what they see. By slowing the game down a tick or two it could actually improve the game, reduce injuries and create the ever illusive parity the league so desperately wants. Thoughts?

Rich Mottla

I thought I'd heard it all, but this is a first. I haven't heard of the idea of slowing the game down in the ways you mention. Frankly, I don't care for it. Even though all the players would be slowed down together, I still feel like we'd be watching a game in slow motion. I think such alterations would adversely affect the product and game experience. I prefer to look for advancements in safety as well as diagnosis/treatment of head injuries as well as less dramatic measures in terms of rules and the way the game is played. I still want to see fast athletes test themselves against other fast athletes at legitimately high speeds. But maybe that's just me. At this point, all options probably are on the table and at least worth discussion.

Andy Hart

I know there has been a lot of discussion about Jamie Collins' contract, but what would actual number be on a potential extension if they can get it done before this season? He said he wants to "break the bank." Does this type of talk make "Patriot Way" Belichick less likely to even make a good effort to re-sign a player? Personally I'd rather keep Collins if we can only have him or Hightower, or is both actually realistic given Butler also coming due?

Micah Lehner

Most assume that Luke Kuechly's contract is the comp deal for Collins. Carolina's star linebacker's deal came in at five years and around $62 million. Now, Kuechly is a more accomplished player, with a Defensive Player of the Year Award on his resume. So Collins may not quite be in that same class but he's up there. That said, I don't believe Collins has ever said he wants to "break the bank," rather that's a presumption of the obvious that's been thrown around by media and fans. He's a young, talented athlete who probably wants to be paid what the market says he's worth. I have no problem with that. Belichick will decide, though, what he thinks the player is worth. New England's boss has given out plenty of very large contracts to players he thought were worth it such as Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty, just to name a few. I don't see any reason Collins couldn't be next on that list. I think the Patriots could, if they really wanted, keep all three "big three" defensive stars. Is it likely? Maybe not, but it's certainly possible. If only two can be kept, I'd go with Butler and Collins.

Andy Hart

Hi PFW,

There has been much discussion about this, but I think the NFL has set a ridiculous benchmark for the value of players' contracts. How in the world did we get to a place where average players can demand such insane numbers, and where and when is it going to end? It feels like with every signing, a new ceiling is created, and it is insane to think that these players get paid with money generated by the public. No player in any sport should be worth $100M. Who determines that value? If ticket and merchandise prices and the value of broadcasting rights are lowered across the board, it will deflate all these overinflated contract values. Even average players can now command contracts that even just 5 years ago would have set record highs. I think it's very unhealthy for the game of football to have players like Ryan Fitzpatrick (there are many other examples) holding out just because he thinks he deserves more based on one year's play. Playing well one year does not mean you should automatically get paid more the next. If anything, it should mean you deserve what you got paid in the first place. There are salary caps for each team, but they keep on increasing them, so that does not help. Why not just put caps on what each position can get paid? That way agents will not keep pushing to have their clients' contracts be worth more than the latest contract signed and players won't hold out and wait to see what their peers are getting paid. If you are for example a top tier/blue chip linebacker, and the annual cap for a linebacker is set at $10M, that means the only way contracts can be tweaked is for length and incentives. But at least this way it won't be a constant race for who gets paid more. I am really tired of going onto NFL.com and reading about player contracts. Do you think having positional caps is a realistic option? I don't see why it can't be.

Schalk W. Le Roux

I could not possibly disagree with this email any more. I think that football players are the least overpaid of professional athletes in the major four sports. The NFL is the most popular sport in America. Fans are willing and able to pay high prices to go to games. TV networks are willing and able to pony up huge money to broadcast games. The owners and players deserve to share the prosperity. It's up to teams and the market to decide what players are worth when they are up for new contracts or free agency. I also don't like the idea of "max" contracts at positions. The NBA has max contracts and it's played out over the years with guys who are nowhere near the best players in the league asking for and getting "max" contracts. The same would happen in football, not mention that inflation and improved talent require room for growth. I know members of the working class hate to see athletes and entertainers make crazy money, but it's simply the reality of our world and economy. It is what it is. I will never fault a football player, who puts his body on the line and future at stake when he takes the field, who strives to make as much money as possible. It's his right as an American, as a professional athlete and as a player under the CBA. If he's not worth it, then it's up to the teams to show some restraint and not pay it.

Andy Hart

Why can't they get deep-threat receivers like Randy Moss? They need one bad. We need speedy receivers bad.

Victor McMillon

The call for the next Randy Moss in New England is, to be blunt, a tired one. First, Moss is one of the greatest to ever play the game and his position. He was a truly unique playmaker who had a special season working with Tom Brady. Second, the Patriots have had one of the best offenses in football pretty much every year since Moss arrived and since he left. Finally, getting the ball down the field is probably not Brady's greatest strength at this point in his career, so adding a deep threat might not pay off as much as might be expected. The Patriots have the best quarterback history. They have maybe the best tight end in history. They have a really good receiver and a few other very talented weapons in the passing game. You can't have it all. Sure an outside receiver or deep threat would add another layer to the offense, but so would a more talented, workhorse running back. My guess is that if the Patriots don't win the Super Bowl this year it won't be because the team lacked a deep threat. Just a guess.

Andy Hart

I'm Alan from Crap-Lanta, GA and I am at a freaking loss right now. Like many Pats fans I get my updated football news from PFW In Progress and I'm am only 1/3 of my way through a recent Tuesday show and not sure if this was discussed but WHAT IN GOD'S NAME are the Pats waiting on with these free agents. Is it not better to get the contracts done and move on with life? Why prolong the inevitable? There has to be a cerebral reason to wait, I figured they would want to just re-sign who they want and get rid of the rest. Is that not correct….Can you clarify this for me?

Best Regards,

Alan Regilus

All contracts are a negotiation. If you rush into it, you are probably not getting the best deal you can. That holds true for both sides. There is also no real pressure to spur action at this point. All three "big" free agents are under contract and doing their jobs. Plus, many times these dealings take place after the NFL summer hiatus that we are currently embarking on. In fact, I'll be pretty surprised if New England doesn't do at least one contract deal shortly after the football world gets back to business in about a month or so. Who and what will that deal be? I have no idea. But I bet it happens. There is really nothing to worry or stress about right now. Let the process play out.

Andy Hart

Hey, PFW

I just want to ask, "What's the linebacker depth chart look like so far in the offseason program?"

Paulette

Are you quoting yourself? I like it. Might have to try it sometime. Anyway, right now Don'ta Hightower and Jamie Collins are very much atop the Patriots linebacker depth chart. The team has fielded a lot of two-linebacker looks in recent years, so I'll sort of go with that as a base lineup. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich would probably be next in line at the position if based only on reps on the practice field this spring as the veteran shows off his impressive versatility. After that returning veteran Jonathan Freeny is probably next in line, followed by veteran Ramon Humber and rookies Kamu Grugier Hill and Elandon Roberts. The team also lists veteran newcomer Shea McClellin as a linebacker, but he played primarily on the end of the line of scrimmage in a defensive end role this spring, a role that also suits Rufus Johnson.

Andy Hart

Hi Guys,

Read the segment every week. I know you guys take a break over the summer when is that and how long for? The Wednesday morning commute just won't be the same.

Jason Rollinson

What are you, our boss? Is this really Fred Kirsch emailing to check up on us? Anyway, while the PFW boys will be joining the rest of the NFL world in taking time off in the next few weeks I believe the week of the Fourth of July will be the only Tuesday without an Ask PFW mailbag. We are 51 weeks a year, baby!

Andy Hart

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