If you can't beat 'em on the field…then try changing the rule book. That might be the message being sent by the NFL this week.
The league's owners, coaches and Competition Committee will meet next weekend in Phoenix for its annual spring gathering. Part of the agenda will include the 23 proposals for new rules put together by both individual teams and the Committee itself. And one of those proposals from the Committee would make it illegal for a player wearing an eligible number who is declared ineligible to line up outside the normal area of the tackle box – might as well call it the Bill Belichick/Shane Vereen Rule.
The Boston Globe breaks down this rule proposal and how its roots lie in the Patriots beating of John Harbaugh's Ravens this past January.
The Globe also passes along New England's signings of veteran cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain as well as the details of Scott Chandler's contract.
The Boston Herald's look at the proposed rule change says it's pointless, because Bill Belichick will always be one step ahead. The Herald notebook details the addition of the two veteran cornerbacks, while the paper also breaks down the contract that McClain received.
And the Herald's Inside Track has the inside scoop on Mrs. Tom Brady – aka the Super Bowl MVP of supermodels Gisele Bundchen – retiring from the runway.
The Providence Journal calls the additions of Fletcher and McClain "low-risk signings."
ESPNBoston.com wonders if the Patriots can revive Fletcher's career after his nightmare season with the Eagles. Mike Reiss cobbles together a few notes from free agency and also offers up some very interesting thoughts via film study of new Patriots "running back" Travaris Cadet.
Beyond being the focus of rules changes, ESPNBoston.com notes the Patriots submitted three rules proposals of their own. The site has the details of all 23 rules proposals as well as word that Rob Ninkovich had his contract with the Patriots tweaked a bit this week.
ESPN has golfer Rory McIlroy's amazement that Brady and the Manning brothers are hitting the gym while also enjoying some time on the golf course.
CSNNE.com says unemployed free agent linebacker Brandon Spikes seems to have changed his tune with his recent praise of Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah offers an updated mock draft, this one with the Patriots landing Oklahoma nose tackle Jordan Phillips. Gil Brandt says that Darrelle Revis will be the second-most missed free agent, trailing only the Lions loss of Ndamukong Suh.