Contracts for young Patriots defensive stars have been a hot topic this season in New England, and actually dating back to last offseason.
Even prior to last fall, it was clear that Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones were going to be in line for big money in the long term. Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler added his name to that list when the former undrafted rookie had a Pro Bowl second season as New England's No. 1 cornerback, replacing future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis.
In fact, when Revis chased the money to return to the Jets last spring a big part of the narrative in New England was that the Patriots couldn't invest in the aging corner with the need for long term extensions for younger core defenders on the horizon.
One of those players, the Pro Bowl pass rusher Jones, was traded this offseason.
Another is in the news now because Butler was not in attendance during last week's OTA session that was open to the media. That story blew up a bit with a report over the weekend regarding Butler's contract situation.
ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss dropped a very notable nugget in his must-read Sunday notes when he said that "Butler has told teammates and friends he plans to push for an adjustment to his contract before the 2016 season," before going on to theorize that "staying off the field in voluntary workouts would be a decision that limits injury risk and also could be viewed as a statement to the organization that he's unhappy with the status quo and/or the movement/specifics of contract talks."
ESPNBoston.com also relays some insight into a conversation between Tom Brady and Terrance Knighton that took place shortly after the defensive tackle signed with New England. The site also had a few other leftover quotes from Patriots defensive players following last week's OTA session.
The Boston Globe says the Patriots will be sizing up rookie Kamu Grugier-Hill, given his unique package of skills. The* Globe* also notes that Brady took his family to Cirque du Soleil over the weekend, while a couple of his top receivers were partying out on Nantucket. The Globe's Sunday notes take a look at the latest twists in Deflategate.
The Boston Herald delves into the fast friendship formed between Patriots defensive ends Rob Ninkovich and Chris Long. The Herald also calls Jimmy Garoppolo one of the early risers of Patriots OTA action.
WEEI.com passes along a Sports Illustrated interview with David Ortiz in which the ageless Red Sox slugger calls Deflategate "stupid." Ortiz also calls Bill Belichick a "super nice guy." The link to the full* SI* interview can be found here.
WEEI.com also notes Brady paying tribute to Pat Tillman on his Facebook page on Memorial Day Weekend.
CSNNE.com says it's still too early to tell if Butler's OTA absence is contract related. The site also says that Malcom Brown is taking a leadership role on the defensive line in just his second season.
NFL.com has former Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner saying, in a Twitter fight with fans, that he took millions and ran in regards to his one season with the Saints.