Albert Breer of the Milford Daily News writes that wide receiver David Givens, guard Stephen Neal and tackle Tom Ashworth are heading into free agency looking for Contract No. 2 of their careers. Chances are they will get big bumps in pay in 2006. "It is the most important (contract)," said Boston-based agent Brad Blank, who represents receiver David Givens and linebacker Tedy Bruschi. "First of all, it really depends on what the player has done, but usually every productive player is going to end up making more (than in their rookie deal) unless you're talking about the fourth, third, second or first pick in the draft." The Patriots, traditionally, value players along the defensive front (because they're harder to find) and have drafted three of them in the first round the last five years. Conversely, big deals for receivers and offensive linemen have been few and far between throughout the Bill Belichick/Scott Pioli regime.
ProFootballWeekly.com recaps the Patriots 2005 season. The Patriots' attempt at an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl title fell short in the divisional playoff round with a disappointing loss at Denver. Despite a number of key injuries (S Rodney Harrison, OLT Matt Light, C Dan Koppen and several cornerbacks were lost for the season), coach Bill Belichick guided the team to 10 wins and its third straight AFC East title.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal writes that the Patriots have 9 days to decide whether to make kicker Adam Vinatieri their franchise player or let him join the team's free agents. Vinatieri doesn't know what New England has planned. "I haven't heard a word about anything," Vinatieri said from his offseason Florida home. "I figure it will be one of those things where, when they know, I'll know. I honestly try not to think about it. I've just left it as hopefully we get something done."
Did poor officiating decide the Super Bowl? Dan Shaughnessy, Ron Borges, Mike Reiss and Nick Cafardo all chime in with their opinions.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.