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Patriots.com News Blitz - 03/02/06

Ron Borges of the Boston Globe reports that NFL owners have gathered for an all-day session to determine whether an agreement can be reached to extend the collective bargaining agreement. The emergency owners meeting was called by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Gene Upshaw is not optimistic anything will change today. The owners have remained firm on capping the salary pot at 56.2 percent of the league's total gross revenues, a number Upshaw said ''they took two years to get to knowing it was inadequate. "We've come down from 66 percent to 64 percent to 60 percent. I can't go any lower. Paul understands that. I cannot go to the players and tell them to take a worse deal than the one they already have at a time when revenues are growing. We're not talking about an industry that's suffering. They're going to take in $48 billion in the next six years. $48 billion. It's a number you can't even grasp."

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal reports that New England won't have to release any players before today's 10 p.m. deadline to get under the NFL-mandated salary cap. While an extension of the league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) could alter things, the cap figures to be between $92 million and $95 million for 2006 (up $10 million from last year), and every team must be in accordance by the 10 p.m. deadline. The Patriots commited monies for 2006 stand at about $90.5 million. Elsewhere around the league, cuts of high-profile players piled up yesterday afternoon. Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy -- the starting safeties for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI -- were released by the Dolphins and Bills, respectively. The Dolphins also cut corner Sam Madison while Denver released defensive end Trevor Pryce.

In the Providence Journal's NFL notebook it is reported that NFL owners will meet in New York, looking to reach an agreement with the players' union that could add $10 million to $15 million to a 2006 salary cap that currently is $94.5 million. Without it, some teams could be forced into wholesale cuts to get beneath the cap by midnight. Free agency starts Friday. The NFL extended the deadline for teams to terminate contracts and request waivers on players six hours, from 4 p.m. today to 10 p.m. The article also breaks down the top players that were cut by NFL teams looking to get under the salary cap.

Bill Speros of the Orlando Sentinel offers an article on Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri, who has a home in Celebration, Fla., said he is happy to be facing unrestricted free agency for the first time. He's been hit with the team's franchise tag twice and would have made $3.01 million if he had been franchised this offseason. "The franchise tag means a one-year guarantee - so that's a good thing. But if you're wanting to get multi years, it's a bad thing. The opportunity to go into free agency this year is a good thing," Vinatieri said.

Frank Cooney of USA Today offers his top 64 prospects for the 2006 NFL Draft.

John Clayton of ESPN.com takes a look at Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk and offers notes from the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine.

More than 300 of the nation's top college players were invited to the combine for workouts, physical exams and interviews. The Providence Journal takes a look at some of the highlights of the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine.

Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes. Reiss also offers his latest Patriots mailbag which focuses on new contracts for wideout David Givens and kicker Adam Vinatieri.

Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.

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