The Patriots cleared more salary cap space yesterday by cutting veteran linebacker Roman Phifer. Phifer came to the Patriots before the 2001 season, and won three Super Bowls in his four years in New England. Phifer will turn 37 this weekend, and reportedly has considered retirement. By releasing Phifer yesterday, one day before the start of the NFL's fiscal year, the Patriots keep his salary off the books for the 2005 salary cap. Nick Cafardoof The Boston Globe and Tom Curranof The Providence Journal have more on the veteran's release.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald explains this afternoon's tender deadline. Today is the day that offers must be made to restricted free agents, lest they become unrestricted free agents. By 4PM today, teams must offer their restricted free agents one of three tender levels, which dictate what compensation the team would receive should their restricted free agent sign with another team. A high-level tender, for example, returns the heady compensation of a first and third-round pick. Felger suggests the Patriots will offer mid-level tenders to wide receiver David Givens and defensive lineman Jarvis Green, meaning they would receive a first-round pick from any team that signed them away. Other restricted free agents include Stephen Neal, Tom Ashworth, and Brandon Gorin.
Jarret Bell of USA Today describes the mayhem that ensues with team's trying to balance reviews from last week's scouting combine with the advent of the free agent signing period this week. Bell looks at a few of the interesting scenarios facing league GM's this week, including the next destination for former Patriots cornerback Ty Law.
On a lighter note, the World Champion New England Patriots celebrated the release of their most recent championship DVD last night at the Loews Boston Common movie theatre downtown. Bill Belichick and a number of players, including Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch,Rosevelt Colvin, Matt Light, Ty Warren, andRodney Harrison, were on hand to watch the DVD's premier with family, friends, and a small number of invited guests. While spirits were high at such a laudatory event, the players made it clear their thoughts and prayers remained with linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who continues to recover from a mild stroke at his North Attleboro home. Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant details the evening.