Patriots use their Franchise Tag on Kicker Stephen Gostkowski

Stephen Gostkowski isn't going anywhere. (From ESPN.com)

Stephen Gostkowski isn’t going anywhere.
(From ESPN.com)

The New England Patriots have placed their Franchise Tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski, according to Adam Schefter. 

It was reported earlier that the Pats would use the Franchise Tag on Gostkowski instead of Devin McCourty.

McCourty’s tag would have cost the Pats $9.5 million, while Gostkowski will cost the team $4.5 million.

Gostkowski has been clutch for New England since his rookie season in 2006. He was and is a great replacement for the great Adam Vinatier. 

Gostkowski is the Patriots all-time leading scorer. He made 35/37 field goals last season and was 51/51 on extra points.

He also made 1/1 field goals during the playoffs and 15/15 extra points.

The Pats have their kicker going forward.

How the Patriots can keep both Revis and McCourty

FS Devin McCourty and CB Darrelle Revis.

FS Devin McCourty and CB Darrelle Revis.

The NFL has set the 2015 Salary Cap at 4143.8 million this year, up from $10 million last year. The Pats current salary number is $144.58 million, according to Boston Globe’s Ben Volin they need to trim about $ 11 million.

This number includes Revis’ contract, which will be redone, and will create more cap space.

Of course, Revis won’t be cheap to get back or to redo his contract.

They could release him and not resign him, which would open a lot of space and they could be free to choose whomever or resign McCourty, but perish the thought! The Pats need Revis.

The Pats have to make moves if they have any hope of working something out with Revis and McCourty or even just with one of them.

The Patriots can retain McCourty and Revis, but they have to trim up their team and do some reconstructing of contracts.

The first thing they are doing to free up space is talking to Revis and trying to work a new deal, but even with a new deal he won’t be cheap and they will still need more space.

The team will probably approach DT Vince Wilfork to redo his contract for the 2nd year in a row and if he doesn’t he might actually be let go. He will be a $8.9 million cap hit (if he remains on the roster and reaches all of his incentives). My feeling is he will do it.

Most likely they will let LB Jerod Mayo go and free up around $10 million in salary cap, which will be huge. Mayo was hurt for the second straight year during week 5 and missed the season, leaving room open for Hightower to blossom into the top linebacker.

They will approach WR Danny Amendola to redo his contract to free up cap relief as he’s a $5.7 million dollar cap hit. Too much for the number 4 guy, a capable number 4 guy and a good backup to Edelman, but still too much. I believe he will rework his deal in favor of the Patriots and if not, he’s likely gone. But, like I said, I believe he will work with the team and redo his contract.

They might extend CB Brandon Browner’s 3 year – now 2 year contract, to lessen the blow this year. His hit is $4.8 million and they don’t want to lose him or cut him so they will probably extend his contract to a longer term deal. They could cut him to resign him, but that’s highly unlikely. They may not even redo his contract and leave it as is, but we will see.

LT Nate Solder is a guy they can redo his contract to free up some money for the team. He might actually redo his deal.

These are a few names and a few ways they could free up money to try to retain their two top guys Revis and McCourty.

Keeping the secondary the same for the Patriots won’t be cheap and will be very hard to do.

 

 

 

 

Report: Patriots more likely to use Franchise Tag on Gostkowski than McCourty

Stephen Gostkowski and Devin McCourty celebrate the Super Bowl win. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Stephen Gostkowski and Devin McCourty celebrate the Super Bowl win.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If the Patriots use the Franchise Tag, it will be on their kicker Stephen Gostkowski instead of Free Safety Devin McCourty, according to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss. 

Gostkowski’s Tag number will be $4.5 million for this season while McCourty’s would be $9.5 million, a number the Pats feel is too high for them.

The Patriots have a history of using their tag on a kicker. They used it twice before on Adam Vinatieri.

There is no guarantee they use their tag, but they have till the deadline today at 4pm EST.

McCourty will likely test the open market and it seems the Pats are comfortable using the market to help them resign McCourty.

McCourty will give the Patriots the chance to match any team’s offer, or at least it seems he will. He will be high, but maybe not too high or unreasonable. The Pats seem willing to risk it.

They’ve had success doing this, it also has backfired in the case of Welker and Talib, but they have had success in letting things play out.

If the Pats lose McCourty they will most likely move CB Logan Ryan to FS, just like they did with McCourty. Most teams felt Ryan was a better fit at FS and he has the tools to be good at the position.

He’s a play maker who plays the ball better in front of him and has great instincts.

The Pats would love to retain McCourty and right now I say they have a 50/50 shot.

They could always get a deal done before March 10th.

The Titants corner Jason McCourty is already recruiting his twin brother.

“Sitting here looking at the clock waiting for 4pm to come and putting my recruiting packet together,” Jason McCourty tweeted on Twitter and posted on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potential Free Agent Players or Current Patriots that could replace Stevan Ridley

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The Patriots will most likely lose Ridley to another team once free agency begins, so lets talk potential replacements for him. He might stay with the team, but hey lets just guess at who else could play RB for New England.

LeGarrette Blount is the starter and he will be going forward, but he can’t handle the load himself with no help from another tough runner on the team. Who will the other guy be, it was Stevan Ridley last year, but this year he suffered a torn ACL against the Bills in week 5. He probably won’t return to New England, so let’s break down who can be a power back to replace him.

First off, it’s not going to be Adrian Peterson or DeMarco Murray. No shot because they are way too expensive. I’ll be talking the way more realistic guys that could be a Patriot in 2015.

Potential Ridely replacements:

RB Jonas Gray: I will start will the current guys on the roster. 2nd year guy Jonas Gray could take over for Ridley and depending on how much the team believes in him will decide if he plays next year or not. He had one monster game last year when he ran all over the Colts and another solid game against the Chargers but after the Colts game for some odd reason the Pats didn’t use him much. He wasn’t given a chance once Blount came on the team, so it’s a real mystery if he can do it or not, for 16 games, but if the Pats believe in him, then they won’t go the free agency route because they will already have their guy and he’s a much cheaper option than anybody else. I believe Gray is good and will be good, but going forward we will see if he will get his chance.

Chances he replaces Ridley: High.

RB Tyler Gaffney: The team picked him up last off-season by claiming him off waivers when the Panthers let him go because of a torn meniscus. He was a workhorse back at Stanford, which means he can carry the ball a lot for New England and he’s a short yardage back who always falls forward. He’s tough to tackle and he has the ideal size for running back. The biggest concern is he doesn’t always hit the hole with speed and can hesitant. He’s powerful, though with good speed and depending on how he performs during training camp and pre-season will determine how much time he will play. He’s the kind of player that can be great or bad with no in between.

Chances he replaces Ridley: Low.

RB Mark Ingram: Let’s go to free agency now. Mark Ingram had a very good year with the Saints and will test the open market. I’m banking on Ingram landing back with the Saints, but New England had interest in him coming out of the draft, so will they show interest now that he’s a free agent? He will be cheaper than most with his kind of name but he won’t be that cheap. He might be out of range, but boy he would be a huge pickup for the Pats. He’s a pure power back and will churn out the yards. He had 964 yards rushing with 9 touchdowns last season. He could replace Ridley but the money will be a problem.

Chances he replaces Ridley: Low.

RB Knowshon Moreno: Interesting, isn’t it? He ran all over the Patriots last year and he looked like he could have a good season until injuries got in the way.  The Pats love taking a guy who killed them in games from that team and since he probably won’t return to Miami there’s a chance New England grabs him. He could successfully replace Ridley IF he can stay healthy. I can actually see this happen, especially if the money is right.

Chances he replaces Ridley: High.

RB Darren McFadden: The Pats love taking players who haven’t lived up to potential, but shown flashes of greatness or troubled players and turning them into stars. McFadden has shown flashes of greatness, but hasn’t reached his potential with the Raiders. He could be a cheaper option, with great potential the Pats may take.

Chances he replaces Ridley: Medium.

RB Trent Richardson: If the Colts part ways with him, which is looking likely, he’s another guy with great potential that hasn’t come close to reaching it that the Pats may want to try and turn into a superstar. He would be a low risk, high reward kind-of player they just love getting.

Chances he replaces Ridley: Low.

RB Frank Gore: I can’t see the 49ers really letting him go, but if they do where he lands will be exciting to see. He will go to a team that wants to win now instead of later because of his age. He still has some gas left in the tank, but not much and will be done in a few more years. He’s not a long term option but he’s a great “right now option.” I really don’t think the Pats will take him but he would make an impact if they do.

Chances he replaces Ridley: Low.

There’s the list of players either already on the Patriots team or in Free Agency that the Patriots could get to replace Ridley. 

I didn’t break down every free agent RB or big time free agent RB because I don’t think they will be a Patriot either. The fact is, the Pats don’t have much money to bring in a really good free agent RB. They have to redo Revis contract and work things out with McCourty and that’s who their money will be tied up with and rightfully so. They can live without another RB but they can’t live without their star secondary players. I don’t think the Patriots will be big in free agency outside of resigning their own guys.

Most likely they will look to the draft for a RB if they feel they need another one. If that’s the case, Gurley, Yeldon, and David Johnson are the likely candidates. But, I will get into the likely hood of which RB they will draft, if they go that way later on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projected Landing Spots for Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen

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The New England Patriots will have two running backs hitting the open market on March 10th, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen.

Vereen is the pass-catcher, who had a big game against the Seahawks, but is looking for a deal of $5 million or a little less depending on his value in the market, and Stevan Ridley, whose coming off a torn ACL.

Ridley is a very good and productive back and the Pats best runner and most consistent on the team, but he has fumbling issues that had put him in the dog house more than once. He might take a one-year prove it deal with the Patriots or another team, but he’s likely to see a longer term contract offered to him. The Jets, Bills, Colts, Raiders, Jaguars, Vikings, and Falcons all have running back needs they may address in free agency. The Saints may look for one and Ridley would fit them if they let Mark Ingram go. Maybe the Titans too. The Chargers might get him because they will need someone to replace Ryan Mathews. Regardless, the market is there for Ridley and only one team will be able to afford DeMarco Murray or Adrian Peterson, so the other teams will be realistic and go for a cheaper but solid option in Ridley.

I think the Colts would love to get Ridley, Spiller, or Bush even and they all fit them perfectly. The Bills would love Ridley. The Chargers would love Ridley to. Those 3 are the most likely landing spots, but I’ll break it down to which exact one I think he goes too.

It’s hard to say if Ridley returns or not, he’s a good runner, but the Pats probably won’t match or offer more than another team even if it’s pretty cheap.

Most likely landing spot: Colts

Shane Vereen might be gone too. Depends on the options out there and I don’t think any team will pay him $5 million a year, but he could get $4 million a year from someone. He fits the Saints, Eagles, Raiders and Colts too. He could be a pass-catcher for any throwing team and he also fits the Packers and Broncos sadly enough. He might stay with the Pats, he will be a very cheap, yet productive option for most teams, especially the Patriots. He will go to the highest bidder and it might not be the Pats because they are more focused on some other pressing needs and they in their minds have somebody on the team already that can do his job. I can see him coming back and I can see him leaving. Right now, it’s confusing because he’s sorta like a Kevin Faulk guy, but I have no idea what happens. The only two likely landing spots for him is Packers and Patriots and since I’m weary of the Pats paying the most especially after trying to get a deal done last year, and the cheaper option already on the team I’ll pick the other “P” team.

Most likely landing spot: Packers 

Be sure to read my next post coming up, it’ll be about which player I can see the Patriots replacing these two guys if with if they need to.

 

 

 

 

 

Devin McCourty wouldn’t mind being Franchise Tag

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Patriots FS Devin McCourty is without a doubt one of the best free safeties in the entire league and is scheduled to hit free agency if New England lets it get that far.

If New England cannot reach a deal with McCourty and let him hit the open market, it doesn’t sound promising they will able to get a deal done with him.

“If all things are equal, I’ll be back here,” McCourty said.

So, if he gets to test his numbers on the open market, whoever the highest bidder is, the Pats would have to match that, and let’s be honest, it’ll be a very high number because of the many teams that will throw the dollars at him. The Pats probably won’t match a very, very high offer, unless they let go of Revis.

McCourty wants to be back, but not as much as he wants the highest amount of money he can get and you can’t blame him for that.

McCourty also said he has vision himself playing for another team and knows it’s possible that could happen.

“I guess it was hard, but now, a week away, it’s impossible not to,” McCourty said. “I’ve thought about all the different scenarios of whether I’m here or somewhere else. At this point, I don’t have a contract, so it could happen, I could be playing somewhere else. It would be crazy not to think that that could be reality. I’ve thought about all of those scenarios.”

His brother Jason, who is a corner for the Titans, has been in his ear about playing for his team. Shhh Jason, why don’t you just come on over to Boston with your brother.

Anyways, McCourty said he wouldn’t mind getting Franchise Tag by the Patriots, stating its player – friendly, but his goal is to get a long-term deal, but the tag wouldn’t be bad.

“I’ve kind of broken it down. I guess the worst-case scenario would be, I’d be franchised and come back to play for another year here,” McCourty said, hoping for a longer contract. “For me, that’s no reason to stress. I love it here. The franchise tag is player-friendly now, it’s a good number, so there’s no reason really for me to be stressed. If I hit free agency, I hope there’s some teams that will want me to play there, so hopefully that goes over well, and it’s still exciting.”

If the Pats and McCourty can’t work out a new deal then the Pats have to Franchise him or risk losing him for good.

I believe there’s a very good chance the Pats tag him and I think they should instead of letting him go test the market.

McCourty has won a ring, proven how good he is, and now he wants his money, so New England better have that Franchise Tag ready to go March 2nd because he isn’t taking a home team discount.

However, this works out, McCourty is showing some good class so far.

 

Pats expected to pursue Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin against the Patriots last December. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Percy Harvin against the Patriots last December.
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The Patriots are expected by many to pursue current Jets WR Percy Harvin if New York lets him go.

Rumors during the 2009 draft were the Patriots would draft Harvin if he fell to them and he almost did, but the Vikings took him right before New England’s pick. Harvin said the Pats tried to trade for him in 2013 but failed and he was dealt to the Seahawks, who then quickly dealt him to the Jets without a word with New England.

Now, he could be free and sign anywhere he wants if the Jets decide to release him, which is likely, considering he will be owed $10.5 million next season and lose a 4th round pick if he isn’t cut by March 19th. The Jets will lose a 6th round pick if they do release Harvin.

All of this is according to Pro Football Talk and Jason La Canfora.

Pats fans are obsessed with a deep threat, but let me tell you why this makes perfect sense and how awesome it would be to see Harvin in New England next season.

LaFell and Gronk can both be deep threats, have great size, both are red zone threats, and both are solid route runners. Also, the very cheap Brian Tyms is a great deep threat if and when he plays on the field, but lets face it, the Pats don’t throw it deep a lot. It’s not their offense and it won’t be anytime soon because they just proved they don’t need a deep throwing offense to win a Super Bowl. They kill teams with bug bites, picking them apart up and down the field, so a deep threat is almost useless on the Patriots team.

Oh, but Harvin can be a deep threat with his speed FYI.

Danny Amendola might be released if he won’t redo his deal because lets face it, he’s being paid way too much for a 4th option in the offense, behind Gronk, Edelman, and LaFell. Sometimes he does return punts and kicks, but who cares, plus Harvin is better at that. Now, I’m not a Danny Amendola hater. He was awesome in the postseason and showed up big when the Pats needed him to, but he just hasn’t been overwhelming good like Edelman. I think he might end up really good next season after finding some chemistry with Brady in the postseason. Still, if he redoes his contract, maybe the Pats get really rich and keep Amendola and still sign Harvin, wow think of that depth!

But, Harvin fits the offense perfectly. They love slot wide outs and they need one that’s explosive and can score from anywhere on the field. Harvin can take a 5 yard pass and turn it into a 50 yard gain. He would fit this system and have a great QB throwing him the ball. He also can stretch the field and he’s versatile and has played running back. A true hybrid.

I want Harvin in a Pats uniform next season, but I don’t want New England to sell the farm to get him which is what I’m worried he wants.

He’s a pain in the neck for teams, but this wouldn’t be the first attitude player the Pats took a chance on either.

Another problem with Harvin is he’s injury prone or to be nicer he gets hurt a lot. But hey! Look Amendola and Gronk both stayed healthy for the first time in a long time, so Harvin can do it, but will he? I have no idea.

What I do know is if and when he’s healthy, he’s one of the, if not the most electrifying player in the NFL.

Oh yeah, he’s really good at returning punts and kickoffs.

He’s a triple threat, a triple threat that’s perfect for this offense.

Still not convinced? Take a look below and fall in love with his dreamy highlights.

Report: Dont’a Hightower recovery to take 6-7 months

Dont'a Hightower tackles MarShawn Lynch during the Super Bowl. (Photo By: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports)

Dont’a Hightower tackles MarShawn Lynch during the Super Bowl.
(Photo By: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports)

The Patriots star linebacker and leader Dont’a Hightower played through a torn labrum shoulder from week 13 through their Super Bowl win.

According to a source, Hightower’s recovery will take either 6 or 7 months. The Patriots start training camp July 29th, if it takes 6 months, then he’d be ready afterwards around August 10th. If it takes 7 months he will be ready for the opening day of the regular season on September 10th.

It all depends on his ability to heal, but he could make it in time for training camp, but we will see.

During the regular season, Hightower compiled 89 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 FF, and 2 passes defended. During the postseason, Hightower had 16 tackles, including the game-saving tackle at the one against Lynch in the Super Bowl.

If anyone can recover from this injury fast its the two time National Champion and now Super Bowl Champion Hightower because of his toughness he displayed this year.