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Patriots Talk: Dont’a Hightower will NOT be given franchise tag

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Patriots Talk: Dont’a Hightower will NOT  be given the franchise tag

by Stephen Hilton

News has already traveled throughout the sports world about Patriots’ linebacker Dont’a Hightower not being given the franchise tag. As he is one of the biggest players hitting free-agency this off-season, this is shell-shocking for the Patriots fan base, as he is considered one of the top players that needed to be resigned. According to NFL insider, Adam Schefter, he was informed that Hightower was not given the franchise tag by the Patriots.

This news means that the Patriots have effectively no control over what happens with Hightower as he is an unrestricted free agent. He can walk into free agency when the market opens for all 32 teams on March 9th and see what offers he gets. This means whatever contracts that other teams will give to Hightower, the Patriots will need to match them if they hope to resign him back. This situation is very similar to when Patriots’ safety Devin McCourty hit free agency back in 2015. Ultimately, the Patriots paid McCourty a 5-year extension worth over 47.5 million to resign him. He then became the highest paid safety in the league after that (Of course, yesterday it was revealed that Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry was paid a 6-year extension worth over 78 million, which means he is now the highest paid at his position).

So what exactly happened? Why didn’t the Patriots just franchise tag Hightower? Couldn’t they have come to a long-term deal? According to some reports, negotiations broke down.

What Michael Giardi is referring to here is more likely that the gap doesn’t have anything to do with the total contract value. The Patriots were willing to pay him as high as 10 million per year at the start of the 2016 season. What seems to be ‘a decent gap’ is most likely the amount of guaranteed money that was offered.

 

The reason why I say that is because Hightower has had multiple injuries and hasn’t been able to stay consistently healthy throughout his NFL career. However, he has shown up to play in the biggest games and has been often said to be ‘the anchor’ of the Patriots’ defense. No matter how the Patriots try to put it, Hightower is too crucial to the defense to be let go.They have already traded players like Chandler Jones and Jaime Collins, letting Hightower leave as well would effectively make the question ‘well what is all the cap space for then?’ Even Malcolm Butler is a restricted free agent and he won’t be given more than 1st round tender (It was reinforced after the 2011 lockout, in which RFAs who are given the amount of say $2.879 million. Any of the 31 other teams would need to give up a 1st round pick to get that player effectively then as compensation to the team who drafted him.)

 

The Patriots more than likely didn’t want to put the exclusive franchise tag on him as he would have been paid over $15 million for one year. The Patriots must have felt it was too serious of a cap hit to give him that as they still have many free agents that need to be resigned this season. (Especially for those who they will need to sign in the NFL draft). However, it has been stated on record by players that they hate being given the tag because it usually is a sign the team is only interested in the short-term and not giving them more money then they feel they are worth. This isn’t because the Patriots’ lack interest in signing an extension, far from it. Rather, they are refusing to put the tag on Hightower because it would only be for one year compared to say 3-4 years where they can spread the money over a period time and have Hightower commit the rest of his years in New England.

 

The simple fact is this: Bill Belichick will NOT overpay for any NFL player and nothing we sports fans or the media say, will change that. He has a proven track record he will do away with players that he feels are not worth the amount they are offering. This includes previous players like Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy, Asante Samuel, or Deion Branch. You understand where I am going. Bill has gone through this before and if Dont’a gets a better offer somewhere else, good for him, but the reality is that Belicheck is letting the risk of overpaying him become a reality even with the amount of cap space that the Patriots currently have. But Belicheck has given us almost 2 decades of football greatness and trying to question his judgement now would be foolish if you don’t think he knows what the possible consequences are.  Well, since us Patriots have been down this road before the only thing I can say is: In Bill We Trust.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

New England Patriots

Patriots Talk: 27-23 Loss To Texans Shows Need For Improvement

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Patriots Talk: 27-23 Loss To Texans Shows Need For Improvement

It’s hard to believe that the Patriots still won their fifth Super Bowl at NRG Stadium (the second time in the team’s history this has happened since Super Bowl 38).

With this game, the Patriots were competing with the Houston Texans lead by former Patriots OC Bill O’Brien but the difference between the two was fairly clear: The team still has a lot of question marks on their depth chart. After Saturday night’s game, much of the team showed some good but there was quite a bit of bad.

Despite, this being the first preseason game that Rob Gronkowski played since 2012, he was relatively non-factor since the starters were only in the game for the 1st quarter only. In fact, the majority of the Patriots starters including Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks were among those who played in the first quarter.

Here is who stood out and what ultimately burned out. Just click the next button to continue.

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Patriots Bits and Pieces- Super Bowl Confetti and More

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The Bits and Pieces of a Patriots Weekend

Well, you know what they say about pre-season football in the NFL?

No really, do you know because I do not. I do know that it is never a good indication of how the regular season may pan out for any team. It is still a trial period for most teams and coaches to try new plays, let some rookies and newbies get some playtime, and for the New England Patriots, return to the site of last year’s Super Bowl and remember their amazing second-half come from behind victory in which I am still awe-struck.

Here some bits and pieces of what went down in Houston. And with a fumbling backup quarterback, a star defensive end not in action, and a 27-23 loss; I hope the Patriots don’t have a problem in regular season.

The Patriots got a friendly reminder of Super Bowl LI when they returned to Houston’s NRG Stadium Saturday night. Red and blue confetti were found in the Microsoft Surface phone system along the sideline. Could this be a sign from the football gods that the Pats are destined to go the distance again this year?

Tight End Rob Gronkowski played his first preseason game since 2012. The Gronk’s non-play up until now was based on coach’s decisions to limit exposure to injuries the star tight end was recovering from. Gronkowski for 14 of the team’s first 16 plays, but he finished with no catches and no targeted passes.

“It felt good to be out there, get my feet wet, to get the speed of the game. I love to play football,” Gronkowski said.

On the other side of the football, defensive end Trey Flowers did not play Saturday night. Flowers led the team with seven sacks last season. It is not believed that he is dealing with an injury, as he is one of the few top players that was not in action.

Quarterback Tom Brady also started Saturday night in Houston, playing for two drives and completing 6 of 9 passes with 67 yards and one touchdown.

In a post-game news conference, Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s ended with a question on if there was a feeling of nostalgia returning to NRG Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LI.

“That’s all in the past,” he responded. “I mean, it was great, but we’re on to 2017. I don’t think last year, two years ago or 12 years ago is that important. Trying to get this team ready to go, and this year’s team is this year’s team. It’s my responsibility to make a strong commitment to this group. I’m not trying to live in the past. I’m not trying to live in the future. I’m just trying to do a good job with the team we have today.”

New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was hard on himself following Saturday night’s 27-23 loss to the, as he lost a fumble on a crunching sack and later threw a sideline interception when he was attempting to throw the ball away.

“I was just trying to throw it away, but didn’t put enough on it,” he explained, as he was on the move to evade an oncoming defensive end. “It was just a bad play.”

The back-up to Tom Brady did look to stand tough in the pocket, taking some huge hits and leading New England on a scoring drive. The miscues, however, gave the Texans two scores and a 27-23 victory.

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Patriots Talk: Odd Brady Video, Gillette Sign Moved

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Patriots Talk: Odd Tom Brady Video, Gillette Stadium Sign Moved

Sunday was an off day for the New England Patriots, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any news.

At Gillette Stadium on Sunday the Patriots had the stadium sign raised in order to create room for the new banner placement.

With the franchise winning its fifth Super Bowl title this past February the location where the banners were kept was simply not big enough.

This is what the current banner location looked like.

FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Fireworks go off as the New England Patriots reveal their Super Bowl XLIX championship banner before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Here is what the team did on Sunday. As you can see below they lifted the Gillette Stadium sign up with the banners presumably going right underneath it.

New England will unveil their Super Bowl banner in week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

In other Patriots news, QB Tom Brady posted an odd video to Instagram on Sunday afternoon. His words, “No Day’s Off”.

#nodaysoff 😂@tb12sports

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Video looks to be taken in the gym in Brady’s Brookline house. A little odd, but what else is new with the 40-year-old future hall of famer.

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