Archive for March, 2006

A Kraft relapse?

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

There have been some reports buzzing around that Kraft “personally intervened” in the Troy Brown negotiations to make sure that Brown re-signed with the team.

I really hope that didn’t happen.

Those of you who have been fans since 2001 and here nothing but glowing praise of Kraft (unless you make the mistake of reading Wrong Borges and Nick Cafardo) might not realize that fandom had many doubts about Kraft all through the 1990s. When he bought the team he seemed a lot like a Mini-Me to Jerry Jones’s Dr. Evil. Kraft was seen with a stopwatch timing players at camp, he was constantly glad-handing fans around the stadium on game days and looked like he might turn into a meddler, a la Jones or Steinbrenner. Then there was l’affaire Parcells and the long decay of the Carroll years, where it was clear that any player with a grudge or a whine could jump the chain of command and go to Kraft. Not good.

And now we have these reports. On one hand it could be nothing. No matter how much you like Troy Brown, you have to concede he’s a player at the end of the line. So this isn’t like the owner’s intervention determining the future of the team. On the other hand, if players begin to feel that they can evade Belichick and Pioli and get things into Kraft’s hands, that’s a very bad precedent given the system that Belichick and Pioli have put in place. If Kraft makes a lie of Belichick’s pledges to his players that everyone gets treated the same, it could get nasty, especially when the inevitable stinker season comes along.

So lets all hope those reports are wrong.

Then we were saved by the Arrival of Bill and the concomitant act of Kraft essentially agreeing to butt out of football operations. And as far as we can tell, he’s stuck to it, even as fan favorites and his own favorite player (Bledsoe) were released or traded.

He’s dead to me now.

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

So, Vinatieri’s a Colt.

Then you’ll have to pardon me for saying that I hope he shanks every FG he attempts this year, and I want him to get his bell rung when Indianapolis plays in Foxboro in the upcoming season. And I’ll be out there booing every time he steps onto the field.

Yes, I’m thankful for the kicks he’s made over the years. And if Bill “Intercepting Manning should be against the rules” Polian wants to overpay for him, you can’t really blame him for going. But he chose to join the enemy — he’s a member of the enemy now and that’s how I’m treating him. And I think he has to knock Curtis Martin off the top of the Traitor’s List.

While it is true that there’s no way the Pats should have matched the poison pill deal that the Jet offerted to Martin, the Pats shouldn’t have let it get to that. Martin was clearly a tremendous bargain and the team should have re-negotiated his contract (or at least attempted to) instead of letting him get to free agency. “How is that different than Vinatieri?”, you may say. For starters, Vinatieri has been the top-paid kicker the league and the offer from the Pats that he rejected would have kept him there. So this isn’t the case of a team refusing to up the salary of the player who is worth far, far more than his contract.

To be fair to Vinatieri, he did take the high road and said all the right things at his Indy press conference — refusing to take whacks at the Patriots even though it has been widely reported (even before free agency began) that he wanted out of New England and had been incensed over his pay, over how negotiations have been handled both this year and in the past, and over the use/non-use of the franchise tag on him.

So, I’m sorry. I’ll thank you for what you did here, but I am not wishing you good luck going forward. Good health? Sure. But after that, I hope you have horrible seasons to come. You could have gone to a different team, but you went to the Colts. You’re dead to me now.

Upgrade to WordPress 2.0.2 complete. Hopefully.

Friday, March 24th, 2006

We’ve finished the upgrade to WordPress 2.0.2.† Everything seems to be working right, but if not, please let me know.

For whom the bell tolls?

Friday, March 17th, 2006

Well, it’s already tolled for Givens and McGinest (I expected the first, but not the second), and it may be tolling for AV and Troy Brown. Losing Adam would be tough, but I can’t get too worked up about losing Brown at this stage in his career. Sure, it would be sad for his last memorable play with the Pats to be fumbling away the Denver game, but he’s clearly lost many steps.

Itís been clear in interviews since the Givens signing that a large part of Givens leaving was that he wanted to be (and of course be paid for being ūüôā ) a #1 receiver.

Since he wasnít going to be a #1 in the Pats scheme, there was (a) no way the Pats would pay him #1 money, and (b) predispose him to go to a team where heíd be a #1 even if the offers were equal.

As for McGinest, while Iím sad to see him go, I donít think it would have been wise for the Pats to cough up that sum.

Vinatieri is more interesting. I think there has definitely been some behind the scenes friction there for a few years. The Pats had to tag AV last year, and I think before that he was on a relatively short-term contract. So the parties havenít been able to come to a long-term agreement for some time now. AV also brings up the question of do you (percentage-wise) hugely overpay AV to keep him on the grounds that even a big percentage overpay to a kicker is lost in the noise? Or will a big percentage overpay still cause pay-scale problems because then everyone will start saying ďif he is so high percentage-wise, why not me?Ē

Finally, what has bothered me isnít as much losing these guys (and potentially Troy Brown, too, though at this stage of his career thatís not a big loss) is that these guysí agents have said the Pats havenít even talked to them. Of course, I also wouldnít put it past agents to make stuff to make the team look bad, either.

Who are we going to lose?

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Free agency starts at 12:01am tomorrow morning.

I’m almost certain Givens will end up signing elsewhere. I have a bad feeling about Vinatieri and think he will end up elsewhere. I expect McGinest and Troy Brown to end up returning to the Pats. Not sure either way about Ashworth and Neal. I’d like to see us keep Dwight.

We’ll find out soon enough…