Thursday, March 03, 2005

WHAT’S THE REAL STORY?

It was abysmal reporting by the Boston press corps on this whole story of Troy Brown being released by the Patriots. The story isn’t that he was given his release; it was that he and the team could not come to an agreement over a restructured contract. Everyone knew last year when he agreed to a restructured deal that set his 2005 cap number at over $5 million dollars that he’d never see the $2.5 million roster bonus or the $2.5 million base salary. He wouldn’t have received that money if he had one-hundred receptions. He wouldn’t have received that money if he had ten interceptions. The story was that the team and Brown couldn’t reach a contract before the March 1st deadline and he was released.

Also, like Roman Pfifer, we may not have seen the last of Troy Brown in a Patriots uniform. We know that no matter what Brown did last year, the Patriots are not going to overpay for a 33 year-old wide receiver who was fourth on the depth chart, was the punt returner, and the fourth or fifth string cornerback. Heck, Allen Rossum was a pro bowl kickoff and punt returner and the team’s fourth cornerback and he got the honor of a pink slip from the Eagles. In the NFL, the money is made, if you’re a first round pick, in your first two years in the league and, if you perform and are fortunate, when you get to or are able to get close to free agency. Then the big contract comes in the fourth or fifth season with big bonus money, and near-guaranteed money the first two years of the contract. By the time you’re thirty, the money is just about gone unless you’re a freak of nature/perennial all-pro.

Troy Brown didn’t make his money when he came into the league, but he worked his tail off and made himself a Pro Bowl punt returner and wide receiver. He got his big contract from the Patriots, but he’s 33, he’s got Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch, leading receiver David Givens (who, incidentally, isn’t going anywhere now that he got tendered and the price is a first-round pick), unrestricted free agent David “Big Game” Patten (if he returns, which is likely), and possibly Bethel “Don’t call me Tony Simmons” Johnson ahead of him on the depth chart. Brown may get an offer with some bonus money up front, but for the most part he’s reached the point of his career where he’s looking at playing for the veteran’s minimum salary. I like Troy Brown, heck, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like him, but his big payday is in the rear view mirror.

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OTHER MOVES:

The Patriots did well to lock-up Brandon Gorin to a three-year contract; tackles don’t grow on trees and as much as I’d love to see a top free agent like the Jets right tackle Kareem McKenzie, I don’t think the Patriots are going to come anywhere near his asking price. Tom Ashworth, David Givens, and Jarvis Green were all given the mid-level tender offer that basically keeps them in New England next year for about $1.4 million each. It will be interesting to see which of the three sign long-term deals like Gorin. As they each require a first-round pick as compensation, they’re all as good as locked in with the team at least for another year.

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QUICK HITS:

The Antoine Walker Experience goes for three in a row against Consensual Kobe and the not-so-mighty Lakers. Great idea by the LA front office to trade Shaq, run Phil Jackson out of town, and give Kobe almost $150 million.

Sox meet George Bush at the White House. Where’s Pedro? What, he can’t leave an exhibition game early to go? He had no problem slinking out of the park during regular season games while he was here.

Francona’s fleece and Belichick’s hoodies – about time I was fashionable. Now if Aerosmith concert t’s ever come into fashion, I’d be da bomb.

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