Insider: Patriots targeting veteran wideout?

Posted June 02, 2011 @ 1:01 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

• "I was surprised the Patriots did not address the receiver position in the draft. The offense was not the same without Randy Moss. I would guess they have a plan to address the position once the league opens. If you look at who is out there, there are a couple guys that would make a lot of sense. Bill (Belichick) could help Chad Ochocinco the way he did Corey Dillon. That guy (Ochocinco) is goofy — he is way out there — but Bill could get him to blend in. (Bengals GM) Mike Brown has to trade him or fire him. He'll be gone when the season starts. (Jets WR) Santonio Holmes would look good in New England. Sidney Rice would fit the bill, but with the new rules, he might not be able to go anywhere. (Panthers WR) Steve Smith would be great in New England. He could stretch the field. There are going to be some good options out there."

• "In the old days, there was minicamp and then you would not see players again until training camp. The only way players get better is to play. Running around in shorts does not do anything for me. There is no contact. The only groups OTAs really help are the quarterback and receivers getting their timing and routes in rhythm. The rules were changed for offensive and defensive linemen years ago — they are not allowed to go one-on-one. I can't tell you how many players look like they are all-world until the pads come on."

• "Everyone gave 'Tags' (Paul Tagliabue) and (former NFLPA president Gene) Upshaw a lot of crap for being too chummy, but they saw the big picture. If you go back to the last deal, the mistake the owners made is that they were so worried about the basement, they did not focus at all on the ceiling. Players did not expect the growth to be as big as it was. That is where they made the mistake."

• "Owners are making money right now. There are a lot of players that had offseason workout bonuses from $750k to $1 million. That is money saved. Teams start working out in April and teams have to feed them breakfast and lunch. There are costs for chiropractors and masseuses. You are looking at a potential savings of $5 million to $10 million per club in cost savings with no OTAs and no roster bonuses. Plus, a lot of employees have taken pay reductions. If you are an owner, why would you settle now? I know there are owners that do not want to be on the hook for offseason bonuses. At a minimum, I think this goes into July. Owners are making money while they are negotiating with players. Once the lockout gets into July, owners will start taking a hit. That's when I think you'll see a real urgency to get a deal done. The question is — how much will the owners have alienated the players at that point because of all the real money they cost them? That's where negotiations could get ugly."

• "All of the owners hate DeMaurice Smith. He's playing goalie now. He keeps saying he has an ace up his sleeve. He's not telling anyone what it is, but I think it is (President Barack) Obama. They are not at a breaking point yet, but that could change quickly."

• "The quality about (Vikings 12th overall pick) Christian Ponder that could justify drafting him early is he will be ready quickly. That's why he played better than any other quarterback at the Senior Bowl. He gets it. And if he has weapons around him, he could be very good for that offense."

• "If Andy Reid thought Kevin Kolb was so good, why would he be trading him? He knows quarterbacks. Good quarterbacks don't get traded when they are young by good coaches."

• "Did anyone wonder why Denver passed on Marcell Dareus? What you have to remember — one of John Fox's best friends is (former Panthers DL coach) Sal Sunsieri. He coaches (linebackers) for Alabama now. Fox took the best pass rusher and emphasized how he will be able to contribute on every down. He did not think (Dareus) would be a three-down player. … (Buffalo GM) Buddy Nix apparently did. Or maybe he just missed it, like the huge mistake he made giving the oldest right tackle in the league (ORT Cornell Green) a lot of money. How well did that work out? About as good as flipping to a '30' defense and moving all of their best players out of position. Buddy knows how to fool (owner Ralph) Wilson."

• "When you have five Pro Bowlers on your defense, anyone can be a great coach, but can you keep the team competitive when Pro Bowlers are not there? When you compare (former Eagles defensive coordinators) Jim Johnson vs. Sean McDermott, you have to keep that in mind. The great coaches can keep a team competitive when the Pro Bowlers are not there. Not many can do it."