A few items to ruminate on as free agency looms. 1. I'm not so sure it's going to be a free agent "frenzy" this year. The reason? There are way more free agents than normal. The uncapped year that pushed free agency eligibility in 2010 from four years to six years kept guys off the market. Then, the abbreviated offseason in 2011 caused a lot of teams (and players) to opt for one-year deals. So what we have is a flooded market and that means teams can idle down the aisles. 2. The Patriots are so unpredictable and tight-lipped during these periods that we're often left to read tea leaves and kick around for clues that indicate who they like or where they appear to need help. With that in mind, the 2011 season gave a big clue that safety is a huge need position.Too badfor the Patriots it's a tragically weak class. 3. Although the BenJarvus Green-Ellis Camp believes he'll draw attention on the free agent market, I believe it will be second-tier attention. It's going to leave him with a decision to make about chasing dough or staying in New England. I believe the Patriots will make him a respectable offer but they won't be in a bidding war. For an undrafted player, the money will be a powerful lure -- especially when that player is a running back whose career expectancy will be short. I believe he's likely to be somewhere else. 4. Mark Anderson could be a guy that attracts major attention. He rehabbed his career in 2011 with the Patriots after going into a graveyard spiral in Chicago. His decision to stay or go will be tougher than Green-Ellis' because the Patriots are the ones whogave him a shot and put him in a position to make plays. Of course, ifNew England lowballs him the decision won't be hard at all. 5. There is so much I enjoy about Randy Moss. When it comes to authenticity, he's got it all over Chad Ochocinco. Buthis separation from reality is apparent when he says, "I think when it comes to the world-wide sports media, Ive gotten a bad rap . . . not being a team player and things like that. That's what he insisted Monday night in a conference call after the 49ers signed him. Randy, do you remember your diatribe after the 2010 season opener? Yeah, that left a mark. 6. I know I've kinda turned into Brandon Lloyd's advance press agent, but it's been an obvious story. A top-15 receiver who wants to play for Josh McDaniels and has had success in the system -- why wouldn't we be finding as much out about him as we can? Is he Jerry Rice? No. Does the confounding start to his career need investigating? Sure. But Lloyd having been "moody" in Denver palescompared toVincent Jackson. The football world droolsabout Jackson's potential as a prospective free agent. Meanwhile, he's had two DUIs andis currently onprobation. 7. That said, if the Bills get V-Jax -- and they are very interested -- that's a helluva receiving corps to deal with between him, Stevie Johnson and tall slot receiver David Nelson. 8. Larry Fitzgerald got 50 million guaranteed when he signed a new deal. Andre Johnson got 48 million. Tom Brady got 48.5. Julius Pepper gets 40 million in the first three years of his deal. What will Mario Williams get? When you consider that Peppers has played very well yet the Bears went 8-8 this year (after a 12-4 2010), does it give a team pause about going into the 60 million guarantee range for a non-quarterback. 9. The 2011 Offseason Champions were the Philadelphia Eagles. They missed the playoffs last year. 10. I'm not buying on Matt Flynn. At least not to the "savior" level teams seem to be attaching to him. I do hope he does well, however. itsanirishthing.
Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while wondering when my video tribute is coming.
*Great interview with PK Subban, who appropriately lauds Willie O’Ree for his trailblazing, pioneer accomplishment of breaking through the NHL’s color barrier 60 years ago today. It was very cool that O’Ree did it with the Bruins and even cooler that he was in Boston last night from the Bruins-Habs game at TD Garden.
*Speaking of the Canadiens, old friend Joe Morrow decided to show the Canadiens digital people around Southie this week. That was his big accomplishment in these last two Bruins-Habs games.
*The Winnipeg Jets are having some big success this season, but they’ve also got some serious financial considerations coming up.
*The Colorado Avalanche continue to see attendance issues in their building, but at least there’s a reasonably better product on the ice.
*What is the value for power forward Patrick Maroon on the trade market as a rental? It certainly matters who is asking.
*Jack Johnson and John Tortorella are talking out their issues after it surfaced that the Columbus D-man wants a trade out of town.
*With Victor Hedman injured, it looks like young Tampa Bay D-man Slater Koekkoek is finally going to get a featured look with the Lightning. Per Elliotte Friedman, this is a player that the Bruins have eyed in trade possibilities in the recent past.
*For something completely different: Liam Neeson is open to returning as Qui Gon-Jinn, which adds another interesting piece to a standalone movie for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE
FOXBORO -- The Patriots are well aware of Jalen Ramsey's Super Bowl prediction, and they're not about to take the same approach to the AFC title game buildup.
"If you're going to make a statement like that," Patriots rookie defensive tackle Adam Butler said on Wednesday, "you better be able to back it up . . . It's a bold statement to make. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But like I said, be humble or be humbled. That's all I can really say about that."
As that quote made the rounds, Ramsey tweeted an emphatic "WHO!???" Didn't seem to be a coincidence.
WHO!??? 😂😂😂— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) January 18, 2018
What Ramsey said, though, is part of who the Jaguars are. They're young. They're confident. They're not afraid to talk.
"I ain't got too much to say, but y'all make sure you bring that same energy out here next week and the week after," Ramsey said in Jacksonville following his team's plane ride back from Pittsburgh on Saturday. "We're going to the Super Bowl and we're going to win that [expletive]."
Outside of Butler, the comments have garnered little in the way of public commentary from Patriots players.
"I mean, obviously, that's his game," Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said of Ramsey. "He's a confident dude . . . Obviously, they're happy to go to the championship game, but, you know, that mindset of thinking ahead of yourself, I don't think it's a good idea . . ."
"We saw what happened to the Steelers. But on our end, obviously, we're not thinking ahead to the [Super Bowl] because we have to get past [the Jaguars]. So, we heard it, but we're not too focused on it because we have to focus on doing our job for the game."