Belichick: All roster moves -- not just blockbusters -- have ripple effect

Belichick: All roster moves -- not just blockbusters -- have ripple effect

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick doesn’t discount the emotional side of a well-liked and highly-regarded player being excised from the roster on Wednesday.

-- Belichick: Playing off instinct is fine, but you have to execute assignments
-- Belichick: Mike Lombardi 'one of the smartest people I know'
-- Brady on surprise departures: 'The sun will come up tomorrow without you'
-- Collins: Browns have 'more of a family feel' than the Patriots

But when I asked about the toll on a team when a Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy or Jamie Collins is let loose, Belichick answered as if it was being intimated that “star” players are the only ones that matter.

“Unfortunately that’s part of this business and I’m sure a lot of you don’t want to take into consideration other moves that are made on the roster but they affect everybody,” said Belichick. “So it might be a guy that isn’t a big guy on your radar but to his roommate or to a teammate that’s very close to him it is a big move and so I recognize that, I understand that, I appreciate that, but again, in the end my responsibility is to the football team. It’s not to an individual player so I make the decision that I make based on what I feel like is best for the team. It’s not a personal decision, it’s a team decision. If it was a personal decision then there’d be a lot of decisions that would be different. But that’s not my job. My obligation is to all of the players; not just to a single individual.

“I know you want to focus on the bigger names if you will, which is fine,” Belichick continued. “I understand that. But all of the players are important to me. They’re important to their teammates. They’re important to the organization and anything that affects any individual on the team is important. Not just to three or four we want to single out because of whatever their star power is. I’m not minimizing that but things affect all of the players on the team; not just the few names that are mentioned.”

The question wasn’t meant as a swipe at bottom-of-the-roster guys. Personally, I felt it was too bad that A.J. Derby got traded last week.

In Collins’ case the emotional toll goes beyond merely missing a guy that’s well-liked and has been around a while.

The emotional toll also includes wondering how your professional life is impacted by the departure of a player regarded by some as the best defender on the team and by nearly all as its best athlete. It can make a guy wonder just how secure he is which, by the way, may be an unintended (or intended) consequence of the Collins deal.

Mentioning this to Belichick on redirect, he answered, “Well, again I think all of the players are important.”

No one suggested he thought otherwise.

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.

So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.

According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.

That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay. 

“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.