Patriots

Curran: McGinest is last guy who should rip Welker

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Curran: McGinest is last guy who should rip Welker

Less than a month after Bill Parcells selected Willie McGinest with the fourth overall pick in the 1994 draft, McGinest agreed to a four-year, 6 million contract with the Patriots.

In 1998, the Patriots retained the free agent McGinest, making him the highest paid defensive end in professional football with a five-year, 25 million deal that had 8 million guaranteed.

In 2002, the Patriots made sure McGinest stayed in New England with a four-year, 16 million extension that included 9 million in salary over the first three years.

Finally in 2006, after the Patriots cut McGinest because of cap concerns, Willie found a golden parachute in Cleveland signing a three-year, 12 million contract with 6 million guaranteed.

Over a 12-year period, McGinest signed contracts with a combined value of 69 million. NFL contracts being what they are, McGinest probably made about 50 million.

So when McGinest takes aim at Wes Welker, the response from Welker should be, "Easy for you to say, Willie, you got your money."

On Tuesday, McGinest sounded uncommonly ill-informed when he ripped Welker on the NFL Network.

"I just dont like the diva attitude," McGinest began. "Lets keep it real: prior to the Patriots, this is a guy who played three years, had 96 receptions and never had a 1,000-yard season. Due to a big part of the Patriots offensive system and Tom Brady, hes had five years where hes had over 100 catches. Of those five years until he got hurt 2010, he had over 1,000 yards receiving each year.Lets just keep everything in perspective: a big part of that is due to the Patriots . . ."

MORE: Welker, McGinest spar on Twitter

A little more perspective. Welker signed a five-year, 18 million deal with the Patriots in 2007 and -- in an era in which salaries ballooned -- he outperformed his deal. By a ridiculous amount.

Didn't bitch. Never mailed it in. Never made a public peep about how the Patriots were getting over on him.

Now Welker's been extended the 9.5 million franchise tag by the Patriots. Did he scoff at that? No. He did the opposite on the same set McGinest ripped him from.

"I mean, it's a lot of money. How can you ever be upset about that?" Welker said on April 13. "It's not a bad deal, so I'm not too worried about it."

The backstory to Welker's situation that eludes McGinest is that the Patriots applied the tag and released this statement on March 5.

"Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."
And there have been no talks held and no progress made toward ensuring that. So why would Welker want to sign the tag and show up for OTAs and a minicamp? Why reward the Patriots further with more loyalty when they haven't yet come close to meeting him halfway?

McGinest's finger-wagging got more personal and included more revisionist history when he said, "So look Wes, its time to take off the leopard-printed cowboy boots, get off the party tour and get back to work. During my tenure in New England, no matter how big you were or who you were, nobody said that they werent coming to a mandatory minicamp. If you know anything about New England, understand that youre expendable. Unless youre Bill Belichick or Tom Brady, youre expendable."

The minicamps are mandatory when you're under contract. Welker's not.

Check this out, the NFL salary cap was 52.388 million when McGinest signed for 5 years and 25 million. When Welker signed for 5 years and 18 million, the cap was more than twice that (109 million).

Ten years after McGinest got that 6 million rookie deal, Welker -- undrafted -- made 37,059 with the San Diego Chargers in 2004. Over Welker's next three seasons with the Dolphins, he made 932,000.

McGinest went to two Pro Bowls and missed 21 games in his 12-season tenure in New England. Welker's a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro who -- despite blowing an ACL -- has missed just three games in five seasons.

When it comes to bang for the buck, what Welker has brought the Patriots exceeds what McGinest brought them. And it's not even close.

If anybody's going to pound the desk and criticize Wes Welker, Willie McGinest is probably the last guy who should be doing so.

Butler never flips 'off' switch, even in locker-room games

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Butler never flips 'off' switch, even in locker-room games

FOXBORO -- Say this for Malcolm Butler: Since his rookie season he's proven time and again to be an utterly resilient player.

Go back to Super Bowl XLIX. He was beside himself on the sidelines after Jermaine Kearse somehow came up with an acrobatic grab on a pass he deflected in the fourth quarter. Moments later he was back on the field to make the play of life.

Against the Jets on Sunday, he had to make another -- albeit less dramatic -- turnaround.

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Early on, it wasn't pretty. He allowed a third-and-long conversion when he played well off of Robby Anderson during a first-quarter touchdown drive. He allowed 31-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley when he made a bad gamble to try to break up the throw.

Yet without Butler's interception at the end of the first half, and without his strip of Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the fourth quarter, the Patriots might be 3-3 headed into a Super Bowl rematch with the Falcons.

The competitive streak that Butler has exhibited to make game-changing moments regardless of what has happened earlier in the game is something that Bill Belichick has grown accustomed to.

"Since the first rookie minicamp," Belichick said. "He’s a very competitive player, whatever it is. Practice, games, trash ball in the locker room. Whatever it is. He’s a very competitive player."

Earlier this season, in Week 2 against the Saints, Butler was briefly demoted to the No. 3 cornerback role. After the fact, he was open about how he wasn't playing up to his own lofty standards. Since then, he's been the only regular for the Patriots at his position as Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe have dealt with injuries. 

It's been far from perfect, as moments like his breakdowns during the Jets game exhibited. But his aggressiveness rarely wanes. Even during down moments in the Patriots locker, apparently. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

QUICK SLANTS PODCAST: Belichick ignoring noise? Or trying to change the narrative?

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QUICK SLANTS PODCAST: Belichick ignoring noise? Or trying to change the narrative?

3:00 Why has Bill Belichick been so surprisingly positive of his team’s performance in tight wins?

6:30 Phil Perry breaks down what grades he gave the Patriots on his report card following the win over the Jets

15:00 Reaction to the Austin-Seferian Jenkins overturned touchdown, and what changes need to be made in the NFL replay system. 

23:00 Why was Patriots offensive line much more effective against Jets?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

25:00 Patriots-Falcons preview, how did Falcons blow a 17 point lead to the Dolphins?