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Patriots could receive comp pick for Blount after issuing May 9 tender

Patriots could receive comp pick for Blount after issuing May 9 tender

UPDATE: The Patriots extended LeGarrette Blount the rarely-used May 9 tender, which is worth 110 percent of what he made in 2016 ($1.1 million). The tender allows the Blount to count toward New England's 2018 compensatory-pick formula should he sign with another club. If he does not sign with another club before July 22, the Patriots will have exclusive negotiating rights with Blount from July 22 through the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Blount has no plans to sign the tender at the moment.

It's time to talk compensatory picks. Again, I know. 

These things are the source of a whole lot of confusion for many because the way in which the league determines who gets compensatory picks, how many, and in what rounds is based upon a secret formula. 

That's right. Like the special sauce on your Big Mac.

What we do know about the formula, though, is that it's based on free agents lost and free agents signed by a given team in a given year. The level of those free agents -- which factors in salary, playing time and postseason honors -- is also taken into account.

Picks are then awarded to teams who have lost more (or better) free agents than they acquired. 

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Spurs considering shopping LaMarcus Aldridge?

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USATI

Spurs considering shopping LaMarcus Aldridge?

Jackie MacMullan joins Early Edition on CSNNE to discuss why she thinks San Antonio will try to shop LaMarcus Aldridge, an "experiment hasn't quite worked out the way they hoped."

 

Celtics looking to get others involved

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Celtics looking to get others involved

We’ve seen enough of Isaiah Thomas to know that he will make an impact for the Boston Celtics, usually with a barrage of buckets.

But as good a scorer as Thomas has proven himself to be, he is not a one-man operation.

He’ll need help if the Celtics (43-31) are to bounce back tonight at Portland following Monday night’s 114-90 beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I’m just trying to get myself to be more aggressive to get the ball in the hoop,” Thomas told reporters following Monday’s loss. “I still have to manage getting others involved and being a scorer. I have to do both and do it at a high level.”

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Celtics excited for challenge Lillard, Blazers bring

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Celtics excited for challenge Lillard, Blazers bring

A couple months ago if you said that two of the NBA's hottest teams will go up against each other on Mar. 2, about 99.9-percent of the NBA world would assume you were talking about the Thunder vs. Clippers.

And while yes, both of those teams are very good this season, you wouldn't say either of them are "hot".

But the Celtics? They're hot. The Blazers? Just as hot. And Portland rolls into town with one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA, featuring Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

Lillard is fresh off a February in which he averaged 29.8 points per game, good for third-highest point average in a month in Blazers history. And ironically, that scoring outburst came in the same month that Lillard was snubbed from the All-Star Game.

Take that, NBA.

"There are a handful of guys in this league that can put the ball on a string, have it anywhere on the court inside 30 feet and you feel like if you let your guard down, they’ll make that shot," Brad Stevens said of Lillard. "And he can go left and shoot it, he can right and shoot it. He draws fouls, he’s a good finisher. He just knows how to play. He’s just got a great way about him and he doesn’t ever get sped up. It looks like his demeanor never changes. He’s a heck of a player. And just the level that he’s playing at now, and McCollum as well, it’s pretty impressive."

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Chip Kelly: I'm '100 percent' to blame for Eagles' season

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Chip Kelly: I'm '100 percent' to blame for Eagles' season

Right in the middle of Chip Kelly's postgame press conference, the lights shut off and the room went black. It was fitting because only moments earlier the lights had just been shut off on the Eagles' season, as they lost, 38-24, to the Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field (see Instant Replay).

Now the question is will the lights shut off on Kelly's tenure as head coach and personnel czar of the Eagles?

For the second year in a row, Kelly had some tough questions to answer after his team was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 16, once again at the hands of the division-rival Washington Redskins. Yet while the Eagles were done in by the all-too familiar blend of turnovers and penalties, dropped passes and defensive breakdowns Saturday, the head coach accepted the full burden of this disappointing season anyway.

"100 percent," Kelly said of how much fault falls on him. "It's all on my shoulders. It's the same thing I said a year ago, it's unacceptable. We've got a find a way to do a better job. When are we going to put these guys in better situations to make plays? So it's 100 percent on my shoulders."

Pressed as to whether he was concerned about his job security, Kelly bluntly replied, "No."

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Jackson: 'Couldn't ask for a better Christmas gift'

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Jackson: 'Couldn't ask for a better Christmas gift'

Steven Jackson strolled through the Patriots locker room with a binder in his hand and a pencil stuck behind his ear.

On Wednesday, in his first meeting with local reporters, the 32-year-old running back explained that he has a lot to learn in a short period of time. Still, he was excited to have landed where he did.

With the Patriots, Jackson is headed to the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season with the Rams back in 2004.

"Couldn’t ask for a better Christmas gift," Jackson said. "Just looking forward to continuing to get better and continuing to learn the way of the Patriots."

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Steven Jackson participates in first Patriots practice

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Steven Jackson participates in first Patriots practice

Soon after the Patriots announced that they had signed free-agent running back Steven Jackson, the 32-year-old veteran was present for his first practice with the team.

Jackson entered the Empower Field House on Tuesday afternoon wearing a No. 39 Patriots practice jersey, but when he realized that none of his new teammates were in uniform for the walkthrough, he took it off so as not to stand out. 

Jackson has worn No. 39 for St. Louis and Atlanta during his NFL career. The number was previously given to practice-squad running back Montee Ball. 

Jackson walked to practice with his former Rams teammate Danny Amendola, and he made sure to introduce himself to tackle Sebastian Vollmer before the session began. 

Three Patriots players were not spotted during the media availability portion of the workout: receiver Julian Edelman, cornerback Justin Coleman and linebacker Jonathan Freeny.

The Patriots were back on the field a day earlier then is the norm because there is no practice scheduled for Christmas Day on Friday. 

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Belichick has long been impressed with Steven Jackson

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Belichick has long been impressed with Steven Jackson

Bill Belichick passed on a chance to confirm his team’s reported interest in former All-Pro running back Steven Jackson Wednesday morning.

But the logic adds up given the dearth of running backs on the roster now that LeGarrette Blount is headed to IR with his hip injury.

While there’s logic to the interest, logic also says that Jackson is probably cooked at this point. Anything the Patriots would be able to get from him – if he signs – would be gravy.

Released by Atlanta last February after he ran for 707 yards in 15 games (3.7 yards per carry) last season, Jackson is now 32 years old. He hasn’t played all season but the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder always did keep himself in outstanding condition.

The Patriots won’t be looking for Jackson to come in and carry the ball 25 times against the Titans on Sunday. They would be hoping perhaps to get a player who could at least approximate what Blount gave them – a big pounder who can run between the tackles on first and second down. Jackson overlapped with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when McDaniels was with the St. Louis Rams.

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Living in the spin cycle of another Patriots 'scandal'

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Living in the spin cycle of another Patriots 'scandal'

Here’s an anecdote that works today. Back on December 2, 2013, after the Patriots beat the Texans in Houston, 34-31, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said this, “Either teams are spying on us or scouting us . . . I don’t know what it is. We had some ways that we were going to play this week that just got put in this week, and it was just miraculous that they changed up some things that they did on offense and keyed on what we put in this week to stop what they were doing.”

That was the 10th straight game the Texans lost. The insinuation, I guess, was that somehow the Patriots went to Texas to spy on Houston as it practiced on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of that week. Absurd.

But I saw the quote and knew how it was going to go.

Some nitwit drops an, “I’m not saying, I’m just saying...” insinuation about the Patriots and the next three days of coverage is devoted to cleaning up that particular turd.

Because how hard is it for any allegation to gain traction? Not too hard. Once it’s “out there” on Twitter and gets retweeted a time or 20, the media peer pressure is on and we’re all covering it. No matter how far-fetched, no matter if the source has a bald-faced agenda, things have to be “addressed.”

“That’s how they do things up there...” or “I’m not saying that’s why we lost, I’m just saying it makes you wonder...” or “They do have a history...”

I’ve seen every variation possible in the 16 seasons of Belichick – especially in the last 12 when the Patriots showed they were good and were not going away.

I will admit, I think my journalistic curiosity on these things has been worn to a nub so that – at this point – my first reaction is, “Here we go, what is the agenda behind this quote/story/10,000 word hot take time machine?”

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Believe Brady or not, NFL still deserved to lose

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Believe Brady or not, NFL still deserved to lose

Whether or not you believe Patriots personnel were doing something with the footballs, whether or not you believe Tom Brady was aware of it, one thing became clear as Brady's case was heard over the past month in federal court in New York.

The NFL deserved to lose.

Turns out Judge Richard Berman wasn't posturing or playing devil's advocate. He hated the NFL's argument in open court and it showed up in his decision. In the end, the NFL had some precedent and case law but little else.

But if you dial it back to the beginning of the process, you see a league office that deserved to lose for more reasons than just a weak and poorly argued case in federal court. In short, the NFL wasn't content to take its pound of flesh out of the Patriots and accept the weaknesses of its case against Brady. Once again, the league bit off more than it could chew.

The Wells Report was one thing. It's few strengths (the text messages) and many weaknesses (the science, Brady's link to John Jastremski and Jim McNally, and direct link to Jan. 18) were self evident. But to then use that document to hang four games on Brady? Overreach. It should have been one game at most, probably a fine.

Then to get to the appeal and not only not reduce the suspension, which the NFL seems to do as a matter of course in every other case, but not afford Brady simple due process on top of it? Needlessly stubborn. Roger Goodell could have easily put himself in a better position for the court case by knocking off some games and allowing Brady's attorneys access to what they were looking for. You know, just play it straight.

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