Patriots

Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick

Ted Johnson describes experience of negotiating contract with Bill Belichick

To no one's surprise, negotiating contracts with Bill Belichick isn't the most pleasant experience.

Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson spent his entire NFL career in Foxboro, but he did have to go through the negotiating process with his longtime head coach.

Thursday on Arbella Early Edition, Johnson explained how contract discussions with Belichick went from his side of the negotiation table.

When I first was being coached by Bill and had my first kind of issue with my contract, Bill reached out to me personally which usually does not happen. I was like, 'Woah, okay, I have an agent.' He was like, 'Yeah I was going to call him.' He wanted to gauge my interest and see how I reacted by him calling me.

Bill will nickel and dime. There was a year that I had -- I played 15 percent of the plays the year before, and he came to ask me for a pay cut. He said, 'Well Ted, you only played 15 percent of the plays.' 'Yeah, Bill, did you know I broke my foot in Week 1 so I missed the next 10 games?' He doesn't care about that stuff. So it is hardball, he doesn't care, he will use the stats against you, and won't factor in all the things that went into those poor stats.

He's not going to blow you away with an offer. He's going to make you sweat it out and make you think, 'Do I really want to leave what I'm comfortable with, or stay here and take less than what other people would offer?'

The Patriots have several players set to hit the free agent market, including quarterback Tom Brady.

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Johnson says as a player, it's difficult to take emotion out of the equation during contract negotiations. But for Belichick, it's simply business as usual. Even when it involves a player of Brady's stature.

I got emotional. I got emotional and it probably affected our relationship to some degree for a little bit. Pride got in the way.

And that may be the case here with Tom [Brady] where pride can get in the way. And so with Bill, he's an emotionless machine, man. That was the kind of feeling I got from him that he takes emotion out of it and that's why he's as good as he is. 

Brady will officially become a free agent on March 18 if he and the Patriots cannot come to an agreement on a contract extension before then. Knowing how Belichick operates, either he or Brady likely will have to put pride aside if the six-time Super Bowl champion is to finish his career in New England.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Finally, the New England Patriots are back on the field at Gillette Stadium.

The new-look Pats had their first practice of 2020 on Wednesday, which means training camp position battles are officially underway. The obvious position battle in camp will be at the quarterback position between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham, but there are many more intriguing battles to keep an eye on.

In a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry break down the positions where these battles will take place.

Patriots Talk Podcast - Training Camp Preview: Burning Questions. Bold Predictions | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

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Perry named the Patriots' three most notable position battles, starting with the QB position. While it's technically a battle between Newton and Stidham, some believe it's a foregone conclusion Newton will be the Week 1 starter.

"You have the quarterback spot with Cam vs. Stidham. Let's move past that, we've talked enough about that, we both think Cam is going to win the job. Not a real battle, per se," Perry said.

"Let's go back to the outside linebackers. This is a four-way cage match between Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Shilique Calhoun, and Brandon Copeland. My guy is going to be Anfernee Jennings, but I do think that's a battle. Whatever that opposite John Simon edge spot is called, somebody's got to fill it.

"Number three, let's talk special teams ... who is your returner? Is it Kyle Dugger, your first draft pick in this year's draft? Is it J.J. Taylor? Fun as hell to watch, would be fun as hell to watch in the kicking game. Or is it last year's guy, Gunner [Olszewski]? They don't want to give it to Julian Edelman, we know that, so one of those three guys I think will win it."

For Curran, it's a newly-added safety who will have his attention in camp.

"I'm going to head over to the secondary for the position battle that I'm interested to watch," Curran said. "I have a good feeling of who's going to shine there and it's my defensive dark horse for this camp and this season -- it's going to be Adrian Phillips at the safety spot holding off a young Kyle Dugger.

"I think Adrian Phillips is going to be an absolute eye-opener at the safety position ... Adrian Phillips is a talented player, he's closer to [Patrick] Chung than he is Devin McCourty. He's going to be a really good player for the Patriots this year. But I'm going to be real interested to see how Dugger competes ... he's an athletic unicorn."

Curran and Perry also discuss the burning questions surrounding the Patriots, why the Pats should explore using the triple option, bold predictions for the 2020 season, and much more.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

One of the New England Patriots' 2020 draft picks has decided to retire before his rookie season began.

The team announced Thursday it has placed offensive lineman Dustin Woodard on the reserve/retired list.

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Woodard, who played college football at the University of Memphis, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (230th overall) of April's draft. The 22-year-old center/guard was one of three offensive linemen taken by the Patriots in the 2020 draft, along with guard Michael Onwenu (sixth round) and tackle Justin Herron (sixth round).

Why is Woodard retiring? ESPN's Mike Reiss reported additional details:

The Patriots signed center Tyler Gauthier on Wednesday in a move that adds some depth to the position following Woodard's retirement. Woodard had a chance to make the roster as the backup center behind starter David Andrews.