AFC East: David Thomas
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde writes how the silence between Don Shula and Jake Scott ended after nearly three decades.
- Palm Beach Post columnist Greg Stoda examines Tony Sparano's job security compared to South Florida's other coaches.
- Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson catches up with Chad Pennington, who says his surgically repaired shoulder will be 100 percent by training camp and Pat White's accuracy has improved.
- Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan writes of Brian Brohm: "Only in Buffalo could a quarterback be simultaneously fighting for his NFL life and serving as the fans' greatest source of hope at the game's most important position."
- Perfect for Mother's Day, Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News shares the story of rookie nose tackle Torell Troup's tough upbringing.
- Toronto Sun reporter Mike Ganter soaks up Clemson running back C.J. Spiller's first days in the NFL.
- The 2011 draft pick the Patriots received from the Saints for tight end David Thomas has been upgraded to a sixth-rounder, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss reports.
- In a piece for "The Fifth Down" blog at NYTimes.com, Toni Monkovic wonders if Bill Belichick has gotten a free pass on questionable drafting.
- Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs wants everybody to relax about rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez's history of marijuana use.
- Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian ponders if the Jets' offseason moves will be enough to supplant the Patriots as the class of the division.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini empties out his notebook with various Jets tidbits, including items on JaMarcus Russell and Adalius Thomas.
- Jake Gyllenhaal's dream project would be starring in a motion picture about Joe Namath.
In a piece for ESPNBoston.com, Mike Reiss examines the void, pointing out the Patriots don't even have a tight ends coach on their roster.
Consider that back in training camp, Bill Belichick called the competition between Watson, Chris Baker, Alex Smith and David Thomas the best in his 10 years as head coach. Now consider that none of those players are on the current roster.
How does that happen?
In retrospect, they swung and missed at every turn.
What's left for the Patriots are Rob Myers and Robbie Agnone, a pair of undrafted rookies from last year's practice squad.
The Patriots have held free-agent interviews with three-time Pro Bowler Alge Crumpler and Daniel Fells. The latter re-signed with the St. Louis Rams. Reiss takes a look at the rest of the unemployed, including Randy McMichael and Reggie Kelly and notes this year's draft class is deep at tight end.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Biggest surprise: The New England Patriots' most startling moves happened long before Saturday. They dropped backup quarterbacks Kevin O'Connell and Andrew Walter and said goodbye to linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
Still, there were some intriguing transactions before the 6 p.m. deadline.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick repeatedly stated the competition at tight end was the best he has seen. But he obviously wasn't satisfied with Chris Baker, Benjamin Watson, David Thomas Alex Smith.
The Patriots acquired Michael Matthews from the New York Giants for an undisclosed draft pick and sent Thomas to the New Orleans Saints reportedly for a 2011 seventh-round pick. The Patriots released Smith.
Linebacker Shawn Crable was assigned to injured reserve a second straight year. The 78th overall draft choice in 2008 has yet to play an NFL game.
Of the youngsters dumped from the roster, the most notable was defensive lineman Darryl Richard, the last of a dozen players the Patriots drafted in April.
No-brainers: The Patriots were forced to keep five running backs because second-year pro BenJarvus Green-Ellis had such a great preseason. Every time he has gotten an opportunity, he has produced. Veteran Sammy Morris was on the bubble, but was retained.
Undrafted rookie Terrence Nunn had a fine camp and preseason, finishing with eight catches for 133 yards. But there simply was no room on the depth chart for him.
What's next: The most obvious opening on the Patriots' roster is at quarterback, and they need veteran support. The Patriots have only two, Tom Brady and undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer.
But the Patriots are never set any position. With Belichick running the show, there's never a time for players at the bottom of the 53-man roster to exhale. Belichick will examine every name on the waiver wire for players who can upgrade even the lowest spots on the depth chart. Expect more tweaking over the next few days.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The New England Patriots made a slew of roster moves Saturday. They pulled off two trades involving tight ends, put three players on injured reserve and waived 10 others.
New England acquired tight end Michael Matthews from the New York Giants for an undisclosed draft choice and dealt tight end David Thomas to the New Orleans Saints for an undisclosed pick.
The following players were put on IR:
These players were released:
New York Jets
- Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News compares dissatisfied running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington to Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in 1966.
- New York Post reporter Mark Cannizzaro writes "If the Jets wanted to, they could lay the hammer down with Washington."
- Washington is prepared to skip every organized team activity, writes Newark Star-Ledger reporter Dave Hutchinson.
- Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson takes a look at Pisa Tinoisamoa, the free-agent linebacker who's dropping by One Bills Drive.
- Miami Herald gumshoe Barry Jackson shares several Dolphins updates gleaned from a recent Akin Ayodele charity event.
New England Patriots
- Boston Globe reporter Christopher L. Gasper catches up with tight end David Thomas about making the roster at a crowded position.
- Mike Reiss of the Globe breaks down the Patriots' salary cap-situation.
- The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian updates the Jason Taylor derby from coach Tony Sparano's perspective.
- A strong assurance that Tom Brady's surgically repaired left knee must be fine, or the Patriots wouldn't have made the trade.
- Exhilaration over suddenly having about $19 million to spend in the early stages of the free-agency period.
Two of the ways they can spend it immediately are by signing more free agents or extending contracts of players already on their roster.
A lot of talent still is available on the open market. I hesitate to cobble together a list of the more prominent players still out there because it probably will be outdated within minutes.
Feel free to share your ideas of who you think the Patriots should sign. Enter those names in the comments section below.
Here are some of the Patriots who are entering the final year of their contracts:
The Patriots are expected to announce Friday they have signed Baker, who spent his first seven NFL seasons with the New York Jets.
Baker's numbers faded last year for the Jets, who drafted Dustin Keller in the first round and signed veteran Bubba Franks. Baker finished with 21 catches for 194 yards and zero touchdowns.
But Baker's previous two seasons were much more effective. In 2007, he had 41 receptions for 409 yards and three touchdowns. In 2006, he had 31 catches for 300 yards and four touchdowns.
The Patriots have wanted more contributions from their tight ends for years.
Last year's duo, Benjamin Watson and David Thomas, combined for 31 receptions, 302 yards and two touchdowns. Also on New England's roster are Tyson DeVree and Brad Listorti, prospects with no NFL receptions.
The addition of Baker and running back Fred Taylor make an already remarkable Patriots offense even more versatile. Taylor adds depth to the backfield, while Baker could be the target they hoped when they drafted Watson 32nd overall in 2004.
Watson had fine seasons in 2005 and 2006, but he has a history of injuries.
Colts general manager Bill Polian, during his weekly interview show on Colts.com, noted two major areas of concern for the Patriots are the absence of running back Laurence Maroney and a hobbled secondary without captain Rodney Harrison.
"They miss Maroney, I think, a lot," Polian said. "Their running backs did a great job. [Kevin Faulk] did a terrific job, but I think they miss Maroney's explosiveness.
"I was really impressed with [quarterback Matt] Cassel. You're always impressed with the way they block on the offensive line and the design of their blocking schemes. They always do a great job with that and it was no different this time around.
"They're very beaten up in the defensive backfield, as are we. So in many respects it was two similar teams and because of that, the game was a different style than fans are used to seeing when these two teams meet. Nevertheless, it was very entertaining and a lot of good plays."
Patriots receiver Jabar Gaffney dropped a would-be touchdown pass and tight end David Thomas committed a silly late hit to put the Patriots out of field-goal range in the fourth quarter. The Colts won, 18-15.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
New England Patriots
- Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy notes of Bill Belichick's debatable decisions, "All of them blew up in his face. And that's unusual."
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes Belichick made some "uncharacteristically questionable coaching decisions."
- Providence Journal columnist Jim Donaldson writes Belichick lost control of his senses.
- Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges places blame firmly on quarterback Matt Cassel.
- Shalise Manza Young of the Providence Journal looks at Jabar Gaffney's dropped touchdown.
- The Boston Globe's Christopher L. Gasper writes about tight end David Thomas' costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty among other notes.
- Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian takes a look at the Patriots' difficult upcoming schedule.
- Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan writes "Sunday's loss, in which the Jets outplayed them in every conceivable way, was like an uppercut to the jaw."
- Rochester Democrat & Chronicle columnist Scott Pitoniak takes a look at what has gone wrong for Bills quarterback Trent Edwards.
- Jay Skurski of the Niagara Gazette breaks down the ugliness that was Buffalo's running game.
- D&C reporter Sal Maiorana writes Buffalo's perception has changed 180 degrees in a few weeks.
- Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson writes receiver Lee Evans couldn't get open against the Jets.
- The Buffalo News and Rochester Democrat & Chronicle hand out their position-by-position Bills grades.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde is starting to think playoffs for the Dolphins.
- Palm Beach Post columnist Greg Stoda says the Dolphins are looking like a true Bill Parcells club.
- Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald breaks down the Dolphins' crucial 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter.
- Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post writes Miami's secondary responded to a huge challenge against Denver's passing attack.
- The Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington writes the Dolphins have plenty of reasons to crow.
New York Jets
- New York Daily News columnist Tim Smith examines how quarterback Brett Favre managed Sunday's triumph against the Bills.
- George Willis of the New York Post says Jets coach Eric Mangini finally executed an effective game strategy.
- Daily News reporter Rich Cimini writes the Jets won with game-changing defensive plays.
- Newsday columnist Johnette Howard writes about nose tackle Kris Jenkins' sensational impact.
- Erik Boland of Newsday grades the Jets and doesn't need a curve this time.
There's a three-way tie atop the AFC East. The last-place team is only one game back.
The New England Patriots failed to claim sole possession of first place Sunday night, losing to the Indianapolis Colts 18-15 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ex-patriot Adam Vinatieri kicked a 52-yard field goal for the deciding points.
The Patriots played well enough defensively, but they had little zing on offense.
Matt Cassel completed 25-of-34 passes for 204 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Kevin Faulk and undrafted rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis combined for 117 rushing yards. Green-Ellis scored a touchdown to put the Patriots ahead 13-7 in the third quarter.
The Patriots didn't get Randy Moss involved until the second half. He finished with six catches for 65 yards, but 22 of those yards came on the last play of the game with the Patriots trying to run a desperation lateral play.
Patriots tight end David Thomas took them out of field-goal range with 4:45 to play, when he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, blindside a Colts defender after the whistle. The ball was moved back to the Colts 46-yard line, and the Patriots eventually lost the ball on downs.
New England Patriots
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald gives an update on rookie ILB Jerod Mayo's remarkable development. Perhaps the Tank Williams experiment can end now.
- Boston Globe reporter Christopher L. Gasper takes a look at talented TE David Thomas' inability to stay on the field.
- The facts suggest QB Matt Gutierrez should be the odd man out, writes Providence Journal reporter Shalise Manza Young.
- Buffalo News columnist Bob DiCesare tells the Bills to wake up and pay holdout LT Jason Peters.
- Incumbent TE Robert Royal has to fend off challengers to keep his job as unquestioned starter, writes Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson.
- Sports Illustrated's inimitable Dr. Z drops by St. John Fisher to send everyone a postcard from Bills camp.
- DE-turned-DT Vonnie Holliday is about to turn OLB, a position he hasn't played since high school, writes Miami Herald reporter Sarah Rothschild.
- Palm Beach Post columnist Dave George believes the offense will depend more on the RBs than the QBs.
New York Jets
- Volatile CB Ahmad Carroll tells New York Daily News reporter Rich Cimini, "This pretty much is my last chance at the NFL."
- Newsday writer Erik Boland provides a look at rookie TE Dustin Keller, who's looking like a serious matchup problem for defenses.