Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and with the Patriots:
1. In part because they have favored the approach of spreading the wealth to more players instead of a select few, the Patriots battle the perception that they aren’t big spenders. Randy Moss didn’t help the team’s public relations battle when he said Saturday: “The Patriots don't really pay, so when I got my second contract from them that was a blessing in disguise.”
2. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby is considered one of the top unrestricted free agents this year. One question interested teams will ask themselves: How much of his performance was a result of him playing for a big contract the last two seasons as Arizona’s franchise player?
3. It looks like Seattle Seahawks receiver Deion Branch has some explaining to do to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck after his comments last week about crying at the press conference if he ever returned to the Patriots.
4. If you were the Philadelphia Eagles and could pull off a Richard Seymour-like trade with quarterback Donovan McNabb – netting a first-round draft choice – would you do it? McNabb enters the final year of his contract and the Eagles have been grooming Kevin Kolb.
5. I think the Patriots will assign the franchise tag to Vince Wilfork by Thursday’s deadline and as part of the announcement it will be noted that the goal is to sign Wilfork long-term and more time is needed to hopefully make that happen.
6. With the Buffalo Bills planning to switch to a 3-4 defense, they have some parts that don’t seem like a perfect fit. Most interesting from this perspective is how 4-3 defensive end Aaron Schobel will be utilized, assuming Schobel returns in 2010.
7. Although Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson hasn’t had more than two interceptions in a season since a six-pick rookie campaign in 2004, he should be the top free-agent target for cornerback-needy teams, assuming he doesn’t get the franchise tag.
8. Mackenzy Bernadeau, an offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers from Waltham, Mass., is hosting a fundraiser Saturday Feb. 27 for the relief effort for Haiti. The event is at John Brewer’s Tavern in Waltham, from 9 p.m.-midnight.
9. The Patriots could be in the market for a punter, but ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said that teams shouldn’t expect much help from the draft. He said this was a year “where no punter may end up getting drafted.”
10. I envision this as a time of football conflict for Richard Seymour. He could cash in with a long-term deal in Oakland, but playing the final stretch of his career there could hurt his chances for post-career recognition.