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Quick-hit thoughts around NFL & Pats

3/14/2010

Quick-hit thoughts around the NFL and the Patriots:

1. Many teams start their offseason programs on Monday. For the Patriots, the offseason program represents a first step in helping establish a stronger locker room.

2. Puzzling move by the Cleveland Browns to reportedly pay quarterback Jake Delhomme $7 million this season. While Delhomme could have landed as a backup in New Orleans, the Browns were basically bidding against themselves because they were the only team that could offer the chance to compete for a starting job.

3. It was noted Saturday that the Patriots won the NFL’s Overall Player Development Award. Undersold in that announcement was that Bill Belichick was the driving force behind two of the team's major initiatives – a "Safe Boating" program and a life-skills session led by Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

4. I see a better fit for LaDainian Tomlinson in Minnesota than with the Jets, mainly because he could lock in on third-down duties. In New York, it’s Shonn Greene on early downs and Leon Washington – assuming he returns to full health -- on third down.

5. Ten days into free agency and Adalius Thomas is still on the Patriots roster. It still seems like it’s more a matter of when he’ll be released/traded rather than if.

6. Hard not to like what the Baltimore Ravens have done this offseason. With starting defensive end Dwan Edwards surprisingly still a possibility to return, they look like they’ve helped themselves more than any AFC team at this early point.

7. After seeing the reported contract extension for Packers nose tackle Ryan Pickett (4 years, $28 million, $10 million guaranteed), Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork should feel even better about his deal. The Patriots, as they have been with most of their signings this offseason, were generous.

8. One of the most fascinating free-agent signings this year is the 49ers paying good money for quarterback David Carr, the former No. 1 overall pick whose rebirth is a great story. Carr, who signed a two-year deal averaging more than $3 million per season, will provide insurance if Alex Smith falters.

9. NFL.com reported that the Washington Redskins have contacted the St. Louis Rams about a possible trade for defensive lineman Adam Carriker, a 2007 first-round draft choice. If Carriker is available, and his health checks out, he is a player the Patriots should strongly consider. He could be a solid option at right defensive end, a top need.

10. On the surface, something didn’t seem right when the Chiefs could sign Thomas Jones to a two-year, $5 million deal and the Redskins reportedly signed Larry Johnson to a three-year pact with a maximum value of $10 million. My sense is that Johnson’s deal isn’t as good as it sounds.