Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
9:15
AM ET
Cleaning out the Patriots notebook...

1. Veteran guard Brian Waters' contract with the Patriots will pay him $1.5 million in base salary this season, with a chance to earn an additional $1.75 million in incentives. In 2012, Waters' base salary is $1.4 million and includes $750,000 in incentives, plus a $100,000 workout bonus. Add it all up and it's a two-year deal that could worth as much as $5.5 million, although Waters is only guaranteed the $1.5 million once he's on the Week 1 roster.

2. In past years, the Patriots have elevated the salaries of some of their practice squad players, but not this year. All eight practice squad players earn $96,900 apiece.

3. Random thought: This season-opener reminds me a little bit of the second game of the 2004 season, at Arizona. There were two themes entering that game: Conditioning in the heat and handling the Cardinals' size up front, and one could say the same thing about this game against the big, physical Dolphins. The Patriots beat the Cardinals that year, 23-12.

4. Two notes that caught the eye from a Dolphins perspective: Starting left tackle Jake Long didn't play all preseason but is expected in the starting lineup Monday night, and coach Tony Sparano had the offense practicing with loud music blaring this week, even though it's a home game, because he anticipates the possibility of a lot of New England fans at the game. Sparano explained: "We are in South Florida and the New England team and New York teams, there’s a lot of fans out here. They have a good fan base themselves. Somehow they make their way into our stadium." Sparano said it's the first time he's taken that approach.

5. As reported by ESPN's John Clayton, four teams placed waiver claims on cornerback Darius Butler after the Patriots waived him -- Panthers, 49ers, Broncos and Jaguars. That ups the total of waived Patriots players claimed by other teams to seven. Of those seven players, there were 21 total claims, as some players had multiple teams attempt to claim them. That is easily a league-high.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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