Five leftovers from Thursday's Patriots chat...
1. Nick (Denver): Not much has been made of Brian Ferentz leaving the coaching staff. He was the tight ends coach, and obviously the tight ends have been phenomenal the last two years. Who is going to replace Ferentz? Should we have any concern over his departure?
Nick, I think that is a blow to the coaching staff. As for who replaces Ferentz, I haven't heard anything definitive in terms of what Bill Belichick plans to do. It's possible he might not know right now. One possibility is George Godsey getting a promotion from coaching assistant. As for concern with Ferentz's departure, a team never wants to see bright, young coaches depart, but I don't think we'll see a major on-field impact in 2012.
2. Yakv (Israel): I hear that the Rams and Brandon Lloyd are talking about a new deal? Does New England have a backup plan if they don't sign Lloyd?
Yakv, I think the Patriots, like most other teams, don't just have a backup plan. They have backup plans. A team never really knows how things will unfold in free agency, so contingencies are always important to have. Two years ago, I think Alge Crumpler was a good example. I didn't get the sense that Crumpler was the team's first choice that year, but it worked out nicely for the club.
3. Andrew (Riverview, N.B.): The Pats have quite a chunk of cap room to spend. Do you foresee extensions to Chung, Spikes, Gronk, or Hernandez this offseson?
Andrew, I think the first step is coming to some sort of resolution with Wes Welker. I'd be surprised if the team did anything long-term with those players until it knew, one way or the other, where things were going with Welker. Then there's the process of filling some needs through free agency (e.g. safety). So while I wouldn't rule out possible extensions with those players, I don't view it as a front-burner issue right now. It could become one later in the year.
4. Corey (D.C.): Do you think the Patriots are comfortable enough with the RB corps that they won't go after Michael Bush or Mike Tolbert?
Corey, I like this thought, depending on the market. The idea of a bigger back is something that I think could help the Patriots' offense. Of the two, Bush is someone I could envision being a Bill Belichick type of target.
5. Dustin (Maine): Now that Pittsburgh isn't likely to tag Mike Wallace, do you see the Pats as serious contenders for him? A first round pick, and likely $9-10 million a year.
Dustin, in the end, I think that price is just too rich for the Patriots when they still have to account for Wes Welker on the books. I just don't think it's realistic, or smart, to have two receivers in the top-10 of the NFL in terms of pay. It will weaken the roster elsewhere.