Leftovers from weekly Patriots chat

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
5:00
AM ET
A few leftovers on topics that weren't touched on during Thursday's weekly Patriots chat:

Dan (Lowell): Mike, what is going to happen to Vince Wilfork? Is he back, but making less or outright released?

Dan, my sense is that the Patriots will approach Wilfork (if they haven't already) about working out some type of deal that lessens his $11.5 million salary cap charge, selling it as the best way he can ensure that he'll finish his career with the franchise (e.g. extending the deal to lower the cap charge). If they can't come to an agreement, then the question becomes if the Patriots feel strongly enough about the high cap charge to move on without him. Nothing would surprise me with the Patriots, but I think that would be a mistake if Wilfork is showing positive signs in his recovery.

Jason D (NYC): Mike, one free agent that has caught my eye is the Eagles' Jeremy Maclin. Coming off the ACL, he may come cheap on a one year "prove it" deal. Maclin is no Jerry Rice but he is a veteran that can get deep. I do not have as much faith as you do in the development of our young WRs. Thoughts on getting Maclin into camp?

Jason, I think that is a solid idea on an incentive-laden one-year deal. It sounds like the Eagles have interest in bringing him back, and they'd be considered the front-runner, but he'd be an intriguing addition.

Marc (Malden, MA): Do you think the Pats draft Brady's successor this year? AJ McCarron in Round 2? Aaron Murray in round 4/5?

Marc, I think there's a good chance the Patriots will come away with a developmental quarterback, either in the draft or signed after the draft. With backup Ryan Mallett's contract expiring after this season, good long-range thinking is to address that now so the young quarterback has a year in the system as a No. 3 (similar to Mallett in 2011). So I don't think it's as much the idea of Brady's successor as it is layering the depth chart.

Shaun (Sharon, Mass.): Mike, Iowa's CJ Fiedorowicz is the tight end I have my eye on. With the other TEs performing poorly, he could be a solid third-round option, if not second. He had the best 3-cone drill among the participants, has the Brian Ferentz connection (former Patriots assistant) and good size. What did you think of him while watching?

Shaun, it looked like he helped himself the most among the tight ends at the combine. Still, one thing I think is important to consider is that you don't want to overdraft a player because the draft class itself might be a little light or have several question marks. The second round seems a bit rich for him, per draft analysts. I believe NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock projected him for more of a fourth-round grade.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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