Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Sharing Patriots coverage plans
By Mike Reiss & Field Yates
Now that the 2013 Patriots season is over, the question is sometimes asked, "What type of coverage can be expected now?"
The main answer is that we plan to blanket, from all angles, the "team-building" season that now begins and is centered around two key dates:
March 11 -- Start of free agency
May 8-10 -- NFL draft
This means getting to know the potential available players who could most help the Patriots as the team transitions to the 2014 NFL calendar year. It also means keeping tabs on current Patriots players who might have expiring contracts and if they will still be part of the future.
Within this scope, there will be important deadlines and dates to keep in mind.
For example, Feb. 17 marks the first time that teams can place the franchise and transition tags on players. There will once again be a legal "tampering" period for free agents starting March 8. The annual league meeting, which could be the next time coach Bill Belichick meets with reporters, is scheduled to be held March 23-26 in Orlando. The voluntary offseason program for players begins April 21.
While much of what is to come in this space will be forward-thinking, there is an aspect of looking back on the 2013 season that will be sprinkled in over the next few days. The reason is that any accurate evaluation of team needs and personnel is primarily based on the season that just concluded.
The roster is ever-evolving and we'll try to dissect every part of it, as well as players who might be solid additions, as thoroughly as possible.