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March 8, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss
  (11:59 AM)

Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat.

Mike Reiss
  (12:01 PM)

What a beautiful day in New England. Felt like I should be heading to a training camp practice. I'm here in our offices just north of the city and ready to chat. We'll go until about 12:55 today, and then I'm hopping off to go on Mel Kiper's media conference call.

Mike Reiss
  (12:01 PM)

Today's lead-in question: If the Patriots and Tom Brady were in the same position as the Colts and Peyton Manning, what decision would you have made with Brady?

Mike Reiss
  (12:02 PM)

My initial thought is why not keep him? But I know there are other dynamics in play that make it tough. But if you're asking me right now, "What would you do?", I would keep him.

Mike Reiss
  (12:03 PM)

Let's roll...

Nate (Oxon Hill MD)

Hi Mike, I don't think you gave a aging QB 28mil without been sure he's healthy so even though it seems harsh I think Isray did what he needed to do to protect his team and money which lot of people forget it's his . thanks .

Mike Reiss
  (12:03 PM)

Nate leads us off. Thanks.

Uncle Vic (Revere)

Hi Mike, big fan been following you for many years.Question related to the Patriots Value System of drafting players. While I can't dispute they have been a perennial SB contender for many years I do see a flaw in their system. To me it seems they rate prospects Top to Bottom regardless of position. If a player they have ranked at 27 isn't on anyone else's board, they'll trade back and get the same player later (McCourty for example). My issue is that skill players, including pass rushers, recievers have to be given a higher weight in their value system. For example last year, Nate Solder as a good pick and had a good year, but I would think trading one of their 2nd round picks to move up and get Nick Fairley or JJ Watt would yield a higher value and immediate impact. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:07 PM)

Thanks for following over the years Uncle Vic. We are family (even though I never knew I had an Uncle Vic). I hear what you are saying, and there are times when I think they could trade up and snare a particular player (e.g. Rob Gronkowski in second round in 2010; Daniel Graham in first round in 2002) and get better bang for their buck. But that assumes the player is a can't-miss prospect and that the opportunity is there is actually move up. I thought the Jets did a good job of that in the Darrelle Revis/David Harris draft in 2007. Sometimes teams move up like that and it's a bust (Derrick Harvey with the Jaguars). So I don't see it as black and white. I think it's one of those things that you have to look at based on each individual opportunity.

Tom (Miami)

Mike, Stack rank these potential acquisitions: Mario Williams, Bush, Wallace, Lloyd. Any chance that the Pats can afford 3 of these with a longer term Welker deal at $8M per? Thanks.

Mike Reiss
  (12:08 PM)

Tom, here is my stack when not factoring in money (which is key): 1. Williams; 2. Wallace; 3. Lloyd; 4. Bush. When bringing money into play, I'd say 2 at the max and that might be stretching it.

Raj (Mansfield, MA)

Hello Mike, The combination of Manning and Wayne to Dolphins would make the division even more tougher?? What do you think??

Mike Reiss
  (12:09 PM)

Raj, I do think that would make the Dolphins tougher. My opinion on the Dolphins is pretty straight-forward: Until they get the QB position figured out, they won't go where they want go.

Jason (Montpelier)

Mike, responding to your lead in: there is always more than meet the eye (ear) on these topics, and certainly this appears to be true in Indy. You heard Peyton tell us that he and Jim have been speaking frankly for months on this topic. We also read Jim's tweet that its up to Peyton to come back. Translation is that Peyton would have had to come back for less money ie no bonus in the name of sound business management. And I have to believ that that was the right call by Jim and I also believe Bill would basically make the same call. We've had a few veterans who are a 'sentimental' component to the PATs, but they've stayed with the team a little longer than may make typical sense because they've made some sort of financial compromise to do so. I don't know where Bill draws the line, and with that maybe its really Kraft who draws that fine line where the Faulk's or the Brown's get a little exception. The point being that Brady would, if he were in a similar position, be given room to stay, if an only if he would allow the team to build $$$ at the same time.It appears to me that Peyton was willing to make that concession.

Mike Reiss
  (12:09 PM)

Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response, Jason.

Jake (GA)

Any chance the Patriots will draft a Running back first or second round.

Mike Reiss
  (12:10 PM)

I'd be surprised at that, Jake, after they drafted Shane Vereen (2nd round) and Stevan Ridley (3rd round) last year. The only thing I could envision is if the player had exceptional speed and factored into the return game.

Anton Ackermann (South Africa, Bloemfontein)

I know everybody is on the manning train now, but how do you see Mark Barron in 1st round for pats with all the tags on safety position?

Mike Reiss
  (12:11 PM)

Anton, I think safety is at the top of the team's needs list this offseason. Whether it's Barron, Harrison Smith, or a free agent, I expect the Patriots to address it aggressively. They will need better play from that spot in 2012.

MarkJ (Japan)

From Pats perspective, what would be the worst case scenario regarding Payton Manning's landing team? Could be Miami?

Mike Reiss
  (12:12 PM)

I look at it this way, MarkJ, Manning is a guy I'd want to avoid playing if possible. Assuming good health, he's a difference maker and while I appreciate the idea of top-level competition, I'd rather my competitors be weaker than stronger. Who ever wishes their competitors get better?

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

So all that said, any place outside of the AFC East would be my choice from a Patriots perspective.

Billy G (Suwanee, Ga)

All sentiment aside for Brady, if the Pats were in the same position, you do the same and release him. Hopefully without all the negatives prior. Not knowing if he would be healthy, cap ramifications and a young potential star available the business decision is easy. The emotional decision is not.

Mike Reiss
  (12:13 PM)

Thanks Billy. If you were Billy B and not Billy G, I might have been suspicious.

Hoogie (Lexington)

Mike, what are some moves we can expect (players on the current roster) in free agency?

Mike Reiss
  (12:15 PM)

Hoogie, they are talking with quite a few of their free agents to be. Some fall into a category where they will test the market and see if they can get a better offer than what the Patriots have on the table (e.g. Green-Ellis). Others might sign before (e.g. Slater). Expect to see some dominoes fall in the coming days as free agency begins March 13.

Damian (Birr, Offaly)

Hi Mike. On the lead in question I don't think the Patriots would find themselves in the same position. Problem with the Colts is they had no Plan B but the Patriots are different. Brady stepped in when Bledsoe went down, Cassell did likewise when Brady missed a season and at the minute they have two potential starters behind Brady. On to a question. All the focus in the WR market for the Patriots seems to be on Brandon Lloyd and Mike Wallace but there is another player out there who is somewhat under the radar and might be a good fight. With a string of poor QBs, Pierre Garcon caught 70 passes last year for the Colts averaging over 13 yards per catch. he has played with Peyton Manning so should know how to play in a complex, no huddle, read offence. Would Garcon (who is also 25) be a better (and cheaper option) than going to the wall for Wallace?

Mike Reiss
  (12:16 PM)

Damian, I'm not as high on Garcon as others. While I like his speed, I like the Lloyd option better, mainly becasue we've already seen what he can do in this system. As noted by others, he competes for the ball and makes plays in traffic.

Matt (maine)

As to your lead in question, the Patriots would never be that dumb to not have a quality backup for Brady. I find it hard to believe that Belichick would let that happen. We have already drafted a potential replacement in Mallet. The scenario in Indy is so preposterous... All time great QB, great team, all the way down to the bottom of the heap in one year. Doesnt happen by accident. Maybe that was the colts plan all along, if Manning ever got hurt, talk the season and start fresh.

Mike Reiss
  (12:17 PM)

Thanks Matt.

Matt (Portland)

The Patriots are in the market for a safety and a lot of the would be free agents got the tag. So who is it down to? I hear the name Laron Landry or Jim Leonard. Any other guys out there or are we looking at draft only? Could you envision a scenario where we trade for someone?

Mike Reiss
  (12:19 PM)

Matt, I don't know who they are eyeing on the free-agent market, but I expect them to bring back James Ihedigbo (or at least attempt to), which in the perfect world is more for depth. Ihedigbo played 67 percent of the snaps on D last season. That wasn't the plan. So at the least, you do that and then you look at the draft, where Mark Barron (Alabama) and Harrison Smith (Notre Dame) figure to get a long look from the team if available.

Brian (Alaska)

Mike , I am the biggest Julian Edelman fan but he dont get any playing time until they made he a db last year , so if he work out as a DB in offseason practices does that mean he will get a look at that position?

Mike Reiss
  (12:19 PM)

Brian, I think Edelman is going back to WR. The clincher for me was no snaps at DB in the Super Bowl.

Timothy (Florida)

Mike when does the offseason practices beigins?

Mike Reiss
  (12:20 PM)

Offseason programs can start April 16 and Nick Caserio, the player personnel director, cited that date last month as the starting point for the Patriots.

Pat (New York)

I,m not buying into a "take the top off the defense receiver" for 2 reasons. 1) With Gronk and Welker demanding double teams or bracketing all we need are recievers who can seperate. Hernandez is one, lets find 1 more that can do what Branch was able to do in 2004. 2) This might not go over well, but Brady is horrible at downfield passing . We'd be better served with a power running game to complement the above components. What are your thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:22 PM)

Pat, I agree with point 1. It's not just a "take the top off the defense" receiver. That's too elementary. Get a guy out there that can separate, run good routes, compete for the ball, and make tough plays in traffic. As for point 2, I disagree on Brady and the deep ball. Give him the 2007 version of Moss and I think he can throw it. I do like the idea of more power running, though.

Javier Fernandez Donna, TX [via mobile]

Hey mike, How much longer is it gonna take until the Pats give Welker his contract extension? And Gronks and Hernandez?

Mike Reiss
  (12:24 PM)

Javier, they plan to continue working on the contract. It could stretch over the next few months. These things can take time. Vince Wilfork's negotiation lasted almost a year. As for Gronk and Hernandez, they are under contract through 2013. A successful team can't pay everyone top dollar -- you need some players at more manageable rates -- but I wouldn't be surprised if talks with both started later this summer and into the season.

Brian (Chapel Hill, NC)

submitting again, this time with the right RB! There is an article on another site about Trent Richardson being top 10 talent but likely to slide past that since he's a RB. If you're Bill Belichick and he somehow slide to #27, would you make that pick, or stick to best value available at another position / of higher need?

Mike Reiss
  (12:25 PM)

Brian, if he's clearly the best player on the board, I have no problem making that pick, with the 31 spot coming up next.

Tim (Newton, MA)

Mike, I'm most concerned about the secondary. I'm really not sure about Dowling, McCourty took a big step back, and Arrington is simply a #3 CB in my view. And more so, the safety position, where the FA options are thin, and the draft class is very weak. What do you expect the Pats to do in this area?

Mike Reiss
  (12:27 PM)

I guess I look at it a little differently, Tim. I don't think they are far off. McCourty, Dowling and Arrington have potential to be a strong trio, and then you add Sterling Moore into the mix. Obviously that's projecting a bounce-back for McCourty and good health for Dowling, but I don't think that is a far-fetched thought. At safety, Chung and a free-agent signing or high draft pick is solid to me. I know one thing: Bill Belichick won't sit idle. Whether it's a free-agent, draft pick or trade, he will address the safety spot.

Nate (Needham)

Mike, why is nobody talking about free agent BJGE? What are the pats plans of keeping him or not? And if not, does ridley get the starting job?

Mike Reiss
  (12:30 PM)

Nate, BJGE was rated the 21st best free agent by CBSSports.com analyst Pat Kirwan. He's a solid player. The Patriots would like him back and have set a number they're willing to extend to. It's not enough, at this point, for Green-Ellis, to want to sign. So this looks like a situation where market conditions will dictate his return. If he doesn't come back I'd think Ridley would be in line for the top spot, unless the Patriots sign someone else (e.g. Michael Bush).

Mike Reiss
  (12:32 PM)

RB playing time stats in 2011: Green-Ellis (34.4%), Woodhead (33.0%), Ridley (14.0%), Faulk (6.5%), Vereen (1.9%).

Keith (Quincy)

Hey Mike...What would you think of the Pats signing Mario Williams and trading up to draft a WR instead of signing a WR through free agency? It would help our D incredibly and give us a young WR to work with Brady. Thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:33 PM)

Keith, I think Williams is a difference maker. If they can make it work, absolutely. He could transform their defense. As for WR, I like the idea of signing a free agent and drafting a wide receiver. Double move.

munchkin (glenwood springs, co)

Tom Brady, thanks for all the great memories. Just as fate brought you to us in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft circumstances have put us in position to draft your replacement. We wish you good health and good luck.Similarly Mike, it is time to move on with the Rbs the team drafted in 2011. No Michael Bush, no Mike Tolbert (who I really like) and no BJGE as the #1 back. Time to move on.

Mike Reiss
  (12:35 PM)

You're funny, munchkin. I'm not moving on from the two backs drafted last year. I like the idea of Michael Bush, but it's probably unlikely to happen.

Fred (Montreal)

Any chance that the prospect of Peyton Manning coming to the Jets or Miami scares the pats in making a serious run for Mario Williams?

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

I don't think so, Fred. I had a Twitter exchange on this with someone this morning. I just don't see the Patriots being that reactive.

Marty (Boston)

Hey Mike. Everywhere I look, I see Mario Williams to the patriots as a popular thought (fantasy). What I haven't seen up to this point is hard numbers in terms of what it would take to bring him to New England (years and money). Now that Welker has been tagged, would signing Williams be worth the cap squeeze? How much flexibility would the patriots hypothetically have beyond those 2 big dollar signings? Personally, I see Mario Williams heading to a team like the jaguars or bucs as a much more likely scenario.

Mike Reiss
  (12:36 PM)

It would definitely squeeze them, Marty, so you're balancing that against what type of difference Williams would make on D, which is significant.

Laurie (Moncton)

My decision if the Pats/Brady would have been Colts/Manning? Well, I certainly would have at least seen what was being offered for Andrew Luck. Manning or Brady should have at least 3-4 years left in them if healthy. The bidding for RGIII has been pricey, so Luck could be through the roof. Two firsts, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds? To move back probably less than 5 spots.

Chris (Bryant)

Mike,With all due respect, do you think your over hyping the need for a receiver a little much? Brady threw for 5000 yards last year! I think WR is the position that a lot of experts project the pats to pick, and then when draft day comes, BB will 'surprise' everyone by not picking one.

Mike Reiss
  (12:37 PM)

Chris, I respect that. I'm not saying they'll necessarily draft one, but I do believe they'll address the position in some form. Ochocinco was a big disappointment, Branch is a free agent and Welker is on the franchise tag. I expect some moves there.

Matt (Elon NC)

Do you think Lousaka Polite will stick around for next year, or will we be seeing more offensive lineman in the goal line fullback role?

Mike Reiss
  (12:38 PM)

Matt, Polite is under contract, but I view him as a longshot to make the roster. I could see a third TE sort of filling that FB type role.

MarkJ (Japan)

To answer lead-in question, I would try to restructure his contract. $$ should not be an issue given that Brady household is two headed :).

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Thanks MarkJ.

Dave (Clarksville, TN)

It is hard to believe the Patriots would be in such a position, but if they had that ginormous of bonus due to a 36 yo Brady, him coming off a serious injury and the potentiall to draft his replacement, you cut him.

Mike Reiss
  (12:39 PM)

Business is business, I guess.

Scott K (Salisbury, MD)

This question feels like 2011 Spring time....but have you heard or seen how Jermaine Cunningham is doing?

Mike Reiss
  (12:40 PM)

Scott, I haven't heard anything about Cunningham since the season ended. My view is that he's closer to the roster bubble than ever. Took a step back in 2011.

Rob (Borough of Manhattan)

Hi Mike! On your lead-in question, I think it depends on your depth at the QB position. If the Colts had a suitable backup in place like the Patriots, then it would have been a lower risk scenario to trade out of that first pick and roll the dice with Peyton for the next few years. If the Patriots were in the same boat today, I suspect they would keep Brady and trade down (shocking, I know...) w/ the expectation that Hoyer or Mallett would be able to fill the void if Brady wasn't the same guy anymore. Ultimately, I think that's why Bill Polian got fired this winter - he didn't develop depth at the most important position on the field and it forced Jim Irsay into a very tough spot. That's just my two cents.

Mike Reiss
  (12:40 PM)

Agree, Rob, and Polian said so himself.

David B (New York)

Hey MikeIt's my impression that, whenever you are asked about the Patriots making a bold move -- bundling draft picks to move up, or making a dramatic free agent signing, you tend to find reasons why it's not a good idea or feasible. Is BB's philosophy rubbing off on you or are just the risk-averse type?

Mike Reiss
  (12:44 PM)

David, I am generally risk-averse. For example, if I could put my daughter in a bubble so she wouldn't get sick, I'd probably go that route. I don't like to gamble either. When it comes to football and building a team, I do believe in Belichick's philosophy of a strong middle class and trying to have the strongest 1-53 set-up and not a top-heavy roster. That doesn't mean you can't make a big move. I'd endorse a Mario Williams signing if the financials could work. But overall, on a year to year basis, I find the talk of big names more fantasy talk than reality. The Eagles are one recent example. The Dream Team of 2011 that fizzled. It's not about big names. It's about building a team.

Keith (Quincy)

Mike to answer your lead-in question...I would cry myself to sleep every single night. It is going to be a very, very sad time here whenever Brady/Belichick decide to call it careers. Hopefully we get them both at least 5 more years!

Mike Reiss
  (12:44 PM)

Thanks Keith.

Adam (Cranston RI)

Recently your chats/mailbox have been full of questions about when will Gronk and Hernandez be given new deals. Doesn't seem like an immedate concern, but it's an interesting subject. With this in mind, wouldn't it make sense to get Hernandez a new deal first. He was a 4th round draft pick so his money is much less than Gronks and might be more willing to sign something to get more money NOW vs. Gronk who I envision wanting big time money.

Mike Reiss
  (12:45 PM)

Adam, interesting topic. One thing to consider: Hernandez's agent is the same as Welker's. Creates a potentially awkward situation to address that before Welker is completed.

Eric (MA)

If you had a choice between Barron, Mercilius or Cox at 27 - who would you pick? Cox right?

Mike Reiss
  (12:46 PM)

I'd lean Cox because those big guys are usually harder to find. Could make a case for the other 2, but I'm a sucker for the big DLs.

Ben (Canada)

Hey Mike what is the approximated cap room for the patriots after they tagged Welker? Also do the patriots ever release an exact cap number?

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

Ben, the Patriots never release a cap number. Estimate around 15-20m after Welker's tag is accounted for.

Mark (Connecticut)

Hey Mike, what receivers do you think the Patriots should target in the draft? I think A.J. Jenkins out of Illinois would be a great pickup for the Pats--productive in college, pretty good size, and targeted in the 3rd round

Mike Reiss
  (12:47 PM)

I like the Arkansas guys, Mark, as well as Reuben Randle of LSU. There are others, but those were the first to come to mind.

Matt (Millbury)

Mike, Do you see any possibility of Peyton Hillis becoming a Patriots?

Mike Reiss
  (12:48 PM)

I don't see it, Matt, because Josh McDaniels traded Hillis away when they were in Denver together. Doesn't seem like a match.

Kyle (Cranston, RI)

Where does Manning land in your opinion...and specifically do you think it hurts the Jets' ability to field a complete team to dump sanchez and sign manning to big money?

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

Kyle, I don't believe in Sanchez, so I can't say it would hurt the Jets if they pulled that off. You'd think it would hamstring their ability to sign others, so I guess it comes down to the question: Do you like Sanchez and some other signings, or Manning and what you already have? I'd go Manning.

Mike Reiss
  (12:49 PM)

Let's go for another 5...

Mike (clearwater Florida )

mike,Any word on a more balanced approach on offense? Ridley and Vereen and Ridley would actually make the Pats offense more efficient and would take pressure off of defense, with better time of possession. Your thoughts?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

I think they want to do it, Mike. I think they also will consider scaling back the offense a bit. It might have become too big, which can happen after 12 years of adding on to the same system.

Justin (Chicago)

Mike, with the release of Marcus Trufant is their any chance the patriots would be interested in adding his ability and adding another layer of leadership in the secondary?

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

Justin, I wanted to check on Trufant. I always thought highly of him early in his career but sort of lost track of him. Let me circle back on this one.

Mike (RI)

Hi Mike! As for the lead in question, I think one difference with the Pats is that we have two backups that I feel are capable of playing at a slightly above-average level. In that case, I would trade out of the No.1 pick for a huge haul in return (assuming it's someone like Andrew Luck) and go all-in for Brady's remaining window, but at the same time building for the future as well. (Except QB, which we trust out QB development on)

Mike Reiss
  (12:50 PM)

Thanks Mike.

Bunk (Baltimore)

Mike, perhaps we have been focusing on the wrong receivers at Arkansas. Wright and Adams are quick, but Greg Childs may be the best pro WR off that team. He had terrific sophomore and junior seasons before a knee injury limited his production as a senior, but that injury appears to be behind him as he ran a 4.4 (faster than Adams and Wright) and also has size at 6'3" (much taller than Adams and Wright). What do you think? Will Childs be the best of the three WRs?

Mike Reiss
  (12:51 PM)

Got to keep him on the radar, Bunk. I like all three.

CdnPat03 (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Mike, watching the Colts part with Manning reminds me how we are getting closer and closer to seeing the same thing happen in NE with Brady. I am not sure if I could ever watch him play for another team. What do you think Bill will do with Brady once his contract is up in two years?

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

The first thought that came to mind: Be honest with him. If he's still playing at a high level, they keep going. If he isn't, BB will do what's best for the team.

Rory (Dublin)

Is it just me or could it be a good thing if Peyton signs for the Jets or the Dolphins? They'd be dropping a boatload of money on a QB with major health questions and a maximum of two good years left, and more importantly, would mean them dumping the Mark Sanchez project/not chasing Matt Flynn (or another young QB), hurting their respective franchises in the long run.

Mike Reiss
  (12:52 PM)

That's a fair way to look at it, Rory. I just have a lot of admiration and respect for Manning. To me, he makes whatever team he signs with better right now.

kenny (maine)

Hi Mike, great chats. If the Pats would have released Brady the way the colts did to Manning, the Pats would have been called ckeap and dirty, don't you think?

Mike Reiss
  (12:53 PM)

Kenny, I do believe the Patriots are scrutinized as much, if not more, than any team. I'm going to turn the question around and ask you: How do you think it would go over here if the Patriots/Brady had the same situation as the Saints/Brees right now?

Mike Reiss
  (12:54 PM)

I think we sometimes miss that up here in New England. We view each move in a keyhole and forget that these things happen around the NFL. One example: Yes, the Patriots miss their fair share of draft picks. But so does every other team.

Marco (Brazil) [via mobile]

Hi Mike, with all the franchise tags assigned, who u think should be the free agent that the pats must get?? Thanks keep up the great work

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Marco, the one free agent who could transform their team is Mario Williams. It all depends on cost.

mpc12pats (Work)

Saints/Brees situation almost happened here remember? Brady signed his new deal on the same day he was in the car crash. What a day that was.

Mike Reiss
  (12:55 PM)

Sure, but it didn't happen. There was no tag.

John (NY)

Mike...% chance that the Pats sign Mike Wallace?

Mike Reiss
  (12:56 PM)

1.7% I view it as a longshot so I picked Wallace's jersey number and inserted the decimal point. Pretty lame, right?

Chris (Orlando)

Mike, how much insight can Mallet give the Pats in regards to the Arkansas receivers? Is that a nice competetive advantage to have?

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Chris, I'd say it's a piece of information in the overall process, but nothing too major.

Tom (Miami)

Mike, Regarding the lead-in, the Pats wouldn't ever be in that position because they have capable back-ups and would win more than two games (see: 2008).

Mike Reiss
  (12:57 PM)

Thanks Tom.

Randy Moss (New Orleans)

Mike, everyone saw me work out for the Saints. I got some great reviews. Any chance the Pats are still interested in me? They always got a soft spot in my heart

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

Randy, thanks for joining the chat. I wouldn't say the door is closed, but my feeling has been that the team has moved on. Maybe Josh McDaniels' presence changes things.

Jamie (Richmond, VA)

Mike, i think the pats would make the same decision, Irsay had tomake that call. In my mind - this was up to Peyton. he knew they couldn't pay him that much money not knowing if he was healthy, and it was up to him to decide if he'd take a pay cut to stay home. He did not want to. As for a question, while i agree this offense does not need a WR more than defensive players, our actual WR are old, old old. We have zero young talent at the receiver position. We need to develop younger receivers, and do you see BB drafting at least 1-2 WRs in the draft?

Mike Reiss
  (12:59 PM)

Thanks Jamie. Yes, I do see some WRs in the draft for this team.

Kevin F. (Framingham,MA)

Hi Mike. One of the under rated things the Patriots have done over the years is to identify very useful players towards the end of the draft (Rounds 4 through 7). Currently the Patriots are shut out of the Draft from Rounds 5 through 7. With all of us anticipating Bill once again pushing picks into future years (via trade), do you think that Bill is more likely to trade back so he can recoup some picks late in the draft? I can see him moving back 10 or 15 spots in the second or third round to acquire up a pick or two in the late rounds. His track record for finding useful OL, DL later in the Draft makes me think he won't stand pat and let Day 3 of the Draft pass him by...

Mike Reiss
  (1:03 PM)

Kevin, I don't think BB will go into this draft and say, "I have to recoup those picks" but through the residual process of making his annual trades he will probably pick some up. The big shocker to me would be if BB keeps the original picks and makes them at the assigned slots. Trader Bill is always on the move.

Mario Williams (Houston)

Come on man the pats arent gonna make that kind of splash for me the one time they did it was for randy moss and that was the exception to prove the rule. It aint happening.

Mike Reiss
  (1:03 PM)

Mario, they did it for Rosevelt Colvin and Adalius Thomas. Just when you think you know the Patriots ... they surprise you.

Kyle d (Charlotte)

Mike, if you could only pinpoint ONE position for the entire offseason to upgrade, which would it be?

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Safety is my choice.

StanMala (Lincoln, RI)

Can I change the question slightly? Wait, that was last week. Unlike Manning, Topm Brady is a team player. He proved that by taking a below market contract to help the team build in other areas. Manning was after every last penny, the team be damned. I could easily see Brady and Mr Kraft getting together to determine something which worked for both. I see Tom Brady retiring as a Patriot, hopefully a number of years out.

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Thanks Stan.

BigDGP (SoCal)

How do we know it's the offseason? Questions like this...Bad comparable. I would have expected Brady to work with the team and avoid the situation.

Mike Reiss
  (1:04 PM)

Thanks BigDGP. You don't like my question???

Nemanja (Vranje, Serbia)

Mike, last year we drafted Ryan Mallett. Is he going to be number 2 QB this year? Maybe the Pats will trade Bryan Hoyer . I think that he is as good as Matt Flynn.

Mike Reiss
  (1:06 PM)

That will be a good one to watch. Hoyer, if he's tendered as a restricted free agent, would be at $1.9m. That's a lot to pay a No. 3 if Hoyer is beat out by Mallett. As we've seen in the past, the Patriots play the best players. So the QB who wins the competition in the preseason will get the nod. Should be a good one.

Mike Reiss
  (1:07 PM)

Let's end it there. I'm going to go through and pub any of the answers I missed on the lead-in question. Thanks to everyone for participating. We'll do it again next week.

Matt (Elon NC)

If it were the Patriots instead of the Colts with their quarterback situation, I would keep Brady and have him stay on for a few more years mentoring a young quarterback. That would make it more like a Montana/Young or Favre/Rodgers scenario instead of throwing an untested quarterback (even the #1 pick) straight into the starting role.

Eric (MA)

I like Peyton and all but Brady would have welcomed an understudy, in fact he has done so with all his back-ups. Look at Manning's back-ups: Sorgi, Painter, Orlofski... fact is that Manning is not interested in tutoring an QB. Indy made the right choice cutting ties and getting Peyton Manning of the future. It's time for a new beginning there and investing in a 36 yr old QB coming off a neck injury isn't smart business.

Tim (Newton, MA)

Hey Mike,If the Patriots were in this situation I'd seriously look to trade the pick. It mostly comes from the Brady-Belichick dynamic, which the Colts don't have right now, changing coaches and all. I think trading the pick for a boatload of picks, filling some very needed holes, gives the Patriots 4, possibly 5 more SB caliber years. And as we've all seen, no one in the draft is ever a sure thing. It always has been and always will be a 'gamble'.

Szabi (Budapest, Hungary)

Hi Mike! As to your lead-in question I really do not know what I would do in such a scenario, it is so tough. But it is a bit scarry, form our perspective, to think of the Dolphins with Manning, Marshall, Bush, Bess, perhaps Wayne (or Garcon) as well, plus the strong defense they have, not to mention a possible positive mentality change coming from the new coaching staff. Maybe the last regular season game, contrary to what we are recently "used to", would be quite meaningful with such competition in the AFC East.

Marc Nunes (RI)

My opinion on what happened with Manning was mixed because on the one hand you have to respect the fact that the NFL is a business and no one is owed anything, with that said, I also believe that it was a mistake for the Colts to get rid of Manning for the sole fact that he is one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. In terms of Brady, I would keep him because you won't find anyone who will do a better job than him, it comes down to wins and losses. I look at things such as Brady never having a losing season, he has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in a season, and (when there is a reasonable amount of time on the clock) he has never failed to produce a tie score or a Patriots' lead in a 2 minute drill. Not to mention that Manning has even failed at achieving such feats. I think it's ironic how teams try desperately to obtain a franchise quarterback and then proceed to either trade or release them. As a general manager wanna-be, once you have a franchise quarterback/hall-of-famer your best bet is to hold onto them.

Prem (NH)

Hi Mike,I asked a question for the first time last week, and you answered! Yippee!As to your lead-in question: I heard a couple of interesting things about the Manning situation - one, that he wasn't willing to restructure his contract; he absolutely wanted that 28M$ (or how much ever). And the other was that he was not willing to extend the deadline, so the Colts could see how much he had recovered. I can't imagine Brady being stubborn like that - but this is purely hypothetical. And if Brady were being adamant, trade him, preferably the year before the deadline. :-)Prem

rick (ct)

Mike, to answer your question, the Pats should do exactly what the Colts did. It is a no brainer! Furthermore, if 49ers came to the Pats today and offer 2 first, a second and 2 3rd round draft choices for Brady today, I would jump at it. No one last forever, always better to trade someone early than too late.

Patrick (Keene, NH)

The Patriots would not be in the same position as the Colts. BB does such a masterful job at salary cap mngmnt, difficult personell decisions and getting value/quantity that (in my opinion) the Pats won't ever be 1st in the draft. Q-your best guesstimate on Keeping BJGE-please put it over 99%!

Tron (Waltham, MA)

Hey Mike, I think if the Pats were in the same position as the Colts were (and had the number one pick with Andrew Luck in the draft) I would do the same thing.

Paul (Kenosha, WI)

Mike, To answer your question I would do the same as the Colts. This is a business and a team has to know when to turn the page. The Colts are making the right move.

AM (NH)

Mike, thanks for the great work as always. On the lead-in question: if Brady's health were in Manning's state, I think that the team would have no choice but to follow the same path (preferably opting for Griffin over Luck in the draft). But it wouldn't be easy--if health weren't as much of a factor, I would stick it out with Brady for as long as possible.

Jeff (Arlington)

I think that you keep Brady/Manning, and trade the first pick. The risk associated with whether Brady/Manning will come back from an injury is similar to the risk in drafting Luck, as plenty of #1 picks have washed out. Also, given the hype surrounding Luck, you could get more from trading this year's #1 pick than you could have received for any other #1 pick in at least the last 10 years. It would be a bonanza - far more lucrative than the famous Herschel Walker trade.

Marcus (Ellington,CT)

Hi Mike,I think the #1 pick is what really dictates the decision process. How do you justify paying that kind of money to a 36 year old coming off injury when you are already in a bad cap situation and you have a roster in dire need of an infusion of youth. When you are in rebuilding mode its best to start sooner rather than later. That Colts roster needs a complete overhaul.

Dan (Denver)

I ascribe to "In Bill We Trust", and I think we all know what he would do in a similar situation. A large part of Belichick's success is his ability to leave emotion out of personnel decisions. For example, he was criticized in Cleveland for cutting a popular Bernie Kosar, yet Cleveland did make a playoff run shortly after that. Nothing in the NFL lasts forever. Just ask Joe Montana, Emmit Smith, Jerry Rice, and now Peyton Manning. We should all be grateful for everything Brady has done and is still doing for New England football and enjoy it while we can.

Mike (North Adams)

For the Colts to let Manning go and get nothing in return for him..hopefully the Pats and Brady both agree when his time has come to an end, but if not- they control his rights and allow him to seek a trade so that they get some compensation...

Joe Brady (Wayne NJ)

For your lead in question, you gotta keep the man who turned the franchise around, who was the face of the franchise this decade. Brady and Manning both would have restructured deals to stay with their teams in this situation. Maybe Manning will never be the same, but you take that chance. Poor management by the Colts, but we already knew that from their lack of a backup plan for Manning and the way Irsay handled this whole situation with Manning.

Kyle (Cranston, RI)

Re. your questtion, assuming Pats had #1 pick through some sort of trade (because they would never be the worst team in the league even if they lost Brady) the Pats would bring Brady back. BB has stated there is no other QB he would rather have, the Franchise owes everything to him, and he puts you in a better chance to win for the next four years than anyone they could draft.

Tom (Miami)

Mike, Regarding Brady, if it's not about money and the Pats have the first pick with Luck waiting in the wings, then why not keep Brady?

hhRafael (camp hill,PA)

Hi Mike. I am avid reader of all your columns and tweet you often. There was an interesting question on twitter this morning. With the Backdrop of Peyton Manning saga it was asked if Brady would retire a Patriot. I WISH and PRAY he should but my gut feeling is that he might retire as a 49er. Here are my reasons :1. The1. The Process of rebuilding our defense is turning out to be a long and painful journey. Our defense has been a laughing stock since the rebuilding process started. 2. At the start of the 2011-2012 season Brady said that he would welcome Randy Moss with open arms. This clearly shows that he is livid inside about the duct that the Pats could neither draft or develop a good if not great Wide Receiver for the past several years that he is ready to call for Randy's services.

mpc12pats (Work)

I'm all Pats through and through, but I have to say, it is somewhat sad to have the story of the Manning vs. Brady rivalry, at least in the form we always knew it, to be over. Somehow the Colts came up on the schedule every year, and it was always one you'd circle at the beginning of the season. As for what would I do with Brady if the same situation came up? I'd keep him. I think this falls into the category that you forfeit some short term future success, to keep him home, and let him right off into the sunset. He earned it. How many rings did they have pre-Brady? Exactly.

Sean (Boston)

Not a fair comparisson to say what the Pats would do with Brady if they had a Manning situation. Manning is a year older than Brady and is coming off 4 neck surgeries that caused many to think he may never play again. Plus the Colts can draft his replacement with a once in a generation prospect - Andrew Luck. If Brady had a career threatening injury, was 36 years old and we could replace him with Luck, I'd say Brady would have to be cut. As hard as that is to accept, it's the right move. Colts made the right decision for the future of their franchise.

Spaulding Smails (Bushwood)

I get that money factored into P.Manning's release but was restructuring his deal ever in the conversation? If no, seems cold of the Colts to just release the guy. Seems much is unknown regarding that overall situation to us on the outside.

Dano (NY)

Mike- The best transition for both the "horseshoe" and Peyton would have been to renegotiate either a one-year contract for $3MM guaranteed for Peyton to reestablish his health, or a slightly larger $8-10MM 2-year with release possible. The horseshoe, from their lack of interest post-release seems not to have been interested. They are going to have a tough year, and 50% of first-year phenoms wash out, especially behind transitioning teams. Gotta blame the horseshoe. Can't tell you how much it is that Irsay used that term so publicly and I am obviously having a lot of fun using it. Needing to hold back what I want to use. To quote MLK, there is "the extreme urgency of now", which Irsay seems to have stumbled over and didn't read in civics class.

Branden (Nashua)

Lead in question:The Colts, as we saw this year, are more than a QB away from being a contender. Manning may get them to the playoffs, but they are in no shape to seriously compete. I dont think the Pats would ever be in that type of situation but if they were I restructer brady's contract and trade the #1 pick to rebuild your entire team. Ppl forget Luck hasnt even played an NFL game yet...there are no gurantees.

Dan (Leominster, MA)

Mike,As to the lead in question, I believe that BB and BK would have done "what was in the best interest of the team, putting the team in the best position to win" Sound accurate?

Mike Reiss
  (1:25 PM)

I think I got them all. Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts. I'll try to circle back and answer a few more of these on our Patriots blog on ESPNBoston.com.