The Super Bowl Is Finally Here!!!!!


NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

After two long weeks that felt like two months, we have finally made it to Super Bowl Sunday. We have been so blessed as Patriots fans to get to experience this multiple times over the past decade and a half. For me personally, it never gets easier. I try to tell myself that these silly little rituals that I do have no bearing whatsoever on the outcome of tonight’s game, but here I sit, in the same pants, T-shirt and smelly old sweatshirt I have been wearing for years. I put my five year old son in the same outfit he was wearing two weeks ago for the AFC Championship game as well. I know it is ridiculous but I just cannot stop myself from doing it. One of my best friends is a Falcon’s fan and as much joy as I know he would feel seeing his team win today, I really hope that he will bathe in his tears of sorrow when the Patriots once again hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Is that wrong of me? Am I being greedy? Frankly, I don’t think so and I would guess every other fan of every other team would want ONE MORE. LET’S GO PATS!!!!!



46 Responses to “The Super Bowl Is Finally Here!!!!!”

  1. macspak says:

    Solder’s 2017 cap hit is a tad above $11 M. Cap savings would be a bit more than $7 M.

    Not stating it will happen. OT’s tough to come by and not much on FA market and even draft seems weak, but, something to consider. BB wants value. Is Solder value at $11 M? I don’t think so. If Mankins can be traded for not restructuring……………….

    • EdgeX says:

      Solder isn’t going anywhere.

      A restructure and extension which includes a signing bonus (up front cash) and that will lower the cap hit is very likely to happen some time during 2017.

      But I think there are more pressing needs the Pat’s need to address first.

  2. Russell says:

    Do you all think there are free agents of interest to the Patriots? Costly but I like;
    LB Melvin Ingram age 27, SD
    LB A.J.Klein , age 25, Carolina
    TE Gavin Escobar, age 25, Dallas
    OG Larry Warford, age 25, Detroit

    • macspak says:

      I like the positions you have targeted. We have $61 M or so in cap space. Really more when you figure the savings of letting Volmer go and restructuring or releasing Amendola, which combined adds about another $7 M. Enough to resign DH and Butler to hefty long term deals, extend others (Flowers?) and sign some good FA’s from other teams.

      Is Richards a bust at S? Hard to tell. With Harmon likely walking we will find out.

      Thought on Solder, who I don’t think ever has played to his contract or “potential,” could he be a trade candidate? Has a pretty hefty 2017 contract but I forgot to look and see what the cap hit or savings would be if released or traded. We know BB always has at least one off season bomb shell to drop.

    • Turbo says:

      Melvin Ingram would be a nice pick up. He’s the second guy i want the most in NE next year via free agency. The first one is DT Nick Fairley. It would be nice to extend Branch for 1-2 year deal, but we still need some help in the D-line and Fairley would be a huge boost for sure.

  3. Russell says:

    Looking at the Patriots roster, we are thin at OT, and DT. If the Patriots had lost Solder, cannon, or Branch for the season,(injury) how would they get by?
    Solder is in the last year of his deal. It would seem very important to draft an OT to start grooming, even if Solder resigns for 2-3 years.
    Branch will likely resign, but is not getting any younger. So another DT seems wise.
    Chung is also getting older, and not sure about Richards (a Bust?). Slater is in the last year of his deal, so a SS /Special teams guy seems wise.
    Another OG/C maybe in the cards as well.

    • macspak says:

      This was my priority of positions prior to the SB:


      This list presumes Long and Sheard are gone and Nink has one year left. If Branch leaves DT moves up the list. I do wonder how good PS player Kilgore (SP) is or will/can be? I am presuming Bennett walks but even if they franchise him our offense is so dependent upon multiple TE’s I think it is our #1 offensive skill position priority. Post SB and seeing how poorly Mason played in pass protection you have to think G has moved up as a priority. Unless they believe the SB was an anomaly and they can rely upon the improvement of Mason, Thuney, Karras and maybe Tre Jackson.

  4. GM-in-Training says:

    What are the hard choices for the Pats this off season?

    1) How do the Pats get TB12 another 4-week sabbatical to start the season so he’s fresh for the homestretch?

    2) Which stars do you keep? Butler-Probably. Hightower-Probably. Bennet-Probably. Branch-Maybe. Sheard-Maybe not. Chris Long – if he does another discount for the fun of it.

    3) Which positions do you want to bring in youth for down the road? Are there any 6’6″ DT that could fill Branch’s shoes? How’s Nink looking? Gostkowski wasn’t his usual great self…what’s up with that?

    4) How much room is there for rookies next year? The Roster for Superbowl 51 included 9 rookies (I think 4 of which were game-day inactive).

    5) Where do they need to get Longer (CB, DE), Bigger (DT, LB), Deeper (FS), and such?

    6) Do they like their backup Tackles? They had good health this year, but LaAdrian Waddle was inactive for perhaps the majority of the games. The 3 OL on their practice squad (now futures contracts) were all ~300# Guards under 6’4″. Wouldn’t this be a good year to find a promising future starter to develop?

    7) What kind of FB and TE do they want next year? Rob Housler (veteran on a futures contract) seems to have the speed (4.55 40, 6.90 3-cone) to mismatch against LB, and at 6’5″ 248# the length to mismatch against Safeties…but he’s not much of a blocker and he hasn’t been getting many reps as a move TE the last few years. James Devlin is a Patriot through and through, but doesn’t create many mismatches and doesn’t play backup TE. Could they find or develop a Swiss army knife like Delanie Walker (of the Titans)(4.49 40) who at 6’1 248 made 65 catches last year and can play FB? I personally am liking the 6’6″+ 265#+ Y TE who can catch that Bennet, Gronk and even Matt Lengel represent. Still, the hurry-up offense would be so cool if they had a hybrid FB/TE who could also split wide and get open.

  5. td says:

    When the Pat’s do trade Jimmy G, a few points to remember:
    1. he was drafted in 2nd round,
    2. his in game experience is very limited,
    3. BB’s value equation does not just include talent; it includes dedication to football, ability to get along in a team and these inputs are not available to us.

    I think he would be looking for a 1st late round and a 3rd or a couple of 2nds of which one could be in 2018. The higher the return picks are, the more they cost on the cap in future years.

    I think Cleveland, which has #1 and #12 in first and 2 in the second round.

    • steve earle says:

      I agree that Cleveland is every bit as likely a trade partner as Russell’s Chicago though Russell does have a fair instinct for these things. What could be the deciding factor is that the Browns seem the better equipped with choices if it comes down to a bidding war and also Chicago can take one of the two top collage prospects to groom behind (what’s his name), while Cleve has no real starter, so nothing is cast in stone. Though Cleve could take it’s choice of either for that matter though JG is way ahead in NFL experience then any rookie. I have in mind Cleve’s 1#12 is more likely then Chi’s 1#2. JMO.

  6. John says:

    Kind of tired of people proposing Jimmy G. for like a 3rd overall pick, or whatever. It won’t happen. BB has already showed us where he finds value in the draft.

    He finds middle of the 1st (10-20) to be most valuable, then 25ish-55ish to be next group of picks he values.

    I can’t say that I can argue with that logic, rather it’s just some of his selections during those picks are certainly head-scratchers. Plus, his value system has worked out pretty well for him thus far (can’t argue against 5 SBs) so I’d assume he’s not getting away from it anytime soon.

    I think, if anything, Jimmy G. can be had for those early 2nd round picks. Plus 4th, or something like that. In his mind, that 4th is essentially a late 3rd rounder anyways.

    No way he’d ever make a selection at 3. That whole argument about Julio Jones (saying that you could have Jonathan Baldwin plus addition resources) proves that. Even though he was wrong about his assertion of Jones, he’s not going to change that method because he was wrong about one player.

    • EdgeX says:

      You’re right.

      The likelihood the Pat’s to get the 3rd overall pick for Jimmy G is slim. And on top of that I’m not sure there is a player the Pat’s would value enough to take that at position in this draft. If they did pull it off, however, I’m betting they would prefer to trade down.

      One thing is for certain though: Teams are interested in Jimmy G. And after the scouting combine I’m betting that interest is going to go up even more once teams get a closer look at this years QB crop – don’t believe the hype, it’s bad.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Whether Jimmy G can command a high 1st-round pick is hard to say.

      I certainly think the Pats would be willing to take a high 1st-rounder…I just don’t expect they would keep it. They’d probably do what Cleveland did last year and trade down a couple times in the first round.

      It could also be a year they go for a couple blue chippers, the way they did with Hightower and Jones a few years back. That worked out reasonably well.

      If they decide to pick 2x in the first round, I think they’d go for the safest odds positions, OT, DT, LB.

  7. EdgeX says:

    Just to clear up some misinformation:

    Vollmer’s contract tolled – because he was on IR all season – which basically means it has rolled over to 2017. Which means that Vollmer will still be on the Patriots roster in 2017 season for an easy ~$5.2 million next season unless the Patriot’s outright cut him or he decides to retire.

    He’s NOT an UFA or anything like that.

    Source: Patscap

  8. Russell says:

    The Steelers waived CB Justin Gilbert, a former Browns 1st pick. Does BB take a chance on him if he clears waivers??

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Absolutely not. Joe Thomas (also a Cleveland 1st round pick) said of Justin Gilbert, “Talent doesn’t matter if you don’t like football.”

      The Pat’s can fix many things in an imperfect player, but not that.

      Even coming out of college, the word on Gilbert was that he was tentative in run support, waiting for other players to get there first, and not bringing it.

      The Pats value heart and football IQ…so, it would be very surprising.

      • macspak says:

        agree, like my Mingo analysis below, he has athleticism but no football skills never mind sense, love or instincts for the game. The Browns and Steelers learned that. Probably out of the league.

  9. steve earle says:

    Have to kind of chuckle that while most of us are still basking in the SB win Russell is back hard at work with his latest mock. Not a bad mock either. So it brings some questions reluctantly into my mind. Who is Bill going to seek to resign and who are going to test the free market? Someone had to bring up the questions. What the thinking guys?

    • Russell says:

      TE Martellus Bennett,LB Hightower, CB Butler, DT Branch, DE Long, S Harmon, S King, CB Coleman resign.
      Guys who test the Market; CB Ryan, DE Snead, LB Mingo, RB Blount, RB Bolden, DE Grissom.
      Vollmer retires
      Question marks, WR Floyd, FB Devlin, OT Flemming,

    • Todti says:

      In my mind I have the UFAs in 4 categories.

      Bennett – Pretty easy decision in my mind (the willingness, not the result, of course). a) Gronk’s health is as reliable as Sammie Coates’ hands these days. b) We still haven’t seen a healthy Gronk-Bennett duo and I just don’t want to live in a world where Bellichick bereaves us of that spectacle. c) The TE position is one of the more complex ones so that a rookie would probably not have a huge influence. It’s a deep draft, especially at the TE position, so the Pats resign Bennett to a fair, but tradable contract and draft a TE in the middle rounds (more precisely with pick 2-4 wherever that will be in the draft).

      Harmon – Similar to the TE position, this one takes a couple of years to learn and there’s no FS on the roster apart from McCourty, who I’d rather have in his current omnipotent role. The Big Nickel has become such a staple that the Pats would lose too much by letting Harmon go. However, I’m afraid he has played himself out of the Pats’ budget this season because, as we know, it only takes one a****le.

      Hightower – I think this one comes down to contract structure and not salary. Hightower, similar to McCourty, is versatile and smart, just as Bellichick likes them. I assume Bellichick would not shy away from paying him his market value as long as the salary is tied to performance, i.e. boni for played games and such. The Super Bowl captains were Slater, McCourty and Hightower – that’s pretty telling for me.


      Blount – On one hand I think RBs are easier to replace than other positions. On the other hand Blount just fits right in there and his limited abilities combined with his age might make him, again, easier to retain. However, his fumbles this season might tip the scale and if one team wants to pay him for his stats Bellichick likely says bye bye.

      Branch – If it weren’t for his massive body and age I would assume he’d be out of range for the Patriots. He could be cheaper to retain than expected and I could see him deciding to end his career in New England. Also, if he leaves the Patriots will only have Brown and Valentine at the position, and while I was surprised by the latter I think he needs one more season as #3 before he can be put into a starting role. But, again, it only takes one as***e.

      Ryan – Bellichick showed his appreciation for solid CBs who are good tacklers when he resigned Arrington, but I think Ryan just played himself out of range for the Patriots. Which probably means more Rowe and a higher risk of heart attacks for myself.


      Bolden – This one is pretty much binary for me. If the pats want to keep him he’ll stay. But I could see the Pats keep Blount and draft a RB who takes Bolden’s roster spot. That rookie could be a bigger back but I could also see a more complete one as both Lewis and White are FAs after next season. That rookie could then play some role on STs. There’s also Foster, whose development I’m interested in.

      Develin – Reliable and in his best years. No brainer to me because why would you bring in somebody if you have a veteran in your system at hand.

      Long – This one was also pretty easy for me until I saw the reflective Long after the game. I thought he wouldn’t command that much money on the open market and would be a reliable #3 while a rookie gets developed. But he seems to be a thorough family man and maybe – I don’t know anything about his family situation, children’s school, etc. – he sees a better option than New England.

      Mingo – This one is my binkie. Solid STer and very athletic. My theory is that Bellichick held him back this season so that they could resign him for a lower salary and he’ll get a bigger role going forward.

      Vollmer – This shouldn’t be too complicated. I just don’t see him command much on the FA market and the Pats would probably be happy to have him as #3 while developing a rookie. And Vollmer could finish his career with the Pats.


      Floyd – To be honest I just don’t see a big role for him. Edelman, Hogan and Mitchell are locks, as well as – in my opinion – Gronk, Bennett (or a different, similarly good and reliable TE) and a young TE. I’d rather extend Amendola’s contract and spread his salary across 3 years than resign Floyd. Nothing against Floyd, but Amendola knows the system, Brady trusts him, and he has been a very important player even in a limited role. And you probably get some sort of compensatory pick for Floyd.

      Scruggs – I think there’s a reason Housler got the future contract and with a rookie I just don’t see a spot for him. And, I admit, I don’t know who he is.

      Sheard – This one depends at least partially on Long. I hope they resign Long for a fair salary in the $3-4m range, draft a young prospect, let Sheard go and get another compensatory pick. He’s good but too expensive for a rotation role and in my mind – there’s just no way he replaces Flowers or Ninkovich.

      So, that’s my opinion. More or less independently of these decisions I think the Patriots draft a TE, DT, DE, and CB. If it plays out like this the Patriots will have a pretty deep roster in 2017 and likely two compensatory picks in 2018 to keep the machine going.

      • Todti says:

        I forgot about the reason Floyd became available in the first place. Makes it a no brainer in my mind, although the compensatory pick becomes unlikely.

    • macspak says:

      Volmer – thought this was the last year of his contract. Retire or not he is not coming back.
      Bennett – I think his contract demands will price him out of NE
      Blount – not elite but how do you not resign a guy who scored 18 TD’s at likely reasonable money
      Harmon – good 3rd safety who will be paid as a starter by somebody else
      Ryan – I think this is closer to him resigning than we think
      DH – like DM he will test market and leverage to max a contract with Pats – he will be paid a lot
      Mingo – I think BB looked and found no football skills beyond his athleticism and he is gone
      Long – I think he is an old 31/32 and has lost his athleticism and will not be resigned
      Sheard – have to think him being sat will linger and he will go elsewhere
      Floyd – young, tall, strong, skilled – I think he comes back
      DA – love him and his clutch team play. No reason we can’t have veteran 5 WR’s for another year with him again restructuring and taking a big pay cut
      Branch – I think they need him and he comes back on a decent 2 to 3 yr contract

      JG – traded
      M.Butler – will be back somehow and someway hopefully to a long term deal
      Bolden – despite ST value time to move on from him and replace with RB with more upside

      Sure I missed a few

  10. GM-in-Training says:

    I was impressed by how many choices the Pats made in the last year went into their resilience to bring home this Lombardi Trophy.

    Trades and pickups for M. Bennet, C. Hogan, K. Van Noy, S. McClellin, C. Long, B. Mingo, E. Rowe, and even M. Lengel.

    Bringing back Scar.

    Sticking with D. Amendola, M. Cannon and A. Branch, when some thought price, age, or previous season suggested not.

    Draft picks J. Thuney, M. Mitchell, E. Roberts (9 of their 2016 draft picks/UDFA played in at least 1 game this season)

    Even some of their addition-by-subtraction worked. Trading away J. Collins, AJ. Derby for picks. Releasing D. Easley for chemistry reasons.

    They threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall last spring and summer with potentially productive veterans like T. Knighton, C. Harbour, J. Cooper, Donald Brown, Nate Washington, and it was good that they took the chance on the upside, even if those particular moves didn’t pan out.

  11. Russell says:

    Patriots Mock With Trades;
    QB Garoppolo goes to the Bears with the Patriots 1st pick (#32), for the Bears 1st pick (#3)

    1st pick #3 (bears) DE Jonathan Allen, 6’3″ 285 lbs. Alabama
    2nd pick; LB Jimmy Gilbert, 6’4″ 240 lbs, Colorado
    3d pick; OT Will Holden, 6’7″ 315 lbs. , Vanderbilt
    3d pick Compensatory; RB Matthew Days, 5’9″ 205 lbs. N.C. State
    4th pick; CB Corn Elder, 5’10” 190 lbs., Miami
    5th pick Denver; TE Scott Orndoff 6’5″ 265 lbs. Pittsburgh
    6th pick, compensatory; DE Marquavius Lewis, 6’4″ 270 lbs. South Carolina
    7th pick Detroit ; LB Brooks Ellis 6’2″ 248 lbs. Arkansas

    • steve earle says:

      If BB drafted this way I wouldn’t jump up and down in anger or joy but think it’s really unlikely. Just can’t see Bill not trading down the #3 there is just to much value to be gained with later picks down a little further in the 1st rd and into the 2nd. I have no problem with Gilbert and Holden but don’t we have enough small RB’s already? Days would be redundant so I suggest if a RB must be taken a power back like Mich’s DeVeon Smith instead of Days would be more appropriate?

      • Russell says:

        I think the only way BB makes my trade is if he wants Allen. If he doesn’t then the Bears 2nd and 2nd in 2018 for Garoppolo.
        I was torn between RB Days and injured S Eddie Jackson. Jackson maybe a better fit as a special teams guy.

        • Turbo says:

          If BB actually makes this trade, i really hope he pick Jamal Adams instead. I’m not high on Jonathan Allen, i think Solomon Thomas has a higher ceiling.

        • macspak says:

          just for fun and the intellectual exercise – if we had the #3 overall right now what do you think we could trade it for? Anybody know based on charts what the value for #3 is v a high 2 this year and next? I’m going to look it up.

        • macspak says:

          #3 is worth 2,200 “points” while 3rd pick in 2nd round is worth 550, essentially four #2’s equal the 3rd overall.

          I presume Russell is proposing JG and #32 for #3


          JG for #2 in 2017 and #2 in 2018 where we keep #32, which is worth 590.

        • steve earle says:

          Whether or not he wants Allen he would certainly make the trade imo because he could trade a #3 down twice ending up with a 1st in the high/mid 20’s and additional 2nd and 3rd picks. Also with 2 2nds he could trade one of those down and gain another couple of later picks. It would be classic Belichick.

        • macspak says:

          some math on the proposed trade based upon values. Trading JG plus 32 for 3 assigns a value to JG of about 1,600 points. By my math a straight up trade of JG for #2 picks would require three high #2’s to create comparable value. 550 x 3. This speaks nothing to the quality of higher picks.

      • td says:

        Agreed, however you need to find a trade partner to go down/up. The #3 pick in the draft this year, Bosa is due $5.88m, $7.06m and $8.23m the next 3 years. I have serious doubts BB would want to dedicate this kind of guaranteed money to one guy.

        • steve earle says:

          Very good point td. Over the years BB seems to value having depth and flexibility rather then one big name individual star. He would rather have three or four good DT’s rather then one star and two journeymen, so that is why he would trade a 3rd down imo.

    • John says:

      Won’t happen. BB has already showed us were he finds value in the draft. Finds middle 1st round picks (10-20) to be most valuable, then 25ish-55ish to be next group of picks he values.

      I can’t say that I can argue with that logic, rather it’s just some of his selections during those picks are certainly head-scratchers.

      I think, if anything, Jimmy G. can be had for those early 2nd round picks. Plus 4th, or something like that. In his mind, that 4th is essentially a late 3rd rounder anyways.

      No one he’d ever make a selection at 3. That whole argument about Julio Jones proves that.

      • steve earle says:

        Agree BB finds the values where you say but he will not throw away a chance to add more picks to his collection just to give a player away at the range he prefers. He has made a practice of the trade down and collecting of choices.

  12. steve earle says:

    WOW !!!! I’m wiped out, hope I can get some sleep but right now I’m still high as heck. Got my custom T shirt with Pat Patriot from behind with caption, “Goodell, kiss my”, on it.Oh yea !!!

  13. Ryan says:

    Oh my god. Edelman’s catch was phenomenal, and James White deserves a hearty slice of that MVP award. Completely unbelievable.

    After getting out-hustled and unquestionably outplayed for two and a half quarters, this team came back and did the impossible. For now, there’s nothing to do but revel in the glory.

    • Ryan says:

      Gotta say that I was completely wrong about Chris Hogan. I was pretty lukewarm on him being a starting receiver, and there he goes with 17 catches for 332 yards and 2 TDs this postseason. An amazing signing by Belicheck to be sure.

  14. Stephen J says:

    Wow. Amazing. Like Yogi Berra once said It Ain’t over until its over.

    Congrats Pats

    Thank You for the memories.

  15. macspak says:

    btw – nice to see the author be so open in discussing rituals etc. Somehow showing the insecurities and humanity that we all have is reassuring.

  16. macspak says:

    Other than my normal pregame fear of losing and never underestimating the opponent I have no feel on how this game will go. Could be a one point victory or loss or a blow-out by either team. Hoping Atlanta succumbs to the first time pressure of the big game.

  17. Russell says:

    These are the two best teams in the NFL this year, as 30 other teams sit at home and watch.
    Patriots win- 38 to 26.

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