More On Sauerbrun
Free agent punter Todd Sauerbrun signed a deal with the Denver Broncos last week. The Patriots, who held first right of refusal on any deal Sauerbrun signed, executed that right to retain the veteran punter, much to the chagrin of the former Patriot.
Sauerbrun was notably upset according to published reports, as he had wanted to be reunited him with his old special teams coach Scott O'Brien from their days together in Carolina. Calls to Sauerbrun's agent to confirm were not immediately returned.
The NFL players association has decided to pick up Sauerbrun's case to file a grievance against the Patriots citing a technicality in the original contract that Sauerbrun signed. The issue is the clause the Patriots added to the contract, which gave them first right of refusal.
The NFLPA plans on arguing that the language was presented in the contract was invalid according to a report in the Denver Post. The grievance scheduled to be heard in Boston next week with a decision to come before the NFL Draft. The Patriots case will be argued by the NFL Management
Sauerbrun was the Patriots' punter through the end of the season last year after he joined the team in December of the 2006 campaign. The Patriots signed the former Bronco to their roster after Josh Miller and Ken Walter were sidelined by injuries. New England wanted to re-sign Sauerbrun before free agency but both sides could not reach a deal.
New England now has four punters on their roster: Josh Miller, Sauerbrun, Tom Malone and Danny Baugher. The Patriots have have worked out a pair of punters already, and have another in for a recent visit (Read more)
Randall Gay' Jets Visit
Were the Jets really serious about having Randall Gay in for a closer look, or were they just having him in for a recruiting visit? Maybe a little of both according to Gay's agent Albert Elias. "They had in him for a visit, but no offer has been made," Elias told PatriotsInsider.com Tuesday night. "We'll see where it goes, but it may have been for them to get a look at Randall for next year." Gay will be an unrestricted free agent next year, free to sign with any team.
The Jets could be playing games with the Patriots, knowing that New England is facing a possibly holdout (or worse) situation with Asante Samuel, their franchise player. Gay adds versatility to the New England secondary, something Mangini is familiar with from coaching the LSU product in New England.
Gay is a restricted free agent, tendered by the Patriots at the mid round level. Any team that signs him to a deal must compensate the Patriots with a second round draft pick.
News about the Patriots interest in former Falcon linebacker Ed Hartwell has been pretty scarce since word first surfaced that the one time Raven might be on the Patriots' agenda. A league source told PatriotsInsider.com that things remain relatively quiet on the Patriots front, but some other teams are interested in the free agent.
Hartwell's best season came in 2002 when he recorded 142 tackles (103 solo), 3 sacks, 3 passes defensed and a pair of forced fumbles. He struggled to remain productive the past two seasons battling various injuries. The Falcons released Hartwell on March 2nd, two years into a six-year deal. More hartwell's situation, including what teams are showing interest in him now, can be found here (subscription req'd)
The Patriots managed to land 5 prime time appearances in the 2007 schedule, a worthy bounty for a team that just minutes away from appearing in Super Bowl XLI. The opponents are: Chargers, Bengals, Eagles Ravens and the Giants.
The schedule also positions the Patriots to have rematches against each of New England's 2006 playoffs opponents. The Wildcard round opponent Jets host the Pats on Sept. 9th. The Division round opponent Chargers travel to Foxborough on Sept. 16th. And the AFC Championship round Colts host the Patriots on Nov. 4th.
New England plays both Manning brothers in 2007, with Eli's Giants scheduled for a preseason game and the season finale, while Peyton's Colts are in the middle.
New England plays 7 opponents who were in the playoffs in 2006 (Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers, Colts, Jets twice). It's one of the most aggressive schedules in the league.
( Complete Schedule )
Top ranked linebacker Patrick Willis was in for a visit with the Patriots recently. More on Willis and the team's interest in the top LB can be found here. He's not the only linebacker the Patriots have coming in for a visit.The team has shown a lot of interest in defensive players. The recently updated player visit / workout list can be found here (Subscription required). The team also had punter Daniel Sepulveda and defender Daymeion Hughes in this week for a pair of visits. First reported by Patriots Insider, Sepulveda has company in terms of specialists who have worked out for the team. Hughes is also one of a number of solid corners to get a closer look.
Patriots Insider has been tracking the player pro day interests, workouts and visits of players connected to the New England Patriots here in the Insider Lounge. (subscription required) or the fan tracker version here