Patriots news from the NFL's annual meeting

With owners and coaches down in Orlando, FL for the NFL’s annual meeting, media members have access to finally contact individuals like Bill Belichick who have remained quiet for most of the offseason. Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft had plenty of items to discuss. Here are some highlights from Monday’s events (click on the links for the complete stories and interviews):

  • Kraft is virtually guaranteeing that a new deal for QB Tom Brady will get done. “Let’s put it like this: Tom Brady is going to be part of this franchise. He wants to be, we want him.”
  • If Belichick and Brady are the Dynamic Duo of the Patriots, neither Batman or Robin will be going anywhere anytime soon. According to Kraft, Coach Belichick will be around for the foreseeable future. “He’s here, he’s coaching. He loves what he does. There’s not another head coach I would prefer to have over him. It’s working. It’s like a marriage, you know? And there’s an ebb and flow, and it’s not always straight-lined, but I think we’ve got something pretty good here and we want to keep it going.”
  • Sticking with the Patriots’ owner, he feels that team chemistry was one of the main issues affecting last year’s team. That has been the driving force behind the Patriots push to re-sign key players this offseason as opposed to bringing in a bunch of fresh faces. The Patriots currently lead the NFL in re-signing UFA’s.
  • The Patriots support the change to the overtime rules, which at the present time will only affect the playoffs. According to the proposal, the team that receives the ball first has to score a touchdown in order to end overtime. If they don’t score or just kick a field goal, the other team will have a chance to go down the field and score a touchdown. Kraft would prefer that the new format be applied to the regular season as well, but Belichick has a different view. Belichick would prefer that the overtime period be played just like regulation, and that the overtime period wouldn’t end until there was no time left on the clock. I have to say I like that idea, though perhaps with a 10-minute period as opposed to the regular 15-minute period.
  • The Patriots were awarded four compensatory picks for the upcoming draft. They received one pick in the 6th round and three picks in the 7th round. They now have five 7th round picks, only two of which (the non-compensatory picks) can be traded. The Patriots now have 12 picks overall in the draft, but no 5th round pick.
  • Finally, Mike Reiss from ESPNBoston.com has a great interview with Bill Belichick that he posted which you can view by clicking here. Among the topics Belichick touches on are his workload not really changing despite not naming offensive or defensive coordinators, the thought process behind re-signing players (“Some of the best players in free agency were Patriots”), and some current trends in the NFL. One thing he does not really speak to is Adalius Thomas’ future with the team.

Stay tuned for any other news during the week from the NFL’s annual meetings.

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