1. The New England Patriots made the signing of former USC Trojans and CFL star defensive tackle Armond Armstead official today, and this comes a day or two after a couple of execs told the National Football Post that Armstead has the quality of a third-round player. A few people told Adam Schefter about a week ago that Armstead had the ability equivalent to a “high pick” in the draft.
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Armstead fills a position of need for the Patriots, and that is the need for a solid interior pass rusher. Armstead showed a prowess as a pass rusher from the defensive tackle position both in college and for the Toronto Argonauts. He is a disruptive presence and has all the tools to be a solid starter in this league. Armstead may only be on a futures contract, but he’s a near-lock to stay on the roster and has good upside as a developmental project.
Like the front office workers said, Armstead isn’t going to be a breakout CFL star like Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins, but Armstead has a good chance at being a solid cog in the Patriots defense. And now, the move is finally official (but we’re used to things taking longer to be “official” in Foxborough).
2. The Baltimore Ravens have a salary cap conundrum to deal with after the Super Bowl on Sunday, because they are over the cap and have to re-sign Joe Flacco to what will almost certainly be a lucrative deal. Flacco has put himself in a position to make huge bucks with this year’s Super Bowl run, and the Ravens will give him his due. However, Adam Schefter reported that they could end up releasing wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who played an instrumental role in the Ravens victory over the New England Patriots by catching two touchdown passes.
Both TDs showed the advantage Boldin has as a possession receiver with his size, and he is a difficult matchup for most defensive backs in this league. As we saw with his catch for a TD on Devin McCourty, it doesn’t matter how tight the coverage is as long as Flacco throws it up and over the DB in the end zone- Boldin will get it. If the Ravens cannot keep Boldin, then Flacco will have a new deal but less weapons around him. Is it possible that Flacco takes a small pay cut to help try and keep Boldin? I doubt that’s the dynamic here, though. Schefter also said that the release of Jacoby Jones cannot be ruled out as well if the Ravens fall into deep cap concerns. I don’t think they can afford losing both players, so I highly doubt we see that happen. One of those guys, however, could be released- that isn’t going to be disputed easily.
3. Trent Dilfer of ESPN told the San Francisco Chronicle that current Kansas City Chiefs head coach “courted” San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Alex Smith last season. Dilfer was conservative with regards to explaining just how much Reid was talking with Smith, but Dilfer is friends with Smith so there is definitely credibility to this. The Chiefs have reportedly showed interest in Smith already, and it would be a great deal for K.C. He would fit Reid’s offense perfectly and would have a nice hook-up with Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki. And hey, having a great running back in Jamaal Charles can’t hurt either.
4. A guy with New England Patriots ties, Thomas Dimitroff, is trying to get one of his best players to stay with the team, per ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas. Dimitroff is striving to keep star tight end Tony Gonzalez on the Atlanta Falcons, despite the fact that Gonzalez stated he would retire after the season. His main argument is that Gonzalez can still play at a high level, which is certainly true after a 93-catch season. However, some players like to leave on their own terms- Gonzalez looks like he’s one of them. I doubt he stays, but we’ll see how persuasive Dimitroff and the Falcons can be.
5. Ron Jaworski thinks Colin Kaepernick can be the best quarterback in the NFL at some point, and I agree with him. Jaws is my favorite analyst on ESPN, and Kaep has all the tools (size, speed, awareness, arm strength, accuracy, decision-making) to be one of the game’s best. He’s already nestled in the top ten after just one year of starting. What do you guys think? Am I jumping the gun here on the 49ers signal-caller?
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.