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Report: Patriots players pissed about Logan Mankins trade

Logan-Mankins-Torn-ACL-Super-BowlThe New England Patriots’ decision to trade All-Pro offensive guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday came as a shock to most, even his former teammates. Players are well aware that the NFL is a business, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to disappointment.

On the surface, most of the Patriots players said all the right things. Julian Edelman said he trusts Bill Belichick to do what’s best for the team. Devin McCourty said the team simply has to “move on.” But according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, there was no mistaking the mood in the locker room.

But to say that Mankins’s teammates were shocked Tuesday is an understatement of Belichickian proportion. They openly discussed in the locker room how surprised they were by the move, and Darrelle Revis acknowledged that “the atmosphere was a little down” at practice.

A league source connected to several Patriots players used a “p” word that rhymes with “missed” to describe the mood in the locker room Tuesday. Many players still felt that Mankins was the best lineman on the team, the source said.

There’s a difference between being “pissed” and being disappointed. Disappointment would mean the players are sad to lose a team leader, great player and good friend. The fact that Volin says they were pissed would seem to indicate not everyone feels Belichick made the right decision.

Mankins was reportedly traded because he refused to take a pay cut. The Patriots have never been afraid to make an unpopular decision if it helps their financial situation, and there’s a good chance they are looking to free up a large chunk of salary cap space to sign Darrelle Revis to a long-term contract.

Could they have waited until after the season? For financial reasons, yes. But Belichick must have some young linemen he is confident in that he wants to start developing now. Either that, or he loves the attention he gets for being an evil genius. The Patriots fan in me leans toward the latter.

Mike Pettine says Patriots ‘mysteriously’ end up with other teams’ playbooks

Mike-PettineCleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine spent the last four years as a defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, so he is very familiar with the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick and company have become known for shady antics like videotaping opponents signals and fudging injury reports, but do they also steal playbooks?

Pettine recently discussed his team’s playbook with Greg A. Bedard of The Monday Morning Quarterback. The first-year head coach admitted he takes the Patriots’ shadiness into consideration when putting it together.

The initial playbook itself is actually quite thin, and that’s by design. “I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it,” Pettine says. “We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”

Pettine told a story of how, at Wes Welker’s wedding, Tom Brady bragged a little bit to Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith, who was Welker’s college roommate, that the Patriots may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks.

“It didn’t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine says. “He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”

If any team was given a copy of an opponent’s playbook, they wouldn’t be hiding their eyes and returning it to its rightful owner. The Patriots get the most attention for doing stuff like that because of Spygate, and deservedly so.

[Related: Michael Lombardi brings Browns draft guide to Combine with Bill Belichick]

Don’t worry, Browns fans. Cleveland and New England aren’t facing each other in the regular season this year. Belichick won’t have a chance to hang 50 points on Pettine because of that comment.

Brandon Spikes says Patriots gave ‘false’ IR designation

Brandon SpikesFor the second time in a week, a former New England Patriots player called out his old team for sketchy dealings with injury designations. This time it was Brandon Spikes, a former Pats’ second-round draft pick who recently signed with the Buffalo Bills.

While Spikes expressed warm feelings towards owner Bob Kraft and some of his former teammates, the ex-Florida Gators linebacker defended himself during an interview with John Murphy on WGR in Buffalo on Monday when the subject of his knee injury was brought up.

Spikes was asked about the “nagging knee injury” that led to him being placed on IR at the end of the season.

“I know, I heard they put me on IR and stuff like that. That was just a false report,” Spikes told Murphy. “That’s just how things go there. Almost like what happened with (Aqib) Talib and his hip.

“That was just from the labor throughout the season, man. It was just — you know how it is — it’s a tough 16 games. All I needed was rest and rehab.”

Last week, Talib, who signed with the Denver Broncos, said the team listed him as having a hip injury last season when he really had a quad problem.

Maybe Spikes was looking to brush asides any concerns about a knee injury and behavior problems when he made the comment, but that’s two former players who have talked about some shady Pats practices recently. This is nothing new; we’ve known for a long time that Bill Belichick doesn’t give anything away and oftentimes intentionally misleads people. I mean how many times have Tom Brady’s injuries been hidden by the team? He’s listed as probable with a shoulder injury almost every week, but when he has real injuries, those are never listed.

I guess that’s just one aspect of the “Patriot Way.”

For more background on the story, recall that at the time that a report said Spikes was placed on IR for both disciplinary and injury reasons. Spikes’ agent denied that a mutual agreement between the team and his client was reached regarding the IR tag. Like I said, if you don’t believe Spikes was telling the truth, then you can figure he was saying that to protect himself and make himself look better.

[Previously: Brandon Spikes quotes Martin Luther King Jr. after signing with Bills]

Darrelle Revis contract protects him from franchise tag, saves Patriots cap space

Darrelle Revisstrong>Darrelle Revis signed what was reported as a one-year, $12 million contract with the New England Patriots on Wednesday, and that is indeed what the deal will work out to. However, the contract he signed is actually a two-year deal worth a total of $32 million that is beneficial both sides. Allow us to explain.

The most important thing for Revis is that the second year of the contract, which is worth $20 million and will never actually come into play, prevents the Patriots from giving him the franchise tag. Once the 2014 season is completed, the team can either restructure or release. The franchise tag won’t be an option. You can’t “release” a player and then give him the franchise tag.

From New England’s standpoint, the contract saves money on the salary cap this season. Revis will earn a base salary of $1.5 million in 2014, with a $10 million signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus. His cap charge for the upcoming season will be $7 million. His cap charge for 2015 will be $25 million (which the Patriots will never pick up), with $5 million in dead money counting toward the 2015 cap if the team releases Revis.

Revis is guaranteed at least $12 million from the contract. Only $7 million of that applies to the 2014 salary cap. The other $5 million will be paid and counted toward the 2015 cap if the Patriots release him. If they restructure and work out a long-term deal, Revis will be getting more than $12 million guaranteed anyway.

In other words, the contract is beneficial for everyone. Revis cannot be given the dreaded franchise tag. The Patriots free up $5 million in cap space of the $12 million they owe Revis in 2014. They can address more roster needs now and hope that a long-term extension is reached, otherwise they’ll eat the $5 million against the 2015 cap.

Thanks to ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss for making sense of all this

Patriots reportedly interested in Brandon Browner

Brandon BrownerThe New England Patriots may have strayed away from their usual philosophy by signing Darrelle Revis to a one-year, $12 million contract on Wednesday, but Brandon Browner would represent the exact type of player Bill Belichick is always looking to add to the mix. The former Seattle Seahawks cornerback was scheduled to visit the Patriots on Thursday.

Browner will miss the first four games of the 2014 season as he serves a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He was also suspended for the final five games of last season and is a repeat offender.

When he played, the 6-foot-4, 220 pound Browner was one of the most physical cornerbacks in the league. He should come cheap because of the suspension, and some have speculated that the Patriots could try to convert Browner to a strong safety if they end up signing him. New England already has good depth at cornerback with Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan. They also have a solid free safety in Devin McCourty.

Assuming Revis provides an upgrade over Talib, the Patriots should already have an above-average secondary heading into 2014. That is a luxury they have been lacking in recent years. If they are able to sign a potentially valuable player like Browner, who will also be visiting the Washington Redskins and other teams, New England could have lockdown potential.

Aqib Talib says Patriots misreported his hip injury

Aqib Talib PatriotsWe all know Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots love to screw with injury reports. How many straight years did we see Tom Brady listed on the injury report with a right shoulder injury? On Wednesday, Aqib Talib shed some light on the infamous antics.

In his first meeting with reporters since signing with the Denver Broncos, Talib was asked about the hip injury that supposedly hampered him at various points throughout the 2013 season. As Lindsay Jones of USA Today Sports pointed out, Talib denied ever having a hip injury and said it was actually his quad that was hurt. He added that the Pats have their “own way” of reporting injuries.

Someone is lying, and it could be either side. Talib undoubtedly had to convince the Broncos that his hip would not be an issue in order to get them to offer him a $57 million contract with $26 million guaranteed. Claiming he never even had a hip injury would be one way to do that.

Hip injuries are some of the worst cornerbacks can have. The Patriots might have listed Talib with a hip injury all season long to make opponents think he would be vulnerable. Or, if you want to take it a step further, they could have been thinking ahead and trying to make him less enticing as a free agent. The latter theory is probably the least likely to be true.

Either way, no one will be surprised to hear the Patriots being accused of injury report shenanigans.

Report: Member of Darrelle Revis’ camp certain he’s going to the Patriots

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Darrelle Revis on Wednesday afternoon, and the speculation continues to build that the All-Pro cornerback could wind up with the New England Patriots. The latest comes from Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, who spoke with a source from Revis’ camp who seems convinced that the 28-year-old will sign with the Pats.

Darrelle RevisCBS Sports.com’s Jason La Canfora also said shortly after Revis was released that he believes he will sign with the Patriots.

There have been reports about the Patriots being interested in Revis since it became clear that the Bucs had no intention of keeping him on their roster. Aqib Talib’s decision to sign with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday intensified those reports, as did another rumor that Revis has told those close to him that he would love to play for New England.

Granted, Mehta’s source could simply be a friend of Revis’ who is looking to add to the drama. He or she could also be expressing a gut feeling, which wouldn’t mean much.

One thing is for certain — the Patriots would love to sign Revis. The only question is if he is willing to break from his typically staunch business approach and work out a deal that is friendly for both sides. New England is not going to pay Revis anything close to $16 million per season.