, Gloucester, MA

February 27, 2013

Crunch Time

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Team Player

Tom Brady may be earning way more guaranteed money in his new deal signed on Monday, but make no mistake about it, this is a team friendly deal that gives the Patriots a ton of flexibility.

Brady’s decision to re-sign with the team through 2017 for a smaller base salary over the final three years significantly increased the team’s chances of bringing back Brady’s favorite target Wes Welker.

The Patriots have already said they will not franchise Welker so a long term contract could be in the works. With the cap flexibility Welker should be the team’s first priority as his contributions to the offense have been priceless.

It doesn’t end with Welker, though, as the Patriots are also much more likely to bring back cornerback Aqib Talib whether it’s through the franchise tag or a new contract. The Patriots defense saw a drastic upgrade after Talib landed in Foxborough via trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers midseason.

Rumors have also been swirling that the Patriots are interested in veteran defensive players Ed Reed and Dwight Freeney. Reed and Freeney would give the Patriots an immediate upgrade in two defensive areas of need, pass rush and safety respectively.

Pat on the Back

Apparently there is one person who believes that Bobby Valentine did a great job as manager of the Red Sox in 2012. That person, predictably, is Valentine himself.

Valentine gave himself a pat on the back on Boston’s Sports Radio WEEI Tuesday.

“I thought I did a hell of a job in Boston,” Valentine said. “I thought what had to be done there was done except for winning a pennant. But Connie Mack wasn’t going to win with that team.”

Valentine does have a point when he says that Connie Mack couldn’t even win with last year’s Sox, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Valentine’s performance was a desirable one.

The former Sox skipper frequently alienated his own players and could not earn the respect of the team.