Patriots Sort Through The Options

After trading Randy Moss, the Patriots have been connected to a number of potential WR targets. Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith and Deion Branch. The Branch deal was done, but is there another on the horizon? Here's what we've heard.

When the news that Randy Moss had been traded to the Minnesota Vikings broke, the collective media assumed it was to rid the team of a potential problem child before he could become a problem. After the deal was announced, the immediate reaction was, there must be something else. Why would the Patriots trade away arguably their best offensive weapon for merely a third round pick, if there wasn't a grand plan to fill the hole created by the move?

After speaking with multiple sources, there is indeed more to the story, but not the type of information that leads to the potential to report a deal is "officially" in the works. The news is more Rumor Mill grist, but flavorful none-the-less.

Last Thursday, the Patriots re-signed OL Quinn Ojinnaka to the roster, plugging a hole on offense but not the massive void that shipping Moss to Minnesota created. Then, the rumor mill started churning. First came rumblings that San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Jackson could be on the target list. Then names like Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers and even former Patriots WR Deion Branch of the Seattle Seahawks were mentioned as possibilities.

Reports linking the Patriots to Vincent Jackson first surfaced from Tom Curran at CSNNE.com. Curran reported that the Patriots had investigated the possibility of a deal for Vincent Jackson. Curran wasn't the first to hypothesize that a deal could happen, but was the first to report that a source told him there were preliminary talks.

"Talks are preliminary at this point, but the idea of the Patriots acquiring Jackson in exchange for Logan Mankins is in play," Curran wrote.

Rreports out of San Diego ruled the deal unlikely. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted that the asking price, however ludicrous, would be very steep for the disgruntled Jackson. Acee updated the news on the paper's blog:

"If you think Smith's [Chargers GM AJ Smith] asking price from the Vikings was steep -- a second-round pick in 2011 and and third-round pick in '12 -- sit down before I tell you something.

The Vikings and every other team that showed quasi-serious interest play in the NFC. Chargers sources have long contended that the price to an AFC team would be even higher.

It says here the Patriots would have to give the Chargers a first-rounder and second-rounder over the next two drafts -- be that a first in '11 and second in '12 or vice versa."

Amid other reiterations of Curran's and Acee's news, Curran updated his CSNNE.com report, also stating that the deal was unlikely.

What we've been told today was that a possible deal for Jackson isn't entirely dead, but has moved into the longer-shot rumor mill category. A reliable source, who requested not to be named, stated that a deal involving Jackson and Logan Mankins is possible. (read not probable).

The specifics are: The Chargers would send Vince Jackson to the Patriots for OG Logan Mankins.

We were told the deal could even be straight up, with no Draft picks involved.

This comes from the same pipeline that told us Scott Pioli was going to become the Kansas City Chiefs GM, 3 days before the move was announced. And the same pipeline that told us Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weiss were targeted for the coordinator roles in KC, weeks before the moves became official.

So why Jackson and not Smith or Branch?

Well, the Branch deal already transpired, so that one's in the bag. Hat tip to those who reported it, including our friends out west, for reporting that Branch had a personal day off the same day it turns out that the deal was being made.

The Smith trade rumor was a product of a Jay Glazer update. Glazer works for FOX Sports (our parent company), so we tend to follow him a little more closely. Glazer said on air that Smith to New England made sense. He then followed it up via twitter saying he didn't report that connection, only speculated on it.

"Hey folks, I haven't said panthers are trading for steve smith or even called about him. Simply said I'd try to if I was pats"
Back to the Jackson for Mankins trade rumor.

This potential deal has been shot down before. The Boston Herald reported that Mankins' agent called a potential swap of players "Ludicrous," according to Mankins' agent Frank Bauer.

"I think that's totally insane," Bauer told the Herald . "I don't pay attention to rumors, so I didn't hear it. But who knows? The Patriots do strange things… Hahahahaha. Whatever, there is so much crap out there. Until it all (shakes out), you don't know. But to answer your question, that's totally ludicrous."

We're certainly not the first to report a deal being possible, but we are re-iterating that it's not as dead as some have noted.

As Jason LaConfora of NFL Network reported, Jackson and Mankins have to sign their tenders and report to their respective teams soon. LaConfora writes that the CBA is structured to encourage both players to report by Week 10 to get credit for an NFL season – a key to moving one step closer to becoming a free agent.

"So why is Week 10 the magic date? Because being on a roster for at least six weeks virtually would assure both players of an accrued season -- and unrestricted free agency or a franchise-type tag. That season gives the players six in the league, and in any new CBA, players would need no more than that to earn unrestricted free agency."

Unfortunately for Jackson, he is one strike away from a possible 1 year suspension for violating league policy. He also faces a multi-game exemption which would not count as time accrued for an NFL season meaning he'd need to report by Week 8 (Oct. 31) according to La Confora.

More interesting in this scenario is the value of each player if they don't get traded.

Teams can use the franchise tag in 2011 and both Mankins and Jackson would command hefty salary commitments should they be tagged. Mankins, a veritable boy scout compared to Jackson, would actually require less of a commitment.

"The worst case for either player is that teams retain a franchise tag in the new CBA -- seen by many as likely -- which, for a wide receiver, would require a one-year commitment in the $10 million range. For an offensive tackle, the figure would be in the $9 million range," LaConfora wrote.

Mankins is actually a guard, so that figure would need to be adjusted (downward) according to cap experts.

If Smith is going to salvage anything from the Jackson scenario, he'll have to run the risk that Jackson could have a Randy Moss-like impact for the Patriots. His alternative is paying the guy $10 million in 2011 with all the risk that he'll violate the same rules he's violate two times previously as a member of the Chargers.

For the Patriots, a potential deal carries a bigger risk than the Randy Moss deal of 2007. Jackson may only be 27, --three years younger than Moss was when he was traded to New England – but he's only had 2 seasons where he's broken 1,000 yards receiving (Moss had 7). And, Jackson is one strike away, meaning any bonehead moves by the wide receiver could get him suspended, ruiining the value the Patriots hope to reape.

Whether the potential deal holds merit beyond what's been said so far, we can't say. But it does beg the question; Wouldn't both teams be better off with the other team's baggage?



For more NFL and Patriots news follow Jon's updates via Twitter: @jscottNFL or You can

For more Patriots news follow us via Twitter: @PatriotsInsider

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\r\nFor more Patriots news follow us via Twitter: @PatriotsInsider\r\n
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When the news that Randy Moss had been traded to the Minnesota Vikings broke, the collective media assumed it was to rid the team of a potential problem child before he could become a problem. After the deal was announced, the immediate reaction was, there must be something else. Why would the Patriots trade away arguably their best offensive weapon for merely a third round pick, if there wasn't a grand plan to fill the hole created by the move?

After speaking with multiple sources, there is indeed more to the story, but not the type of information that leads to the potential to report a deal is \"officially\" in the works. The news is more Rumor Mill grist, but flavorful none-the-less.

Last Thursday, the Patriots re-signed OL Quinn Ojinnaka to the roster, plugging a hole on offense but not the massive void that shipping Moss to Minnesota created. Then, the rumor mill started churning. First came rumblings that San Diego Chargers WR Vincent Jackson could be on the target list. Then names like Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers and even former Patriots WR Deion Branch of the Seattle Seahawks were mentioned as possibilities.

Reports linking the Patriots to Vincent Jackson first surfaced from Tom Curran at CSNNE.com. Curran reported that the Patriots had investigated the possibility of a deal for Vincent Jackson. Curran wasn't the first to hypothesize that a deal could happen, but was the first to report that a source told him there were preliminary talks.

\"Talks are preliminary at this point, but the idea of the Patriots acquiring Jackson in exchange for Logan Mankins is in play,\" Curran wrote.

Rreports out of San Diego ruled the deal unlikely. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted that the asking price, however ludicrous, would be very steep for the disgruntled Jackson. Acee updated the news on the paper's blog:

\"If you think Smith's [Chargers GM AJ Smith] asking price from the Vikings was steep -- a second-round pick in 2011 and and third-round pick in '12 -- sit down before I tell you something.

The Vikings and every other team that showed quasi-serious interest play in the NFC. Chargers sources have long contended that the price to an AFC team would be even higher.

It says here the Patriots would have to give the Chargers a first-rounder and second-rounder over the next two drafts -- be that a first in '11 and second in '12 or vice versa.\"

Amid other reiterations of Curran's and Acee's news, Curran updated his CSNNE.com report, also stating that the deal was unlikely.

What we've been told today was that a possible deal for Jackson isn't entirely dead, but has moved into the longer-shot rumor mill category. A reliable source, who requested not to be named, stated that a deal involving Jackson and Logan Mankins is possible. (read not probable).

The specifics are: The Chargers would send Vince Jackson to the Patriots for OG Logan Mankins.

We were told the deal could even be straight up, with no Draft picks involved.

This comes from the same pipeline that told us Scott Pioli was going to become the Kansas City Chiefs GM, 3 days before the move was announced. And the same pipeline that told us Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weiss were targeted for the coordinator roles in KC, weeks before the moves became official.

So why Jackson and not Smith or Branch?

Well, the Branch deal already transpired, so that one's in the bag. Hat tip to those who reported it, including our friends out west, for reporting that Branch had a personal day off the same day it turns out that the deal was being made.

The Smith trade rumor was a product of a Jay Glazer update. Glazer works for FOX Sports (our parent company), so we tend to follow him a little more closely. Glazer said on air that Smith to New England made sense. He then followed it up via twitter saying he didn't report that connection, only speculated on it.

\"Hey folks, I haven't said panthers are trading for steve smith or even called about him. Simply said I'd try to if I was pats\"
Back to the Jackson for Mankins trade rumor.

This potential deal has been shot down before. The Boston Herald reported that Mankins' agent called a potential swap of players \"Ludicrous,\" according to Mankins' agent Frank Bauer.

\"I think that's totally insane,\" Bauer told the Herald . \"I don't pay attention to rumors, so I didn't hear it. But who knows? The Patriots do strange things… Hahahahaha. Whatever, there is so much crap out there. Until it all (shakes out), you don't know. But to answer your question, that's totally ludicrous.\"

We're certainly not the first to report a deal being possible, but we are re-iterating that it's not as dead as some have noted.

As Jason LaConfora of NFL Network reported, Jackson and Mankins have to sign their tenders and report to their respective teams soon. LaConfora writes that the CBA is structured to encourage both players to report by Week 10 to get credit for an NFL season – a key to moving one step closer to becoming a free agent.

\"So why is Week 10 the magic date? Because being on a roster for at least six weeks virtually would assure both players of an accrued season -- and unrestricted free agency or a franchise-type tag. That season gives the players six in the league, and in any new CBA, players would need no more than that to earn unrestricted free agency.\"

Unfortunately for Jackson, he is one strike away from a possible 1 year suspension for violating league policy. He also faces a multi-game exemption which would not count as time accrued for an NFL season meaning he'd need to report by Week 8 (Oct. 31) according to La Confora.

More interesting in this scenario is the value of each player if they don't get traded.

Teams can use the franchise tag in 2011 and both Mankins and Jackson would command hefty salary commitments should they be tagged. Mankins, a veritable boy scout compared to Jackson, would actually require less of a commitment.

\"The worst case for either player is that teams retain a franchise tag in the new CBA -- seen by many as likely -- which, for a wide receiver, would require a one-year commitment in the $10 million range. For an offensive tackle, the figure would be in the $9 million range,\" LaConfora wrote.

Mankins is actually a guard, so that figure would need to be adjusted (downward) according to cap experts.

If Smith is going to salvage anything from the Jackson scenario, he'll have to run the risk that Jackson could have a Randy Moss-like impact for the Patriots. His alternative is paying the guy $10 million in 2011 with all the risk that he'll violate the same rules he's violate two times previously as a member of the Chargers.

For the Patriots, a potential deal carries a bigger risk than the Randy Moss deal of 2007. Jackson may only be 27, --three years younger than Moss was when he was traded to New England – but he's only had 2 seasons where he's broken 1,000 yards receiving (Moss had 7). And, Jackson is one strike away, meaning any bonehead moves by the wide receiver could get him suspended, ruiining the value the Patriots hope to reape.

Whether the potential deal holds merit beyond what's been said so far, we can't say. But it does beg the question; Wouldn't both teams be better off with the other team's baggage?


For more NFL and Patriots news follow Jon's updates via Twitter: @jscottNFL or You can

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