Questions and Concerns for the New England Patriots

New England has been a cold place since the Patriots lost on their home turf in the AFC Championship to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Questions are whipping with the winter winds and concerns are also flying around.

First there was owner Robert Kraft tip-toeing around questions regarding Tom Brady’s age.

“I think he had a remarkable year this year and I think we look at each year as it happens,” Kraft said to Tom Curran of Comcast Sportsnet New England. “I’d love him to be here as long as he’s productive and feels he wants to play.”

Not the most ringing of endorsements for a player bound for immortality in the halls of Canton and winner of three Super Bowls but it’s New England. The organization has always been mum on personnel moves.

However the organization has proved to be noncommittal to players in the past, ie Richard Seymour, Deion Branch, Ty Law, and Lawyer Milloy.

That’s not saying Tom “Terrific” is any danger but with Brady turning 36, next year and it being Bill Belichick’s last season under contract, who knows?

Then there was Gronk, a player the Patriots did commit to…for six years and $54 million.

Rob Gronkowski’s Super Bowl extravaganza was well documented last season; between his ailing ankle and his shirtless break dancing in a club despite having just lost to the New York Giants.

This year it was a broken forearm in the postseason. The injury forced him to miss the AFC Championship game, in addition to a slew of second half regular season games, but it didn’t slow him from his traditional Super Bowl dance.

On a stage in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, the Patriots tight end was once again shirtless dancing. Only this time, he decided to put on a wrestling show by fake kicking a friend on stage with him and then trying to give him a DDT.

Gronkowski pulled off the move in unspectacular fashion, landing awkwardly on his broken forearm. Fans and ownership surely cringed in unison but Gronk popped right back up and kept on dancing.

Now reports are emerging on cornerback Aqib Talib.

The Patriots traded for the veteran cornerback at the trade deadline and Talib instantly upgraded the position — a fact highlighted once Joe Flacco began to picking apart the secondary in the AFC Championship game once Talib left with a hamstring injury.
Talib’s time with the Patriots was essentially an audition for a long term gig with the Patriots and things aren’t looking up.

Comcast SportsNet New England has reported that the Patriots are iffy on handing over a long term contract to Talib as they have some serious questions on his work ethic.

Talib “passed on the chance to do extra work” during the regular season, according to a source. The question, now, is how hard will Talib be willing to play once he gets a large contract?

The unknown is what could lead to Talib’s days as a Patriot being over quickly. Especially when you consider the other free agents have on the block such as Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Sebastian Vollmer, Patrick Chung, and Kyle Arrington.

The New England Patriots do have $15.8 million in cap space but if Talib gets a contract in the $8 – $10 million per year range that he wants, that will tighten their budget in other areas of need.

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