A .500 Bill due in Foxborough
Page 5 of 18 -- A: Great to have a fan from down under. There are a few of you who write now and then. Is there a Patriots fan club in Australia that you know of? As for the Internet and broadcasting end of it, I've said many times that it's not my area of expertise so I don't even handle questions on the subject. We do get a few of them, however. Our TV/radio writer Bill Griffith might be a better person to ask. But keep writing.
Hi, Nick, Just when we thought the RB picture might finally clear up, Mike Cloud goes out and lays a duck and Faulk plays his best game ever. Do you think Cloud blew his one chance, or will he get another shot to prove he can be a primary back?
-- Dan Ela, Arvin, Calif.
A: I get the feeling, and I don't know this for sure, but the Patriots will use which ever of the three backs they think with have the best success against the particular defense they're playing. Cloud will have to fight for time now, no question because Faulk, I think, sensing the threat Cloud has posed, has stepped up his game.
My question pertains to Antowain Smith's salary and how it affects the team's cap if they decide to cut him loose after this season. If, and I hope, Kevin Faulk and Mike Cloud continue to show great promise as the team's top rushers, would it make sense to get rid of Antowain Smith? If the Pats were able to get a running back of the future in the draft, I can't see them holding onto 4 RB's, nor would it make sense to hang onto Smith as a very expensive bench warmer, but I know that they would take a sizeable salary cap hit if they released him. Do you know how Smith's salary is structured? I thought that they had it set up for three years, with an option for two more, but I could be wrong.
-- Dave, Minneapolis, Minn.
A: It was a five-year deal with a $3 million bonus up front. There's a $2 million option bonus due in March which picks up the final three years. So let's say they cut him prior to receiving the $2 million bonus, they would be on the hook for the final three years of the pro-rated bonus or about $1.8 million on the cap.
Nick, For the record, I was joking with my question last week about the Pats skipping the Denver trip this year. I am a 10-year season ticket holding, die-hard fan and believe every game on the schedule is winnable. Nuff said. Now, on to my next question. Just how badly do you think Tom Brady's shoulder is hurting him? I read Boomer Esiason saying he had a similar injury and it took him well over a year to fully recover.
-- Bob Donahue, Stoneham Continued...