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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts/notes around the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. QB checkpoints: Timing and leverage are often two of the most important factors for striking deals, and they are at the heart of the Patriots’ current quarterback decision-making approach.

Coach Bill Belichick is sometimes fond of saying “Last time I checked, our first game isn’t until September.” That basically explains why the Patriots are pressing the QB “pause” button at the moment, with owner Robert Kraft expressing support for Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham in 2021, while also acknowledging the team has to solidify the position long-term.

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Draft (April 29-May 1): Selecting at No. 15 in the 2021 NFL draft, the Patriots likely won’t be in position to land a top prospect unless they move up. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has them jumping to No. 11 to pick Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in his most recent mock draft. But the QB class goes beyond the top five of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Trey Lance and Fields. And if the Patriots Womens Cam Newton Jersey, follow a path similar to what they did in 2014 with Jimmy Garoppolo (second round, No. 62) — with Florida’s Kyle Trask, Stanford’s Davis Mills, Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond and Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman among the second-tier options — they could go into 2021 with Newton/Stidham/prospect, hold firm, and see where the chips fall.

End of organized team activities/start of training camp (mid June/late July): At this point, the San Francisco 49ers would have a better grasp of their comfort level with their No. 3 overall pick, and if it might be realistic to turn the team over to him. If so, that could lessen their asking price for Garoppolo. In turn, the Patriots will also have more information on Newton and Stidham from OTAs to gauge if their offseason analysis Game Cam Newton Jersey, that both could be the answer in 2021 has merit. That intelligence would dictate how far the Patriots might be willing to extend in a potential trade offer.

Opening weekend (early September): Once Garoppolo is on the 49ers’ roster for the first game of the season, his $24.1 million salary is guaranteed. That’s a true leverage point to see how committed the 49ers are to carrying both Garoppolo and the No. 3 pick for the 2021 season — especially when considering future extensions for defensive cornerstones Fred Warner and Nick Bosa. It also assumes Garoppolo doesn’t force his exit before that point, which as of now, doesn’t seem to be part of his thinking. This might be late from a Patriots standpoint, but given Garoppolo’s background in the system, still tenable for a player they view favorably.

Would Mac Jones be the Week 1 starter if picked by 49ers?Todd McShay breaks down the potential fit of quarterback Mac Jones with the 49ers.
2. Culture starts at top: Kraft’s conference call with reporters Wednesday, as part of his annual Q&A at the time of the NFL’s owners meetings, struck a chord from the standpoint the culture of every organization starts at the top. Kraft was direct, passionate and even critical at times (e.g. the team’s recent draft results). Some organizations might accept a 7-9 season as part of the ebb and flow of an NFL structure Cam Newton Jersey Ebay, that is geared toward everyone being 8-8. Kraft, who has spent an NFL-record $165 million in guaranteed money since free-agent negotiating began March 15, made it clear the Patriots do not.

3. McDaniels and QBs: It wasn’t a coincidence Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was present at Alabama’s pro day Tuesday, followed by Florida’s on Wednesday. It gave him a close-up look at Jones, followed by Trask, and highlighted how he will be a leading voice as the Patriots consider draft options. While it now seems clear Jones won’t be available for New England, there is still value in getting the most thorough scouting report to provide a comparison point to other QB prospects.

4. Patriots’ ‘different’ approach: One popular follow-up question from Kraft’s comments was about his belief he has seen a “different approach” with the team’s draft-based scouting. What exactly is different? Other than Dave Ziegler earning a promotion following Nick Caserio’s departure to become Texans GM, the staff essentially remains intact, with Ziegler having previously mentioned Eliot Wolf, Steve Cargile and Brian Smith among those playing notable roles in the transition. Matt Patricia is also making his presence felt. Perhaps that’s what Kraft meant when he said of free agency: “This was a team effort on the part of our personnel department. There’s three or four [who were] very active with Bill. They were so thorough.”

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