1. This week, it was reported the 49ers signed head coach Kyle Shanahan to a new six-year deal that has him as one of the five highest-paid coaches in the NFL. Unlike player salaries, coach salaries rarely are made public so it’s hard to know what any of them make. Albert Breer of the MMQB speculated Shanahan joined several coaches that are making over $10 million per year. Coaches he mentioned were: Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, Andy Reid, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Jon Gruden and likely Sean McVay. By all accounts, Belichick is at the top of this list — so how much does he really make? Prior to Super Bowl LII, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Belichick makes $12.5 million per year. It’s quite possible Belichick has received an extension since that report (his contract is one of the biggest mysteries in New England, as very few people actually know the details), and if that is the case, it’s likely he’s making more than $12.5 million per year now. Our best guess is it’s in the $13-14 million range, which easily has him as the highest-paid coach in all of sports. And he’s worth every penny.
2. Good job by the Patriots for offering season ticket holders who are more at risk of COVID-19 the chance to skip the 2020 season and still have their seats in 2021. This is the first sports team that we have heard of offering something like this and it makes a lot of sense given the current climate. And at this point, it is really anyone’s guess if there will be fans in the stands come the fall so even more flexibility may be needed.
3. N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers are getting a great deal of attention on offense as players to make a Year 2 jump, but what about running back Damien Harris? With Sony Michel needing with another surgery this offseason, maybe that allows Harris to get his chance to show what he can do. The Alabama product played in only two games last season, and hasn’t really been given the chance to showcase his talents. That could change this year.
4. Given the Patriots cap situation (under $1 million), we wouldn’t surprised to see a few veteran cuts before training camp. While these likely won’t involve high-profile players, do not be surprised to see a few players let go who have cap hits in the $2-4ish million range so the team has a little more room to play with come the season.
5. Speaking of roster moves, one area that needs to be addressed before training camp is the interior offensive line. Right now, Joe Thuney is the starting left guard, but also the backup center. And besides second-year player Hjalte Froholdt and veteran Jermaine Eluemunor there’s just late-round draft picks Michael Onwenu, Justin Herron, and Dustin Woodard on the interior. Sure, one of the rookies could work out, but it’s in the Patriots’ best interest to bring in another interior player who has some experience.
6. The NFLPA is recommending all private workouts with multiple players stop due to number of increased cases of COVID-19 in some states around the country. Relating to the Patriots, this may not impact things all that much as the team is done its virtual offseason program and Jarrett Stidham already seemed to get a good amount of work with his pass catchers, including Julian Edelman, in private sessions prior to the recommendation.
7. Late last week there were a number of positive COVID-19 tests in a few different sports, which caused multiple facilities to be shut down. While there was a lot of panic at the time, this is the new reality. Positive tests are going to happen and it is up to each sport to have a plan to deal with them. The NFL may benefit the most as it will likely be the last sport to come back and can learn from each other sport when it comes to how things were handled. As of now, we’re cautiously optimistic the league will be able to have a season in 2020.