Will NFLPA survey results impact Patriots in free agency?


The New England Patriots need to make some upgrades this offseason, and not just to their on-field product.

On Wednesday, the NFL Players Association released its "NFL Player Team Report Cards" for all 32 clubs. Players assessed their own teams in eight off-field categories: treatment of families, nutrition, weight room, strength staff, training room, training staff and travel.

The Patriots ranked 24th and received a C-minus or worse in four of the eight categories. Their weight room (D) and team travel (D+) received the lowest grades.

The results of the survey come at a less-than-ideal time for New England as free agency is set to begin on March 15. On a new episode of Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast, Sportico legal expert Michael McCann and former NFL guard Pete Kendall join to discuss the impact the NFLPA survey could have on the Pats in free agency.

Patriots Talk: Will NFLPA survey results impact Patriots in free agency? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I still think at the end of the day, the biggest thing for a free agent is of course the money, and the second one being the opportunity to play in a system that allows them to win games and to showcase their skills," Kendall said. "That being said, games are won on the margins and this is a game that's also going to be won on the margins.

"So a couple of bucks here, maybe the impact of taxes there, maybe better weather or maybe a better opportunity, or maybe better facilities. It all goes in, and sometimes the decision between one team or another isn't glaring or obvious. It's nuanced."

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Curran asked McCann how important local revenue and cash flow are to the Patriots and other teams that might need to make some refurbishments.

"It's not going to be as important for an NFL team because so much revenue is shared with teams compared to say, the NBA or Major League Baseball," McCann said. "But it is significant. And to Pete's point, if you're on the margins, increasing taxes is going to hurt the Patriots. And cost of living in Massachusetts is very high. Inflation, I mean, there are all these sorts of aspects that maybe by themselves don't have a huge impact on a player but put them together, and I think it becomes a concern for the Patriots in recruiting players.

"Not to mention, as Pete mentioned, this is not a team that's going to be competing for a Super Bowl if we're being honest about it. ... The stadium is nice, but it's more than two decades old. It's not among the newer ones. And it's also not a state that has a history of providing great public financing for a stadium. This is something that Robert Kraft had to really finance on his own."

Also discussed in the episode: Realities the Patriots will have to confront as they pursue free agency. How will the new millionaire tax rate impact Patriots players? And how can the NFL make it worthwhile for players to enter the combine? 

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.

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