NFL News of March 26, 2003

Photo: John Woike | Hartford Courant

Bill Belichick sees nothing wrong with having three highly paid safeties in his defensive backfield at the same time. While so many others are wondering just when the ax will fall on Tebucky Jones, Belichick said yesterday here at the NFL owners’ meetings that playing three safeties at the same time is not a bad thing. Nor is it a departure from the way the team has played defense in recent years.

“We played three-safety defenses and used a three-safety rotation each of the last two years,” Belichick said. “In addition to Tebucky and Lawyer Milloy we had Matt Stevens back there in 2001 and Victor Green last year. We’ve had quite a few three-safety alignments.”

Just not for the money THESE three are getting this year. As the franchise player, Jones has a salary cap figure of just over $3 million. Milloy’s number is $5.6 million this year and newly acquired Rodney Harrison is at just over $1 million for the upcoming season.

Belichick admitted that it wasn’t an ideal situation, just a real one. And since the Patriots are under the cap, there’s no reason to make any personnel moves.

— Kevin Mannix, The Boston Herald “Pats will play it safe-ty”

Jones was traded in April of 2003 to the New Orleans Saints for third, fourth and seventh round draft picks. Milloy was cut days before the 2003 season opener. Rookie Eugene Wilson started 15 games as free safety alongside Rodney Harrison.

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