by Scott Benson

Last day of the off-season. The NFL fan’s version of the last day of school. Inquiring minds want to know…..

1. Will the Patriots have all of their draft choices signed before the start of camp? It sure looks possible, with second round choice Terrence Wheatley inking his pact yesterday. Jerod Mayo’s the sole focus now, and it’s hard to see where this could end up as a protracted holdout. The way I see it, the 10th player (or the 29th or the 163rd) in the draft is going to fall somewhere in an indiginous (to the 10th pick) salary/bonus range, isn’t he? In that case, you can’t help but refer to what the previous 10th pick got. Last year, DT Amobi Okoye of the Texans signed a six-year deal worth $17.7M, with $12.8 in guarantees. Will an inside linebacker’s maiden contract just a year later be appreciably different? So there’s a jumping off point, with appropriate cost of living adjustments. How long could this take? 

2. What’s the deal with Nick Kaczur, anyway? He got a sweetheart deal from the Oneida County District Attorney’s office that will see the drug charges against him dropped if he stays out of trouble for six months. Well, that’s good, I guess, but…..huh? This is the lightest sentence since Judge Smails awarded the Caddy Scholarship to Danny Noonan even after he found Noonan trying to nail his skanky niece. It looks like the job of dealing with Kaczur’s demons goes to the Pats, who have been smuggling in right tackles since June (Oliver Ross, and now Jets vet Anthony Clement on Monday), which may give you some indication of where they’re going with it. “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber, Nicky.”

3. Will Chad Jackson’s professional career ever amount to much? I see Chris Gasper of the Globe recently had Jackson “finally healthy and focused” as the 13-career-catch receiver looks to get back on the field for the team that drafted him 36th in 2006. I’m not optimistic about this one. As Parcells instructs, you are what you are, and what Jackson is…is a non-factor as his third NFL season begins. Now, this may yet change – he’s only 23, he has flashed a certain skill at times, and he has had inuries, and after all, this is America, home of the third chance – but the passion with some Pats fans argue the certainty of this change is well beyond me. They cite his size and speed and alleged playmaking as evidence this change will be so, as if the NFL landscape isn’t already littered with the corpses of eleventy million bust receivers with the exact same characteristics. It just doesn’t come together for some people. The Patriots aren’t immune to that.

4. Has anybody ever written a more Fact-ually based assessment of Brett Favre?  Shoot, I wish I wrote that. Before you get carried away, let’s just skip the debate over whether I have or have ever had a post like that in me and simply bow in the presence of the masters at Cold Hard Football Facts. Just click the link. A job this important – putting this duplicitous bastard and his unctuous followers in their place – had to go to our best men. Speaking of our best men, congratulations to Aaron and the staff at Football Outsiders (including our pal Bill Barnwell) on the site’s fifth anniversary.

5. Are you ready for some football? Seriously, this is the last day of this year that the Patriots won’t be in the daily sports headlines. Something’s going to be happening every day from here. In the words of Chris Farley, host of the Chris Farley Show …..awesome.