Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 May 2013

Are the Patriots Cutting Kyle Love Due to Type 2 Diabetes?

As the world's self-proclaimed "thinnest Type-2 diabetic," this story is making me angry. The Patriots are releasing Kyle Love with a non-football injury designation. According to Love's agent, Richard Kopelman, this is because Love was diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes two weeks ago, and has lost a lot of weight recently. It seems like a typically Patriots example of a cold-hearted football move, but even as a football move it seems like a massive overreaction. I would expect that Love, like me, will lose weight when he starts on Metformin. The difference is that I don't do strength training as a professional athlete. Would it be that hard for Love to get back to his playing weight by July?

Obviously, there's the possibility that the Patriots were going to cut Love anyway. (I have no idea if they get some kind of salary cap relief by tagging this release as a non-football injury.) They've picked up a number of free agents at tackle like Tommy Kelly and CFL import Armond Armstead, and they did recently cut Brandon Deaderick. But Love is a better player than Deaderick and was a starter last year. Unless there's some kind of financial reason to do this now, why not just let him come to camp and see if he's really lost anything due to the illness? More importantly, if they were going to just cut him anyway, you would think the Patriots would have gotten out ahead of Love's agent, because Kopelman is destroying them in the public relations game on this.

Vince Wilfork, who does a lot of work for diabetes charities, is going to be pissed.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 15 May 2013

45 comments, Last at 23 May 2013, 1:29am by RickD

Comments

1
by Theo :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 7:02pm

My question is why they added the "NFI" part. Does that even matter? Why not just cut him of you were planning to do so anyway?
All I can find about the non-football injury is the list - which is the same as the PUP list.

If Love was on the edge already, maybe he didn't pass some tests they do before camp and this pushed him over the edge and opened a spot for another player to bring into? That's the only thing I can think of.
If the diabetes on itself is the real reason, then I find it quite hard to believe. They put Cannon on the NFI list when he was recovering chemo.

2
by Douglas Lee (not verified) :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 7:04pm

Love was due a $100K workout bonus this year, so I wonder if this move was to pre-empt that?

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/new-england-patriots/kyle-love/

26
by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 5:05pm

That's peanuts in the NFL. If that really was a factor, the Pats look even worse.

30
by Cro-Mags :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 12:10am

When did BB abandon pragmatism for what looks good?

3
by Go pats (not verified) :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 7:09pm

Of course he was, the patriots are an evil organization, cheaters. BB is the most evil man alive. Right???

4
by Anon5444233 (not verified) :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 8:19pm

Come on, just because they're cheaters doesn't mean they would necessarily be unethical in other ways.

5
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 8:33pm

You forgot the "/sarcasm".

14
by Mehllageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:49pm

Considering that New England is not that evil at all (Belichik cut the last cheap shot guy he had, Brandon Meriweather), I don't know what to think of all this. Just for the record, I'm a Jets fan, so I definitely don't have a pro Patriots bias.

6
by CoachDave :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 10:03pm

BB would cut Mother Theresa for a sprained ankle.

/not surprised in the least

12
by RickD :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:28pm

She was never very good in coverage, though she was a solid hitter.

7
by MJK :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 10:40pm

The especially surprising thing is that one of the reasons why Love was a longer shot to make the roster going into the offseason was because he had been losing playing time to...wait for it...Brandon Deaderick. You know, the guy the Pats cut last week for no publically apparent reason.

Now granted, their defensive tackles (excepting Wilfork) were nothing special last year...Love and Deaderick were at best "average" players, and the Pats pass rush was certainly not a thing of beauty. So it could be that they're trying to overhaul the whole line. I would much perfer the Pats find an "above average" player to play alongside Wilfork. However, they just slashed two "average" guys who by all accoutns were hard workers and who know their system really well. Curious...

11
by RickD :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:27pm

" So it could be that they're trying to overhaul the whole line. "

Isn't that the usual interpretation when two linemen are cut the same week, shortly after a couple new linemen were brought in?

I have no idea why anybody would think this was other than business as usual.

In 2011 Belichick cut two of his top safeties, Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders at the end of pre-season. Belichick cuts people when he's decided to move on. That could be in May or it could be in September.

37
by otros :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 9:00pm

" However, they just slashed two "average" guys who by all accoutns were hard workers and who know their system really well. Curious..."
Except for every account that Deaderick was suspended by the team for missing team meetings a couple of years ago.

8
by MJK :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 10:42pm

Oh, and the diabetes thing really doesn't make sense given past behavior. They took Cannon even though he was recovering from chemo. They put a claim in on Ballard last year knowing he wouldn't play for an entire year...and they held onto Demps injured until it became clear that he had other priorities.

Historically, they've shown that they are willing to ride out player health conditions if they think that player is worth it. Obviously, for Love, they didn't.

13
by Alternator :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:45pm

Like MJK said, the Patriots haven't shown any history of rapidly replacing players due to health issues when the player is expected to come back healthy. They have, however, shown a recent history of trying to overhaul their defensive line.

28
by jonnyblazin :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 6:21pm

I don't really understand the move if it is just to overhaul the D-line. Don't teams usually want a rotation of D-linemen of 7 or more players? That seems to be the one position where depth is extremely important, not simply to protect against potential injury, but also because coaches like to shuttle D-linemen in and out of the game to keep them fresh.

9
by emptybackfield (not verified) :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:06pm

Spotrac also says Love had a 3 million dollar contract this year. I suspect that had more to do with it than diabetes. No way Love is worth that kind of money.

19
by Douglas Lee (not verified) :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 7:55am

That appears to be a typo, as elsewhere on the Spotrac page, it says he signed a two-year deal for $3M in 2012.

20
by CBPodge :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 8:03am

According to Rotoworld his contract was 2 years, $3m, with a $500k signing bonus and $750k due this year, so he'd have counted roughly $1m against the cap.

10
by RickD :: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 11:22pm

Quick answer: no.

Seriously, they released Brandon Deaderick earlier this week.

Why would you think that they are "releasing Kyle Love because of diabetes"?

15
by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 2:57am

Just want to know, what are the financial ramifications of cutting him with the NFI designation? Because that's the only reason to think that they're cutting him because of his diagnosis.

Of course, I'm assuming its some vehicle to save money.

16
by CBPodge :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 5:16am

Here's my thoughts, and they are only barely developed. First, a little history.

Last year I recall that the Giants had a tight end who tore his ACL in the Super Bowl. I can't recall exactly who, but Travis Beckum, possibly? They wanted to put him on IR during training camp. However, due to the offseason roster rules, they couldn't put him on IR at that time. They had the choice of either carrying him on the roster through training camp (essentially reducing the number of people they could have in training camp by 1), or waiving him as waived/injured, then placing him on IR once he went through waivers. He didn't get through waivers, as the Pats signed him.

Could this be something similar? Love is entering his 4th year, so I imagine any release of him would expose him to waivers. If the Pats were looking to put him on IR (or something similar, possibly the IR designated to return) they would have to put him through waivers first.

Seems very odd to plan to put a starter on IR due to diabetes, but its very possible that there's another designation that forces the same roster move - waiving, then making the roster move once he's through waivers. Still seems a very odd move.

I imagine if there's any actual benefit to the Patriots to doing it this way, Florio will figure it out on PFT. One of the (few) things he's very good at is filtering through the arcana of the CBA and related documents.

17
by CBPodge :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 5:27am

This document, in fact, seems to back up that this might be the reasoning:

http://www.blogandtackle.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2012-NFL-Bylaw-P...

Page 4 onwards seems to be the relevant bit. Basically, to put a player on a reserve list prior to roster cutdowns (unless you do it right at the start of training camp), you need to expose them to waivers first. I guess the benefit here is that the Pats could put Love on PUP now, which would give them an extra body in camp until Love is activated off PUP. I think.

Still, seems odd to expose a potential starter to waivers.

18
by CBPodge :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 5:29am

This quick research also let me learn a lovely bit of pointless NFL knowledge: a team can't have more than 90 guys under contract at any time. So say in the season, you have a 53 man roster and an 8 man practice squad (61 total), the maximum number of people you can have on IR (or the other reserve lists) is 29. Any more than that and you'll have to cut people from IR. Because in a season when you have 30 people with season ending injuries, what you really need is to then have to work out which of the injured guys you want to release!

22
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 10:17am

You could carry fewer people on the practice squad if you really wanted to hold onto all 30 injured guys.

Anyone know if this has ever even come up? 29 players on IR seems like a ton.

23
by CBPodge :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 10:51am

I seriously doubt that it has ever or will ever come up. Just seems a fairly bizarre bit of ephemera.

32
by Jimmy :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 10:22am

The 2004 Chicago Bears will have come close depending on how many players they simply waived with an injury settlement. By the end of that season they were testing out the meaning of 'replacement level' all over the roster.

Actually that season of playing NFL football on a substandard college rug should give Vikings fans cause for concern, it was carnage.

21
by Go pats (not verified) :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 10:11am

The TE you are referring to is Jake Ballard.

I think the money he was due plus all the DE lineman they have signed recently including the guys from the CFL, BB probably thinks those two guys don't make the team so he cuts them now.

45
by RickD :: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 1:29am

More about Ballard, who is (ironically enough) with the Patriots now.

http://es.pn/10mRlFV

I don't think the Giants intended to lose him.

24
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 11:51am

"Unless there's some kind of financial reason to do this now, why not just let him come to camp and see if he's really lost anything due to the illness? "

They probably don't think hes going to be ready, and think some other guy has a higher chance of making the team. Only so many roster spots.

25
by dryheat :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 4:03pm

According to Florio, and it's worth noting that the only one talking now is Love's agent, the Patriots wanted him to take a year off and bring him back in 2014. He wouldn't do that voluntarily, so they did it for him.

Based on what has emerged thus far, I don't like this. But I guess they didn't think he was going to play and didn't want to pay him for 2013. It doesn't sound like Love wouldn't be ready to go until well into the season, what with the weight loss, getting the condition under control, safely adding weight, getting into conditioning, etc. Maybe the agent has an overly optimistic view of Love's health status.

27
by DenverCheeze (not verified) :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 5:44pm

*Yawn* If he can still play football then he will play for someone this year. If not, then they cut him for the right reasons. Nothing to see here...move on.

29
by JonFrum :: Thu, 05/16/2013 - 7:05pm

Most cases of Type II diabetes are blamed on obesity. If Love lost 60-80 lbs., he'd probably be fine. Do you want to deal with a DT who needs to lose a lot of weight to stay healthy? This isn't a receptionist's job we're talking about - it's a professional athlete - a 300 lb. professional athlete. If you don't think he can contribute, you cut him. If it turns out you were wrong, so be it.

Would you want your favorite team to go into the season with a roster full of Kyle Loves because they wanted to be nice to the players? The Patriots drafted a guy with cancer, after the rest of the league passed on him. They kept a guy who had a stroke and nearly died. I trust their judgement.

31
by CBPodge :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 4:53am

The Jags have claimed him on waivers. Would have been interesting to see what the Pats would done if he'd cleared waivers. Would they have put him on IR?

33
by nat :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 1:07pm

About the IR, possibly. We'll never know.

But that's good news for Love. I hope he gets healthy enough to make it worth the Jags' while. Meanwhile, the Patriots can move on to building with other players, which they might have been doing even without the health issue.

This has all been misplaced outrage. If any other team wanted Love, this was mostly harmless to him, and possibly a boon. If no one else wanted him, this was clearly the right thing for the Patriots.

The only question now is whether the Patriots will live to regret exposing Love to waiver claims. If so, this was a mildly bad decision, but not an evil one.

38
by dryheat :: Sun, 05/19/2013 - 12:41pm

It's worth noting that Jax was the only team to put in a claim on Love. Deaderick too, for that matter.

39
by nat :: Sun, 05/19/2013 - 5:02pm

They're second in line for waivers. Would we hear about other teams passing, other than KC? Once the Jaguars' claim was public, no other team would bother.

40
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Sun, 05/19/2013 - 10:31pm

As soon as a player is on waivers any team can lay a claim, you don't have to wait for the teams ahead of you to put a claim or pass in. Baltimore can put a claim in right away, same as KC. Depending on the time of year it's a 10 day or a 24 hour time frame where a player is on the wire. Claims can happen faster than that if teams indicate that they don't want to place a claim. It's fairly common to hear that several teams placed a claim even if the player is awarded to the team with the highest priority (which would be KC right now). So while it's true that KC may have passed and Jacksonville put in a claim before any other team put in a claim making any other claim pointless, it's also just as possible that 8 teams could have put in claims before JAX did but since the Jags put a claim in before the end of the time period they still got the player.

41
by Insancipitory :: Sun, 05/19/2013 - 11:17pm

NFL Labor Dispersion: A Study of Group versus Phase velocity of Waiver Claims and Subsequent Impact on Team Performance

42
by dryheat :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 8:23am

Yes. For whatever reason, the league makes public which teams put in a claim. As far as mechanics, no team would have known that Jax put in a claim until the window for all teams submitting claims has closed. Then the League lets it be known who the player will be awarded to. While it's true that maybe a team towards the end of the order wouldn't bother figuring there would be know way the player would fall to them, I think that the GMs with interest would put in a claim -- it doesn't cost anything, and sometimes the player goes unclaimed.

The other issue is that the claiming team inherits the contract, so that would put some teams off. But in this case I think it's a matter of the other GMs thinking "Wow, Belichick just waived a starter at a position of need. There's very little chance he'll contribute to us this year due to his condition.

43
by nat :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 10:20am

OK. DisplacedPackerFan and dryheat disagree on how a waiver period ends.

Does anyone have anything definitive on this? In particular...

Does the league accept and report waiver claims that are already pointless because of earlier higher priority claims? (We understand that it can accept and report claims that are later superseded. That's a different question.)

Does the league accept a "pass" from teams, thus allowing it to resolve waiver claims without waiting for the entire waiver period?

This is all quite minor. But it sheds some light on the usefulness of statements like "the Jaguars were the only team to file a claim".

44
by dryheat :: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 2:08pm

The answer to your first question is yes. Each team can blindly submit a claim to the league. The league might (probably doesn't) say "You can't get him", but they wouldn't be able to do that unless a claim is submitted.

The answer to your second question is I don't know, but I find it highly unlikely that a team will bother to notify the league that there will be no claim. Plus, a team could always change its mind, so I'm willing to bet the league waits for the clock on submitting claims to end before announcing anything...even if every team has called the league with a yes or no response.

34
by JonFrum :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 3:36pm

Appropriate, given that he's never been more than Just Another Guy.

Good luck to him.

35
by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 5:20pm

Does the non-football injury list have any effect on his qualification for benefits under the labor agreement? Does it maintain his medical insurance? Until I knew the answer to those questions, I would not be sure if the Patriots might not be actually doing him a favor.

While weight, diet, and minimal medicine are the preferred treatment, they treat overweight people for type-2 diabetes all the time. It may be that he has to establish stable control of his blood sugars, which can be a trial, before he is medically good to come back. For all we know he started with an HbA1c of 15, and a blood meter measurement of 400 mg/dl and he should not be doing football right now, but can come back.

36
by CaffeineMan :: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 7:46pm

I'm wondering about the rules for the NFI designation. Is there a list of acceptable injuries/diseases for the NFI designation? I mean, you can't use this designation for the flu, or can you? If the disease/injury has to be on an approved list, then it means there is some medical reason that affects his ability to play, right?