Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes has not been a participant at Patriots OTAs this spring, but it isn’t because he’s unhappy with his contract for the 2013 season.
It’s because he wants to set himself up for a bigger contract for the 2014 season. Spikes is in the final year of his contract and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that he is training in Florida in hopes of proving to the league that he can be a three-down linebacker.
Spikes has been viewed as a top run-stopper during his pro career, but hasn’t drawn too much praise for other aspects of his game. Pete Bommarito, Spikes’ trainer, explained the kind of work they’re doing to put Spikes in position to be seen differently just in time for teams to bid on him as a free agent.
“It’s basically strength and conditioning work,” Bommarito said. “Just speed work, conditioning, that kind of stuff that we know he responds to. Just trying to basically build and work on overall athleticism. With him, it’s not really anything that’s truly position-specific or sport-specific. The majority of it is just speed, overall joint alignment, making sure he’s as healthy as possible, as lean as possible and as strong as possible.”
It can be tough to shed labels earned over several years, especially when you play on a defense like the one in New England. There are a slew of different players with different skills vying for roles in the Patriots’ front seven and chances are that the team is going to mix and match personnel based on different situations. Spikes will certainly be part of that mix, but a three-down role may not be there for the taking.