- The other quarterback mentioned as a first-round possibility, Daniel Jones has intrigued the Patriots, per JLC. New England holds pick No. 32 but has a draft-high 12 picks (including six in the first three rounds) and has plenty of ammo to move up. The Pats hosted Jones on a visit last week. New England has not taken a first-round quarterback since Drew Bledsoe 26 years ago, but NFL.com’s Gil Brandt would not be surprised if this happened (Twitter link).
Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.
Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:
- Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
- The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
- Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
- The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.
Although prosecutors are planning to release video of Patriots owner Robert Kraft soliciting sexual acts at a Florida spa, Kraft and his legal team are attempting to stop the publication. Kraft filed a motion to block release of the video, and the judge overseeing the case has indicated the state may not disseminate the video until after a hearing occurs, as T.J. Quinn of ESPN tweets. The women who allegedly own the spa in question also filed a motion to stop the release, and a judge will hear their case on April 29, according to the Boston Globe, meaning the video won’t be issued until then at the earliest.
- Earlier today, we learned Demaryius Thomas‘ one-year deal with the Patriots contains a $150K signing bonus and a $1.2MM base salary, and now Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link) has provided more details on the veteran receiver’s pact. Thomas can collect a $150K reporting bonus and a total of $1.406MM in per-game roster bonuses. Additionally, Thomas can also earn $750K for reaching each of the following incentives: 60 catches, 800 yards, 1,000 yards, and 1,200 yards. Clearly, Thomas isn’t a lock to make New England’s roster, but he can bring in up to $6MM by posting an excellent campaign.
Demaryius Thomas‘ deal with the Patriots includes a $150K signing bonus and a modest base salary of $1.2MM, a source tells ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The wide receiver will have the chance to earn more through incentives/bonuses, however, bringing his cap number to $2.9MM. Reportedly, Thomas can earn all the way up to $6MM if he checks all the boxes.
The low guarantee and base pay of Thomas’ deal suggests that he’s not quite a lock to make the final roster. This makes sense given Thomas’ lack of serious production in recent years and the Patriots’ tendency to jockey playmakers in the late stages of the offseason.
For now, Thomas will focus on recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in December. The hope is that Thomas will be ready for training camp, but nothing is certain just yet.
Here’s more out of New England:
- Brace yourself. Prosecutors say they’re planning to release video of Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the Florida day spa (via John R. Ellement of the Boston Globe). Kraft’s attorneys have asked a judge to issue a protective order blocking the public release of the videos, but there has been pushback from prosecutors as well as media outlets seeking access to the footage. Ultimately, the release of the video could increase the likelihood of NFL discipline for the billionaire owner.
- Tom Brady did not report for the start of the Patriots’ voluntary workouts. When he does report this summer, we may see a more swole version of the quarterback than in years past.
The Patriots began their their sixth offseason program as a defending Super Bowl champion team on Monday, but the player most associated with those titles was not with them. Tom Brady was not present when the Patriots opened their 2019 workouts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This is not a surprise, with the 41-year-old quarterback’s plan of staying away until the Pats’ June minicamp again appearing to be in place. Brady set his schedule this way last year. However, Brady might have made one tweak to his offseason regimen. He may report to the Patriots a bit bigger than he did a year ago, with Rapoport adding the 20th-year veteran might be planning to put on some weight this offseason. Brady’s weight has rarely come up during his legendary run. The well-known fitness buff is listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.
The Patriots are signing longtime Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the Broncos head coach when the team drafted Thomas in the first round in 2010, and there’s a belief in New England that Thomas can turn back the clock.
It’s a one-year deal worth up to $6MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. While this is obviously a steep pay cut from Thomas’ previous five-year, $70MM deal, the 31-year-old wideout will have a chance to rebound after a down season — one that ended with his Achilles tear.
The Pats reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Thomas from Denver before he was dealt to Houston last year. Months later, he arrives in New England at a time when they need offensive help following the loss of Rob Gronkowski, Cordarrelle Patterson, Chris Hogan, and the uncertain status of Josh Gordon.
Thomas gives the Patriots another option on their wide receiver depth chart, but he’s certainly not the threat he once was. While splitting time between Denver and Houston in 2018, Thomas posted only 59 receptions for 677 yards, his lowest totals since 2011 (before he was a full-time starter). It’s also worth noting that Thomas tore his Achilles in December and it’s not clear when he’ll be able to return to the field.
It is possible Thomas will be ready for training camp, with NFL.com’s James Palmer tweeting the veteran talent is expected to be back sooner than people anticipate.
Although Thomas was not as productive last season, he will be moving to a system in which he has some experience (albeit many years ago) and with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady. A younger Thomas thrived with Peyton Manning, making the Pro Bowl from 2012-14 and surpassing 1,300 yards during Manning’s less effective final season. Despite being the No. 1 target in Trevor Siemian– and Brock Osweiler-led offenses in 2016-17, Thomas still surpassed 900 yards in each. He made the Pro Bowl in 2016 as well.
It’s worth noting the Patriots ended up cutting ties with several veteran receivers before the start of last season — from Kenny Britt, to Jordan Matthews, to former Thomas wing man Eric Decker — so it cannot be considered a lock the 10th-year veteran will be with the 2019 Pats. But they are in greater need of aerial weaponry this offseason, and Thomas has been a better receiver than the players who were cut last year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Giants will host Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins on a top 30 visit on Monday and Tuesday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After the G-Men brought out the big guns for Haskins’ Pro Day, chatter is building about the Giants possibly targeting the signal caller with the No. 6 overall pick.
Fully expected to become a top-10 pick, Haskins also met with the Broncos (No. 10) and the Redskins (No. 15) last week. The Giants appear to be well in range, but teams tend to move up and reach for stud QBs. The Giants also have the firepower necessary to move up for Oklahoma star Kyler Murray, but they may prefer to spread the wealth and address other areas instead, including the pass rush.
Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:
- Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf visited the Ravens on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Metcalf could give them a much-needed shot in the arm at WR, but it’s not a given that he’ll be available when they’re called to the podium at No. 22. For now, their WR consists of new addition Seth Roberts, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, and 2018 draft picks Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott.
- Speaking of the Ravens‘ WR need, they’ll host Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown on Monday, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). This year, the Ravens are set to pick at No. 22 overall with no picks in the second round due to last year’s Lamar Jackson trade.
- More from Rapoport, who notes that Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell is visiting with the Bengals. Campbell is a very unlikely target for Cincinnati at No. 11 overall, but he could be a candidate for their second-round choice at No. 42. Last year, Campbell broke out with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.
- Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary will huddle up with the Seahawks and Raiders this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.
- Arizona State wide receiver will meet with the N’Keal Harry 49ers on Monday before traveling to the Seahawks, Pelissero hears. Projections for Harry are all over the board, but he appears to be a late-first to early-second round type.
- Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit the Seahawks on Monday and the Falcons on Tuesday, Schefter hears (Twitter link). The Falcons’ No. 14 pick would probably be a bit high for McGary, who projects as a right tackle at the next level, but a trade-down scenario could bring him to Atlanta.
- The Patriots have done “extra pre-draft” work on Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, both of whom visited recently (Twitter link via Pelissero).
- Versatile Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford spent Friday visiting with the Bengals, who pick No. 11 (Twitter link via Rapoport). Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line.
Jones becomes one of several second-round RFAs to ink his tender today, joining Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, Colts receiver Chester Rogers, and Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Rival clubs could have signed Jones to an offer sheet and sacrificed a second-round pick in order to land him, but Jones will instead sign his tender on the day New England begins its offseason workout program.
A former undrafted free agent, Jones hasn’t missed a single game during his three-year run with the Patriots. Over the past two seasons, he’s contributed on defense, playing between 40% and 50% of New England’s defensive plays in each year. Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the No. 73 cornerback among 112 qualifiers, while Football Outsiders charted him as below average in both yards per pass and success rate.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Mike Reiss of ESPN.com sees some similarities between the end of Chris Hogan‘s tenure with the Patriots in 2019 and the end of Wes Welker‘s relationship with the club in 2013. In both cases, Reiss says that the team tried to hammer out extensions well before the players hit free agency, but the financial gap ended up being too wide to bridge. In Hogan’s case, the two sides were indeed working on an extension back in August, and even though Hogan landed a fairly modest deal with the Panthers that New England could have easily matched — and, some would say, should have matched considering the team’s WR situation — Reiss says player and team viewed a fresh start as the best approach.
- Last August, the Patriots traded safety Jordan Richards to the Falcons for a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick. In the same piece linked above, Reiss reports that Richards was on Atlanta’s game-day roster enough times to satisfy the conditions of the swap — indeed, he ended up starting 12 games for the Falcons — so New England will get a 2020 seventh-rounder from the Falcons.
A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:
- Stephen Gostkowski, K (Patriots): Two years, $8.5MM (original story). $4.25MM each year, with cap numbers of $3.05MM (2019) and $5.45MM (2020). Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Patriots): One year. Worth $895K, only guarantee via $50K signing bonus. Veteran minimum salary of $805K with $40K in per-game roster bonuses. Cap number of $707K. Twitter link via Volin.
- Patrick Chung, S (Patriots): One-year extension. New “three-year” contract worth $12.9MM, with $6MM in new money. $4MM signing bonus. New 2019 cap number increases to $4.48MM. Twitter link via Albert Breer of TheMMQB and ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
- Ty Montgomery, WR/RB (Jets): One year. Minimum deal with $90K signing bonus/roster bonus. Twitter link via Manish Mehta of NYDN.