Patriots Rumors

Brady To Play Until He's 47?

There’s been a lot of talk about Tom Brady‘s future this season, and whether he plans on continuing to play with the Patriots beyond 2019. Set to be a free agent after this season, there have been rumors Brady could wind up with a different team. A recent Adam Schefter report indicated retirement was also an option, although that would be at odds with Brady’s stated desire to play until he’s 45. According to his longtime friend and personal trainer Alex Guerrero, he could go well beyond that. Guerrero made a recent radio appearance on WEEI, and made it sound like Brady doesn’t plan on stepping away anytime soon.

“No one thought you could play at the elite level in your late 30s, early 40s. That is something we always felt we could do. I have really wanted to be there to help him accomplish that goal. I certainly do believe that 45 is a very realistic goal,” Guerrero said. “We talk about it all the time. Every year he just adds another year. He goes in and he’s like, ‘Guys, I feel so good still. I think I am going to go till 45.’ I am like, ‘OK.’ Now he’s like, ‘Alex, I think I can go like 46 or 47.’” If Brady does really want to go all the way to 47, that means we could have another five years of the legendary Patriots signal-caller. Guerrero is one of Brady’s closest confidants, and he’s certainly in the know. During the interview, he also emphatically denied reports of tension between himself and the organization.

AFC East Notes: Gronkowski, Darnold, Folk, Dolphins

It’s no secret that the Patriots have been searching for a weapon to replace the production they received from now retired tight end Rob Gronkowski. Wide receivers Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown both looked like solutions at various points earlier in the season, but neither remain on New England’s roster. However, it appears the team’s owner Robert Kraft still hopes to get Gronkowski back on the field.

When Gronkowski was cleaning out his locker after announcing his retirement in March, Kraft told him the team would remain hopeful that he would return late in the season for another playoff run, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. While it has been known that the organization hoped Gronkowski would change his mind, no one had reported Kraft’s involvement.

Rapoport notes in his story that, according to sources, Gronkowski remains content with his decision, but if he wants to return this season he has to decide soon. The deadline for retired players to return during the season and play is November 30. New England will obviously plan ahead without him, but they surely will be hoping for a change of heart.

Here more from around the AFC East:

  • Kicker Nick Folk has meshed into the Patriots locker room well, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Folk already knew the man he replaced, Stephen Gostkowski, and offensive lineman Joe Thuney and Ted Karras. All four had been enrolled in some of the same classes as they worked toward master’s degrees in past offseasons. Folk was signed after Gostkowski suffered a torn labrum in his left hip. Reiss also notes that Folk suffered the same injury in 2009 and could offer Gostkowski valuable insight during his recovery.
  • Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is “taking charge” in the locker room, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. After Darnold’s poor performances against both the Jaguars and Patriots, he has become more assertive in meetings with the coaching staff. Cimini reports that Darnold had previously been very deferential to head coach Adam Gase, but now offers feedback and his own opinion more readily.
  • NFL draft experts and scouts were watching this weeks game between LSU and Alabama closely. The Dolphins sent an especially large contingent, which included two scouts and general manager Chris Grier, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Miami has long been tied to Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa through the #Tank4Tua trend. However, even if Miami does have the top pick in the draft, some experts are beginning to place LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow above Tagovailoa. It appears Miami’s top brass got an up-close look at both players on Saturday.

Patriots Notes: Sanu, Gostkowski, Roberts

Mohamed Sanu joined the Patriots in late October, but the veteran receiver believed he was going to land with the organization much earlier. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes, the Rutgers product expected to be drafted by New England during the 2012 draft, and he later opted for a lucrative payday from the Falcons when he hit free agency in 2016. Now, during his ninth year in the NFL, he’s finally on the Patriots.

Sanu had a standout game for the Patriots during last night’s loss, hauling in 10 receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown.

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  • Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski underwent successful hip surgery and was back at the team’s facilities last week. Meanwhile, it was revealed that third-round offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste will likely miss the entire season as he recovers from quadriceps surgery. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia told reporters (including ESPN’s Mike Reiss) that the rookie would likely have a redshirt season: “That’s probably a pretty good way of approaching or saying it. He’s probably not ready to do anything and probably won’t be until next year. That’s the way I see it.”
  • Elandon Roberts has had to fill in at fullback for the Patriots following injuries to James Develin and Jakob Johnson. However, the linebacker isn’t planning on making a permanent position change; Reiss writes that Roberts is still a “full-time participant in defensive and linebacker meetings.” While the 25-year-old indicated that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, he views the fullback position as an “extra” priority.

Andy Dalton Eager To Be Traded In 2020

The fact that the Bengals decided to bench quarterback Andy Dalton right before last Tuesday’s trade deadline did not give Dalton’s agent enough time to find a trade partner, so the Red Rifle will remain with Cincinnati through the 2019 campaign and will serve as rookie Ryan Finley‘s clipboard holder.

Dalton expressed his disappointment with the team’s decision to demote him, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says the 32-year-old signal-caller is eager to be traded this offseason. 2020 is the last year of Dalton’s current contract — and Cincinnati can cut him without incurring any dead money penalties — but his $17.5MM salary next year is relatively palatable, and a number of QB-needy clubs could be interested in sending some draft capital to the Bengals to secure Dalton’s services.

Several GMs that La Canfora spoke with named the Buccaneers as a potential landing spot for Dalton. Indeed, Tampa Bay has plenty of talent at wide receiver and tight end and a strong enough O-line, and Dalton has proven that he can be successful with a solid grouping of talent around him. Plus, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is not likely going to want to rebuild with a rookie QB, and trading for Dalton is looking like a better option than re-signing Jameis Winston at the moment.

The Titans and Bears may also be interested in Dalton, and depending on what Tom Brady and Philip Rivers decide to do, the Patriots and Chargers could end up as potential suitors as well. La Canfora’s sources say the Bengals should be able to net a 2020 second-round pick in exchange for their 2011 second-rounder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Activate WR N’Keal Harry

The Patriots constantly-changing receiver corps will be adding an intriguing weapon. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that New England has activated rookie N’Keal Harry off the injured reserve.

The first-round rookie started practicing with the Patriots in mid-October, meaning they had until this afternoon to add him to their active roster. The Arizona State product was relatively quiet during the preseason, hauling in only a pair of catches for 36 yards. He later landed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

Back in September, it was uncertain if Harry would even play during his rookie year, as the team was rostering the likes of Julian Edelman, Antonio Brown, and Josh Gordon. Now, the team’s receiving depth chart is led by Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, and the recently-acquired Mohamed Sanu. While the rookie is unlikely to unseat any of those three, he’ll at the very least provide Tom Brady with another tall (6-foot-4) red-zone target.

Harry was a standout during his three years at Arizona State, including a 2018 campaign where he hauled in 73 receptions for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns. He ended up being selected by New England with the 32nd-overall pick, making him the second wideout off the board (behind Ravens draft pick Marquise Brown). He was also the first receiver to be taken in the first round during Bill Belichick‘s tenure with the organization.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Claim Josh Gordon

The Seahawks have claimed Josh Gordon off waivers from the Patriots. With that, they’ve added one of the game’s most lethal wide receivers for the home stretch of the 2019 season.

Things have never been simple or straightforward for the simultaneously kind-hearted, troubled, and immensely talented Gordon. This year was no exception.

Gordon had his highs, including six catches for 83 yards in a September blowout of the Jets. Then, unfortunately, came the lows. Late last month, the Patriots placed Gordon on injured reserve due to left knee and ankle trouble. The Pats felt that Gordon would not be able to play again this season. Gordon, meanwhile, says he’ll be ready to play sometime next week or the week after. The disagreement led to divorce, but the Patriots refused to let him go until after Tuesday’s trade deadline, when he would be subject to waivers and, in theory, kept away from contenders.

So much for that. The Seahawks, with a 6-2 record and No. 28 priority in the NFL’s waiver queue, landed Gordon, must to the surprise and delight of head coach Pete Carroll. Quarterback Russell Wilson is elated too – he suddenly has another playmaker to help stretch the field and give fits to opposing defenses.

Gordon, 28, tallied 20 catches for 287 yards and one touchdown in six games this year. At times, he flashed (get it?) the ability that propelled him to an absurd 87/1,646/9 stat line in 2013, a campaign that resulted in Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro nods.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Josh Gordon

The Patriots waited until Thursday afternoon to release Josh Gordon from injured reserve, and that was a deliberate move, as Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. After the trade deadline, all released players are subject to the waiver wire, regardless of their service time. That means that Gordon, one of the most skilled wide receivers in the NFL, wouldn’t get anywhere near the league’s contenders. 

It’s possible that Gordon could go unclaimed on the waiver wire, allowing him to sign with AFC contenders like the Ravens, but that seems unlikely at the moment. As Breer notes, if Gordon walks from a team as an unrestricted free agent in March, that club could receive a compensatory draft pick for virtually nothing. The Dolphins, for example, have paid over $10MM for additional fourth, fifth, and sixth-round picks, so a late draft pick at the cost of $1MM in remaining salary to Gordon would be a relative bargain.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the current Top 10 waiver priority in the NFL:

1. Dolphins: 0-7
2. Bengals: 0-8
3. Redskins: 1-7
4. Falcons: 1-7
5. Jets: 1-6
6. Giants: 2-6
7. Broncos: 2-6
8. Buccaneers: 2-6
9. Browns: 2-5
10. Chargers: 3-5

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Release Josh Gordon

The Patriots are releasing Josh Gordon from injured reserve, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Patriots feel that Gordon will not be healthy enough to play this season, but the wide receiver believes otherwise, so this move will give him the opportunity to hook on elsewhere. 

In Gordon’s estimation, he’ll be good to go sometime next week, or the week after. Because the move comes after Oct. 29, Gordon will be subject to the waiver wire. The league’s 31 other teams will have a crack at Gordon, and his contract, before he’s potentially able to hit the open market. Waiver priority, meanwhile, is determined by 2019 records.

By not releasing Gordon now, the Patriots may be banking on the talented pass catcher being claimed by a struggling team rather than one the defending Super Bowl champions will be competing with for this year’s title. Waiver priority is now sorted by teams’ 2019 records. The 0-8 Bengals will get the first shot at Flash, followed by the 0-7 Dolphins, and so on.

The former Browns All-Pro is dealing with two knee contusions, but his off-the-field trouble represents his biggest red flag for teams. On the other hand – he’s supremely talented and his contract has just $2MM salary attached.

So far this year, Gordon has 20 receptions for 287 yards and a touchdown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/30/19

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle:

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

  • P Austin Barnard

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

Patriots’ Isaiah Wynn Returns To Practice

Patriots tackle Isaiah Wynn returned to practice on Wednesday, meaning that he is now designated for return from injured reserve. It’s big news for a team that boasts a perfect record, but also has some room for improvement up front. 

Wynn takes the second and final allotted Pats IR-DTR spot, meaning that the season is officially over for Josh Gordon and the rest of the Patriots’ players on injured reserve. The Patriots reportedly had no designs on bringing Gordon back this season, but the wide receiver insists that he’ll be healthy and ready to play before the year is through. Ultimately, this will probably result in Gordon’s release, with the chance that he could hook on with a different club in 2019. In case you missed it: The first IR-DTR slot was used to bring back wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

Wynn, a Pats 2018 first-round pick, left the team’s Week 2 shutout in Miami due to turf toe and was placed on IR soon afterwards. He’ll get nothing but hand-pounds and hugs now that he’s back on the practice field – the Pats have missed him, especially in a season being spent without center David Andrews.

In other Pats injury news – tight end Matt LaCosse (knee) was also back at practice on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.