Patriots Rumors

Antonio Brown Notes: 9/15/19

Another day, another batch of Antonio Brown news. We learned a few days ago that the NFL would meet with Brown’s accuser, Britney Taylor, this coming week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the summit will actually take place Monday. Rapoport says the league wants to conduct the investigation as quickly as possible given that the regular season is now underway, so even if the legal side of this matter drags on for a bit, the football side of things may be resolved soon.

  • Rapoport says that another football player, currently in his first year in the league, was in the house with Taylor and Brown when one of the incidents detailed in Taylor’s lawsuit allegedly took place. As such, that as-yet-unnamed rookie will also be required to speak with league investigators.
  • Although the NFL’s meeting with Taylor could lead to a number of outcomes for Brown — including a stint on the commissioner’s exempt list, a release from the Patriots, etc. — New England is expected to feed him the ball for however long he is on the field. Rapoport notes that Brown has stayed at the team facility until 10pm or later most days during the week to catch passes from backup QB Jarrett Stidham and to continue learning the offense.
  • RapSheet also writes that Brown and Taylor had been engaged in settlement talks for months, but Taylor filed a lawsuit when the two sides could not come to a settlement agreement.
  • ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that neither Brown nor anyone on his behalf will attend the NFL’s meeting with Taylor (Twitter link). Taylor will ultimately release a statement to the media, but there will be no ETA on that statement until her meeting with the league — which may last several days — is over.
  • We knew that the Patriots were interested in Brown as soon as it became clear that the Steelers might move on from him, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that New England was prepared to part with a first-round pick and another pick or player of significance before learning that the Steelers were unwilling to deal AB to the Pats.
  • Reports on Friday suggested that neither the Patriots nor the Raiders were aware of Taylor’s allegations against Brown before the lawsuit was filed, and a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette indicates that the Steelers were not aware either.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Patriots, Randall

The Jaguars will be without several players on Sunday against the Texans, Michael DiRocco of ESPN recaps on Twitter. S Ronnie Harrison is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. CB A.J. Bouye, WR Marqise Lee, DE Yannick Ngakoue and LT Cam Robinson have all already been ruled out of the contest.

Last week, Jacksonville lost starting QB Nick Foles, who suffered a broken left clavicle in Week 1 and has been placed on injured reserve. The franchise’s collective health has put a damper on what should have been a bounceback year for the Jags. As the team carries on in Houston, let’s take a look around the AFC:

  • The Patriots worked out several players ahead of their game against the Dolphins, a source tells Nick Underhill of The Athletic (Twitter link). OT Caleb Benenoch, NT Carl Davis, DT Willie Henry, DB Josh Jones and DB Adarius Pickett worked out for New England.
  • Browns S Damarious Randall has been ruled out of Monday’s game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Randall showed up to Cleveland’s facility with a concussion and was placed in the concussion protocol.
  • A.J. Green, who injured his ankle during the Bengals‘ training camp, is out of his walking boot and feels like is he ahead of schedule in his recovery, as Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer relays. “I’m only six weeks out and I’m already walking,” Green said. “You never know what the next two weeks or three weeks are going to bring to where I can start back putting on shoes and actually running and doing some on the field stuff. You never know.”

AB Expected To Play Sunday

It sounds like Antonio Brown will indeed be playing for the Patriots tomorrow. Michael Giardi of the NFL Network tweets that the star wide receiver is making the trip to Miami.

[SOURCE LINK]

  • Following the trade request from Dolphins cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston writes that the Patriots should go after the former first-rounder. Perry notes that Fitzpatrick offers many of the skills that the Patriots seek from defensive backs, and he points to recent trades with the Jets and Bills as reasons why New England wouldn’t be afraid of trading within the division.

Patriots Worked Out S Josh Jones

The Patriots recently gave a look at a former second-rounder. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that New England recently worked out safety Josh Jones.

The NC State product was selected by the Packers late in the second round of the 2017 draft, but he struggled to establish himself in Green Bay. Jones started 12 of his 29 regular-season appearances, compiling 126 tackles, three sacks, and seven passes defended. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 70th among 93 eligible safeties last season.

He was waived with a non-football illness designation in late August, and he’s been busy with workouts over the past few weeks. The 24-year-old has had reported auditions with the Bills, Vikings and Lions.

The Patriots safety depth chart seems pretty much set, with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon leading the way. New England did re-sign safety Obi Melifonwu to their practice squad earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Will Not Place Antonio Brown On Exempt List Before Sunday

Antonio Brown will play against the Dolphins on Sunday as the NFL will not place him on the commissioner’s exempt list before the contest, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

There is no criminal investigation involving Antonio Brown and his accuser, Britney Taylor. As of this writing, it remains a civil matter and with the NFL not conducting interviews with the duo until next week, the league won’t rush to judgement. However, it remains possible that Brown could be placed on the list in the future.

As we passed along earlier today, the Patriots were not aware of the civil lawsuit when they signed Brown. Neither were the Raiders. NFL players are under no obligation to disclose civil matters to teams before they sign contracts as free agents.

The Patriots have been preparing as if Brown will suit up in Miami. It’s unclear if the wide receiver will be limited in snap counts as he only joined the team last weekend.

“Long way to go, obviously. Not familiar with our offense,” Belichick said of Brown (via Schefter in a full-length piece). “The systems he’s been in have been quite different. He’s working hard to pick it up and we’re working hard to get it to him.”

Dolphins Give Minkah Fitzpatrick Permission To Seek Trade

Minkah Fitzpatrick has received permission from the Dolphins to seek a trade, multiple sources tell Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com.

Fitzpatrick, who projected to be a cornerback/safety coming into the league, is unhappy with how the organization making him play multiple positions on defense. During training camp, Fitzpatrick’s mother tweeted that he was being used incorrectly and Fitzpatrick confirmed that he agreed with her assessment.

“She feels very strongly. She’s not wrong,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach has asked me to do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we’ll have those discussions.

“I’m not 215 pounds, 220 pounds. So playing in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what Coach is asking me to do.”

The Dolphins are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, according to Mortensen. If a deal gets done, it’ll be on Fitzpatrick’s camp to find a suitor. Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, has been in contact with several teams and Miami’s asking price appears to be high, as it involves a first-round pick.

Mortensen spoke with a personnel man from a rival team who said it would be surprising if the Dolphins netted a first-rounder for Fitzpatrick. The source was high on Fitzpatrick’s skills, though the pessimism had to do with the 22-year-old’s projected position. He told Mortensen that Fitzpatrick was an “ideal slot corner who can cover, blitz off the edge, [is] intelligent, a good tackler and a good special-teams player.” Another rival GM told Mortensen that Miami is being unrealistic about what their players will get in trades after coming away with two first-rounders in the Laremy Tunsil deal.

The former No. 11 overall pick is expected to play against the Patriots this week.

Neither Patriots Nor Raiders Were Aware Of Antonio Brown’s Civil Lawsuit

The Patriots were unaware that Antonio Brown was involved in the civil lawsuit, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports. The Raiders, who released Brown last weekend, were also not aware of the allegations.

Brown and his accuser, Britney Taylor, were in discussions about the allegations over the past few months but agreed their conversations would remain confidential until Taylor filed the civil lawsuit. Fowler writes that this is common practice in settlement talks.

Fowler hears that players are not obligated to notify teams of civil matters before signing a free agent contract. However, once a case rises to a criminal matter, then there is more onus on the player.

Taylor is scheduled to meet with the NFL next week. The league is contemplating whether or not to place Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list. Such as move would keep Brown off the field but allow him to collect his salary.

A decision isn’t expect to be made before New England’s game in Miami and the Patriots are preparing to have Brown on the field.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/12/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: DL Abdullah Anderson
  • Released: LB James Vaughters

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

  • Signed: TE Donald Parham

Marcus Cannon Undergoing Tests

  • Marcus Cannon left Sunday night’s Patriots win because of a shoulder injury and may miss time. New England’s starting right tackle underwent tests this week, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, who adds this injury is not believed to be a long-term setback. Cannon is practicing on a limited basis. Guard Joe Thuney moved to right tackle against the Steelers, but Reiss adds swing tackle Korey Cunningham may draw that assignment against the Dolphins (Twitter links). Cunningham was inactive in Week 1. The Pats just signed Marshall Newhouse as well, pointing to a possible Cannon absence in Miami.

Patriots Meet With OL Caleb Benenoch

The Patriots have made several transactions on their offensive line over the past two weeks, and they continue to explore help on this front. They visited with recently waived guard Caleb Benenoch on Thursday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Benenoch was a 16-game Buccaneers starter at right guard last season, and he played in Tampa Bay’s Week 1 game. But the Bucs waived him Monday, and no one submitted a claim. The Bucs drafted Benenoch in the 2016 fifth round.

New England traded for Russell Bodine, Jermaine Eluemunor and Korey Cunningham recently, though the defending Super Bowl champions cut Bodine. The Pats also agreed to terms with veteran tackle Marshall Newhouse on Wednesday.