Patriots Rumors

Hamstring Issue Still Affecting Kenny Britt

  • Kenny Britt is still dealing with the hamstring injury he suffered during Patriots minicamp. The veteran wideout has not participated in 11-on-11 drills since that setback, Doug Kyed of NESN.com notes. The Pats removed Britt from the PUP list two weeks ago, and the soon-to-be 30-year-old receiver said he’s feeling OK presently. He declined to predict whether or not he’ll be ready for Week 1. The Patriots signed Britt late last season and picked up his 2018 option in March, but considering how poorly he played with the Browns and his injury status, it wouldn’t be a shock if he’s not on the roster by September. The Pats have endured a turbulent offseason at this position, cutting both Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell, signing Eric Decker and seeing Julian Edelman incur a four-game PED suspension.

Patriots Notes: Brady, Bridgewater, Punters

  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe wonders if Tom Brady‘s reworked deal with the Patriots was actually done with TE Rob Gronkowski in mind. After all, Brady’s deal only added $5MM in incentives and did not come with a big signing bonus or any additional years, so perhaps New England wanted to be able to tell Gronk — who wants a pay raise in the form of guaranteed money, not incentives — “we didn’t give Brady any extra guaranteed money, and we’re not going to do it for you, either.”
  • In the same piece, Volin says he would not be surprised if the Patriots pursue Bridgewater next offseason (when he will be a free agent), or if they look to bring back Jacoby Brissett via trade in 2019 (assuming Andrew Luck proves he can stay healthy in 2018, which would make the Colts more inclined to deal Brissett). New England doesn’t have a young quarterback on its roster aside from seventh-round rookie Danny Etling, who is viewed as a practice-squad player at best.
  • The Patriots haven’t used undrafted rookie punter Corey Bojorquez during their first two preseason games, and that could be because New England hopes to eventually sneak him through waivers and onto its practice squad, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Veteran Ryan Allen is the Patriots’ likely punter in 2018, but he ranked just 18th in net punting average a season ago. By keeping Bojorquez off game tape, New England isn’t allowing rival clubs to get a look at a potentially talented played.

Patriots’ Isaiah Wynn Done For Season

Patriots’ first-round pick Isaiah Wynn tore his Achilles in Thursday’s preseason game against the Eagles, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Patriots will be forced to place the offensive lineman on season-ending IR. 

Wynn was pushing for a starting job on the Patriots’ offensive line and, at worst, he was in line for a pivotal rotational job. Now, without the versatile tackle/guard, it appears that the front five is more or less set. The Pats project to start Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Marcus Cannon up front with veterans such as LaAdrian Waddle and Brian Schwenke among those pushing for reserve roles. Meanwhile, the injury will improve the odds of another lineman making the final cut, and that could be good news for Ulrich John, Matt Tobin, and Cole Croston.

The Patriots are fortunate to have depth up front, but this is still a tough blow for the offensive line. The Pats pounced on Wynn at No. 23 overall this year because of his technically-sound blocking, above-average athleticism, and ability to play multiple positions. Now, they’ll have to wait until 2019 to see what the Georgia product can do.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots, Chris Hogan Discussing Extension

Chris Hogan and the Patriots have had negotiations regarding a contract extension, but the two sides still have a bridge to gap, a source tells Jeff Howe of The Athletic (on Twitter). Howe also notes that it is early in the process, so it’s possible that a deal can come together in the next few weeks. 

The wide receiver market has exploded for wide receivers, including No. 2 wide receivers, so it’s not surprising to hear that the two sides have some work to do. Hogan’s camp may view $8MM/year as a target for a receiver of his caliber, but the Patriots are probably reluctant to pay him more than their top receiver, Julian Edelman. Howe suggests that the Patriots could push Hogan to prove his worth by playing without the aid of Edelman in September.

For now, Hogan is slated to enter the final year of his three-year $12MM deal with the Patriots. Given his production and his increased importance in the offense after Danny Amendola‘s departure, he should be in line for a big pay bump.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tom Brady Sidesteps Retirement Question

  • Asked about his previously hinted desire to play until he’s 45 years old, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady mostly deflected, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. “You know, I think you always have short-term goals and long-term goals and this year’s the one I’m focused on and obviously I want to play for a long time so I’ve said that for a while,” Brady said. “Feel like I’m a broken record. You know, it’s really this year is the focus and this team. This team needs a great quarterback and you know, hopefully I can go out and be that.”

Opinion: Decker Won't Make Patriots' Roster

Jason McCourty Could Be Cut

  • The Patriots may have traded for cornerback Jason McCourty back in March, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to make the team. McCourty is on the “roster bubble” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, who writes that New England currently has a logjam at corner. Reiss thinks McCourty’s lack of special teams contributions could cost him the opportunity to suit up on the same team as his twin brother Devin McCourty, a safety for the Patriots.

Trent Brown Favorite To Start At LT; More On Tom Brady's Contract

  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • Trent Brown, whom the Patriots acquired via trade with the 49ers earlier this offseason, is the favorite to replace Nate Solder as New England’s starting left tackle, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Brown is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year, so he will have plenty of incentive to perform at a high level.

More Details On Brady's Revised Contract

  • ESPN’s Field Yates has even more details on Tom Brady‘s revised contract (Twitter links). The Patriots quarterback had $10MM of his $14MM base salary converted into a signing bonus, which means he’ll get that chunk of cash now instead of spread out over 17 weeks. His 2018 cap number will not increase (allowing the Patriots to maintain cap flexibility), but his 2019 cap hit has increased from $5MM to $27MM. If Brady decided to keep playing in 2019, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says the team would presumably sign their franchise quarterback to a new deal, thus pushing some of that money to 2020.
  • Meanwhile, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe believes the revised contract is an indication that Brady intends to keep playing in 2019 (Twitter link). While his 2019 dead cap number was previously $7MM, that’s since been boosted to $12MM. If the Patriots weren’t confident that their quarterback was going to stick around the NFL, there wouldn’t have been much of an incentive for the salary-to-bonus conversion.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Latest On Tom Brady’s Revised Deal

Although the Patriots have Tom Brady at a bargain price, this week’s incentive-laden agreement will make the future Hall of Fame passer remain on the NFL’s elite level to see any pay bumps.

The team agreed to a $5MM incentive package with its superstar quarterback Thursday, which could — if certain statistical thresholds are met — increase his 2018 base salary to $20MM. But he’ll have to stay at or very close to his current performance level to collect the extra cash, and that isn’t exactly common for 41-year-old passers.

Despite Brady’s status as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, he will need to finish in the top five of the following categories to earn these additional millions — passing yards, touchdown passes, passer rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage — to meet these incentive requirements, Albert Breer of SI.com reports (on Twitter).

Brady will receive $1MM for each incentive met, but Breer adds he can take a shortcut here by leading the Pats to another Super Bowl championship. A Super Bowl title would bring a $2MM bump, but it wouldn’t be $2MM on top of $5MM. The package maxes out at $5MM regardless, but a Super Bowl title would just allow Brady to earn the $5MM by hitting three of the regular-season-based incentives rather than five (Twitter link). He must throw a minimum of 224 passes or play 70 percent of the Patriots’ regular-season snaps to qualify.

This bonus package differs from the one New England gave Rob Gronkowski last season. Gronkowski had to meet certain numbers to kick in the incentives, rather than be among the best in the game. However, the Patriots also allowed for their tight end to max out the bonuses based on a first-team All-Pro appearance, which he did.

Brady indeed finished in the top five of these categories in 2017, but in 2015 — his most recent full season — his work in some of these categories would have left him short of these benchmarks. It’s interesting the Patriots would place the incentives on the level they have, given Brady’s low salary for a franchise quarterback and his contributions to the franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.