Patriots Rumors

OL Trent Brown Wants To Stick With Patriots

Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown will soon be hitting free agency, but the 25-year-old sounds like he’s focused on staying in New England. Brown told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he’s seeking some “longevity” and a “great fit schematically,” and he specifically pointed to the Patriots.

The six-foot-eight lineman has a solid season with the Patriots in 2018. After being acquired from the 49ers, Brown proceeded in start all 16 games for New England en route to a Super Bowl championship. Pro Football Focus was bullish on his performance, ranking him 32nd among 80 eligible linemen.

However, considering Brown’s performance, many thought the lineman may leave New England for a lucrative payday. In that scenario, the Patriots would presumably lean on 2018 first-round Isaiah Wynn, who missed his entire rookie campaign after having torn his Achilles during the preseason.

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  • The Dolphins have hired Mike Judge as their new defensive quality control coach, according to agent Paul Sheehy’s Twitter. The former Patriots intern has spent the past 11 years as Navy’s fullback coach. The team compiled a 84-47 during his tenure.

Rob Gronkowski Decision Expected In Next Several Weeks

One of the biggest storylines of the offseason is whether Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will call it a career or if he will rejoin the defending champs for at least one more season. He said in the aftermath of Super Bowl LIII that he would make his decision in a week or two, but we are now more than two weeks removed from the Super Bowl, and we still don’t have an answer.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, though, said Gronk will decide soon. Rosenhaus said, “He’s thinking it through, he’s giving it a lot of thought… I imagine a decision will happen in the next couple of weeks” (Twitter link via ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates).

Of course, it makes sense for anyone to take their time when making a decision of this magnitude, but the delay could also suggest that recent events have changed Gronkowski’s thought process. A report back in January suggested that he was leaning towards retirement, which came on the heels of a separate report at the end of December indicating that Gronk had grown tired of the “Patriot Way.”

But winning cures a lot of ills, and there figures to be much less drama in Foxborough in 2019 than there was last year. Just two days ago, we heard that Gronkowski is spending plenty of time at Gillette Stadium these days, and that his feeling towards the Pats are very positive at the moment. Plus, quarterback Tom Brady will be back in 2019, and Gronkowski was able to finish the 2018 campaign healthy, both of which are primary factors in his decision.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Gronk, Slater, Jones

The Patriots will end up getting a 2019 seventh-round pick out of the Josh Gordon trade, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. It was initially reported that New England sent a fifth-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Gordon, and that a seventh-rounder would be coming back to the Pats if Gordon was unable to play 10 games with the club in 2018. Although Gordon ended up playing 11 games for New England before being suspended again, Reiss says the 10-game condition was lifted and that the Patriots will get the 29th pick in the seventh round.

Now for more news and notes from the Super Bowl champs:

  • Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been at Gillette Stadium multiple times over the last couple of weeks, and while he may only be there to continue treatment on his thigh, Reiss believes Gronk’s presence is reflective of the good relationship between him and the team at the moment and of Gronkowski’s overall positive feelings towards the Patriots. Although he may still retire, his current state of mind is good news for Pats fans who would like to see him back in 2019.
  • Matthew Slater is due a $400K roster bonus on March 13, and assuming he is still on the roster at that point, the team’s 2019 option — which calls for a $1.6MM base salary — will be automatically exercised. Reiss believes that is a reasonable price for a special teams ace like Slater, and that the 33-year-old will be back in Foxborough next season.
  • Reiss also believes tight end Dwayne Allen could be back, as the team admires his professionalism and work ethic, but he will obviously need to accept a pay cut; he is due a $6.4MM base salary in 2019.
  • Cornerback Jonathan Jones proved his value to the Patriots in this year’s playoffs, and he is eligible for restricted free agency in March. As Reiss observes, the Patriots could tender him at the second-round level, which would entitle him to a salary of $3.1MM, or at the low level, which calls for a $2MM salary. But if they go with the latter option, they risk losing Jones without getting any draft compensation in return, so Reiss suggests that the two sides could explore a long-term deal before free agency opens.
  • Zack Cox of NESN.com believes LT Trent Brown will get a contract on the free agent market that the Patriots cannot compete with, and that the team will need to turn to 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn to replace him. Wynn, of course, missed his entire rookie campaign due to a torn Achilles he suffered last preseason.
  • Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels received only tepid interest on the head coaching market this year, but Ben Volin of the Boston Globe says McDaniels’ excellent work in engineering the Patriots’ Super Bowl run will put him firmly back on the HC radar in 2020.
  • The Patriots have once again surfaced as a potential home for Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick Lawyer Predicts A Team Will Sign QB Soon

After reaching a settlement with the NFL on his collusion case earlier this week, Colin Kaepernick could be nearing a return to the league, his lawyer Mark Geragos said in an interview on CNN, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Reports tweets

“I think you’re going to see within the next two weeks someone is going to step up.”

In addition to making that statement, he mentioned that three teams could have interest, namely the Panthers. Whether he is speaking from knowledge of the situation, which he obviously has, or just making the claim, is unknown at this moment.

The Panthers are a natural landing spot for the former 49ers quarterback, who possesses a similar skill set to Cam Newton and would be playing for a team that just gave Eric Reid a three-year contract. Reid, of course, was a part of the same collusion case against the NFL.

In the past, Geragos has also mentioned the Patriots as a potential landing spot. Of course, any team that does sign the polarizing figure could withstand a backlash from a section of fans who do not agree with Kaepernick’s protest. If any team could do it, it would be the Patriots.

Again, as far as fits go, the Panthers would make the most sense. The offense wouldn’t have to change if Newton, who has been dealing with nagging injuries over the last year, has to leave the game. The mobile Kaepernick obviously boasts a different skill set than the statuesque Tom Brady. Also, in recent years New England has opted for a traditional pocket passer as its backup like Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer rather than a dual-threat.

Recently, it was reported the quarterback was contacted by the upstart AAF about a potential gig but he decided not to sign with the league.

We will see in the coming days if there is anything to Geragos’ comments or if it is just conjecture.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Hire Assistant Offensive Line Coach

  • The Lions aren’t the only team who made an assistant coaching change. The Patriots are hiring Youngstown State offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo to be their new assistant offensive line coach, according to Brian Dzenis of The Vindicate. Dzenis writes that Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini earlier this week, and Belichick has some connections to the area.

What A Potential Tom Brady Extension Could Look Like

  • Tom Brady has famously taken somewhat of a discount on his contracts to help the Patriots build winning teams around him, and he’s in line for another new contract soon. The 41-year-old plans to keep playing until he’s 45, and is heading into the final year of his current deal in 2019. Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry took a look at what an extension for Brady might look like, and what type of discount he might be willing to take this time around. Corry writes that it’s “extremely unlikely Brady will exploit his leverage” in negotiations, and that it’s only a “matter of how big of a discount he’ll give the Patriots.”
  • Speaking of the AFC East, two of the Patriots’ longtime rivals will be in position to make some major moves this offseason if they want to. The Bills “top the list of expected spenders with what should be close to $89 million to spend on free agents” this offseason, while the Jets are in second place “with about $88 million”, writes cap expert Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com. The Jets and general manager Mike Maccagnan haven’t been shy about their desire to make a splash in free agency, while Buffalo will likely be much more conservative. New York has been frequently mentioned as a potential landing spot for Le’Veon Bell, and it’ll be very interesting to see what they do with all that money.

NFLPA Paying For Josh Gordon's Rehab

One team that may want Brown may not be able to acquire him, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting the Steelers will not trade him to the Patriots in addition to having a predictable stance on an intra-AFC North trade.

  • With several free agents at wide receiver, the Patriots‘ pass-catching corps is likely to look considerably different next season. However, if Josh Gordon is somehow reinstated, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe expects the RFA to be back in New England (Twitter link). But the Patriots obviously cannot count on that happening. Additionally, the Patriots are not, in fact, paying for Gordon’s rehab. The NFLPA is doing so, Volin adds.

Patriots Re-Sign Brian Schwenke

The Patriots have re-signed center/guard Brian Schwenke, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The new one-year deal will pay $895K and should keep him with the defending champs in 2019. 

Schwenke, 28 in March, spent his entire career with the Titans until he hooked on with the Pats last summer. His first season in New England, unfortunately, did not go as planned. Schwenke was active for just three games and played in just four offensive snaps before a foot injury landed him on IR in November.

Before signing with the Pats as a free agent, Schwenke appeared in 60 games for the Titans with 30 starts. He’s no longer an NFL starter, but the new deal will give him an opportunity to support interior starters Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason.

Given Schwenke’s injury history and the timing of the deal, it’s unlikely that there’s much in the way of guarantees. He’ll have to prove his health over the next several months in order to secure his spot on the Patriots for Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Expected To Hire Mick Lombardi

  • While the Rams are hiring their defensive coordinator’s son, the Patriots are expected to add the son of former executive Mike Lombardi. Mick Lombardi is expected to be one of Bill Belichick‘s new hires, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter). The Patriots employed the younger Lombardi from 2011-12; he served as the Jets’ assistant quarterbacks coach the past two seasons. New England just lost assistant QBs coach Jerry Schuplinski to Miami.

Patrick Chung To Undergo Shoulder Surgery

  • The Patriots are going to have to make moves to address their wide receiver situation. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are UFAs-to-be, and Josh Gordon‘s return should not be considered likely at this point. Hogan was a key contributor for the Patriots in 2016 and ’17 but could not re-establish himself as a reliable option down the stretch this season. Hogan finished the campaign with a six-target, zero-catch Super Bowl after compiling just 58 receiving yards in the AFC playoffs, and Howe expects the Pats to allow him to depart in free agency.
  • While there could be significant roster turnover in New England, with several coaches already leaving as well, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston notes this offseason is expected to feature far less drama than last year’s did. Last year featured more fallout from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, a lengthy Tom Brady absence and Rob Gronkowski considering retirement. After the Pats’ latest Super Bowl title, their situation looks more stable, even if Gronk is once again pondering leaving the game.
  • Patrick Chung recently underwent surgery to repair a broken forearm, but the Patriots safety will go back under the knife soon. Chung will undergo an additional procedure to address a shoulder issue that bothered him during the season, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (subscription required). It’s the shoulder issue, and not the forearm break, that is expected to sideline Chung for a while. The 31-year-old defender is not expected to participate in Patriots OTAs or minicamp.
  • The Patriots are going to have to make moves to address their wide receiver situation. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are UFAs-to-be, and Josh Gordon‘s return should not be considered likely at this point. Hogan was a key contributor for the Patriots in 2016 and ’17 but could not re-establish himself as a reliable option down the stretch this season. Hogan finished the campaign with a six-target, zero-catch Super Bowl after compiling just 58 receiving yards in the AFC playoffs, and Howe expects the Pats to allow him to depart in free agency.