Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division.
Belichick Can Handle Coaching Carousel: If there’s one thing that Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots coaching staff can handle, it is the constant poaching of their coaching staff from other organizations.
As we pointed out earlier this week, the Patriots not only are down three members of the coaching staff, but three front office personnel as well. While some of the losses can easily be accounted for, there is always a surprise or two that will crop up, that can be a difficult slot to fill.
But the Patriots have a very solid foundation that starts at the top with owner Bob Kraft and goes right down to Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio, coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia.
While it looks like Moses Cabrera will take over Harold Nash’s position as the Strength and Conditioning coach, there still remains an Offensive Line coach and a Linebackers’ coach as well. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve Belichick who has paid his dues as a coaching assistant the past four years, to get the nod as a position coach now.
Big Changes Coming For Brady’s Receivers? Despite a tremendous 2015 by Tom Brady, there could be some major movement coming for Brady’s receivers next season. After Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, there remain a lot of question marks entering into 2016.
Both Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell could find themselves out due to contract considerations. Amendola was a very reliable and tough customer for the Pats this season, but with his base salary of $ 5 million this season, they may decide it is too much. The Patriots could save $4 million + by cutting him if he refuses to renegotiate but would still owe him $2.7 million in dead money if he’s let go. He may decide to check out life elsewhere.
LaFell is a different story, after a very solid 2014, he fell off the charts this season. While he has no roster bonus or guaranteed money on the table, the Patriots could save $2.6 million + by cutting him immediately or opt to let him try to work his way back into Brady’s good graces in 2016.
Aaron Dobson is still looking to become a viable member of the receiving core and at this point it would be a surprise if he is on the team September 1.
Keshawn Martin earned a two-year contract and flashed some potential on STs. Brandon Gibson and Brian Tyms seemed destined for the 53-man roster before injuries knocked them out in pre-season. Chris Harper and Deandre Carter are developmental players and will get their looks this summer.
Look for the team to pursue a free agent this spring and draft a slot receiver at the end of April. A guy who can slide inside or out like Edelman and Amendola would be ideal. But the receiving core in 2016 will undoubtedly look much different in 2016.
Mark This Down as a Glass House Incident: As we’ve stated before, Belichick and the Patriots are firmly in the heads of the majority of their opposition. So whenever they get a chance, they love to tweak the Patriots over their supposed nefarious ways.
Enter the immensely talented but equally coarse Von Miller of the Broncos. While in the midst of a big game against New England in the AFCCG, Miller grabbed his crotch after a sack of Tom Brady and gyrated to the crowd. Not coincidentally, “an unnamed” member of the Broncos told MMQB/SI that he tried “rub my nuts on his face” while speaking of Brady.
The kicker was when Miller who intercepted a first half Brady pass, showed the ball to the Denver media saying that ball “seemed a little flat” describing the Deflategate scandal and taking a shot at supposed Patriots cheating.
Perhaps Miller should take a step back, it was he after all that not only failed a league mandated drug test in 2013, but saw his suspension go from four to six games after he attempted to bribe the attendant to dilute his urine sample.
Miller never took responsibility for failing his drug test claiming to have never tested positive. On a side note when Logan Ryan returned a pick six for a TD against the Jets during his rookie season, he was fined $10K for his crotch grabbing celebration. No word if Miller got a FedEx envelope this week from the NFL.
Another Gronk in New England? RB Meets w/Pats in Mobile: The Patriots staff in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl including Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio met with Kansas State fullback Glenn Gronkowski on Wednesday.
Gronkowski 22, is the youngest of the Gronkowski brothers and if drafted would be the second brother to join TE Rob as a member of the Patriots. His brother Dan played with the Pats for five games in 2011 and had one start.
Would the younger Gronk welcome being a member of New England with his famous older brother? You bet.
“That would be awesome,” he said. “I’ve actually never played with any of my brothers before. They’ve always been too old for me… Everyone else has played together, so to be on the same team, that would be a dream come true.”
With FBs Joey Iosefa and James Develin slotted to return this season however, the chances seem slim that “little Gronk” will be drafted, but may be a case of the Pats doing their due diligence.
East Bound and Down, AFC East Notes:
Jets Facing Difficult Decisions: The New York Jets unlike 2015 where they had a ton of cap space face some difficult decisions this season.
They have to sign QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, there’s just no way around that. If they let him walk, they run the risk of falling flat again without a proven QB.
But that isn’t the only question they must answer. They also have to make a call on Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison. Wilkerson is a no-brainer, but Harrison wants in the neighborhood of $5.5 million a year.
It looks like they’ll wave goodbye to RB Chris Ivory and try to re-sign Bilal Powell. Ivory is 28 and they’re taking the option of cutting ties with him a year early rather than a year too late.
And that still leaves LBs Demario Davis and Erin Henderson. The money now is on the latter with the former being allowed to walk according to Rich Cimmini of ESPN.
Bills Moving Forward With Tyrod Taylor, Scout Wentz: The Bills GM Doug Whaley told the media this week that working out a long-term deal for the Bills QB was “on the list” of things to do this season. That is a tad different than what he told MMQB in December that he required two years of work to get an adequate idea of where Taylor was.
But at the same time, the Bills reportedly are very interested in the 6’5, 233-pound QB of NDSU Carson Wentz according to the NDSU Quarterback’s coach Randy Hedberg in an interview with the Buffalo news.
Miami with Interest in Ragland? The Miami Dolphins are making the rounds in Mobile as well this week and according to James Walker of ESPN, Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland would be a perfect choice for a MLB for the Fins.
Ragland has been practicing at OLB this week, trying to show a bit of versatility, but Walker states that his best position and one where he could have the most impact was as a run stuffing MLB.
Miami also has some questions to answer on whether or not to keep Rishard Matthews, Derrick Shelby and Lamar Miller.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Brandon LaFell Buffalo Bills Danny Amendola Denver Broncos Dion Lewis Julian Edelman Malcolm Butler Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady Von Miller