Good morning, here are your Sunday’s Patriots news 4-9, & AFC East Notes.
We hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and the weather. The next few days are going to be positively spring-like. So, we hope everyone can get out and enjoy some outdoor time.
Speaking of spring, it is almost time for the NFL Draft. Have you read out our first Mock Draft for 2017 yet? You can check it out here: Also, be sure to check out our latest Patriots 4th & 2 podcast where we began to delve into the upcoming draft.
Speaking of the draft, I still think the Patriots will try to maneuver into a first or second round draft pick, but that will take some doing.
Congratulations to PatsFans.com’s very own Miguel Benzan, who you all know as @PatsCap. He is starting his own podcast with Russ Goldman. When it comes to the inner workings of the Patriots salary cap, Miguel has no peer. His first guest on the podcast is slated to be Pats beat writer Mike Reiss, so this should be considered a must-listen.
Adrian Peterson Visit Due Diligence Only?
The Patriots brought in Adrian Peterson for a visit this week and he left without signing and that shouldn’t be surprising. Especially considering Jonathan Kraft’s comments about Peterson at the time of his spanking incident, which shouldn’t be forgotten.
Bill Belichick frequently brings in players to fill out an emergency player list should disaster strike during the regular season. They interview a player and find out if he’d fit their system and locker room. If that player is available later in the year and the need arises, then he’d be signed. Many teams do that.
But Peterson has gone on record saying he still wants big money, more than the Patriots will likely be willing to pay. He has had an injury history the past few years. The Patriots know this and probably wanted to see if he still has the ability to be effective, which is why they conducted a workout with him. The other problem is, Peterson puts the ball on the ground a lot and that’s something Belichick doesn’t tolerate. Due to those three considerations and Kraft’s earlier comments, I’d say it’s doubtful he’d be brought in. As for his next destination, it appears he’s heading to New Orleans for his next visit.
Richard Sherman Rumors Continue to Swirl:
The Richard Sherman rumor mill is still percolating here in New England and with good reason. His talent is obvious and he’s still at the top of his game and one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. But again, what’s the likelihood we would see him land with the Patriots? It’s probably doubtful.
The rumor mill has been going for quite a while. However, in my opinion, the very real interest in Sherman by New England was based before the team signed Stephon Gilmore. This week we heard the Patriots would still have an interest in acquiring Sherman if the Pats were to lose Malcolm Butler. I don’t how they’d “lose” Butler at this point since they control where he plays this year. They’d have to either trade him, or not match an offer from another team.
The other scenario that lends itself to this deal not happening is money. Sherman is counting $13,600,000 against the cap this season and $13,200,000 in 2018. Coupled with Gilmore’s salary, Devin McCourty, and Duron Harmon, the Pats now have a ton of cash invested in the secondary. They have never allocated that much money in the secondary before.
Brandon Bolden Returns to the Fold and Re-signs with the Patriots:
The Patriots and Brandon Bolden have agreed to bring back the veteran backup and special teams’ standout. While his roster spot will still have to be earned this summer, with Rex Burkhead being added along with James White and Dion Lewis on the roster, it was a no-brainer bringing back a player who’s been a hard-working, solid citizen and key special teams guy.
Bolden’s deal is for one year with a $775,000 base salary. He also received a $50,000 signing bonus along with a $30,000 workout bonus. His total contract will count $695,000 against the Patriots’ 2016 salary cap.
Door Still Open for Blount’s Return, Money Appears to be the Sticking Point:
Mike Giardi from CSNNE has reported that the Patriots have “an offer on the table” for free agent running back LeGarrette Blount. One would have to take it that the offer by New England hasn’t been accepted. Blount’s telephone no doubt hasn’t been ringing, so it seems like it’s just a matter of time before the two sides work something out.
Blount had a terrific 2016, rushing 299 times for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns but he’s 30-years old and he tailed off down the stretch. Even if he is brought back, I’d expect the team to add another power running back during the upcoming NFL draft at the end of the month.
The team hosted former Texas running back D’Onta Foreman this week in the lead-up to the draft. Foreman, 6’0″, 245-pounds, rushed for more than 2000 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Longhorns during the 2016 season. He’s been linked to the Patriots by many sources.
East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:
Bills Add Depth to Back End of the Roster, Sign Eight Players:
The Buffalo Bills announced that the team has signed eight players on Friday. They included CB Marcus Cromartie, T Cameron Jefferson, LB Jacob Lindsey, DE Jake Metz, OL Jordan Mudge, DB Bradley Sylve, LB Junior Sylvestre, and LB Eddie Yarbrough.
The additions are mainly to bolster the back end of the roster, although Cromartie had plenty of playing time with the 49ers after totaling 18 tackles, three passes defensed, two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery in 21 games with one start.
Rumors in the Buffalo media have GM Doug Whaley being enamored with Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. This will bear watching as the draft unfolds. The team has brought back QB Tyrod Taylor but perhaps they’ll invest in Watson for the long term.
Miami Looking at Linebackers in the Upcoming NFL Draft:
The Miami Dolphins had an issue with their linebacking core in 2016. They had Koa Misi, who ended up getting hurt again and not much else. During free agency, they signed former Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons to a deal, but Timmons is 31 and he is going to be asked to fill a lot of holes in the defense.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald spelled out a number of linebacker prospects the Dolphins could land with the 22nd pick in the draft. They include Vandy’s Zach Cunningham, Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt, Temple’s Haason Reddick, KSU’s Jordan Willis, OSU Raekwon McMillian and others.
Jets Add Free Agent Tight End Brian Parker:
The New York Jets also added to their depth by signing free agent tight end Brian Parker. The veteran tight end was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Diego Chargers in 2015 but later ended up with the Kansas City Chiefs, appearing in nine games.
The Jets attempted to pick him up last season but he was waived two days later with the failed physical designation. He is a graduate of Albany and the 6’4, 265-pounder had career numbers of 1006 receiving yards with nine touchdowns for the Great Danes.
With the Jets in near total rebuild mode, despite still needing a franchise QB, they may opt to use the upcoming draft to fix a defense that slipped to 28th in scoring. They’ll need help on the edge at OLB and CB since the team has released Darrelle Revis.