Tuesday Patriots Notebook 5/8: Patriots Were Targeting Someone in Round 3; Team Still Negotiating With Gronkowski
We’re on to Tuesday, and here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.
Patriots Wanted Someone in the Third Round – Bill Belichick is no stranger to wheeling and dealing when it comes to the draft but it sounds like he swung and missed last week while trying to trade back into the third round.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s “Bengals Beat” podcast, New England, who didn’t have a third-round pick thanks to their trade with the 49ers that yielded tackle Trent Brown, apparently tried to make a deal with the Bengals but came up empty.
Director of player personnel Duke Tobin appeared on the podcast and said during the session that Belichick called at the back of the third round right before Cincinnati selected linebacker Malik Jefferson with the 78th overall pick. Apparently, the Patriots’ offer wasn’t enough to make them want to pull the trigger.
“I think we were in the third [round], we were getting ready to take Malik Jefferson, and I think it was Belichick that called – I’ve got the card in my hand – I’m trying to call our guy down in … and Belichick calls and he wants that pick,” said Tobin. “And I’m like, well Bill, thanks, I appreciate it, you know, what do you want to give? ‘Cause I’ll listen, I’ll always listen. And he wants to give, you know, commensurate value for it, and the answer is no, I think we’re going to pick.”
“And so we probably fielded 25, 30 calls and we probably put out the same number as possibilities ‘if this guy’s available, do you guys want to come back …’ Most of them don’t get done, but a lot of them do.”
It’s tough to say who the Patriots were targeting, whether it was Jefferson or if it was potentially USC’s Rasheem Green, who went next to the Seahawks at 79 overall.
Either way, some have wondered why the Patriots let so many players go off the board from No. 56 through No. 143 but it appears, at least from this news, there was at least one player on their radar.
Patriots Set to Pick Up Four Compensatory Picks – With the NFL’s free agency period set to end today, the Patriots now find themselves with a little more freedom when it comes to signing players since it won’t hurt their status for compensatory picks.
According to OverTheCap.com, after losing Malcolm Butler, Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola, Cameron Fleming and Jonathan Bademosi in free agency, the Patriots added just two qualifying unrestricted free agents in Adrian Clayborn and Jeremy Hill, which sets them up for a projected four compensatory picks under the NFL’s formula.
As it stands right now, if everything works out, the team would be in pretty solid shape heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, armed with potentially 12 selections including six in the first three rounds.
Given some of the needs they’ll have, including possibly at quarterback depending on how things go with 7th-round pick Danny Etling, that should give Belichick more than enough ammunition to restock the club with more talent next April. For now, the picks won’t be awarded until next February, so it will be a while until we know exactly how this will play out.
Team Still Negotiating With Gronkowski – While Rob Gronkowski has made his intent clear that he’ll be back this year, it sounds like the club is working on taking care of his contract heading into this season.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Patriots are reportedly willing to adjust his contract for this season and increasing his compensation.
“The Patriots are willing to adjust Gronkowski’s contract for at least a year,” said Rapoport on Monday’s edition of NFL Up to the Minute via NFL.com. “They never do extensions two years out, but they are at least open to taking a look at Gronkowski’s deal and giving him some more money which he no doubt deserves.
“He has stayed away from the Patriots, which is believed to be related to his contract. When they do come up with a new deal or part of a new deal, Gronkowski will in fact probably show up.”
Rapoport also pointed out that this is a similar stance to what the team did last year when they added incentives to increase his compensation, which Gronkowski reached.
For now, like Brady, Gronkowski’s current deal runs through 2019.
Berrios’ former coach expects big things from him. (USA TODAY Images)
Coach Believes Berrios Is Poised For Success – Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald had a nice read on wide receiver and sixth-round selection Braxton Berrios on Tuesday and spoke with Berrios’ former coach, who believes the former Hurricane receiver is poised for success in the NFL.
Ron Dugans, Berrios’ coach at the University of Miami, cited Berrios’ incredible intensity and perseverance as just a couple of reasons why he believes he’ll fight his way up the ladder with the Patriots.
“He’s a kid that’s going to compete and outwork everybody,” said Dugans via the Boston Herald. “Fighting through injuries early in his career, persevering, not quitting — he’s always had confidence in himself as a player. He never wants to come out of plays. He always wants the ball on third down. I love him. I’m going to miss him.”
One thing Dugans pointed out was the fact that Berrios is a versatile player and is willing to line up all over the field, but more importantly, he also blocks in the running game. That’s an important trait as we’ve seen each of New England’s receivers play a key role in quite a few runs over the years, so the fact that falls into Berrios’ skillset is a good thing.
“He’s a detailed football player. He knows multiple positions,” said Dugans. “His junior year, we had him in the outside lane. This year, he was in the slot. He’s very coachable, he pays attention, he studies, he’s a willing blocker in the run game. He competes. His edge is the knowledge of the game.”
Needless to say, he’ll be a player to watch in the coming months and considering how crowded the receiving group is, it could potentially lead to some surprises by the end of the preseason.
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Notebook