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New England Patriots News 3-15, AFC East Notes

New England Patriots News 3-15, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
March 15, 2020 at 6:27 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 03-15 and AFC East notes this week. 

“Beware the Ides of March”… on this day Julius Caesar was assassinated on his way to the Senate. Hopefully, the Ides will bode better for the Patriots in regards to a certain Free Agent quarterback than it did for J.C.

With all of the absolute hysteria going on with the coronavirus, let’s all take a break and talk some football for a few… 

This promises to be a busy week, corona panic and all. First of all, teams face the franchise- and transition-tag deadline Monday. Free-agency negotiating, the so-called “legal tampering window” also opens Monday. And the new league year begins on Wednesday when the feeding frenzy begins and teams begin to overpay for free agents.

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

Kyle Van Noy: The Patriots linebacker is expected to draw some interest from the Miami Dolphins and possibly even the Detroit Lions, the team that didn’t use him properly and jettisoned him to New England on the cheap. 

Miami makes sense, he played for and had great respect for Brian Flores, the Dolphins have a boatload of cash to spend, the weather in Florida is nicer in the winter and there is no state tax. But how would Van Noy look in teal?   

Julian Edelman: The Patriots wide receiver took to social media and posted to Twitter a picture of him in a throwback Patriots jersey with the caption: “Hearing rumors about new jerseys.” Let’s hope it wasn’t that one, those hideous blue-paneled ones from the Bledsoe era were godawful.

If they’re going to wear new jerseys then go back to the white jerseys and red pants of the ‘85 era Patriots, which were the best uniforms in team history. And it isn’t open for debate on these pages.

Ted Karras: The Patriots free agent OL cashed in nicely on the NFL’s performance-based pay system. This is used to reward players who earn more playing time relative to their salaries. Karras, filling in for Center David Andrews, started 15 games for the Patriots in 2019. 

So, Karras raked in $635,947, the second-largest payout in the program. He earned $393,363 through the performance-based pay pool, and an additional $242,584 from a veteran performance pool. Not bad…now he’ll cash in even more in free agency.

Eliot Wolf: The Patriots have hired the former Browns Assistant GM and former Director of Player Personnel for the Packers as a front office assistant. The 37-year old is the son of former Packers GM Ron Wolf. 

Salary Cap: If any of our readers have salary cap questions, there is only one person that they should be following and asking questions of and that is Miguel aka @patscap. If you’re asking anyone else or getting your Patriots cap information from anyone else, you are doing yourself a disservice. 

“If This Is Sunday” – Then Tom Brady must be going to San Francisco, or Tennessee, or Las Vegas…or was it Tampa Bay? This should be rectified very soon one way or another this week once free agency begins. 

Compensatory Picks: The Patriots added four compensatory draft picks in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, the most in the league. Of the 32 comp picks that the NFL releases every spring, the Patriots picked up two in the 3rd Round, and two in the 6th Round. 

The Patriots currently have the 23rd overall pick in the 1st Round, and no 2nd Round pick (Traded for Mohamad Sanu) and now three picks in the 3rd Round. Which means they’ll have four of the first 100 picks. 

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, check it out. Two weeks ago we finally got the band back together as Russ Goldman, who’d been working a schedule that didn’t permit getting together with Derek Havens and myself, was able to rejoin the podcast for the first time in several months.

Matthew Slater is Returning With a 2-Year Deal:

File this one under a no-brainer… The Patriots are bringing back ST’s Captain and outstanding Gunner Matthew Slater on a 2-year contract according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Yates stated that the deal was structured similarly to how his last contract was which paid him $2.6 million. 

Slater who turns 35 this fall, belies his age as he remains one of the very best gunners in the NFL and has been a captain of the STs since 2011. Slater’s work ethic is beyond reproach as the Patriots have long allowed him to practice on his own and during training camp. He can be seen sprinting up and down the field with an assistant coach trying to block him. 

And it still translates to very good on-field production. Slater notched 10 tackles in the kicking game, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble,as well as a blocked punt and he scored the first touchdown of his career in an early-season win over the Bills.

When his playing days are through, many have predicted and we agree with, that Slater will be a perfect person to take over the old position that Jack Easterby held as a character coach and team chaplain.

Slater is a locker-room influence and has been a veteran leader for many years. For several years, it is Slater who Bill Belichick calls upon to break down the team after a victory. “So…how do we feel about Matthew Slater returning to the Patriots in 2020? Awwwww Yeah!” 

CBA Vote Expected Soon:

The CBA voting window is closed, it was over at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday night. The results will be posted sometime this morning. A simple majority is all that is needed for the new CBA to take effect, which would begin immediately if adopted. 

This will have a great deal of influence on new contracts, especially with Tom Brady. Stay tuned

Hunter Henry Franchise-Tagged By the Bolts, A Possible NE Target:

Around Los Angeles, most people thought the Chargers would franchise tag tight end, Hunter Henry. Others believe that the Bolts may tag him and then trade him… not out of the realm of possibility.  And they did just that on Friday, guaranteeing him at least $11 million dollars in 2020. 

Chargers GM Tom Telesco said at the Combine, that LA wanted to keep the very talented but oft-injured tight end.who has caught 136 passes for 1,709 yards and 17 touchdowns in his three seasons. Last season, he set single-season career highs with 55 receptions and 652 receiving yards for the 5-11 Bolts. He missed all of 2018 with a knee injury suffered n the spring.

Henry was a favorite Free Agency binky for New England fans. The Patriots need to retool and reload at the tight end position. With Henry out of the free agency picture, that means that Austin Hooper is probably primed for a very big payday once free agency begins as he’s the biggest name out there, which doesn’t bode well for any hope of the Patriots enticing the 25-year old here. 

Other names that they could target…barring a trade include Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, Delanie Walker, Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham, and Marcedes Lewis. Many people feel (including here),  that the Patriots will double-dip on the position in both free agency and then during the 2020 NFL Draft. Of course, we thought that last year as well, so we’ll see how it plays out.  

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Re-Sign TE Jason Croom:

The Buffalo Bills have re-signed exclusive rights free agent Jason Croom according to ESPN’s Field Yates. After he led all Bills tight ends in receptions in 2018, albeit with a modest 22 receptions for 259 yards and one touchdown, he ended on IR in 2019.

He injured a hamstring in training camp and it bothered him to the point that he was eventually placed on IR last summer. 

Croom will compete with a crowded positional room as the Bills have Tyler Kroft, Dawson Knox, Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney, and Nate Becker all under contract for 2020. They were trying to entice Greg Olsen to Buffalo but he signed with Seattle. Kroft redid his contract earlier this week. 

Dolphins Sign Three ERFAs, Promote WRs Coach:

The Miami Dolphins tendered exclusive rights free agents wide receiver Isaiah Ford, linebacker Trent Harris, and defensive tackle Zach Sieler.

Ford has spent his entire career with Miami and has had numerous stints on the practice squad and active roster. In 2019, he caught 23 passes for 244 yards. Harris was originally signed by the Patriots as a UDFA. He was picked up via waivers and played in 11 games with 22 tackles (16 solo), 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Sieler joined the team in December via waivers from the Ravens and notched eight tackles (three solo), one sack and two passes defensed in three games. 

Miami has told center, Daniel Kilgore, that he won’t be brought back in 2020.they also announced that they have promoted Josh Grizzard to be the wide receivers coach. This is his 4th season with Miami, the first three as a quality control coach. 

Jets Reportedly Looking At OL Thuney, Ricky Wagner, Jack Conklin:

The New York Jets have to do a rebuild along their offensive line in 2020. The good news is that both free agency and the NFL Draft promises to be very deep for the offensive linemen. 

The Jets are supposedly very high on G Joe Thuney from the Patriots, as are the Dolphins and he’d be an immediate fit and upgrade on their Oline. The Jets are supposedly rumored to kick the tires on Titans tackle Jack Conklin once free agency begins. Another name that surfaced was Lions RT Ricky Wagner who was released this week. He had a very solid 2018 but fell off sharply last year, now he’s been released.

Two other free agent names on the defense to watch for the Jets are edge rushers Cameron Wake, released by the Titans last week and Jadaveon Clowney from the Seahawks who is a free agent. 

_______________

“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

 


Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Offseason NFL Commentary NFL News Patriots Commentary Patriots News Patriots Rumors
Tags: 2020 free agency Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Tom Brady

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