Some news and notes for this morning:
1) Peter King reported on Monday that the league going to a 17-game schedule is “highly likely” in 2021, which he points out sets the stage to add the Dallas Cowboys to the Patriots list of opponents next season at Gillette Stadium.
Should that happen, King reports it pushes the league calendar back one week, setting up a February 13th Super Bowl in Los Angeles. They haven’t made the news official yet as Super Bowl LVI remains scheduled for February 6, 2022, but King doesn’t believe that the start date of the season will change, so he believes the championship game will likely be the domino that falls.
However, the bad news is there apparently won’t be an extra bye week, with the NFL essentially playing 17 games in 18 weekends. That’s likely not sitting well with the players and for the fans, it remains a frustrating situation as most have been clamoring for years for the league to move the game to President’s Day weekend, which would at least see people be able to enjoy the game and have the ensuing Monday off. Adding another bye week would make that a possibility, as the holiday always falls on the third Monday of February.
Unfortunately, the league doesn’t care what the fans or even its own players think and as it currently stands, it appears they finally got their wish as another meaningful game will be played next season and moving forward.
2) It didn’t take J.J. Watt much time to find a new home. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Monday that the former Texans defensive end agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals worth a reported $31 million, $23 million of which was guaranteed.
What was interesting was the fact that the Patriots were apparently in the mix at one point. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that the Patriots inquired on Watt while he was exploring his options, but it never got anywhere due to his high price tag.
Bill Belichick has always had high-praise for the veteran defensive end, but he’s one of the few coaches who has done a good job of making Watt irrelevant during their meetings, with last year being the exception. Watt had one of his biggest games ever against the Patriots in 2020, including three pass deflections along with a tackle for a loss. The deflections were frustrating because it came against the 6’5″ Cam Newton, who as we know dealt with that problem all year due to his ridiculously low release point.
Watt didn’t waste much time, showing a picture of himself in Cardinals gear on Twitter at the facility already hard at work.
source: me. pic.twitter.com/1Y6okQBUy5
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) March 1, 2021
Fortunately, the deal gets him out of the Conference, which certainly helps the Patriots. New England played Arizona last year and beat them in Foxboro in a 20-17 Week 12 win.
3) The Patriots are apparently doing some due diligence on a receiver, with Justin Melo of The Draft Network reporting that the Patriots are among those taking a look at one of Auburn’s standouts.
Melo reported on Sunday that the Patriots were among teams who have requested a meeting or met with Tigers receiver Anthony Schwartz.
Schwartz is an incredibly fast player, with the former track star reportedly running a 10.07 100m for Auburn’s track team. He’s been a player that they’ve thrown a lot of short passes to, setting him up to use his speed in the open field and that’s where he’s been pretty dangerous. The Tigers also used him in reverses and looking at some film of him, his speed getting out to the perimeter is pretty ridiculous. Defenders look like they have a bead on him but when his acceleration kicks in, he gets away from the pursuit and he’s off and running. He finished his college career with 42 rushes for 323-yards and 7 touchdowns.
The Tigers wideout finished the 2020 season with 56 catches for 636-yards and three touchdowns. While he’s not a top prospect, he definitely looks like an interesting player. He’s currently expected to be available in the later rounds.
4) For anyone following the situation out in Seattle with Russell Wilson, it’s starting to sound like there’s a lot of noise but the likelihood of Wilson staying appears to be the eventual outcome.
According to the Seattle Times’ Matt Calkins, he believes that for the team to move Wilson, it would require antics that go above and beyond his personality and he doesn’t see that happening.
Is there an offer out there that would entice the Seahawks and satisfy Wilson? It’s not impossible, but it seems unlikely.
Unless, of course, Wilson becomes an open malcontent. Although that does seem impossible.
I remember Kobe Bryant openly asking for a trade on a radio show before the Lakers snagged Pau Gasol. I don’t see Wilson doing that. I remember James Harden publicly calling his situation in Houston unfixable. I don’t see Wilson doing that.
I’m watching Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson incessantly express his desire to get traded, communicating as much to recently-hired coach David Culley. I don’t see Wilson doing that.
To force the Seahawks’ hand, Russell would almost have to hold out, or skimp on his preparation, or become a locker-room curmudgeon, and I’m just not sure he’s wired that way.
Wilson’s name has come up in trade reports recently, including the Seahawks quarterback making it known where he would want to play if the club did move him. But so far, given that Seattle would also need to replace him, seeing him leave isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion.
For now, Calkins believes that going out and winning will quiet some of this noise, although he pointed out that even Tom Brady and Belichick eventually parted ways. Whether or not that will happen with Pete Carroll and Wilson is another story.
5) Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gave some insight into former teammate Mac Jones, whose name has been brought up quite a bit recently here in New England.
Tagovailoa recently did an interview with Yahoo Sports! Eric Edholm, talking about a variety of topics that included answering some questions about his former Alabama teammates. When asked about Jones, his comments were interesting.
“I would say he’s a sly, kind of athletic person,” said Tagovailoa. “He’s a more mobile Tom Brady. He’s very athletic, I would say. But he’s very smart too. Not just on the field, he’s smart off the field as well. But he’s a great person. He’s a really great person. A lot of the guys when I was playing at Alabama, they really loved being around his personality and who he was. So I’m thinking, whatever team gets him, they’re going to be very lucky. He’s a great player.”
Edholm also asked Tagovailoa about his own health, pointing out that former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington once told him that after suffering a significant injury, it took him nearly a year before he really felt 100% again. With Tagovailoa now one year removed from his devastating hip injury, Edholm asked if he felt 2021 would be even better for the QB but the second-year player wouldn’t use it as an excuse for how things went for him last season.
“I would say at some point, you’re either ready or you’re not. To me, there’s no excuse. If the coaches give you an opportunity, everyone feels that I’m ready – I feel that I’m ready – I went out there and just came up short.”
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2021 NFL Draft 2021 Patriots Draft Anthony Schwartz Arizona Cardinals Bill Belichick Dallas Cowboys Houston Texans J.J. Watt Mac Jones Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks Tua Tagovailoa