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Five Patriots/NFL Things to Know, News & Notes for 3/15

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
3 years ago at 10:12 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Five Patriots/NFL Things to Know, News & Notes for 3/15Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes on this Monday:

1) Sunday’s news of Marcus Cannon being traded to the Texans was a surprise, but really more from the sense that the Patriots were able to actually get something before the two sides parted ways.

The deal included Houston and New England swapping draft spots in rounds four, five and six of the upcoming draft, allowing the club to move up a couple of spots in each round.  That might not seem like much, but a spot here or there can often mean the chance to avoid missing out on an impact player.

After opting out of last season, Cannon initially had seemed like his days were numbered as Mike Reiss reported on Sunday that a source close to Cannon told him “the writing was on the wall” for him to be cut.

Instead, it turned out to be a win-win.  The former Texas Christian University standout gets to go play football in his home state to finish his career, while the Patriots will hopefully have a little better shot at building their roster heading into 2021.

2) Texans GM Nick Caserio wasn’t done making moves on Sunday, as he reportedly pulled off a similar move with a former Patriots colleague, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, in Miami.

According to reports, the Texans traded linebacker Benardrick McKninney to Miami in exchange for linebacker Shaq Lawson, while also trading a 2021 seventh-round pick in exchange for the Dolphins’ 2021 sixth-round pick.

Lawson just signed a 3-year, $30-million deal with the Dolphins last season and finished with 32 tackles and four sacks in his first season with the club.  He was also terrific getting after the quarterback and Houston seems hopeful that he’ll help fill some of the void left by J.J. Watt’s departure.

As for McKinney, he’s coming off what looked to be a solid year until a season-ending shoulder season ended his 2020 campaign.  But he’s expected to bolster a group that was hoping to add some talent at the inside linebacker position and, provided he comes back healthy, this deal certainly gives them that.

3) One other player Patriots fans will be keeping an eye on this offseason will be James White, who has likely played his final game in New England.

Cam Newton’s return likely doesn’t have White overly excited after Newton struggled to get him the football last season, often overthrowing him or getting it to him late.  Those issues caused a significant drop off in White’s production in 2020, with the running back catching just 35 passes last season, down from 67 in 2019 and 94 the season before in 2018.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler reported in a story on ESPN+ that they believe Tampa Bay may try and reunite White with former teammate, Tom Brady, giving the quarterback another threat out of the backfield.

Leonard Fornette was part of the club’s success last season after landing there following his departure from the Jaguars, but he’s expected to be a free agent this offseason.  If he doesn’t return, White would obviously be a solid replacement.

The Dolphins also remain a possibility, as Miami Dolphins beat writer Barry Jackson made that suggestion last week and it would bring White home to South Florida where his mom lives.  She’s still reportedly recovering following the car accident last season that took the life of White’s father.  As a result, White returning to Florida does make sense, so we’ll have to see how it plays out.

4) There was another tidbit in that ESPN+ article, with Graziano and Fowler also reporting that teams around the league are aware that Stephon Gilmore is available, but the challenge is going to be his contract situation.

From the article:

The Patriots are in a contract quandary with 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who’s scheduled to make just $7 million in the final year of his deal and wants a new one. Teams are aware that Gilmore is available in trade, but they’re also aware that anyone who trades for him likely will have to sign him to a new deal, which reduces the amount teams are willing to pay in a trade.

This sets up an interesting scenario that may be about to play out, with the club set to make a decision on restricted free agent J.C. Jackson.  Mike Reiss suggested on Sunday that instead of a first-round tender, the team could instead place a second-round tender for the sake of lowering his salary from $4.76 to $3.38.  That seems risky as there has already been some discussion on whether or not another team may try and steal him and the thought of losing both Jackson and Gilmore this offseason is definitely a scary thought.

Seeing them head into next season without either player would be disappointing, especially since their secondary has been among the best in the league recently.  That would obviously take a serious turn if they lost those two players.

5) Given the beating that Sam Darnold has taken in New York, it sounds like the Jets are planning on trying to make some moves to protect him.

According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Joe Thuney is expected to be on the club’s radar when free agency begins.  Thuney will likely get a big offer this offseason from someone, which will likely make it difficult for the Patriots to bring him back.

The idea of him landing in New York makes sense as a lot of the blame for their problems clearly falls on the shoulders of Darnold but adding someone like Thuney would certainly help improve his protection.

Today is the first day of the legal tampering period, which should make the next couple of days fairly interesting.  Be sure and subscribe below and we’ll alert you to any breaking news as it happens this week.

Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Benardrick McKinney Brian Flores Cam Newton Houston Texans James White Marcus Cannon Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Rumors Nick Caserio Sam Darnold Shaq Lawson Stephon Gilmore Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady

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