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Five Patriots/NFL Things to Know 3/17

Ian Logue
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6 months ago at 10:15 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Five Patriots/NFL Things to Know 3/17Jim Dedmon - USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes for this morning:

1) The Patriots let David Andrews hit the market and appear open to letting him do what other guys like Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower have done and that’s to find out his market value and hopefully give them the final shot.

Several teams are expected to likely be interested, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reporting that the Dolphins, Packers and Falcons will be among those possibly seeking his services, but the priority has to be figuring out a way to keep him in the fold.

His return was notable last season.  With Andrews back, the difference in New England’s rushing attack was staggering.  The Patriots collectively averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry, with lead backs Damien Harris and Sony Michel each averaging over 5 yards-per-carry last season.  In 2019 while he was out after suffering from blood clots in his lungs, the average was under 4ypc, with the team collectively finishing averaging 3.8 ypc.

Andrews’ presence played a key role for that success in 2020, as he’s tough as nails and a really nasty, physical player.  It’s hard not to wonder if the fact the Patriots let Joe Thuney go, aside from the deal he was eventually offered in Kansas City, had to do with possibly having to make the tough choice to allocate their funds to try and make sure they can keep Andrews around.

As a result, he’s a player fans may want to keep an eye on because as fun as it was to see them have so much success on the ground last season, it’s hard not to wonder how much that might change if Andrews isn’t retained.

2) Cross former Patriots QB Jacoby Brissett off the possible list of quarterbacks.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that Brissett is signing with the Dolphins on a 1-year deal to fill the void left by the departure of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Brissett will back-up Tua Tagovailoa and it’s possible that he could see playing time in moments like he was in Indianapolis last season where they brought him down on the goal-line in short-yardage situations.  It’s also possible he could be brought in during games where Tagovailoa struggles, with head coach Brian Flores already having shown he’s O.K. with making changes as needed, even if they’re just short-term.

His contract is reportedly worth $7.5 million with incentives, including $5 million guaranteed.

3) Chicago has apparently thrown in the towel on the Russell Wilson sweepstakes and resigned themselves to signing Andy Dalton on a 1-year deal. The Bears gave Dalton $10-million for a single season after giving up on what was “a very aggressive pursuit” to try and pry Wilson away from the Seahawks, but were rebuffed after Seattle remained steadfast that they weren’t moving him.

Chicago is expected to let Mitch Trubisky depart in free agency and also appear ready to move on from Nick Foles. That should likely set Dalton up to be the starter in 2021, which will probably be the case even if they make a move in the draft to target someone.

Fans in New England more or less lost their minds last year with what transpired with Cam Newton at the helm, so it’s hard to even imagine being in the shoes of Chicago fans who have seen a host of great defenses in recent memory but they haven’t had any luck finding a quality starter at quarterback in more than a decade. That has to be incredibly frustrating and it’s a situation that doesn’t appear any closer to being solved unless Dalton sees a Ryan Tannehill-esque resurgence.

Whether or not the 33-year old has that in him remains to be seen and after the Bears didn’t get the guy they really wanted, the search continues.

4) I don’t get excited very often but I was quite ecstatic to see that the New Orleans Saints finally got Jameis Winston under contract.

The club reportedly signed him to a 1-year deal worth up to $12 million and he’ll get to compete with Taysom Hill for the starting job.

More importantly, what this means is there’s now officially no chance he’ll end up in Foxboro in 2021.

That sets up a quarterback competition that Sean Peyton said during an interview with Dan Patrick on Tuesday he’s looking forward to seeing.

“Those two are gonna be sitting there,” Payton said via ESPN. “Obviously I’ve told both of them, ‘Hey, the two of you are gonna compete for this position,’ and they understand it. They’ll come in … we’ve already had a chance to see both of them to some degree.

“I think last year was important to us relative to Jameis. … It gave us a year to evaluate him, and it also gave him a year to evaluate us. I think that was important.”

5) One final quick note, the Bills added Emmanuel Sanders on Tuesday, reaching a deal on a 1-year contract worth $6 million.

It’s amazing that he never ended up as a Patriot as the club initially tried to pry him away from Pittsburgh when he was a restricted free agent and subsequent attempts to get him later on in his career, including a missed midseason trade attempt in 2019, came up empty.

He’s had a terrific career, including flourishing after he left the Steelers with Denver where he caught over 1000-yards in three straight seasons from 2014-2016.  It’s hard to imagine the type of player he could have been here in New England, but it remains one of those interesting side stories that was apparently not meant to be.

Sanders isn’t quite the same player these days but he’ll likely be a problem when the two AFC East rivals meet this season.

Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Andy Dalton Atlanta Falcons Bill Belichick Brian Flores Cam Newton Damien Harris David Andrews Emmanuel Sanders Green Bay Packers Jacoby Brissett Jameis Winston Miami Dolphins Mitch Trubisky New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Russell Wilson Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Tannehill Sean Payton Seattle Seahawks Sony Michel Tua Tagovailoa

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