Some news and notes for this morning:
1) As it stands right now, the Patriots have an incredibly crowded wide receiving group, which means that obviously, something is eventually going to have to give heading into this season.
New England currently has newcomers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, followed by Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Kristian Wilkerson, Isaiah Zuber and Devin Smith.
That’s eight players, which means at least three, if not four, are probably out.
Oddly enough, looking at that group as it currently stands, the only players who seem like sure things are likely Bourne and Meyers, with Bourne looking good in the video we saw of the group working out in California recently. He also seems like a player with the right mindset and as a former undrafted free agent, he’s a hard-worker who doesn’t seem to take much for granted.
Agholor should also be in that mix, but he’s a player who could go either way. He could either flourish in new surroundings or potentially be the same person he was with the Raiders. He’ll make the roster, but after that, it’s hard to know what we’ll see from him.
From there, Harry’s name has come up in trade rumors and Edelman’s future is murky due to his knee injury. Mike Reiss pointed out on Tuesday that a trade of Harry would actually cost the team cap space, so he believes he’s not going anywhere unless another club makes an offer they can’t refuse.
Wilkerson and Zuber made the trip out west recently to work out with Jarrett Stidham and Cam Newton, so it’s clear that they’re engaged and focused on competing for a roster spot. But whether or not either of them will ultimately be there when the dust settles seems like a longshot.
The other factor complicating things is the tight end group, which features newcomers Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, followed by Dalton Keene, Devin Asiasi and Matt LaCosse. Henry, Smith, LaCosse and Asiasi were out in California, with Keene as the only one seemingly missing. There’s no way all of these guys will stick around and while it’s possible the Patriots might keep an extra player at this position, the other problem is it will clearly have to come at the cost of a receiver if it happens.
Needless to say, given how deep they are at both positions, the likelihood of at least one surprising move is probably coming at some point. All we do know is that there will be some difficult decisions coming and it should be interesting to see how it shakes out.
Garoppolo likely won’t be smiling in 2021.
2) The situation out in San Francisco is going to be curious to watch this season, and it’s clear the 49ers don’t seem to care that they’re potentially creating an uncomfortable situation as they try and come up with a long-term solution at quarterback.
Everyone knows that Jimmy Garoppolo has earned a reputation as being injury-prone, having suffered a torn ACL and a high ankle sprain during his tenure with the team. However, in his one full season, he led the club to a Super Bowl, so he’s built up enough currency to keep his current starting role heading into 2021.
But from there, his future is questionable. Following their trade with the Dolphins, the 49ers will now likely take his future replacement next month and the clock will then begin ticking on his time in the Bay Area. Head coach Kyle Shanahan downplayed that idea on Monday, but it would be tough to imagine things playing out differently.
“I think Jimmy, it’s going to be hard to find a quarterback who gives us a better chance to win than Jimmy right now, especially even a rookie in the draft,” Shanahan told the media Monday. “So that’s what you look into. Now, if someone wanted something for (Garoppolo) and it could make our team better in a lot of other ways, you listen to that but it also depends on how good you feel about that rookie and we’re not there yet right now. Odds are, we probably won’t be.”
So Shanahan just gave Garoppolo a half-hearted endorsement and invited the rest of the league to make the 49ers an offer, despite the fact they recently said they weren’t moving him.
Obviously, everyone knows you don’t take a first-round QB at #3 overall and keep another player you’re paying over $20-million a season to on your roster, at least not beyond this season. Garoppolo is basically in a Super Bowl or bust year, because if the 49ers are at .500 or less at the midway point and he’s not playing well, it’s entirely possible they’d turn the reigns over to the rookie and even move Garoppolo at the deadline if someone wanted him. That’s how quick it all could turn.
Either way, Shanahan knows he’s past the point of no return, and he expects Garoppolo to not be happy about it the next time he sees him.
“I’m sure Jimmy was a little pissed off from it, just like I’d be too,” said Shanahan. “But me knowing Jimmy, he’ll be fired up and come in and work his butt off.”
I think it’s safe to say most fans in New England only know of one quarterback who could survive the club bringing in a first-round pick and outplay him. With Garoppolo now firmly backed into a corner, we’re definitely going to learn a lot about him in 2021.
3) It’s not every day you hear of a player leaking his own football future to fans, but one interesting situation over the weekend apparently included a player making a change of scenery known while his wife was playing Call of Duty: Warzone.
According to reports, Bears offensive guard Rashaad Coward did just that after someone on Reddit who was online when Coward mentioned “a deal” to his wife, which apparently would see him become a member of the Steelers.
The Reddit user said their teammate, Coward’s wife, “had her mic on”, and that they heard him say, “if no one else calls in the next 30 minutes, he’s gonna sign a 3-year deal in order to facilitate the trade because he would love to be in Pittsburgh.”
The news has obviously since become official, and he’s excited about the opportunity. But it’s definitely an interesting story and just goes to show that players are just like anyone else. So for any gamers out there, keep that in mind because you never know who you might be playing with.
— Rashaad Coward (@RashaadCoward) March 29, 2021
4) Down in New York, Joe Judge is quietly continuing to build his roster for this season and it looks like he added a pretty good player to his club with a former Patriot.
The Giants reportedly had Danny Shelton in for a visit on Monday and according to reports, Shelton will soon be joining the team after agreeing to a 1-year deal.
The former first-round pick was terrific in New England after the Patriots made a deal with Cleveland in 2018 to acquire him. He left after the 2019 season to join Matt Patricia in Detroit, but was cut by the Lions this offseason to free up salary-cap space.
Now he’ll join Judge, who is quietly putting together a solid roster on both sides of the football. Among his acquisitions this offseason are Tennessee cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and Washington LB Ryan Anderson on defense, along with tight end Kyle Rudolph and WR Kenny Golladay to bolster their offense. Each of those guys should help the Giants improve, as they look to rebound from a 6-10 season.
How they’ll pan out is obviously the question but with Shelton’s addition, along with the other moves he’s made, it definitely feels like he’s got them headed in the right direction. Needless to say, two of the most recent branches of the Belichick coaching tree (Judge and Brian Flores) seem like they might be on their way to becoming successful NFL coaches.
5) Out in Arizona, the future of Larry Fitzgerald appears to be in question and there’s speculation that he could end up reuniting with former coach, Bruce Arians.
Arizona Sports Radio host Dan Bickley believes that Fitzgerald has done more than enough to deserve a ring and he feels that joining Brady with the Buccaneers would be a perfect end to a terrific career.
With Antonio Brown, who is being courted by Russell Wilson in Seattle, as the one player from Tampa’s offense who has yet to re-sign, Bickley believes Fitzgerald would be just the replacement Brady would need to make another championship run.
While Arians rode off into something of a sunset in Arizona, his retirement felt more like a mutual decision. Make no mistake: He would love to provide an alternative ending to Fitzgerald. The Buccaneers have signed everyone back from their Super Bowl-winning team except wide receiver Antonio Brown, a job that would go to Fitzgerald.
Fans in New England were hoping to see Fitzgerald play with Brady during his time with the Patriots, which obviously never panned out. Seeing it happen now at the tail end of both of their careers would also be fun, but whether or not it will happen remains to be seen.
It’s definitely a move that makes sense and would certainly add another layer to an offseason that has already unfolded quite differently than most of us probably ever expected. Now, for Fitzgerald’s sake, it just needs to happen for him to finally get one more shot before his career finally comes to a close.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Adoree Jackson Arizona Cardinals Bruce Arians Chicago Bears Dalton Keene Danny Shelton Devin Asiasi Devin Smith. Hunter Henry Isaiah Zuber Jakobi Meyers Jimmy Garoppolo Joe Judge Jonnu Smith Julian Edelman Kendrick Bourne Kenny Golladay Kristian Wilkerson Kyle Rudolph Kyle Shanahan Larry Fitzgerald Matt Lacosse Miami Dolphins N'Keal Harry Nelson Agholor New England Patriots New York Giants Pittsburgh Steelers Rashaad Coward Ryan Anderson San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady