Some news and notes for this morning:
1) One of the remaining questions heading into this season is going to be the future of Stephon Gilmore, who is heading into the last season of the 5-year, $65-million deal he signed back in 2017.
Gilmore’s name had come up repeatedly as part of trade rumors over the course of the offseason, although the team has yet to make a deal to move the veteran. Gilmore’s house had also previously been on the market, which went up for sale last October and obviously fed into the rumors about his future. It’s since shown “pending sale” twice, with the last update showing on 1/20/2021 in that status but at some point, it’s instead been taken off the market.
Given the current real estate boom, if things were still contentious enough where Gilmore believed he wouldn’t be here, one would think he’d have it back on the market.
Instead, things have since seemed to have settled down. We’ve heard little about any potential further trade rumors, with Gilmore saying back in April that he was “happy to be a Patriot” and was ready to “see how it goes”. However, as Mike Reiss pointed out in his Sunday notes, Gilmore hasn’t been attending voluntary organized team activities this offseason, which he had previously done in the past.
He’s had a long offseason as he’s been recovering from the quad injury he suffered at the end of last season, which led to surgery. Gilmore suffered the injury during the team’s 22-12 loss in Miami while covering Dolphins receiver Michael Hollins, with Gilmore’s left foot getting caught as he went to change direction and he collapsed to the turf, holding the back of his leg just above his knee.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 20, 2020
Most reports have appeared to be positive on his recovery, which seems to point to him being ready to play this season.
The 30-year old cornerback is required to report with the rest of his teammates for the start of the three-day mandatory minicamp beginning on Monday, which will be the first indication of how this situation might play out. After getting part of his base salary moved up to take care of him last season, Gilmore is only set to make $7 million this season and the question will be whether or not the club will extend him or if things will again take a negative turn. We’ll probably get an idea of where things are currently as soon as we learn whether or not he’s present for the team’s workouts.
Having him as part of their defense in 2021 would certainly solidify a defense that added some players and appears ready to be one of the better units in the league this season. But whether or not he’ll be here beyond this season remains the biggest question mark heading into training camp.
UPDATE 10:15am: Mike Garafolo reports that Gilmore will sit out the team’s minicamp – so this one appears to be far from over after all.
#Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore will sit out the team’s minicamp, source says.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 14, 2021
2) It’s interesting that with Cam Newton’s hand injury that the club opted to elevate Jarrett Stidham into the lead role last week. Granted, it means little at this point but the fact that Stidham landed in that role ahead of Brian Hoyer was somewhat telling.
In all likelihood, Bill Belichick took it as an opportunity to test Stidham and push him, giving him a chance to see how he would react. The reports on Stidham have been positive so far this offseason, but with Mac Jones making a steady rise, it definitely remains a tough obstacle for him to overcome.
Stidham remains as a piece that Belichick will need to add value to because his long-term future with the team has clearly changed drastically compared to last offseason. Building him up and recovering a draft choice certainly makes the most sense and barring major changes, that will probably be what eventually happens.
With only three preseason games this year, it’s going to be curious to see how Belichick decides to handle those opportunities in terms of QB snaps but the fact he gave Stidham an opportunity to hold the spotlight was certainly interesting.
3) In his most recent podcast, Tom Curran added some thoughts on some of the receivers and one guy who stood out is Isaiah Zuber, who appears to making strides this offseason.
Considering the crowded group of receivers, the fact Zuber is coming on strong adds an additional angle to consider, especially after a comment Curran made about who he reminds him of.
“I love Isaiah Zuber,” said Curran. “I hate to tell you this, but there are occasions where I say, ‘you know, Isiah Zuber kind of just does about exactly what N’Keal Harry does.'”
That’s sort of an interesting take, especially when you take into account the fact that Harry has also been subject to trade rumors this offseason.
Zuber appeared in four games in 2020 and caught two passes for 29-yards, while also carrying it twice for 21-yards after working his way into the offense as an undrafted free agent. He said last Thursday that he’s more confident heading into his second season in New England.
“Being in the offense for a whole year, I’m more comfortable now, I feel more like myself out there,” Zuber said via WEEI. “I’m not doing too much thinking. I’m just going out there and playing being able to play fast.”
N’Keal Harry was someone that Curran also pointed out just doesn’t look smooth, which is interesting considering how much we heard about his work last offseason on improving his footwork.
Meanwhile, Curran also had a couple of comments about both Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, pointing out that Meyers has really impressed so far.
“Gunner Olszewski continues to look like a guy who is very good with the ball in his hands,” said Curran. “He has suspect hands, though, and that will happen when as you go from corner to receiver, which he still is in the process of doing.”
“Jakobi Meyers at wide receiver, his body control, his precision, and his hands, continue to make him a guy who I don’t think is going to fall off the map despite the addition of multiple pass catchers this offseason.”
It should be fun to eventually see these guys in person and thankfully, with only a little over a month to go, it won’t be long until we get that opportunity.
4) Aaron Rodgers never showed up in Green Bay last week, which isn’t exactly a surprise but one name that popped up that was interesting was former Patriot Chandler Jones, who also failed to report last week out in Arizona.
Jones is entering the final year of his contract and is due to earn $15.5 million this season, but he’s coming off of a season where he suffered a torn biceps. The team has reportedly asked him to take a pay cut, which appears to have not gone over well but the Cardinals seem intent on making Jones prove he’s worth the extension he’s obviously looking for.
That obviously sets up a tough situation and Jones has already removed all references to the team on his Instagram page, further fueling speculation about his future.
The 31-year old has been productive for Arizona, with Jones totaling 61 sacks since 2016.
When asked recently about Jones’ status, head coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t appear worried and offered a simple, “Nothing new to report there.”
Whether or not Jones will be on the roster remains to be seen and it seems like the Cardinals have a tough situation that they’ll need to try and navigate through in the coming weeks. Kingsbury is reportedly under some pressure heading into this season and parting ways with Jones would only add to what’s already looking to be a challenging year for him.
5) Down in New York, quarterback Zach Wilson appears to be off to a good start.
Wilson, who was the Jets first-round pick in this year’s draft, has reportedly looked good early on and he’s already earning the respect of his teammates. Running back Tevin Coleman has apparently liked what he’s seen from his new quarterback as they continue working this offseason.
“He’s a dog, man. I like Zach Wilson,” Coleman said Friday. “He has a lot to learn and there’s going to be a lot of pressure, but he’s good with it and he’s slinging the ball.”
On Thursday, according to NJ.com, he was fairly sharp. Darryl Slater reports that in 11-on-11 team periods, Wilson completed 7 of 11 passes, with one interception (which he wrote was not Wilson’s fault), along with one near interception (which Slater said was the result of a bad Wilson pass). In 7-on-7 drills, Wilson completed 11 of 14 passes, with two drops.
The biggest thing, according to multiple reports from Jets OTAs, is that Wilson appears to already have a good grasp on the offense and has looked a lot like the same player he was in college in terms of his mobility and accuracy. He’s been processing the coverages quickly and making the right decisions with the football, which is definitely a positive.
With both the Dolphins and Bills already becoming tough opponents, adding the Jets to the mix would certainly complicate things. But so far, Wilson looks to be headed in the right direction and that’s not necessarily good news for a Patriots team that will be looking to bounce back after a 7-9 season in 2020.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Cam Newton Chandler Jones Gunner Olszewski Isaiah Zuber Jakobi Meyers Jarrett Stidham Mac Jones N'Keal Harry New England Patriots Stephon Gilmore Tevin Coleman Zach Wilson