Some news and notes for this morning:
1) With Patriots rookies reporting to camp on Tuesday, there was still a bit of business left as the club had two remaining draft choices who had yet to sign their respective contracts.
One of those players, 3rd-round pick Ronnie Perkins, appears to have gotten that business out of the way after Tweeting a photo of himself signing his rookie deal.
In the photo, Perkins also thanks the team and says it’s time to “work my ass off for the 2nd one”.
— Ronnie Perkins™ (@7avageszn) July 20, 2021
Perkins former OLB/DE coach at Oklahoma, Jamar Cain, said during an appearance on the “Next Pats” Podcast last month that Perkins is a guy who is willing to come in and do what it takes and he already appears to have the right attitude.
“They’re getting an alpha. I told every team that,” said Cain during the podcast of his former player. “They’re getting a true alpha male. And not one of those guys that’s going to come in and think he’s better than everybody. But you’re just getting a guy that’s going to come in there and work and he’s not going to shy away from contact, shy away from doing the dirty work. He’s going to put in all the extra effort into learning the system and being the best player he possibly can.”
The remaining player who has yet to sign, second-round pick Christian Barmore, appears to be close to getting his deal done as well. Mike Reiss reported on Wednesday that the two sides were making progress and it sounds like that final bit of business will be taken care of shortly.
One rookie-related business item of note: The Patriots and second-round DT Christian Barmore were progressing towards finalizing a contract, which would cap off the team’s 2021 class. Rookies are already at the stadium, getting a head-start on training camp.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) July 21, 2021
Barmore had been the focus of criticism after the draft, but he came in last month and impressed defensive line coach, DeMarcus Covington, who praised his work ethic.
“Yeah, obviously coming in rookie minicamp and now into the Phase 2 to Phase 3 OTAs, it’s been awesome,” Covington said via NESN at the time. “He’s done a good job, come in with his head down trying to learn, trying to absorb all the information. He’s trying to catch up to where our veteran players are and learn our defense as much as possible, trying to establish himself here. He’s been doing a good job for us, doing everything we’re asking him to do.”
The rest of the players will be reporting next week before the team begins their first training camp practice next Wednesday.
2) Brian Flores appears to have been busy down in Miami, with the third-year coach making some moves off the field to help make it a place where potential free agents and current players will want to be.
According to Ben Volin, Flores and the Dolphins have put in quite a bit of work improving the facility, adding amenities that include improving the locker room as well as adding a players lounge, along with expanding the weight room and training space.
Dolphins’ new training facility sounds pretty awesome. It should help them in free agency pic.twitter.com/SjjIeo7eSC
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) July 20, 2021
It’s somewhat similar to what Bill Belichick did when he first came to Foxboro, making changes to an old Foxboro Stadium that was quite limited at the time, and Belichick likely played a role in helping make another happen to Gillette Stadium recently after the team added 30,000 square feet during a project a few years ago that also included a 25,000 square foot renovation to the existing facility.
That modification saw them upgrade the existing training and rehab area, as well as add new space for the coaches’ offices, meeting rooms and auditoriums and reportedly took about 10 months to complete. The club also improved the plumbing and HVAC system, adding dedicated locker exhaust systems to make it a more pleasant environment for the players as well.
The team posted a photo prior to New England’s preseason match-up against Washington back in 2018:
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 9, 2018
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Flores has definitely been putting his stamp on the Dolphins, who have been stuck in neutral in recent years but have made progress in becoming a contender already in the AFC East since his arrival. With Miami up first in Week 1, it’s definitely going to be a key match-up that should give us an indication of what kind of team we’ll have heading into 2021.
3) The Jets appear to be in a contract standoff with safety Marcus Maye, who will now play 2021 under the franchise tag after the two sides apparently couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension.
Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the team didn’t respond to Maye’s most recent proposal and they pulled their previous offer off the table, citing sources close to the negotiations.
With the deadline to reach a long-term deal set for tomorrow, Rapoport believes a deal isn’t expected to get done and Maye will earn the $10.61 from the tender.
Maye reportedly had higher offers in free agency than the Jets were willing to pay, which is what caused the team to place the tag on him in order to keep him in the fold. The situation is apparently contentious, with Rapoport also adding that the two sides are “really not in a good place”.
The Jets are set to open the season on the road down in Carolina on September 12th, presumably against former quarterback, Sam Darnold, in what should be an interesting match-up to start the year.
4) In more serious Jets news, offensive coach, Gregg Knapp, was seriously injured in a bicycle crash over the weekend that has him currently in the hospital in critical condition. Knapp was reportedly injured out in California after being struck by a motorist at 2:49 PM PT on Saturday, with Knapp suffering “major injuries” and he remains hospitalized.
The Jets have confirmed the accident and that Knapp’s situation is “dire”, with new head coach Robert Saleh asking for prayers in a statement yesterday, writing, “I ask that you keep him in your prayers as we all pull for him to recover from this horrific accident.”
The 58-year coach was brought in as the club’s passing coordinator in January and has a history of success working with quarterbacks. He had been off to a good start with new QB Zach Wilson, who he had described as a “fast study” as well as the fact he’s done a good job both minimizing mistakes while learning from the ones he’s made.
Knapp is obviously not just a coach but he’s also a husband and father of three, so our thoughts definitely go out to his family and friends.
5) It appears Aaron Rodgers isn’t yet close to returning to the Packers, with the veteran rejecting what sounds like a considerable contract from the team.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the veteran quarterback turned down a two-year extension that would have made him the highest-paid NFL player, surpassing the $45 million annual salary that Patrick Mahomes received down in Kansas City.
The 37-year old is currently the league’s 5th highest-paid player at $33.5 million.
A report yesterday listed him as getting his home ready for what some had hoped would be for a return to the Green Bay area but it sounds like Rodgers and the team haven’t found any common ground just yet. As a result, the drama appears ready to continue heading into the start of training camp next week.
(UPDATE 7/22: This article has been updated to reflect that coach Knapp was struck while riding a bicycle, with the earlier cited source incorrectly having reported it being a motorcycle.)
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2021 Patriots Preseason Aaron Rodgers Brian Flores Carolina Panthers Christian Barmore Gillette Stadium Gregg Knapp Marcus Maye Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets Ronnie Perkins Sam Darnold