Some news and notes on this Wednesday:
1) The New England Patriots are continuing to do their due diligence this offseason, including taking a look at a unique player recently.
According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com, Patriots assistant Joe Judge recently held a private workout with University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King a few days ago, and they are reportedly also on the list among top-30 visits with the club as well where King will reportedly again be present.
King doesn’t have the prototypical quarterback size as he’s just 5’11”, 195lbs. But where King excels is in his athleticism, which has seen him gain 2,055 yards rushing the football on 423 carries as well as 32 TDs. He also reportedly split time at receiver during the early part of his career, with some believing he could become a slot receiver at the next level. Another interesting fact is that King took part not only in quarterback drills at the NFL Combine, but also at receiver.
Given his size, he seems to be focused on being someone who can do multiple things and as we know, that certainly is important to New England head coach, Bill Belichick.
“The more you could do, the more valuable you are. So if I can be one guy on a roster that can be backup quarterback, receiver, special teams, whatever I can do,” King told ProFootballNetwork.com after the Miami Pro Day. “It’s all about getting the best opportunity to make the roster.”
He appears to be a guy willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win football games. Needless to say, he could be a name that we may want to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
2) Mac Jones has been a busy guy this offseason. He’s reportedly been spotted quite a bit at Gillette Stadium as he tries to build off of his rookie season, as well as spending quite a bit of time out in the community for various events and bringing a lot of smiles as a result as well.
He’s since left New England, but the work hasn’t stopped. He’s currently down in Tampa with several teammates including Kendrick Bourne, who posted a video on his Instagram page yesterday of the group getting some work in as they continue getting ready for the upcoming season.
Bourne’s video showed that Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and J.J. Taylor are among players who caught passes from their quarterback, with the workout appearing to be fairly high-energy out in the Florida sunshine.
Looks like a big Patriots throwing session down in Florida today. Mac Jones, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and J.J. Taylor (via Bourne’s IG). pic.twitter.com/P9ZWBLiSqU
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) April 5, 2022
Newcomer DeVante Parker is reportedly also set to join the group, with the veteran receiver having been spotted in Tampa. As a result, the work continues behind the scenes and it’s yet another reason to look forward to what should be a fun season in 2022.
If Harry’s time is coming to an end, no one has apparently told him yet. (PHOTO: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
3) With the addition of Parker, Patriots receiver N’Keal Harry’s future is definitely in the spotlight.
Considering that one of Parker’s biggest strengths happens to be one of the key reasons they drafted Harry a few years ago, most signs point to the end of the line for the former first-round draft pick. However, if that’s the case, no one has apparently said anything to Harry just yet.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Harry hasn’t heard about anything from the team as it pertains to his future. However, that could obviously change as we get closer to the NFL Draft, which could be a time where teams may inquire about the former Arizona State standout.
It’s been a disappointing run for Harry, who has a total of 57 catches for 598-yards and 4 touchdowns over his three-year career. Last season was certainly his most disappointing as injuries and performance limited him to 12 games where he caught just 12 passes for 184-yards, spending the majority of time in on rushing downs where he at least excelled as a blocker.
Unfortunately, first-round receivers are generally relied on to make plays and be productive, which was something Harry’s agent tried to remind everyone that he did in college last offseason. Instead, all we saw was more of the same from Harry last season, including some frustrating moments that showed just how far he’s fallen.
Harry was reportedly not among the group spotted down in Tampa working out with Jones, which barring a change there, is certainly noteworthy.
While nothing may have been said to Harry just yet, it would be a surprise to see him survive training camp. That’s under the assumption that the team stands pat with their group right now which includes Agholor, Parker, Bourne, and Meyers. Should a move possibly happen with Agholor, which has been speculated by many due to financial reasons, that would potentially be a sign that Harry could be back in the mix for another season.
After three frustrating years, one could only hope that isn’t the case.
4) A quote by Colts owner Jim Irsay in Peter King’s Monday Morning in America column this week is a reminder that it’s sort of amazing to think the Patriots potentially have their quarterback of the future after having to endure just one season without Tom Brady.
Indianapolis seemingly pulled off the impossible by immediately replacing Peyton Manning with Andrew Luck, but they did a poor job protecting him and put him in a position where Luck picked his health over football after stepping away from the game at just 29-years old.
Since then, the Colts have been in a tough spot as they’ve cycled through quarterbacks. They had Philip Rivers in 2020, who played well but retired after one season. Then they acquired Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason, which didn’t work out quite the way they hoped. So they instead corrected that move this offseason by going out and getting former Atlanta Falcons QB, Matt Ryan.
Irsay spoke about Luck’s departure and the frustration that’s come along with it.
“I don’t think people understand [the impact] of Andrew Luck stepping away,” said Irsay. “I’d like to see how any other franchise could possibly survive a generational talent at 29 years old who walks away in the middle of preseason. Just gone.”
It’s a reminder how fortunate the Patriots were timing-wise in landing Jones, which has quarterback near the bottom of their list for concerns heading into 2022. Given how teams like Miami, Buffalo, San Francisco, Dallas, and Denver each fared after their own stars walked away, the fact the Patriots have avoided that is indeed, pretty incredible.
5) It appears we now know how the Patriots managed to make some salary cap room to bring in Parker.
Field Yates of ESPN reported that New England quietly restructured Deatrich Wise Jr’s contract in order to make room for the receiver, with the club converting $2.85 million of Wise’s base salary into a signing bonus, which created $1.9 million in cap space.
Wise has been a bright spot on defense, with the veteran defensive lineman having had a productive year in 2021. He finished the season with 41 tackles including three sacks, as well as a forced fumble. He also defended four passes, which actually ranked him with 6th most on the team in that category.
He was originally a 4th round selection out of the University of Arkansas back in 2017 and earned a 4-year extension last March.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Andrew Luck Atlanta Falcons Bill Belichick D'Eriq King Deatrich Wise Jr. Devante Parker Indianapolis Colts J.J. Taylor Jakobi Meyers Jim Irsay Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones N'Keal Harry Nelson Agholor Peyton Manning Philip Rivers University of Miami