Patriots News 7/18: Daily Team Notebook
Some Patriots news on this Monday:
– Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out in his Sunday notes column that with the New England Patriots already parting ways with N’Keal Harry after trading him to the Bears for a 2024 draft pick last week, the Patriots traded their second of two top players from the 2019 Draft and Reiss believes they may not be done. He feels that Joejuan Williams could be next to go, with Reiss putting the former second-round pick among players who he feels may be a long shot to make this year’s roster. With newcomers Jack Jones and Marcus Jones from this past draft, along with the return of Malcolm Butler and Jalen Mills having a full season under his belt, this will likely be a competitive group heading into training camp. Given Williams’ inconsistent play over the past few seasons, the window for him to emerge is slowly closing and that’s disappointing since the former standout from Vanderbilt has the frame (6’3″, 212 lbs) that is ideal in this league but he’s yet to put it all together.
– The news of Jason McCourty‘s retirement removes one contingency option at defensive back for the Patriots, with the veteran having announced his retirement from the game on Friday. McCourty finished out his career in an ideal fashion, spending two of his final three NFL seasons playing alongside his brother, Devin McCourty, here in New England. While Jason took some criticism at times during his second season, he’ll forever be remembered by an unbelievable play in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2018 season where he broke up what appeared to be a sure touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Brandon Cooks which helped the Patriots win their sixth championship. Best of luck to him in retirement, and it’s a reminder to enjoy what could likely be the final season for his brother, Devin, here in New England as well.
– The other player from 2019 who was also moved this offseason was Chase Winovich, who the team used in a trade with the Cleveland Browns to acquire linebacker Mack Wilson. Expectations are high for the veteran, who is expected to be a big part of New England’s revamped group of linebackers. Wilson joins a class of players that includes veterans Matthew Judon and Ja’Whaun Bentley, followed by Josh Uche. From there, there are a ton of questions that will definitely need answered. Hopefully, we’ll see an emergence by players like Cameron McGrone, Ronnie Perkins, Raekwon McMillan, and Anfernee Jennings, each of which are talented players who have just yet to pan out. For now, the coaching staff appears comfortable with this group, which is unusual to say the least compared to how this position has been approached previously. With Dont’a Hightower seemingly out of the picture, along with the fact Trey Flowers remains unsigned, this remains one of the biggest questions heading into next week’s training camp.
– Even after purging the players just mentioned, there could still be more to come. Other players potentially include tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, both of which were taken in the third round of the 2020 Patriots Draft. Neither player has seen much action over the last two seasons and last offseason’s acquisitions of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, both of whom signed lucrative contracts, was eye-opening since it essentially pushed Keene and Asiasi back to the bottom of the depth chart. Little has been said about the two players this offseason and there’s a belief that one (with some favoring Keene) could possibly be used as an H-back in New England’s revamped offense. But it’s possible we could see them move on from one or both before this is over.
– One player that remains a big question mark is James White, and a mention by him by Reiss isn’t exactly encouraging. Reiss saw White at a recent community appearance and the veteran running back was walking with what Reiss called “an uncomfortable gait”. The belief has already been that White will likely start out the year on PUP but if I’m White, given the extent of the injury, after everything he’s accomplished, life after football should also be a factor if he’s not fully recovered and his situation will be worth keeping an eye on over the next month.
– Out in Cleveland, the Browns sound like they might not be done dealing for quarterbacks. With Deshaun Watson potentially facing a suspension, the Browns are reportedly prepared to make another move to add depth behind Jacoby Brissett heading into the season. Jimmy Garoppolo remains the name being tossed around as a possible addition but the obvious obstacle is Garoppolo’s current $25 million salary, along with whatever demands the 49ers continue to be seeking. However, we’ve already seen the price on quarterbacks drop this offseason and it’s possible San Francisco could simply decide to finally end this saga rather than go into 2022 with the same distraction they created last offseason. More clarity on Watson’s future isn’t expected to come until next week, with ProFootballTalk pointing out that the ruling in the case on Watson’s punishment could be handed down at that time.
– One other report pointed out that Steve Young recently said he believes Garoppolo will ask to be released as soon as he passes his physical, but that’s unlikely to happen given that the 49ers have already said they won’t just let him go. That could potentially see them starting the season with him on the roster and then keep him around until another team suffers the loss of their own starter, giving the 49ers leverage to then deal Garoppolo midseason. This remains one of the most bizarre situations in recent memory. Kyle Shanahan gambled everything to get to #3 overall and at this point, he has no choice but to hitch his wagon to Trey Lance and move on. At this point, there’s not much of a market left since they dragged this out again, which has to be frustrating after Garoppolo likely thought at the end of last season he’d be preparing for the season on someone else’s roster by now.
– Meanwhile, down in Carolina, former Panthers quarterback David Carr believes that the fact Carolina went out and acquired Baker Mayfield is obviously bad news for Sam Darnold. Carr cites comments by his previous teammate and Panthers QB Jake Delhomme on the club’s upcoming QB competition. Carr gives the edge to Darnold due to his knowledge of the system, but he feels that Mayfield could ultimately end up starting in September. “Jake is absolutely right,” said Carr via USA TODAY. “It’s gonna be very difficult for Baker to come in—right before training camp—learn the guys, get a feel for this. But what has happened is—they’ve gone through OTAs, they’ve gone through minicamps with Sam Darnold and they’ve said, ‘It’s not enough. We gotta go get somebody.’ So, that for me is a big warning sign if I’m Sam Darnold. Like, they went out and got another quarterback because of what you guys looked like as an offense in the spring. For me, that says Baker Mayfield is the quarterback.”
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Anfernee Jennings Baker Mayfield Brandon Cooks Cameron McGrone Carolina Panthers Chase Winovich Cleveland Browns Dalton Keene David Carr Deshaun Watson Devin Asiasi Devin McCourty Dont'a Hightower Hunter Henry Ja'Whaun Bentley Jack Jones Jacoby Brissett Jake Delhomme Jalen Mills James White Jared Goff Jason McCourty Jimmy Garoppolo Joejuan Williams Jonnu Smith Josh Uche Kyle Shanahan Mack Wilson Malcolm Butler Marcus Jones Matthew Judon N'Keal Harry Patriots news Raekwon McMillan Ronnie Perkins Sam Darnold San Francisco 49ers Steve Young Trey Flowers Trey Lance