Some news and notes for this morning:
Folk on the Trade Block?
As the New England Patriots continue working toward getting down to their 53-man roster by 4pm ET today, it sounds like they’re potentially exploring another trade.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, a source told Howe and fellow colleague Dianna Russini that the Patriots are exploring potentially trading veteran kicker Nick Folk, which could signal that the team feels comfortable enough in 2023 fourth round pick, Chad Ryland, to handle the kicking duties moving forward.
Moving on from Folk is certainly a risky move, especially given how consistent he’s been. He finished 2022 hitting 32-of-37, including a perfect 18-of-18 on his attempts up to 39 yards. He was 14-of-19 from beyond 49 yards last year, including 4-of-5 from 50+.
But the biggest knock on Folk has been his leg strength on kickoffs and long field goals. That’s obviously an area where Ryland, who is much younger at only 23 (Folk is 38), has exhibited a pretty strong leg so far when he’s had those opportunities this preseason.
The rookie has yet to have a field goal attempt in a game, with Folk hitting the one field goal attempt the club had over its three preseason contests. That one came back in the opener against the Texans, when Folk hit one from 44-yards out.
But in practice, he’s definitely had some good moments and if the news is true, it looks like he may be the next kicker to carry the torch for the Patriots moving forward.
Russini pointed out that among teams looking for a kicker are the Rams, Lions, Titans, 49ers, and Broncos, which could hopefully allow the Patriots to find a partner as they continue looking to add some depth in key areas following the two trades they’ve already made ahead of the cutdown deadline.
Are the Patriots Trading Kendrick Bourne? Club Tells Teams He’s Not Available
After an offseason where his name has come up several times as a possible trade option, it sounds like Kendrick Bourne’s status with the team is set for 2023.
Howe also reported that the Patriots have fielded calls with teams inquiring on a potential deal for the receiver, but Howe reports that the club has informed anyone interested that he’s not available.
Bourne’s status was up in the air during the DeAndre Hopkins rumors, with reports indicating that had the Patriots pulled the trigger on that deal, Bourne may have potentially been the odd man out. After signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and extending DeVante Parker, it certainly seems like that may have been a possibility, given how things looked.
Instead, Hopkins ended up in Tennessee, which shut the door on any uncertainty with Bourne’s status for this season.
After a slow start, Bourne has come on as of late and looked terrific since the second preseason game in Green Bay, as well as over the final two weeks of training camp.
Against the Packers, Bourne hauled in 3-of-his-4 targets for 34 yards, including a nice grab on a third down play that went for 17 yards and moved the chains.
He’s gotten stronger as training camp has gone on and he added some size this offseason, with the team listing him at 205lbs, which is higher than the 190lbs he was listed at last season.
Given who they have, the expectations should certainly be high for Bourne heading into 2023. After finishing the 2021 regular season with 55 receptions for 800 yards and 5 touchdowns, he took a step back in 2022 after seemingly having issues with previous offensive coordinator, Matt Patricia.
However, with Bill O’Brien now on board, the Patriots will likely be leaning on Bourne a little more this season. Especially after the departure of Jakobi Meyers and the fact the team may be cautious with JuJu Smith-Schuster as he continues coming back from the knee injury he suffered in the postseason with Kansas City earlier this year.
McSorley Among Early Cuts
The Patriots parted ways with veteran quarterback Trace McSorley on Monday, which seemingly signals that Malik Cunningham will be in the fold by the end of today.
McSorley didn’t see a lot of action this preseason, and what little action he did see wasn’t quite as solid as it needed to be. He finished the exhibition season completing just 1-of-4 for 4-yards, and always seemed to be an afterthought behind Bailey Zappe on the depth chart.
Meanwhile, Cunningham flashed in the opener against the Texans and the former Louisville standout gives them a different style of player who could potentially see action similar to how the Saints used Taysom Hill.
While Cunningham didn’t do much after his first appearance, he apparently showed enough in camp that the Patriots potentially feel comfortable enough to move on from McSorley, which would leave them with Mac Jones, Zappe, and Cunningham heading into the season.
Baringer was impressive this preseason. (PHOTO: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)
Baringer Wins Punting Job
While the Patriots appeared to have a punting battle brewing during training camp, rookie Bryce Baringer seemingly won that one by a landslide and it was Corliss Waitman who ended up on the outside looking in after the team moved on from him on Monday.
Baringer has been booming punts over the last few weeks, flipping the field position on quite a few of them including one he booted 69-yards for a touchback Friday night in Tennessee.
Many of his kicks have ended up with opponents starting drives either at or inside their own 20, with Baringer showing off some impressive hang time to go along with them.
Knowing how important that part of the game has been to Belichick over the years, it looks like he’ll have a pretty good one working out there this season as Baringer now appears set to be the guy handling those duties moving forward.
Belichick on Roster Cuts “I know what it’s like”
Belichick offered up an interesting quote on Monday where the coach recognized the fact that letting go of a player after they worked so hard over this last month is never easy, and he tries to let them know how much he appreciates what they’ve done.
Unfortunately, it’s just a numbers game, which makes it tough. But he gave some insight into how they try and handle this process.
“I’m sure things will get crunched at the end, and I don’t want to not give those players at least the time and the courtesy of an explanation and the decision, a closure to it if you will,” said Belichick. “I think they deserve that based on what they’ve given me.”
“I want to recognize that because some of these guys have worked as hard as they could for the last however many months, in some cases years, and done all they could. Unfortunately, we all know that 90 has got to go to 53. It’s 37 players who can’t be on the 53-man roster, and we all knew that when we signed up for it. I’ve been on waivers myself a few times. So, I know what that’s like to be told, “You don’t have a place here”, and some of us end up somewhere else. It’s part of the process.”
“Whether it’s the right or wrong thing to do, I don’t know, but I try to do the best that I can. I try to be respectful for the players and what they’re going through and what their future is, if it’s not here. I try to communicate that to them in the best way that I can. We deal with multiple people in the organization and talk to their representatives and so forth. We try to handle it as professionally as we can, let’s put it that way.”
Odds and Ends
Belichick told reporters on Monday that they’re going to take a look at newcomer Tyrone Wheatley Jr. to see where he fits in on their offensive line. “He’s a player that we felt like could compete on the offensive line and give us some depth there and see how it goes,” said Belichick. “Young player, he’s played a lot of tackle in his career at Illinois and at Minnesota. He may have some position flexibility, I don’t know, I’ll have to work with him and see.” … Belichick also added the fact that making a decision to move on from someone like Pierre Strong, who was sent to the Browns in exchange for Wheatley Jr Monday, is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. “Well, when you trade for another player, you have to give up something,” said Belichick. “So, you have to give up something to get something. You’re not looking to get rid of anybody, but you had to give up something to get a player that we feel like we needed. “
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bryce Baringer Chad Ryland Kendrick Bourne Nick Folk Trace McSorely