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Monday Patriots Notebook 3/18: News and Notes

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
March 18, 2024 at 11:07 am ET

Monday Patriots Notebook 3/18: News and Notes(PHOTO: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

Some Patriots news and notes for this morning:

Patriots Add WR Osborn on Sunday

It had been a quiet few days in free agency for the Patriots, but they finally made a solid move on Sunday to bolster their receiving corps after losing out last week on Calvin Ridley.

Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that New England added Vikings free agent wideout K.J. Osborne, signing him to a 1-year deal.

Osborne is a tough, athletic receiver who is incredibly quick, along with the fact he’s an explosive player.  Looking at some of his film, he’s a guy who did a terrific job for Minnesota getting open in space, averaging over 50 catches per season during the last three years as well as over 500 yards.

Osborn’s totals  over the last three seasons:
2021: 50 catches, 655 yards, 7 touchdowns
2022: 60 catches, 650 yards, 5 touchdowns
2023: 48 catches, 540 yards, 3 touchdowns

He’s a guy who is also a downfield threat, and he should be another solid player to go along with Kendrick Bourne and Demario Douglas, giving the Patriots three viable threats in their offense.

While he’s certainly not at Ridley’s level, he’s still a significant upgrade over DeVante Parker.  While Osborn is only 5’11”, he’s shown a much better ability to make contested catches, while also being a player who does a good job against man coverage and gets open at a pretty good clip, which is something Parker struggled with.

One other area is he’s also a threat in the red zone, hauling in 2 of his 3 touchdowns last season in the red area.  For a comparison, despite what they were up against and even after Bourne was lost for the year with his ACL injury, Parker didn’t even have a single red zone target during all of 2023.

Thornton also finished last season without a red zone target, but he also missed a total of eight games last season, including one where he was active but didn’t play (Week 10 in Germany vs Colts).

The club turned the page on Parker this offseason, releasing him ahead of free agency.  He ended up signing with Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Thornton has been seen on social media working out with Bourne and Douglas with quarterback Bailey Zappe.  The third-year receiver has significantly bulked up ahead of the season, which will hopefully see him spend less time on the sidelines in 2024.

For now, while the club missed out on Ridley, adding Osborn at least provides them with a playmaker in an offense that was in rough shape last season.

However, they’re still in need of a significant threat and it remains to be seen if they’ll find it next month in the form of a draft pick, or if they’ll potentially make a trade to acquire one.

Either way, it’s only March 18th and there’s still a long way to go.  But Eliot Wolf seemingly found a good player yesterday, with the trio of Bourne, Douglas, and Osborn already looking like a formidable group compared to what we saw last season.

Let’s hope Wolf can find one more solid piece to finish it off.

(PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Judon Extension Talks Coming?

Mike Reiss had an interesting note in his Sunday column on the future of Matthew Judon, who it sounds like may be someone the Patriots are looking to keep in the fold.

Reiss notes that the restructure of Judon’s contract last season, which saw them accelerate some of his 2024 salary to boost his 2023 earnings, may see the club “return to the negotiating table this offseason.”

He reports that with the first wave of free agency being over with, it opens things up for the sides to begin working on his deal, which he also wrote “they’ve begun to preliminarily explore.”

The 31-year old is coming off a torn biceps last season and is likely heading into what could be his final contract, and while the Patriots are clearly back at the starting point when it comes to a rebuild, Judon appears to be happy where he’s at.

As a result, it’s entirely possible he may want to finish out his career in New England, and it should be interesting to see if something gets done this offseason to ensure that happens.

Standing Pat at #3?

While there has been some speculation that the club might be willing to entertain offers for the #3 overall pick, it sounds like New England plans on staying where they are next month.

SI’s Albert Breer reports that like the Bears and Commanders, the Patriots have shown “zero appetite” to make a trade, and appear set on drafting their quarterback of the future next month.

The only question is whether or not it will be Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye, or if they’ll surprise everyone and even potentially draft J.J. McCarthy, who is quietly moving up the draft boards.

While many don’t believe McCarthy is necessarily worthy of going that high, some also believe that there may be a team that would move up to select him.  That’s because McCarthy had a strong showing at the Combine and also has a lot of the intangibles that could sway a team into taking that chance.

After all, teams are remembered for drafting the wrong guy, not reaching for a player who ultimately pans out.  In fact, it’s probably safe to say the latter would garner praise, especially given how important the position is.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what direction they end up going.  But it’s yet another reminder of how important it’s going to be for New England to make the right move next month, optics be damned.

Odds and Ends

Reiss also reported on Sunday that he expects the team to begin extension talks with Christian Barmore, who is also heading into the end of his rookie deal.  Barmore has been a massive part of New England’s defense, and it’s safe to say he’s definitely among the “cornerstone” players that Wolf will likely want to continue building around. … After extending Mike Onwenu this offseason, Ian Rapoport of NFL media reports that he’s “expected to be the Patriots right tackle moving forward,” which means that after a solid performance there last season, that appears to be his role heading into 2024.  That also likely bodes well for second-year lineman Sidy Sow, who played well at right guard last season. … With Pittsburgh apparently completely resetting its QB room, the move that saw Justin Fields head to the Steelers is interesting.  It gives him an opportunity to learn behind Russell Wilson, and possibly even end up starting if Wilson flames out like he did in Denver.  One other note was the fact the Bears also reportedly wanted to do right by Fields, with the Steelers apparently his first choice among teams who were interested. … Mark Daniels of MassLive pointed out the club’s offseason schedule, with Rookie minicamp slated for May 10-11, while OTAs are set to run May 20, 21, 23, 29, 30, 31; June 3, 4, 6, 7.  Minicamp is scheduled for June 11-13. … Sophie Weller of A2ZSports also tweeted that the Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Tom Brady will be held on Wednesday, June 12 at 7 p.m., which will be a ticketed event inside Gillette Stadium.

READ NEXT:
MORSE: 5 Thoughts as Wolf Underwhelms with Patriots Free Agency Class

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Christian Barmore Demario Douglas Devante Parker Drake Maye J.J. McCarthy Jayden Daniels K.J. Osborn Kendrick Bourne Matthew Judon Mike Onwenu Sidy Sow Tyquan Thornton

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