Author Archives: Ian Logue

Ian Logue

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.

Former Patriots Center Bryan Stork Officially Announces Retirement

Ian Logue
March 22, 2017 at 10:48 am ET

Former Patriots center Bryan Stork sat out the 2016 season after his time in New England ended, and it sounds like his days in the NFL might be over.

The 26-year old officially announced his retirement, quoting Kenny Rogers in a statement he posted to Twitter, where he let everyone know of his intentions to hang up his cleats:

The likely reason behind his decision may stem from the fact Stork suffered four documented concussions over his career, and if that’s true, credit the former fourth-round pick in 2014 with putting himself first and making the wise decision to walk away.

While he may have only played two seasons in the league, Stork can walk away having enjoyed being at the pinnacle of the NFL, having won a championship during his rookie season.  Best wishes to him as he begins his retirement.

VIDEO: Jay Glazer Releases Security Footage Following Brady Jersey Theft

Ian Logue
March 21, 2017 at 10:47 am ET

While Tom Brady’s jerseys from Super Bowl XLIX and LI have been recovered, the mystery continues in terms of how the culprit behind the theft could have gotten away with it.

On Monday, reports emerged that the two jerseys had been recovered, and on Tuesday FS1’s Jay Glazer released security footage he obtained of the perpetrator walking in and then later out of the locker room.

The Sporting News’ Jordan Heck posted the video on via his Twitter account (see below), and you can see Maurico Ortega, the man Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported was behind the heist, calmly walking both in and then later leaving the Patriots’ locker room.

One would have to believe that this incident will certainly change the way the NFL handles security in their teams’ locker rooms moving forward, and hopefully prevent such events moving forward.

RB Tyler Gaffney Released by the Patriots

Ian Logue
March 20, 2017 at 9:04 pm ET

Tyler Gaffney showed a lot of promise during last year’s preseason but on Monday he became a player looking for a new football team.

The Patriots announced that they released the former sixth-round pick out of Carolina, with Gaffney once again having been let go by the club.  Gaffney shined in last year’s preseason game against New Orleans, carrying 9 times for 64-yards, including a 44-yard touchdown but was the odd man out during the team’s final cutdown in 2016 but was later signed to the practice squad on October 17th, 2016.

Gaffney worked hard and had his moments, but was simply never able to move his way up what became a talented and crowded depth chart in New England’s backfield. Monday’s decision to release him now simply gives him additional time to hopefully find a new landing spot.

With the addition of recently acquired Rex Burkhead, the Patriots currently have Burkhead, D.J. Foster, Dion Lewis and James White joining fullback James Develin on their roster.

Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Jersey Recovered, Stolen By Media Member

Ian Logue
at 10:12 am ET

The mystery surrounding Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey has been solved, and the details are a little disturbing if they’re true in terms of who was behind it.

According to ESPN, Brady’s jersey was reportedly taken by an international credentialed media member, who apparently was also the culprit behind the one that was stolen from Brady back in 2015 during their Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.

Brady had revealed in an interview after the win over Atlanta that this had been the second time a theft had occurred, and this news explains how it could have happened twice after learning that it was the same person who stole it originally.

“Through the cooperation of the NFL and New England Patriots’ security teams, the FBI and other law enforcement authorities, the Super Bowl LI jersey worn last month by MVP Tom Brady has been recovered,” the NFL said in its statement via ESPN. “Also retrieved during the ongoing investigation was the jersey Brady wore in the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks in 2015.

“The items were found in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media. Due to the ongoing investigation, we would refer any additional questions to the FBI.”

The jerseys were reportedly found in Mexico, although the name of the media member behind the theft has yet to be released.

Hopefully moving forward, the NFL does a better job of preventing something like this from reoccurring and according to the Houston police, the person behind it is now facing a first-degree felony.

Unless The Price Is Right, Patriots Should Hold On to Butler

Ian Logue
at 9:47 am ET

Anyone who has followed the Patriots over the last decade, there’s one thing we’ve learned when it’s come to finding reliable cornerbacks in Bill Belichick’s defense. It’s been a problem, and given all the discussions over the last week of jettisoning Malcolm Butler from the roster, it should definitely be something this team doesn’t do unless they’re being adequately compensated.

Some people are making the argument that the deal for Butler is simply a continuation of the trade involving receiver Brandin Cooks, which saw New England send the #32 overall selection in the first round, along with swapping selections in the 3rd and 4th rounds with New Orleans in exchange for adding Cooks to the roster.  But with time having passed since this escalated last week, the Saints need to realize that the value Butler brings in what is now a passing league is a valuable asset, and it should cost them a little more than they might have thought to get him.

Bill Belichick and Sean Payton may be friends but at the end of the day, both coaches understand that they’re each judged by wins and losses, and whatever deal they make needs to work well for both sides.  The Saints played hardball when it came to wanting more than just the Patriots #32 in order to feel fairly compensated for giving up Cooks, and you could make the argument that Butler is the equivalent in this trade and is certainly worth more than the rumored #32 selection that’s been speculated as currency to add Butler to their defense.


Letting Butler walk should come at a serious cost to whatever team wants him.

As for Butler, who is frustrated and has been working with his agent to orchestrate a deal out of New England, he has virtually no say in the matter.  He’s already been tendered at the first-round level for his restricted free agent contract, which would bump his salary up to $3.91 million and has New England in control of him for at least one more season.  As it stands right now, his current obligation is to suit up in Foxboro in 2017 before he’ll have an opportunity to take his talents elsewhere after the season.  While he hasn’t yet signed his tender, there will eventually come a deadline that will give the Patriots the right to reduce his salary if he doesn’t, much in the same way that it happened with Logan Mankins back in 2010 during a similar standoff.

Mankins didn’t care and his salary was cut, and he held out until the very end before he eventually signed the tender reported on November 7th just before the Browns game that season, which at the time was likely only done because it would have cost him the opportunity to become a free agent when the season ended.  The Patriots eventually reached an agreement on an extension for the veteran guard after they placed the franchise tag on him the following season, which put that situation to bed.

While Butler has said he won’t hold out, this whole mess still has a long way to play out should this deal with the Saints fall apart and the two sides, for now, seem too far apart to find common ground.

Make no mistake, Butler is one of the top corners of the game, having bucked the history here in New England of not enduring a second or third season slump that past players like Leigh Bodden, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, among others, each went through and caused a ripple effect in their secondary.  This is a football team that had gone through a rough stretch developing cornerbacks and it wasn’t until recently that they finally had some success after what we’ve seen from Butler, along with the recently departed Logan Ryan.

As a result, they had been forced to overcome that by relying on signing free agents, with Aqib Talib and Darrelle Revis being two keys to their recent run of success.  But that’s a formula that only goes so far and it’s no secret that the money they saved during Butler’s rise to becoming a restricted free agent helped pave the way for other personnel deals that also played a factor in winning their most recent championship.

To let him go doesn’t make a lot of sense unless the deal is just too good to pass up.  While they may have gone out and signed Stephon Gilmore, having already lost Ryan to free agency, the cornerback position remains one that is still going to require depth and there’s no guarantee that Gilmore is going to hit the ground running and match Butler’s level of play.  Not to mention the fact Gilmore has only played in 16 full games just once during his NFL career (2012), unlike Butler who has played in all 16 over each of the last two seasons.


The Patriots have already lost Ryan to free agency this offseason.

Belichick may have a plan in mind but he’s likely aware of the painstakingly frustrating stretch he went through before the Patriots finally got their secondary in order and started getting more consistent play from the group they’ve built over the past few seasons.  With Ryan now in Tennessee and Butler’s future in question, Belichick should make sure that as much as he’d like to help his friend Sean Payton out, he needs to make sure that New Orleans coughs up at least the #11 selection, or he’ll simply start planning on the prospect of having both Butler and Gilmore lining up opposite each other for 2017.

Simply put, the Patriots are in the driver’s seat here and need to be smart.  Giving him away unless the deal is too sweet to turn down only benefits New Orleans, and the Patriots were more than fair by including another pick with the #32 pick when they acquired Cooks.  As great as that acquisition was, New England was already stacked with talent at receiver before making that deal and unfortunately, they don’t have that luxury right now at the cornerback position.

As a result, there’s really no room to do anyone any favors.  Now it’s just up to Belichick to take a tough stance and make sure the Patriots receive more than what they deserve in return for what they’d lose by not having Butler on the team next season.

With Visit with Saints On Deck, Is Butler’s Time in New England Over?

Ian Logue
March 14, 2017 at 1:53 pm ET

It would have been hard to imagine as the confetti fell in Houston just over a month ago that Malcolm Butler would be on the verge of being out of New England just six weeks later, barely removed from winning his second championship as a member of the Patriots.

It’s amazing just how quickly things can change, and now Butler’s future is suddenly in doubt given how things have transpired over the last week.

According to the Associated Press, Butler is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, with Ian Rapoport reporting that it’s more than just a discussion to explore the cornerback’s options.  Rapoport reports that the two sides have already begun negotiations on a new contract, with the hopes of consummating a deal this week.

Butler is currently a restricted free agent and has a first-round tender placed on him by the Patriots, which for now, he hasn’t signed.  However, if New Orleans is offering what he wants and the Patriots are O.K. with making a deal to send him there, it’s possible Butler could sign the tender, which would allow New England to deal him.

The next question would be the type of compensation the Bill Belichick would be willing to accept.  The Saints currently have the Patriots 32nd overall selection that they traded in exchange to bring receiver Brandin Cooks to New England, as well as the 11th overall pick in the draft.  While an offer sheet that the Patriots could decline to match would yield them a first round pick (the higher of the Staints’ two selections), the fact Belichick has such a good relationship with Saints head coach Sean Payton would more than likely see them skip that process and work out the compensation from there.


Two years ago, Butler was a Super Bowl hero. Now, he might be done in New England.

The only question will be what the Patriots would receive in return.  Having just signed free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore, New England at least has someone they feel can be a quality top corner on their roster if they were to lose Butler.  They currently sit without a draft pick in the first two rounds, and it’s possible that by moving Butler, they’ll get back something to change that should a deal come to pass.

Another team reportedly in the mix could be the Houston Texans, with Eric Edholm reporting that the Texans are interested in possibly giving up  second-round selection if they can work out a long-term deal.  That would seem unlikely given that Belichick’s preference would likely be to send Butler out of the conference, and the fact it might not be a strong enough depending on what the Saints come through with.

Needless to say things are about to get interesting after an already crazy start to free agency this offseason, and it appears that more change is certainly on the way as the Patriots continue building the 2017 version of their roster.

More Moves Coming? Patriots Without Draft Picks in Rounds 1-2

Ian Logue
March 11, 2017 at 11:01 am ET

The Patriots have been busy this week making moves to bolster their needs on both sides of the football, and so far Bill Belichick has seemingly used New England’s draft picks to gamble on players who are proven instead of guys who have yet to play a down of football in the NFL.

After sending their first-round and third-round pick to New Orleans on Friday to acquire dynamic receiver Brandin Cooks, along with sending their second-round pick to Carolina to acquire defensive end Kony Ealy,  the Patriots now find themselves in a situation where they’ll be spectators through the first 71 selections until they make their first with the 72nd 3rd-round pick they acquired from the Panthers.

As Mike Reiss of ESPN pointed out on Saturday morning, the Patriots now have seven selections in the draft, none of which will take place in the first two rounds.  One question will be which pick they’ll be able to make in the 4th round, with the NFL set to strip New England of a selection due to DeflateGate.  The only unknown will be whether or not it will be the higher of the two (the 118th) or the one they already had from the Seahawks at 132nd overall.

Here’s their current list:

3a) (72nd, from Carolina)

3b) (96th)

4) (118th, from New Orleans or 132nd selection from Seattle)

5a) (163rd)

5b) (183rd)

6) (200th, from Indianapolis)

7) (239th)

Knowing what we’ve seen in the past, the Patriots are likely far from done considering the fact they’re still sitting with nearly $50 million in cap space just one week into free agency.  Now it’s just a matter of whether or not they’ll try and replenish any of their early round selections.

There remains conflicting reports regarding Jimmy Garoppolo and a potential trade for New England’s coveted backup quarterback.  Rumors out of Cleveland are that they remain a potential landing spot for his services depending on the Patriots asking price, while Mike Reiss and Adam Schefter remain adamant that he’s not going anywhere.  Moving Garoppolo would clearly get New England back into round one, but it remains to be seen if the Patriots will be able to get an offer that’s too good to turn down in order for that to happen.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Butler’s situation remains one to keep an eye on after seeing how much things have seemed to deteriorate between the two sides.  If Butler forces their hand, he’ll also be a player who will recover one of those selections, but with newly-signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore now in the mix, having Butler in the fold heading into 2017 would obviously be ideal. If they can get something done beyond that, even better.

Either way, it’s been quite a week with what’s transpired and with the remaining cap space and other remaining needs, they’re certainly far from done.  Now the only question is going to be what moves Bill Belichick and the front office can come up with next, which should make for an interesting couple of months as they continue putting together the cast of the 2017 version of this football team.

Wild Start To Free Agency For the Patriots Featured Surprising Moves

Ian Logue
March 10, 2017 at 7:14 am ET

When it comes to figuring out the offseason moves for the Patriots, saying that they’re one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL would be an understatement.

Thursday’s start to free agency only further reinforced that, with the team making more headlines thanks to the trade the Patriots pulled off to replace Martellus Bennett, which leaked out  just one day earlier that they were acquiring tight end Dwayne Allen from the Colts.

The fact Bennett wasn’t coming back wasn’t nearly the surprise that learning the Patriots had found common ground with the rival Indianapolis Colts was.  Yet New England managed to fill a key need yet again, setting themselves up to have another offensive weapon in Tom Brady’s arsenal heading into 2017 and it cost them just a 4th-round draft pick.

Bennett said goodbye to the fans on Twitter Thursday and he’s reportedly receiving interest from the Oakland Raiders as well as the 49ers.  As a result, it sounds like he’s headed to the West Coast, with warm weather and a big payday likely in his future.

BUTLER ON THE BLOCK?

But the bigger shock came on Thursday with the news that negotiations of a potential contract extension with Malcolm Butler have seemingly turned sour enough that the Patriots are potentially exploring trading him to New Orleans in a deal for receiver Brandin Cooks.  That in itself is hard to fathom, especially given what a big part of their defense that he’s been.

However, things apparently haven’t been great behind the scenes with New England’s number one defensive back.  According to a report from Mike Giardi, Butler hasn’t been happy with his salary since last spring and the offer he received during the year on a potential extension apparently wasn’t enough and despite being a key part to them winning their fifth title, it didn’t go up after the season ended.  That leaves Butler where he is right now, without the raise he’s looking for and not in control of his immediate future.  As a restricted free agent, the team placed a first-round tender on him, which puts them in the driver’s seat heading into next season, unless another team is willing to give up a first-round pick to obtain him.

The situation got even more interesting Thursday and Butler should really be seething, having learned the Patriots signed former Bills CB Stephon Gilmore to a 5-year deal worth an astonishing $65 million, $40 of which is reportedly guaranteed.  Gilmore, you may recall, was the cornerback in coverage on the bomb Brady threw to Chris Hogan when the Patriots played the Bills on the road this season, who blew by him for the touchdown.

Not that the play was entirely his fault, but the fact the Patriots chose to break the bank for a player who has yet to prove anything in their defense over a guy who has done everything he’s been asked to do doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It’s definitely a puzzling decision and one which likely sends a mixed message to other players in the locker room.

What the future holds for Butler remains to be seen and some believe the move to acquire Gilmore may have more to do with what’s happening with Logan Ryan (who is reportedly garnering interest from Tennessee).  But either way, the Patriots have now set the value of that position in their secondary, and it’s hard not to feel like Butler got the short end of the stick with what transpired Thursday.  It will be an interesting situation to watch because on paper, with Butler still part of the team, the Patriots have one of the best secondaries in football.

Now the only question is how things will play out and whether or not he’ll be a part of it in 2017.

HARMON, BRANCH BACK IN THE FOLD, SHEARD VISITS DOLPHINS

Meanwhile, the Patriots did have some success on Thursday, with Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reporting that safety Duron Harmon is back in the fold, with the veteran agreeing to a four-year deal worth $17-million, which includes incentives that would earn him up to $20-million.  Harmon has quietly been one of New England’s most consistent players in their secondary and the fact they were able to keep him is their first big success of the offseason.

Alan Branch is returning to the Patriots on a two-year deal that was agreed to on Thursday. (SBalestrieri photo)

Their second came when they managed to re-sign Alan Branch to a 2-year deal, keeping one of their most important players up front around for at least a couple of more seasons.

The deal is reportedly worth $12 million and allows New England to keep one of their key components on their defensive line intact for a couple of more seasons.

Meanwhile, Jabaal Sheard remains on the market, with Ian Rapoport reporting that he was in Miami visiting the Dolphins Thursday.

COMMUNICATION REMAINS GOOD BETWEEN PATS, HIGHTOWER

One of the biggest loose ends still hanging out there is linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who is reportedly receiving interest from Miami and Tennessee, seems to be closer to re-signing with New England.

Rapoport reports that the two sides are in good communication and so far, it sounds like the Patriots remain in range of his asking price.  New England reportedly offered him $10 million per season at the beginning of 2016 and so far, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the veteran is seeking between $10 million and $13 million.

Keeping Hightower remains one of the biggest keys of the offseason, as Bill Belichick would likely have a tough time trying to fill his shoes considering the fact he’s a respected leader in the locker room as well the guy who is essentially the quarterback of their defense.

For now, it sounds like his return is no longer as big of a long-shot as it might have seemed prior to the beginning of free agency, but there’s still a long way to go before this is over.  He’ll likely continue to receive interest from other teams and hopefully, the two sides can reach a common ground before another club does.

REPORT: Patriots Not Expected to Trade Garoppolo

Ian Logue
March 1, 2017 at 10:55 am ET

It’s barely March 1st, and things are already starting to get interesting on the Jimmy Garoppolo front.

According to Adam Schefter, the Patriots are reportedly not expected to trade Garoppolo this offseason, with Schefter citing league sources.

Some might believe this is just the Patriots posturing or letting teams know that they’re not moving Garoppolo unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse, but NFL analyst Michael Lombardi believes otherwise.

Lombardi reports that Schefter’s report isn’t about posturing and increasing Garoppolo’s value, it’s about the fact they believe he’s “good, really good” and that the Patriots “know what they have with Jimmy G.”

Needless to say it’s going to continue to be something to watch, but as of now, it appears the Patriots QB depth chart might be a position that looks very much the same in 2017.

Belichick Set to Be Keynote Speaker at Texas Clinic

Ian Logue
at 5:00 am ET

After the NCAA made the decision barring high school coaches from speaking at clinics like the one being held in April at the annual Texas Coaches Clinic, it looks like Longhorn head coach Tom Herman decided to help make sure at least one high-profile person will be on hand for their event.

According to the Dallas News, Bill Belichick will be attending the two-day clinic in April as the keynote speaker, with Herman tweeting out a picture announcing the Patriots coach’s attendance.

https://twitter.com/CoachTomHerman/status/836686760369352705

The clinic runs from April 7-8, with Herman reportedly hoping that Belichick’s presencehelps draw a strong attendance for the event.