On the one year anniversary of his DUI arrest, former New England Patriots wide receiver and current Minnesota Viking Michael Floyd reflected back on the past year of his life in an emotional social media posting on Tuesday that thanked both teams for giving him the opportunity to turn his life around.
On December 12, 2016, the then Arizona Cardinal was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, when police found him asleep at the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade. He was taken into custody for driving under the influence and released by the Cardinals two days later. The Patriots would claim Floyd off waivers on Dec. 15. He played in three games but was inactive for Super Bowl LI, he did earn a ring for his contributions.
According to an ESPN report, “Floyd went back to Arizona in February to serve 24 days in jail after pleading guilty to an extreme DUI and was put on house arrest for a subsequent 96 days.”
The Minnesota Vikings signed the St. Paul native to a one-year deal this past offseason, taking a chance on the receiver.
“Floyd was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Since his return in Week 5, the receiver had made nine catches for 78 yards.“
The news of New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman tearing his ACL rocked Patriots Nation, his teammates and the NFL this weekend.
Following developments that Edelman would in fact miss the entire 2017 NFL season to recover, many current, former and other players from around the league took to their social media accounts to wish him well and a speedy recovery into 2018.
A quiet news morning, but here’s a look at today’s top stories.
Player Numbers Revealed – One of the most intriguing players who will probably get a lot of attention this season will be wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who was acquired by New England this offseason thanks to the first-round pick the Patriots sent to the Saints for his services.
For those keeping track at home, Mike Reiss reported on Monday that the number to look for when training camp opens will be #14, which will reportedly be the number the fourth-year receiver will don this season with his new team.
That’s a number that during the Bill Belichick era has had some interesting names wear in recent years. The most recent player who wore it was Michael Floyd, who was with the team at the end of 2016 but is no longer with the club. From there, there’s been WR Chris Harper, Punter Zoltan Mesko, back-up quarterback Vinny Testaverde, and receiver P.K. Sam.
It’s an opportunity for Cooks to make that number great, which hasn’t been done since Steve Grogan last wore it in 1990 prior to his retirement. Cooks has already been a play-maker during his brief time in the league, averaging over 10-yards per catch during each of his three seasons, including a career best 15 yards per reception in 2016, tied for 14th in the NFL. He joins last year’s league leader Chris Hogan here in New England, who was tied for tops in the NFL at 17.9 with DeSean Jackson.
Another notable fact is that cornerback Stephon Gilmore will wear #24, which was worn by Cyrus Jones last season and was worn before that by Darrelle Revis. It was also worn by Patriots great Ty Law, which gives it quite the legacy. Jones has reportedly given it up for #41, so give him credit for looking for a fresh start after a frustrating rookie campaign.
From there, additional acquisitions will see these players wearing the following numbers. There’s Rex Burkhead (#34), Mike Gillislee (#35), Dwayne Allen (#83), James O’Shaughnessy (#88), Lawrence Guy (#93) and Kony Ealy (94). Other numbers include draft selections Derek Rivers (#95), Deatrich Wise (#91), Antonio Garcia (#63) and Conor McDermott (#67).
For the full list, you can find them in Reiss’ entry via THIS LINK.
Brady’s shares a calm energy with his wife, Gisele.
Gisele Takes Credit For Brady & Pats Super Bowl Win – While Tom Brady might have looked cool and calm during the time the Patriots found themselves down 28-3 against Atlanta back in February, it sounds like there might have been a little positive energy sent his way from his wife.
Gisele Bündchen told NBC’s Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that she did her best to help pass some of that energy along to her husband as they began their epic comeback.
The quarterback’s wife admitted she “started meditating” saying it was “the only thing that could calm me down.” From there, she continued trying to keep her cool as the team began battling back.
“I channeled some great energy and, really, I feel like a little responsible,” said Bündchen during the interview, referring to the win. “I brought love and peace and clarity and calmness into the game. It shifted after that, I must tell you.”
And now she’s been a part of seeing her husband win two championships in three years. Whatever she’s doing, hopefully she can keep it going.
Hogan announced a partnership with a nutrition company.
Hogan Part of Nutrition Announcement – Wide receiver Chris Hogan’s name popped up in a press release on Monday from SGB media, which announced that the company “Maximum Human Performance” (MHP) has signed him to their team.
MHP is a premium sports nutrition brand and will feature Hogan and other athletes appearing in the brand’s new “Your Body of Work – Driven by MHP Science” campaign, which will reportedly debut later this month.
Hogan said in the release that he believes in their products and is happy to be a part of it.
“I’ve always been a believer in sports nutrition and started using MHP supplements in college.,” said Hogan. “MHP helps me get the most out of my training program and I believe it gives me the edge I need on the field.”
We obviously know here in New England that Brady is a big believer in nutrition and Hogan appears to share a similar mindset. Hopefully his commitment to his body translates into plenty of success after a strong start to his career here in New England.
Mitchell a High-Character Guy – One thing I found this morning while digging for interesting bits was an entry from last week by Mike LaBella for the Eagle Tribune, which centered on a bit on Malcolm Mitchell.
The second-year receiver visited a local shool in Haverill last week and talked about his role during the team’s championship run, saying it was an honor to be able to participate in such a big game.
“I just followed the leaders on the team,” he said. “The goal is to get better each and every year and try to be the best person you can possibly be. As long as you are on the field, you have to keep in mind that each day is an opportunity to grow.”
Haverill public school employee, Ray Naroian, told LaBella that Mitchell was “such a gentleman” and displayed “such great character”. After what we’ve seen from him both on and off the field during his rookie year, it’s another reminder of how lucky the Patriots were when they selected him in the 4th round last year out of Georgia.
On the field in 2016 he had a strong performance, finishing with 32 receptions for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also came up big in the playoffs, catching 7 passes for 75 yards, 6 of which came in the Super Bowl and 5 of those were in the final quarter of play.
It was an unbelievable start for the rookie, who appears poised for great things. Which shouldn’t be a big surprise, since great things often tend to happen to good people.
The Patriots will enter the beginning of the 2017 league season with several important decisions to make in regards to free agency. While the team has the third most salary cap room in the NFL this season, they have a slew of free agents including several who are either starters or important role players.
We’ll be doing profiles on each of the free agents in the upcoming days and give you our take on whether they return or move on. One of the players facing free agency is wide receiver, Michael Floyd.
The Arizona Cardinals released Floyd after a DUI incident that was caught on tape. Floyd was asleep at the wheel of his vehicle while stopped at a red light with the car in gear and his foot on the brake. It could have possibly ended much, much worse.
Every team passed on him except New England, who signed him for the stretch run. Floyd didn’t have much time to learn the Patriots playbook or the complicated route tree of the receivers. But he recognized the opportunity for what it was, a chance to be insurance for a Super Bowl run and possibly play into a future contract with the team.
He appeared in the Patriots final two regular season games and the Divisional Round against the Houston Texans. He was inactive, a healthy scratch for both the AFC Championship and the Super Bowl. The regular season finale against Miami however, showed a glimpse of what he can do.
He caught three passes for 36 yards including a 14-yard touchdown where he fought his way into the end zone. But his best moment arguably came as a blocker. Julian Edelman caught a pass on a slant from Tom Brady. As Edelman cut up the middle of the field, the deep safety was zeroing in Edelman to stop him in his tracks.
Floyd came across and laid a thunderous but legal block, burying the safety and allowing Edelman to race for a long 77-yard touchdown. The downfield blocking is something the Patriots’ wide receivers pride themselves on and there was no better way for Floyd to endear himself to his new teammates.
Why Floyd Will Return: The Patriots basically picked up a bargain with Floyd, who was a former first round pick and at age 27 is at the peak of his career right now. He has the size at 6’2, 220 that the other Patriots receivers don’t have and is athletic to boot.
The play where he dragged four to five Miami defenders into the end zone showcased his physicality as well as the block that sprung Edelman for his touchdown. He was in the midst of his worst season as a pro and a fresh start in New England may have been just what the doctor ordered.
He has the speed to take the top off the defense and can be a deep ball threat as well as work the middle areas of the field. And since his arrest and subsequent jail time for extreme DUI (24-day sentence with 96 more under house arrest), many teams may balk at signing him since additional NFL punishment is bound to be coming soon.
The Patriots could conceivably sign him to a short one-to-two year “prove it” type of deal that would allow him to rebuild his reputation. And for the team? Adding a first round talent to an already stocked array of weapons for Tom Brady makes this offense even more dangerous. With a full off-season to learn the playbook, he should hit the ground running and would be a very dangerous addition to the passing game.
Why Floyd Won’t Return: There is the very real possibility that the Patriots viewed Floyd as insurance on and have no desire to keep him past the Super Bowl. We don’t know for sure and probably won’t until free agency begins.
Floyd is coming with baggage; his DUI wasn’t his first issue with the law. He had multiple brushes with law enforcement while with Notre Dame. He’s facing league sanctioned suspension for his arrest and conviction and let’s be truthful here. As a member of the Patriots, you can expect a longer suspension than if he was elsewhere.
Floyd’s signing would also create a logjam at the WR position. Who would go in lieu of him? Edelman isn’t going anywhere in 2017, and the Patriots just signed Chris Hogan in 2016 and he had a very successful season. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell really came on at the end of the season and they just invested a draft pick in him.
That would leave Danny Amendola who may not have the numbers, but his production certainly is timely. Are the Patriots willing to let Amendola go? That’s the question that may be answered shortly.
Bottom Line: The Patriots have an interesting decision to make on Floyd. He has unmistakable talent, was a first-round draft pick and has the size and athleticism that any team would covet in a wide receiver. He’s had good production in Arizona prior to the 2016 season. With a fresh start, playing alongside a plethora of weapons in the passing game with Tom Brady at QB, there’s no reason to doubt, he couldn’t have success here. Plus, Floyd has made overtures that he wants to stay.
However, he will miss much of the spring workouts due to his house arrest. But should be more than ready for training camp. The next two questions are, how long will the league suspend him for and how much will it cost to keep him?
The cost is not only in dollars but in the development for someone like Mitchell who shows so much promise. Hogan would no doubt have to move more to the slot as he’d have to take some of Amendola’s slack. It isn’t an easy call.
The feeling here is that there is an even 50/50 chance Floyd would return on a team-friendly deal in 2017.
The instant New England Patriots running back James White crossed the goal line plane for the winning touchdown, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history was complete.
Facing a 25 point deficit, the Patriots never led until the final score. An unprecedented 31-0 run to end the game set off one of the wildest finishes in football history and a fifth Lombardi to One Patriot Place in Foxborough.
Below is a compilation of some of the best social media postings shared by the players, media, and fans during the celebration on the field and the parade in Boston two days later.
The Patriots will enter the 2017 offseason with a ton of cap space ($61,248,593 according to our own salary cap guru in Miguel @patscap) but have a lot of players hitting free agency. There is a total of 19 players that are free agents this spring. It begins with 13 unrestricted free agents, three restricted free agents, and three exclusive-rights free agents.
Here is a list of the Patriots free agents and their ages in parenthesis:
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS:
TE Martellus Bennett (30)
RB LeGarrette Blount (30)
RB Brandon Bolden (27)
DT Alan Branch (32)
FB James Develin (28)
WR Michael Floyd (27)
FS Duron Harmon (26)
LB Dont’a Hightower (26)
DE Chris Long (31)
LB Barkevious Mingo (26)
CB Logan Ryan (26)
TE Greg Scruggs (26)
DE Jabaal Sheard (27)
EXCLUSIVE-RIGHTS FREE AGENTS:
CB Justin Coleman (23)
LB Brandon King (23)
TE Matt Lengel (26)
So, what are the differences in the categories you ask? Well, I’m glad you did… sort of. The Patriots can extend any of the players below to a new deal prior to the March 9th deadline. Once the deadline hits, then that is when the different categories come into play.
The Unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any team for basically the best deal for the player, whether it be the money, the team or any other reason.
Restricted free agents can be offered one of three “tenders” by the team holding their rights. They are for players with just three years of accrued service in the league. Since most rookie contracts run for four years now, they are becoming rarer.
A tender is a one-year contract for a pre-determined amount and here are the categories: (note the amounts listed here are in 2016 money and will be subject to change.)
First round tender: 1 year, about $3.582 million Second round tender: 1 year, about $2.516 million Right of first refusal/Original round tender: 1 year, about $1.647 million
The original round tender means that if another team swoops in and signs a player, his last team would get a draft pick from the round that player was drafted in. In the case of a UDFA, the team would get nothing.
The team has the right of first refusal as well if a team were to offer a restricted free agent an offer, the Patriots have the right to match it.
Exclusive rights free agents haven’t accrued three years of NFL service and if the team extends them an offer sheet, they have to sign it.
So while the Patriots have tons of cap room, they also have some big decisions to make in regards to 21 free agents. The ERFAs are the most easily done if they want to keep them they are the easiest to retain. But from there the questions become a bit stickier.
We’ll be looking at some of the free agents in depth in the upcoming days. Who may stay and who may go.
Any questions regarding the salary cap and the inner workings of it should be addressed to Miguel aka @Patscap who covers the salary cap of the Patriots better than anyone else anywhere. We are fortunate to have him here at PatsFans.com and he has the breakdowns of the deals and how it all works.
Entering the final week of the 2017 regular season, the New England Patriots needed a win to secure the number one seed in the AFC Playoffs but needed to get past their prior struggles in Miami against the Dolphins, who had won three straight at home against them going back to 2013.
In the second quarter, kicker Stephen Gostkowski tacked on two field goals to bring the Patriots lead to 20-0 as the time of possession continued to be owned by New England much to the dismay of Ndamukong Suh.
When you have an opportunity to add a big target for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as you inch closer to a playoff run, you just have to go for it.
With Danny Amendola still sidelined with a high-ankle sprain, that’s just what New England did after they added a little depth to their receiving core over these final three games in beleaguered Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd, who the Patriots claimed off of waivers from Arizona.
The reason behind Floyd’s release reportedly stemmed from the fact the receiver was arrested for a DUI early Monday, with police finding him unconscious behind the wheel of his running vehicle at an intersection in Scottsdale.
Floyd appears to be a risk worth taking. (USA TODAY Images)
That apparently was enough for the Cardinals to move on from Floyd, who up to this point had caught 33 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. He battled against Malcolm Butler in Week 1 (see photo above) on a night where he caught just three passes on seven targets for 61-yards.
The Patriots seemingly looked at this as an opportunity worth taking advantage of, and they went ahead and released recently added Griff Whalen in favor of Floyd.
It’s a good pick-up for New England, who assumes little risk with his addition as the remainder of the receiver’s deal expires at the end of this season. According to Spotrac, his 2016 salary is worth $7.32 million but he’ll cost the Patriots just $1.2 million over the remainder of the regular season, which doesn’t include the money he’ll receive in compensation from playing in the postseason.
While some will question how the team could add a player who was just arrested for a DUI, it won’t be the first time they’ve been able to turn around a troubled player. If he can follow past players like LeGarrette Blount, who has thrived both times he’s joined the team, and fall in line with how things are done in New England, it will be interesting to see what type of player Floyd could be in this offense.
Floyd is a former first round pick in 2012 (13th overall) and he’s a big target at 6’3″, 220lbs and given the fact he’s playing for a new contract since he’s a free agent after this year, he’s got plenty of motivation to perform well.
With a playoff run looming for the Patriots, it’s a chance for Floyd to make a statement if he can establish a role in the offense. His former teammate, Larry Fitzgerald, believes he can and also feels he should have plenty of motivation to make that to happen.
“You’ve got a young guy who’s hungry, he’s eager to make plays on a contract year,” said Fitzgerald via 98.7 FM in Arizona. “He’s got a chip on his shoulder now — not that he didn’t already have one, but he’s got a bigger one — and I hope he goes and makes a deep playoff run.”