In this episode, we continued our look at the offseason as we talked about several topics in the Patriots Fourth And Two Roundtable. Later on, we previewed the upcoming NFL Combine. However, to start the show, we shared our thoughts on the allegations involving Robert Kraft.
Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 02-24 and AFC East Notes. And as we’ve said before, the Patriots are many things, but boring is never one of them.
Kraft Opens Himself, and the Team Up For Unwanted Scrutiny:
Robert Kraft found himself in the center of a maelstrom on Friday morning as the Jupiter, Florida police busted a series of massage parlors that were tied to human trafficking. They had implanted surveillance cameras on the premises of each of those establishments and had 173 people on tape soliciting sex. About 200 people are to be charged and Kraft is one of them.
The Patriots immediately fired back with a release denying all charges and with the now very Patriot M.O. in the last line, “we will not be commenting further.”
Don’t worry, the rest of the NFL will, and have already done plenty of talking. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t matter if Kraft is guilty or not (as he claims), the old adage of “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t count much when the person charged is a celebrity, or in Kraft’s case, the owner of probably the most hated franchise in the NFL.
At a minimum, he was guilty of an extremely poor decision making by frequenting the establishment twice and once the video comes out on TMZ, because in this day and age the video always comes out, then there will be the devil to pay.
Kraft as the owner of the Patriots has not been a “behind the scenes” kind of guy. He’s always been upfront and very visible. He was instrumental in helping to end the player’s strike in 2011. He’s one of the most generous people in New England with his charities both here in the United States and in Israel. He lobbied hard for the release of rapper Meek Hill, and was seen with a championship gold and diamond chain that the rapper gave him as a gift after the Super Bowl. A life-long Democrat, he’s pals with President Trump and regularly golfs with him. And now, his reputation has taken a very big hit.
In the court of public opinion, he’s already guilty, and all of the social media feeding frenzy on his character has already begun. Some, such as the noted blowhard Bart Scott called for the NFL to take away all of the Patriots draft picks in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This time, the firestorm is placed right on Kraft’s doorstep and this isn’t going to be an easy time for the 77-year old owner, who has been one of the most popular people in New England. He’ll certainly face some kind of internal discipline from the NFL and Roger Goodell, regardless of whether he’s convicted or not. The NFL holds the owners to an even stricter conduct policy than the players.
It is coming and it isn’t going to be pretty. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past…”
Patriots Receive Four Compensatory Picks in the Draft:
As expected the Patriots received multiple compensatory picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. They received two third round picks, a sixth, and a seventh. Now the team has 12 selections in the draft, including six in the first 101. With this many picks, the team is in prime position to move up in the draft if there is a prospect that they’re looking for.
1: #32 Own
2a: #56 via the Bears
2b: #64 Own
3a: #74 via the Lions
3b: #97 Comp pick (Nate Solder)
3c: #101 Comp pick (Malcolm Butler)
4: #134 Own
6: #205 Comp Pick (Danny Amendola)
7a: #237 via Eagles
7b: #243 Josh Gordon trade
7c: #246 Own
7d: #252 Comp pick (Cameron Fleming)
Flowers Should Be Allowed to Set His Own Worth:
Earlier we wrote that Flowers should be considered one of the top priorities for the Patriots to resign in 2019. And we’re not changing that. However, Flowers plays in a position that is frequently overpaid in the NFL and if he begins to receive offers, such as Nate Solder and others got a year ago, the Patriots would be correct in walking away from the table and looking to replace him elsewhere.
Flowers, in our opinion here, is an invaluable piece of the Patriots defense. He can do multiple things, set the edge against the run, rush the passer and kick inside and be a good interior pass rusher. But is Flowers an “elite” pass rusher to the tune of being worth $12-14 million dollars a year? The feeling here is that the Patriots would say no and allow him to bolt for greener pastures.
After him, the Patriots have Adrian Clayborn, Deatrich Wise, Keionta Davis, and Derek Rivers. None have the versatility of Flowers. There are some intriguing edge rushers in the upcoming draft, and with a lot of draft capital, the Patriots could slide up and select one of them.
We’ll be watching how the rest of the league sets Flowers’ worth. He’ll probably give the Patriots the chance to match any offer on the table, but anything in that higher range will probably result in the team allowing him to walk.
Devin McCourty Returning in 2019:
In another bit of good news, Devin McCourty announced that he’ll be returning for his 10th season with the Patriots in 2019. McCourty’s steady hand on the back end of the defense, his leadership and his durability all contribute to how valuable he is to the Patriots defense.
If there is a downside to McCourty not retiring, it means that the Patriots will now have a difficult decision to make on McCourty’s contract, which pays him more than $9 million in base salary with a $13.4 million dollar cap hit in 2019.
He’s been a Patriots captain since 2011 and has missed only 5 games in his career. While the two sides will have to work out an agreement on the cap issue, it can be done and should be soon.
Free Agency – Tight Ends That Could Be on NE’s Radar:
Rob Gronkowski is still sitting on the fence regarding retirement. Regardless of whether he decides to return for the 2019 season or not, the Patriots need to address the position this spring. Maybe in free agency or the draft, possibly both.
The Patriots currently have Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, who remains one of the best blocking TEs in the game but hasn’t been a factor at all in the passing game. For a player with a $7 million dollar salary cap hit, that far too much. They also have Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo, and Stephen Anderson.
There are a couple of intriguing names in the draft and we’ll get to those players soon, but for now, who are the players that would fit in the Patriots scheme?
Jesse James – James was often the fifth option for the Steelers passing offense in a loaded offensive system. While not a dynamic receiving option, James has more potential than people are crediting him with, having 30 catches for 423 yards in 2018.
He’s a reliable good receiver with prototypical size, a tough, no-nonsense attitude and good blocker in the running game. In the Patriots “12” or “22” personnel, he’d immediately be a weapon that can be targeted, giving opposing defenses more options to worry about.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Jenkins had an outstanding 2017 with Jets catching 50 passes for 357 yards before moving on the Jaguars. He suffered two hernias and was placed on IR after just five games. He was due $4 million from Jacksonville but they decided to let him walk.
Jenkins is just 26 years old and has never really lived up to his high (2nd round) draft selection…sound familiar? The opportunity to play with Brady and the Patriots offense could be a powerful draw to bring him to New England.
Tyler Eifert – Eifert is easily the most talented TE on the list but has played the least due to injuries. He’s only suited up for 43 of a possible 96 games thus far in his NFL career. Eifert is another play with oodles of talent, was drafted in the 1st round but has only scratched the surface of his potential, catching 13 TDs from Andy Dalton in 2015.
But in the past three seasons, he’s played a total of 14 games. While the talent is obviously there, the Patriots may only offer a one-year, prove it type of deal. If they’re interested at all.
Charles Clay – Clay is a player that they’re very familiar with, playing him twice a year in the AFC East as he was a member of both the Bills and Dolphins. Clay had a very down year in 2018, playing in the moribund Bills offense and with a rookie QB.
The 30-year old has been a productive TE in the past, and it should be noted that Bill Belichick has always thought very highly of him. And we all know that Bill loves to bring in players that he respects.
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
Bills To Put Hughes on the Trade Block?
ESPN had an intriguing piece by Buffalo Bills beat writer Mike Rodak about whether the team may decide to trade edge player Jerry Hughes in 2019. Rodak wrote that Hughes, 30, is in the last year of his contract. Since being traded to the Bills from Indy, he’s played in all 96 games with 80 starts.
Hughes will turn 31 during training camp and is due $10.4 million against the salary cap this season. If they trade him now, they’ll save money against the cap, where they already have $79.4 million in cap space which would allow them to address one of the premier free agent pass rushers and get younger at the position.
The Bills already own the #9 pick in the draft, with added draft capital, they could decide to move up and make an effort to land one of the top names on the edge as well as sign a free agent.
Flores, Graham Will Run More 3-4 Looks for the Dolphins Defense:
The Miami Dolphins have an entirely new coaching staff this season and many of their names will look familiar to Patriots fans. Brian Flores has hired Patrick Graham to be his defensive coordinator. The two spent seven years together as Patriots assistants, once sharing an office together. Now, they’re be building a defense in a manner that they both feel will fit their personnel.
“We want guys who are selfless, guys who are willing to work hard,” Graham said. “Aside from the character traits, you want guys who play with their hands and are heavy-handed. You want guys to play with good knee bend and good leverage, and you want guys who have good eye discipline.”
“In terms of the toughness, I want to have a way to measure the toughness. To me, you measure the toughness as a defensive player, and what we’re going to talk about to those guys is, ‘Can we stop the run, and can we stop the run when we know they’re going to run the ball?'”
While the Dolphins don’t have the personnel, yet to run more of 3-4 look which will help their ability to stop the run, it will take an overhaul, the coaches believe that is the correct way to go. They want a flexible, versatile defense that can change on the fly determined by who their opponent is…Sounds a lot like New England.
Gase Feels the Jets Can Turn Things Around Quickly:
The New York Jets new coach Adam Gase has a daunting task ahead of him, he’s inherited a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010, and has a fan base and media contingent hungry for a winner in New York that won’t be patient with him for very long. But he’s convinced that he and his staff can get things done.
Start with the fact that the team has a whopping $101 million dollars of salary cap space. The Jets can go after, and sign multiple big-name free agents this spring and still have flexibility under the salary cap.
But the most important piece, at quarterback, the Jets feel like they’ve finally found their franchise leader in Sam Darnold. Now they have the means to surround him with the talent he’ll need to succeed in the NFL.
“We have to find the right guys for us, the right fit, and make sure those guys want to be here,” Gase said during an interview this week with WFAN. “We have a lot of money right now, but at the same time there are going to be other teams pursuing certain guys and it’s not only going to be money. Guys want to know if this is the right place for me and do I fit into what they want.”
“We can improve quickly because we’re able to bring in players that have done it before. We’ve seen it in the NFL,” he said. There won’t be much of a grace period. He’ll be expected to win and be competitive right away.
Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.
Josh Gordon will be a Super Bowl champion afterall.
According to a report by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, Gordon will receive a Super Bowl LIII ring from owner Robert Kraft.
In December, Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy.
The suspension prevented Gordon from playing in the final two regular season games and playoffs.
In 11 games with the Patriots, Gordon finished third on the team with 720 receiving yards.
Gordon logged 40 receptions and three touchdowns, one of which was the 500th of Tom Brady’s career.
As the Patriots marched to a Super Bowl championship, Gordon continued to show his support over social media.
Gordon thanked fans and the organization in his Instagram story Monday.
He is eligible to apply for reinstatement in May pending treatment progress.
On Wednesday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sat down for an interview with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan.
Kraft and Strahan discussed the upcoming 10th Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots under Kraft, Kraft’s 25th anniversary of buying the team, and recent NFL controversies.
January 21st will mark the 25th anniversary of Robert Kraft’s purchase of the New England Patriots from James Orthwein.
To honor the occasion, a few Patriots team Hall of Famer members shared some personal congratulatory messages to Mr. Kraft.
For more on the anniversary, be sure to also check out a new story by PatsFans own Bob George highlighting some of most seminal moments in Patriots history.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was awarded Israel’s 2019 Genesis Prize on Wednesday.
The award recognized Kraft’s philanthropy and commitment to combating anti-semitism.
The $1 million award, widely known as the “Jewish Nobel” prize, is granted each year to a person recognized as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through professional achievement and commitment to Jewish values.
“I am honored to receive the Genesis Prize and thank the Genesis Prize Foundation for its recognition and willingness to direct my prize money to such worthy causes,” said Kraft. “It is important that we continue to support organizations that focus on combating prejudices by building bridges and uniting people of different backgrounds.”
On Instagram, wide receiver Julian Edelman shared a personal congratulatory message to Kraft.
“Since I met Mr. Kraft in 2009, he’s been such an important part of my life. He’s helped me develop as an athlete, as a Jewish person and as a friend. He always puts others first and this prestigious Genesis Prize couldn’t go to a better person” Edelman said in a photo caption.
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon is stepping away from the NFL to focus on his mental health issues, thus no doubt ending his season and probably his time with the Patriots… possibly the NFL.
Gordon released a statement on Twitter that read, “I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level. I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health.”
He added, “I would like to thank Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft, and countless others within the Patriots organization for their continued support.”
The Patriots released a statement minutes later reiterating their support for Gordon and his health and they added that his health “is a personal and private matter which we intend to respect.” In other words, they will NOT be commenting on this any further.
Tom Pelissaro announced shortly after that, that Gordon was told by the league that he was facing an additional suspension for failing a drug test and that he just acted before the league’s ruling was announced. Gordon played 57 of 63 offensive snaps on Sunday against the Steelers.
In 11 games with the Patriots, Gordon totaled 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns.
What fans should keep in mind, the Patriots issues at wide receiver for the remainder of the season take a far back seat to a man’s long-term health. We’ll address later on how the team can work around his absence for the rest of the season. But for now, the focus is on the man, not the player.
Gordon has long suffered
The news broke as we were recording our weekly podcast and once that is released, we will have more on how the Patriots can adjust their offense.
Over the weekend, New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft presented a fan in need with a brand new handicapped accessible van.
Alyssa Silva, a Patriots fan from Rhode Island who has spinal muscular atrophy, will have her full story aired during an ESPN E:60 episode later on this fall.
Silva shared the surprise meeting and van unveiling with Kraft over her Twitter account in a now viral video that has reached the far ends of Patriot Nation.
Last night, RKK and the @patriots orchestrated the biggest, most unimaginable surprise my family and I have ever received- a new + MUCH safer handicapped accessible van. Today and forever, I am humbled. I am unworthy. But, I am the most grateful. Thank you Mr. Kraft. ❤💙 pic.twitter.com/gqoO1MbvPu
— Alyssa Silva (@alyssaksilva) August 17, 2018
Highlight of this photo: my brother deciding to put his arm around his favorite football player and not his wife. 😂 My heart was bursting in this photo, and it still is today. Thank you for the kindest words and sweetest support. 📸: @DSPics pic.twitter.com/sl3dVEv3r6
— Alyssa Silva (@alyssaksilva) August 19, 2018
For more information about Alyssa and how you can help spread awareness be sure to check out her website alyssaksilva.com.
“WEYMOUTH, MA A police officer and an innocent bystander were shot and killed in Weymouth Sunday morning. Authorities say Weymouth police received a call around 7:30 a.m. about an erratic driver in the area of South Shore Hospital. The driver was involved in a single-car accident and was seen leaving the car on foot. Officers began searching for the suspect when Officer Michael Chesna, 42, located the suspect, identified as Emanuel Lopes, 20, in the area of Burton Terrace vandalizing a home. Authorities say Chesna got out of his cruiser, drew his firearm and told Lopes to stop when Lopes attacked Chesna with a large stone, striking him in the head. Chesna fell to the ground and Lopes took Chesna’s gun and opened fire, hitting Chesna several times in his head and chest. Chesna was taken to South Shore Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Responding officers exchanged gunfire with Lopes, hitting him in one of his legs before Lopes took of on foot through the yards of Burton Terrace.
Authorities say officers engaged in a foot pursuit with Lopes when he fired off Chesna’s gun three more times, with one of those bullets striking a woman who was in her home and killing her. Lopes was placed into custody after discharging the weapon and taken to South Shore Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
In the hours following the news, New England Patriots Owner and CEO made a special trip to Weymouth Police headquarters to offer his condolences and support to the department.
According to reporters on the scene, Kraft walked inside with an envelope in his hand but the Patriots declined to comment on what it contained.
“Just terrible”, Kraft told WCVB’s Sera Congi while leaving the station and added “This is what makes this country great” in a possible reference to the sacrifices and willingness of police officers to put themselves in front of danger everyday.
— Sera Congi (@seracongi) July 15, 2018
— Hayley Johnson (@hayleyk_johnson) July 15, 2018
A GoFundMe account was setup to help the family.
April is a very busy sports month in the city of Boston.
From the Red Sox starting their season, to the Celtics and Bruins starting their playoff runs and the annual Boston Marathon there is no shortage of entertainment.
With the New England Patriots in the midst of the offseason, its fairly common to see various members of the team take it all in as fans themselves.
That occurrence happened on Tuesday night at TD Garden in Boston for the Celtics game two match up with the Milwaukee Bucks as Julian Edelman, James White, Elandon Roberts and Robert Kraft were all in attendance.
Julian Edelman documented his night over Instagram.
👀 spotted courtside pic.twitter.com/IesValvew7
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 18, 2018
People at the Celtics game tonight:
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) April 18, 2018