Patriots Notes: Peterson, Gronk, Solder, OL

Here’s the latest coming out of New England, beginning with some fallout from the Adrian Peterson visit being scheduled.

  • Peterson posted a statement rejecting the notion he was seeking an $8MM-per-year contract, and USA Today’s Tom Pelissero notes (via Twitter) the running back has not focused as much on finances during his first free agent odyssey. Instead, the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer is gauging fits with respective franchises. In Pelissero’s mind, this fit is as good as any. Peterson has thrived when stationed in traditional backfields, and the Patriots were a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of shotgun usage last season (41.28 percent of their 2016 plays came out of the gun; that ranked 20th).
  • An incentive-laden deal close to the veteran minimum would make Peterson a fit in New England, Mike Reiss of notes. The Patriots have no running back set to count more than $3.2MM to their 2017 cap this year. Peterson hasn’t made less than $3MM in base salary since the 2009 season. The Pats boast $21MM-plus in cap space but are unlikely to splurge on Peterson at this juncture.
  • Entering his 11th NFL season, Peterson will tame his asking price for teams with championship aspirations, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Peterson has already visited the Seahawks, whose UFA running back visit bonanza ended with an Eddie Lacy accord, and has been connected to 2016 playoff teams like the Giants, Raiders and Packers. The Patriots and Packers lead the league in consecutive postseason berths, having appeared in eight straight postseason brackets.
  • Nate Solder came to the Pats as a replacement for Matt Light in 2011, but Light remained a starter that season before retiring. Solder’s most recent contract — a two-year, $20.062MM deal — expires after the 2017 season. Reiss points to the franchise’s forward-thinking ways as a sign Solder’s successor could be on tap this coming draft. Alluding to the shorter-length extension, Reiss believes a similar transition plan could be in the works. The Pats have Marcus Cannon signed long-term now on the right side. Solder will only be 29 in April, though, whereas Light was entering his age-33 season in 2011 when the Patriots knew, per Reiss, he was going to be in his final year.
  • For those of you who enjoy wrestling, Rob Gronkowski looked pretty healthy tonight. Making a cameo at WWE’s Wrestlemania 33, the Pats’ oft-injured tight end entered the ring and moved well, as Ryan Hannable of relays. Gronkowski underwent back surgery late last season and missed 11 Pats games (counting the playoffs) in their latest Super Bowl championship campaign.
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