Patriots Notes: Rookies, Winovich, Uche

Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office still have some tasks to complete before the start of training camp. As ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes, the team still hasn’t signed first-round quarterback Mac Jones, and both second-round defensive tackle Christian Barmore and third-round defensive end Ronnie Perkins also remain unsigned. According to Reiss, the players’ agents are waiting “to see more contracts finalized before moving forward,” so it’s only a matter of time before these rooks are under contract.

The team also needs to resolve their standoff with cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who’s set to play the 2021 season on a below-market $7MM salary. Reiss said the situation “hardly seems contentious,” but both sides will eventually be looking for a resolution.

Jeremy Fowler of recently suggested that a new deal could be in place by the end of the summer (Twitter link), and since New England clearly has designs on returning to the playoffs this season, keeping Gilmore in the fold would seem imperative. However, there are complications. Gilmore will turn 31 in September, and though he made the Pro Bowl last season, that bid seemed to be based more on name recognition than anything else. He played in only 11 games due to injury and COVID-19, and Pro Football Focus ranked him just 61st among qualified corners. On the flip side, he’s only a year removed from a Defensive Player of the Year Award.

More news out of New England:

  • Reiss recently observed that he didn’t see much of Chase Winovich during minicamp, and the writer wondered if the third-year player could see a reduced role following the additions of linebackers Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy (paired with the return of Dont’a Hightower). Reiss later noted that Winovich is sticking around New England before training camp, and he’s been preparing for the upcoming season at Gillette Stadium. We recently explored Winovich’s potential availability via trade.
  • There’s another reason why Winovich could see a lesser role in 2021: teammate Josh Uche was one of the standouts during minicamp. Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets that the team could use Uche similarly to Van Noy; while the 2020 second-round pick will have a surefire role on the edge, he could also see some time at inside linebacker depending on his development in coverage.
  • Earlier tonight, we celebrated (?) the one-year anniversary of Cam Newton joining the New England Patriots.
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