Ben Wilkerson

East Rumors: Patriots, Cousins, Giants, Foles

Will Rob Gronkowski retire this offseason? The tight end hinted at the possibility following the Patriots‘ Super Bowl loss, but head coach Bill Belichick isn’t panicking.

At the end of every season, every person goes through somewhat of a process at the end of the season and then the following season,” Belichick said (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com). “I think everyone that is involved in a NFL season, you get pretty drained especially after a season like this. [You] go through the end of the year process. The following year is the following year. It’s the same for everybody. I certainly can’t speak for anybody else.

You’d have to ask any individual for every situation, but I would say five minutes after the game, or the day after the game is not really the time to make those decisions.

Gronkowski maxed out his incentive-laden 2017 contract by returning to first-team All-Pro status, the fourth time he’s done so in his eight-year career. Only Tony Gonzalez (six) earned more first-team All-Pro distinctions. Gronk will turn 29 in May and still has two seasons remaining on his extension signed back in 2012. He’s set to earn $8MM in base salary in 2018 and take up $10.91MM of the Patriots’ cap.

Here’s more from the AFC champions and the latest from the NFC East.

  • Take this with a grain of salt, but Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters that he will not address whether he’s going to join the Colts as their new head coach or stay in New England as their offensive coordinator (Twitter link via Doug Kyed of NESN). A report emerged during Super Bowl LII that McDaniels was considering backing out of his unofficial Indianapolis agreement.
  • Redskins president Bruce Allen has been speaking to rival executives about possibly tagging Kirk Cousins, but they don’t see the logic in doing that, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. The feeling around the league, La Canfora says, is that consideration of the tag feels overly personal. As PFR’s Rory Parks explained over the weekend, tagging and trading Cousins could wind up backfiring hard on the team.
  • The Giants are planning to hire two more assistants for Pat Shurmur‘s first staff. Deshea Townsend and Ben Wilkerson will be joining the staff as assistant defensive backs coach and assistant offensive line coach, respectively, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports. A 13-year NFL veteran corner, Townsend served as the Titans’ DBs coach during Mike Mularkey‘s two-year run. Wilkerson spent the past three seasons on John Fox‘s Bears staff.
  • Carson Wentz‘s severe knee injuries would make the Eagles “fools” to trade Nick Foles now, especially considering what Jimmy Garoppolo fetched in a trade in October, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. Signed to just a two-year, $11MM deal, Foles could serve as an elite insurance policy while Wentz recovers. While the Super Bowl champions’ franchise quarterback is hopeful to return in time for the start of the 2018 season, the December setback could leave him on the shelf going into training camp.
  • Conversely, the Eagles’ lack of a second- or third-round pick in next year’s draft could make acquiring a second-rounder more important than keeping Foles while Wentz recovers, Les Bowen of Philly.com writes. Foles’ previous shortcomings as a starter should give teams pause, but his 72 percent playoff completion rate this year was third in NFL history — behind only Joe Montana (1989) and Troy Aikman (1993) — for a player with at least 75 throws. And his stock will probably never be higher. The 29-year-old passer would be an interesting name on an already complex QB market.

Zach Links contributed to this report.