Jake Bailey

AFC East Notes: Brady, Jenkins, Lotulelei

Patriots QB Tom Brady will play against the Cowboys this afternoon, but as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) notes, the team will need to closely monitor Brady’s elbow moving forward. Brady was unable to finish practice on Friday due to elbow pain, and while he was able to take all necessary reps on Saturday, he will continue to get work on the elbow as the season goes on.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • It’s not unusual for teams to distance themselves from certain prospects in the pre-draft process in order to hide their interest in those prospects, and that’s exactly what the Patriots did with punter Jake Bailey, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. New England neither interviewed nor held a workout with Bailey, but it traded up in the fifth round of this year’s draft to select him. That move paid off, as the rookie specialist has two AFC Special Teams Player of the Week nods and is currently a favorite for the Pro Bowl.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com expects the Jets to make a concerted effort to re-sign linebacker Jordan Jenkins this offseason. Jenkins, who will be eligible for unrestricted free agency for the first time, has steadily improved during his first four years in the league, and despite missing two games this season with a calf injury, he has posted five sacks, just two shy of his career-high of seven (which he set last year). Jenkins will likely command a contract paying him over $10MM per year.
  • The Jets will have a lot of positions to address this offseason, but tight end isn’t one of them. As Cimini tweets, the club appears set at TE with Ryan Griffin — who agreed to a three-year extension on Saturday — Chris Herndon, and improving rookie Trevon Wesco.
  • Bills fans have been less than impressed with the performances of front-seven defenders Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy, but Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that Lotulelei will definitely be back with the team next year (the Bills could save $10.1MM against the 2020 cap by cutting Lotulelei after the season, but they would also take on a $7.8MM dead cap charge). Murphy’s status is a bit tougher to predict, but if the Bills move on from Shaq Lawson, Murphy is likely to be back for the final year of his contract.

Patriots Notes: Edelman, Hoyer, Punter

Over the past 10 years, there have only been two occasions where the Patriots have carried three quarterbacks. With Tom Brady and rookie fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham being locks to make the team, Brian Hoyer understandably finds himself on the roster bubble.

“You can’t really worry about that. My approach is to just be the best I can be, and I think that will be good enough,” Hoyer told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “It’s not something I’m really concerned with. If anything, I’m trying to push the guy ahead of me, and I love being in that room with him. We have such a healthy competition on a daily basis, and I know that’s made me that much better since I’ve come back.”

After spending the first three years of his career with the Patriots, Hoyer returned to New England following the Jimmy Garoppolo trade in 2017. Reiss notes that the 33-year-old has been “very sharp” over the past few weeks, which could end up validating his spot on the roster.

Let’s check out some more notes out of New England…

  • Patriots wideout Julian Edelman has passed his physical and been removed from the non-football injury list, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The veteran suffered a thumb injury in late-July that ultimately sidelined him for about three weeks. It’s been a busy few days for the Pats’ wide receiver corps. Embattled wideout Josh Gordon was reinstated from suspension on Friday, and he was subsequently placed on the team’s active/NFI list. To make room on the roster, the organization moved on from Dontrelle Inman.
  • The Patriots are set to release veteran punter Ryan Allen, but it sounds like they might not be ready to hand over the keys to rookie Jake Bailey. Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets that the Patriots made a claim for punter Johnny Townsend, who was waived by the Raiders last week. The Giants ended up claiming the 2018 fifth-rounder.
  • While the Patriots tight end depth chart is still a question mark, Nick Underhill of The Athletic writes that the team’s offense is trending upwards. Last week, the team was running out the likes of Braxton Berrios and Gunner Olszewski with their first-team offense. Several days later, the team’s depth chart has been revamped. It goes beyond the return of Edelman and Gordon, as the team has potentially found some worthy targets in undrafted wideout Jakobi Meyers and third-round running back Damien Harris. Add that pair to Phillip Dorsett and first-rounder N’Keal Harry (as well as running backs James White, Sony Michel, and Rex Burkhead), and there’s plenty of reason for optimism in New England.

Patriots To Release P Ryan Allen

The Patriots are switching punters. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports (via Twitter) that the team will be releasing veteran Ryan Allen. The news was first reported by Jim McBride of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). This makes rookie Jake Bailey the team’s new starting punter.

Allen joined New England as a 2013 undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, and he proceeded to play in every game for the Patriots during his six-year stint. The 29-year-old won three Super Bowls during his time with New England, including a Super Bowl LIII performance where he placed three of his five punts inside the 20.

Despite his standout performance during the Super Bowl, Allen inked a modest one-year extension with New England this past offseason. The veteran reportedly turned down multiyear offers, as he was looking to boost his value in time for next offseason. Allen will now have to find that one-year, prove-it deal elsewhere.

The team will now turn to Bailey, a fifth-round pick out of Stanford. The 22-year-old has garnered a pair of punt attempts this preseason, averaging 49.5-yards per punt. For comparison’s sake, Allen averaged 43.8 yards on his five punts. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, this will be the first time in Bill Belichick’s 20 seasons with New England where he’s opted for a righty punter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Sign Jarrett Stidham, Three Other Draft Picks

The day after signing Benjamin Watson, the Patriots have wrapped up most of their draft class. The team announced the signing of four of their remaining picks today. After inking second round pick Joejuan Williams and two others yesterday, only first round receiver N’Keal Harry and third-rounders defensive end Chase Winovich and running back Damien Harris remain unsigned.

  • 4-118: OL Hjalte Froholdt (Arkansas)
  • 4-133: QB Jarrett Stidham (Auburn)
  • 5-163: P Jake Bailey (Stanford)
  • 7:252: CB Ken Webster (Ole Miss)

The Patriots’ drafting of Stidham of course raised some eyebrows because of the position he plays. Stidham had a down year at Auburn in 2018, but many observers chalked that up more to the poor offense he was playing in rather than anything he was doing wrong. After his 2017 season the former Baylor transfer was thought of as a potential Day 2 pick, but his stock took a bit of a tumble last year. 

He’ll now get the chance to develop behind Tom Brady, and could potentially position himself as the heir apparent if he shows well. The Patriots have drafted a handful of quarterbacks in recent years, as early as the second round with Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2014. They drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round in 2016, and both quarterbacks ended up getting traded.

Bailey was a bit of a surprising pick in the fifth round because the Patriots already had an established punter. Ryan Allen has been the team’s punter since 2013, and he just recently re-signed with the team in March. The drafting of Bailey so early would seem to suggest they aren’t entirely sold on Allen.

Froholdt is a Denmark native who has a lot of experience at both guard and center. New England has invested heavily at center this offseason, and Froholdt could be a nice developmental piece.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Send No. 163 To Patriots

The Patriots had their eyes on some fifth-round performers, trading up for the second time in five picks. This time, a punter will be headed to New England.

For giving up the No. 163 pick, the Eagles will receive the Pats’ No. 167 and No. 246 overall choices.

Stanford punter Jake Bailey will add to the Patriots’ specialists crew. New England re-signed longtime punter (and Super Bowl LIII standout) Ryan Allen in March but did so on a one-year deal. The six-season incumbent now has competition.

Bailey averaged north of 44 yards per punt in his final two seasons with the Cardinal, concluding his college career as the school’s all-time punting average leader (43.8 yards). He finished as a three-time All-Pac-12 selection. Bailey is this draft’s second punter taken, following the 49ers’ fourth-round selection of Mitch Wishnowsky.