Jerod Mayo

Patriots Notes: Trades, Brady, Gronk

The Patriots made a couple of notable trades over the past week, acquiring wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and jettisoning defensive end Michael Bennett. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the team is not done dealing, and his sources say New England is continuing its efforts to strengthen its offense.

Even with Sanu in the fold, La Canfora says the Pats are still expected to pursue receiver help, and although all indications are that the Bengals won’t trade A.J. Green prior to Tuesday’s deadline, rival GMs expect Bill Belichick to take a run at him just the same. As reported previously, the club is also interested in bolstering its tight end group, and Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert and Tampa’s O.J. Howard appeal to the Patriots. Additionally, New England remains in the market for O-line upgrades, with Washington’s Trent Williams, Cincinnati’s Cordy Glenn, and old friend and current Giant Nate Solder also potential targets.

Now for more out of Foxborough:

  • Despite La Canfora’s report that the Patriots will continue to be aggressive in the trade market, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic says the Pats are not involved in any deals right now, as they are quite limited in cap room (Twitter link). The Bennett trade helped to facilitate the Sanu acquisition, but if New England is going to make another splash, it may need to cut or restructure another player.
  • For the first time in 20 years, Tom Brady‘s future is uncertain, and one of the league’s most respected reporters, Adam Schefter, recently said that Brady staying with the Pats beyond 2019 is less likely than his retiring or suiting up for another club. Another of the NFL’s most prominent scribes, Ian Rapoport, doesn’t go as far as Schefter, but he does say that Brady’s tone with respect to his future has changed dramatically, and RapSheet confirms that TB12’s 2020 plans are very much up in the air (video link). On the other hand, Schefter points out that Brady’s strong relationships with Belichick and owner Robert Kraft — which were reportedly strained not that long ago — could convince the future Hall-of-Famer to stay in New England.
  • If Brady does play elsewhere in 2020, La Canfora says the Chargers would hold significant appeal to him given his connections to SoCal and his increasing interest in Hollywood.
  • Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski recently stated in no uncertain terms that he would remain retired, but as Stefan Geller of the Boston Herald writes, that could still change. Gronk is calling on the league to allow players to use CBD products to aid in their recoveries, and if that happens, he suggested he could come back. “I also want to have the option to get back into the game, and if I’m banned next year, I can’t,” Gronkowski said. Gronkowski, obviously, is using CBD products and recently partnered with CBD Medic.
  • Tom Pelissero of NFL.com names Patriots special teams/WRs coach Joe Judge and ILB coach Jerod Mayo as two assistants who could garner head coaching interest during next year’s coaching carousel. While it would be a stretch to see the 33-year-old Mayo as an HC in 2020, especially since he just became an NFL coach seven month ago, it would not be surprising to see him get an interview.

Patriots Rumors: Caserio, Belichick, Mayo

After his flirtation with (and near departure to) the Texans, it has been rumored that Patriots exec Nick Caserio badly wants out of New England. That’s not necessarily the case, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, who likens Caserio’s situation to that of any player in a contract year.

While Caserio could leave next year when his contract expires, Howe says that it’s too early to predict the outcome of the situation. It has been speculated that Caserio is eager to take on more responsibilities, so one has to wonder whether he could be convinced to stay if he is given more power – and perhaps a different title – within Bill Belichick‘s operation.

Here’s more on the Pats, via Howe:

  • The Patriots technically will not have a defensive coordinator in 2019 after Greg Schiano‘s latest flip-flop. Inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo called the defensive plays for much of minicamp, but the plan is still for Belichick to handle those responsibilities during the season, Howe hears. Howe’s educated guess: Belichick could grant play calling responsibilities to Mayo in 2020 and hand him the DC job as early as 2021, which would be consistent with the team’s previous handling of the role.
  • Much has been made of the departure of team chaplain Jack Easterby to the Texans, but his absence has been described as “overrated.”
  • So far, the Patriots coaching staff is enthused by what they’ve seen from linebacker Jamie Collins, who returned to the club this offseason after being let go by the Browns. That goes for Collins’ on-field and off-field work, which is good news considering the way he clashed with coaches before he was traded to Cleveland.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Mayo, Bills

While it is not known when the Jets will make their GM decision, they do appear to be done interviewing candidates. The four executives the Jets spoke toJoe Douglas (Eagles), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Champ Kelly (Bears) and Terry Fontenot (Saints) — remain in contention, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets (video link) the team has since discussed salary expectations with the candidates. These follow-up talks occurred Tuesday night, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The favorite since this process started, Douglas has not done anything to remove himself from that perch, but Fitterer has gained steam after a strong interview, Rapoport adds.

These meetings may have also been for the benefit of the candidates, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeting multiple interviewees are concerned about the Jets’ atypical ownership situation. CEO Christopher Johnson is working in brother Woody Johnson‘s place, with the latter having accepted an ambassador position with the Trump administration. Woody Johnson will sign off on this GM pick, Mehta adds.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • A Patriots contingency plan for if presumptive left tackle Isaiah Wynn is not ready: perhaps Joe Thuney sliding over one spot. The Patriots’ fourth-year left guard worked with their first-string offense at left tackle Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required). Brian Schwenke and Ted Karras have been rotating at left guard during Pats minicamp. A 2016 third-round pick, Thuney has started every game at left guard since entering the league. Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder who tore his Achilles’ tendon during camp last year, is not yet ready for team drills.
  • Bill Belichick is expected to call Patriots defensive plays this season, but the team is using minicamp to try out some other possibilities. First-year full-time assistant Jerod Mayo was calling Pats plays for a second straight day at minicamp, according to Howe. The Patriots hired their former linebacker as assistant inside ‘backers coach this offseason, and Howe adds the 33-year-old calling plays during the season is now a “serious possibility.”
  • Quinnen Williams sustained a calf injury recently and will be limited for the rest of Jets minicamp, Adam Gase said (via Mehta), calling it a scare. However, the No. 3 overall pick is expected to resume full work when the team, interestingly, holds another OTA session next week.
  • Former Buccaneers seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu worked out for the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. The former USC defensive tackle has not played since being drafted, with injuries keeping him off the field.
  • One of the Dolphins‘ 18 priority free agent signings hit the waiver wire Tuesday. The Dolphins parted ways with cornerback Tyler Horton (Boise State) via left-squad designation, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer notes (on Twitter).

Mayo Taking Leadership Role On Pats Staff

Entering his first year as an assistant coach with the Patriots, former linebacker Jerod Mayo is emerging as a leader in the team’s rebuilt defensive staff, ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes

Mayo, who spent all eight of his seasons in New England, was brought in to coach inside linebackers for the 2019 campaign after spending the last three seasons away from the game. The former star linebacker has quickly made his presence felt.

“He was obviously a tremendous player, but he’s a tremendous leader as well. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a player lead a team like the way Mayo led us [when he played in 2008-15]. He did things where he could bring players along and help raise their level of play. As an older guy now, you can only imagine what he could do for that locker room based on his leadership,” safety Duron Harmon said.

It’s been a tumultuous few months for the Patriots defense, as the team said goodbye to defensive coordinator Brian Flores and a handful of assistants after the team won Super Bowl LII. Then came the arrival and quick departure of Greg Schiano, who was tasked to take over for Flores, who took the head coaching gig in Miami. Since then, the team has settled on head coach Bill Belichick serving as defensive coordinator, with Belichick also, at this moment, expected to call plays.

A first-year assistant coach isn’t likely to take those reins, but the Patriots always manage to find and develop coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Players already noticing Mayo’s emergence is a good sign the two-time Pro Bowl selection could be the next hot name to come out of Foxborough.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bill Belichick Expected To Call Patriots’ Defensive Plays?

Nearly two months after Greg Schiano backtracked on his commitment to become the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, the job remains unfilled. Should it stay vacant, the Pats would have a fairly reliable contingency plan.

With Bill Belichick towering over his defensive staff in terms of NFL experience, the current expectation is he will call defensive plays for the Patriots this season, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes.

Ceding that responsibility to Matt Patricia and Brian Flores for the past several years, Belichick obviously played a key role in the Pats’ defense. Belichick would often determine when Patricia or Flores would call blitzes, Volin adds. The eight-time Super Bowl champion, counting his two as Giants DC, is coming off perhaps the Super Bowl’s defensive masterpiece — the Rams’ three-point night — and his teams have fielded a top-10 scoring defense 15 times in his 19-year New England tenure.

However, Belichick in a dual role is not the Pats’ official plan just yet. They will use the OTAs and minicamp period to determine their strategy here, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). Flores’ exit leaves the Patriots light on experience among their defensive staff, with former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema — previously viewed as a DC option — bringing the most seasoning. And most of that came in college.

After a year of consulting with the team, Bielema is slated to coach New England’s defensive line. Jerod Mayo, whom Garafolo adds is viewed as a possible future defensive coordinator, will split linebackers coaching duties with DeMarcus Covington — with Mayo working with the inside ‘backers and Covington assigned to help the outside players. Mike Pellegrino will oversee the cornerbacks, the team announced. Mayo, Covington and Pellegrino will be first-year position coaches.

Barring an outside hire, or the Patriots handing the reins to Bielema, Belichick would seem the logical choice to play the lead role on defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Mayo, Kraft, Bills, Fins

Longtime Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo will return to the club as linebackers coach, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. Mayo, 33, retired at the conclusion of the 2015 campaign, and expressed no interest in coaching at the time. Viewed as a cerebral player with a strong work ethic, Mayo appeared in 93 games for New England after being selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft. He’ll be replacing Brian Flores, who was not only the Patriots’ LBs coach but de facto defensive coordinator before taking the Dolphins’ head coaching position this offseason.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane denied that Buffalo was ever close to acquiring wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes. “We had productive talks with [GM] Kevin Colbert, with Pittsburgh, but one of the things I made clear with Kevin early on is we would have to be comfortable with where the compensation is going to have to be with AB’s representatives, and that was never something that we were even close on,” Beane said. Brown, of course, was subsequently traded to the Raiders for third- and fifth-round picks, and received a new contract with additional guarantees.
  • The NFL’s personal conduct policy will apply to Patriots owner Robert Kraft just as it applies to players, commissioner Roger Goodell told Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Goodell stopped short of declaring Kraft will be suspended, indicating a need for all the facts of Kraft’s solicitation case to come out. Kraft has rejected a plea deal from Florida prosecutors, and earlier this week pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanors.
  • Although the Dolphins haven’t publicly declared how they’ll use former first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2019, sources tell Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Dolphins prefer to deploy Fitzpatrick as a safety. Fitzpatrick, the 11th overall selection in last year’s draft, can play both cornerback and safety, but Miami already has two safeties — Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald in place. If Fitzpatrick is deployed more in the back end, McDonald could conceivably see action as a sub-package linebacker.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Bills, Pats

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross created a bit of a stir on Monday when he said, per Jeff Ostrowski of the Palm Beach Post, “After three years, if we haven’t made the playoffs, we’re looking for a new coach. That’s just the way it is. The fans want it.” However, Ross associates tell Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald that the owner was referring to general NFL trends, not specifically addressing Adam Gase’s situation in Miami.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • The Bills could use their franchise tag on left tackle Cordy Glenn at some point during the next two weeks, but if they do, it will essentially cancel out the cap space they’d save by releasing Mario Williams, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com details. Buffalo could make that swap work, but the team would need to make additional moves to clear cap room for other offseason business.
  • The Patriots re-hired Dante Scarnecchia as offensive line coach, a source confirmed to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Scarnecchia retired after the 2013 season but he has remained around the Pats, particularly to help with evaluating offensive line prospects in the draft. Scarnecchia had retired after 32 seasons in the NFL, 30 of which came in New England.
  • Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo does not currently have plans to coach, Albert Breer of NFL.com tweets. Instead, Mayo will focus on some business interests. On Tuesday, Mayo announced his retirement from the NFL.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Patriots LB Jerod Mayo Announces Retirement

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has announced his retirement via Instagram. The post is titled, “Retiring a Patriot.”Jerod Mayo (vertical)

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After a lot of thought, Chantel and I take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for what we consider a life changing event…that of becoming a New England Patriot for the past eight years,” Mayo wrote. “We are extremely grateful to “Thundercat,” Jonathan, the Kraft family, Coach Belichick, the Pats organization, and the most amazing fans in contributing to these pages of our lives. As my family and I prepare for the future, be sure that the Pats memories will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

Mayo, who has been with the Patriots since he was selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft, saw his role reduced this season. After starting all but two of his 87 regular season games in the first seven years of his NFL career, Mayo started only eight of 16 games in 2015, appearing in just over 400 defensive snaps. His 47 tackles represented a new career low. In January, Mayo was placed on season-ending IR.

The linebacker, 30 next week, saw injuries derail his last few seasons. He appeared in just 12 of 32 regular-season contests in 2013 and 2014 before staying healthy for most of this year. With Mayo retiring, the Patriots will save $7MM while carrying $4.4MM in dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/22/16

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Steelers signed cornerback Ross Cockrell to a one-year extension, Teresa Varley of Steelers.com reports. An exclusive-rights free agent, Cockrell will return to the Steelers for a second season after signing in Pittsburgh in 2015. The 24-year-old corner started in seven Steelers games this season after the 2014 fourth-round pick was a non-factor with the Bills as a rookie. Cockrell snared two interceptions and deflected 11 passes this season.
  • The Patriots promoted linebacker Kevin Snyder to their active roster, Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal tweets. The 23-year-old UDFA hasn’t played in an NFL game yet. Jerod Mayo landed on IR earlier this week, and Snyder’s promotion fills that roster spot. New England also listed 16 players — including linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny and Darius Fleming — as questionable for its AFC championship matchup in Denver this week.

Patriots Place Jerod Mayo On Injured Reserve

After leaving Saturday’s game against the Chiefs with a shoulder injury, linebacker Jerod Mayo won’t return to action for the Patriots this season. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), New England is placing the veteran defender on injured reserve.Jerod Mayo

Mayo, who has been with the Patriots since he was selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft, saw his role reduced this season. After starting all but two of his 87 regular season games in the first seven years of his NFL career, Mayo started only eight of 16 games in 2015, appearing in just over 400 defensive snaps. His 47 tackles represented a new career low.

Mayo, who will turn 30 next month, has seen injuries derail his last few seasons — he appeared in just 12 of 32 regular-season contests in 2013 and 2014 before staying healthy for most of this year. His declining production and increasingly shaky health may ultimately lead to the end of his time with the Pats.

Heading into 2016, Mayo projects to have the Patriots’ second-highest cap number behind Tom Brady, and he almost certainly won’t be back at that price. The final two seasons of Mayo’s contract are option years, and the Pats figure to turn down that option this winter before the linebacker’s $4MM bonus is due in March. He’ll become a free agent unless the two sides can work out a new deal – with a reduced salary – for him to remain in New England.

It’s not clear yet who the Patriots will sign or promote to their active roster to replace Mayo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.