Malcolm Mitchell

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Jones, Mitchell

No surprise here, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t offer much insight on the newly-acquired Josh Gordon when speaking with reporters on Friday. When asked about the wide receiver and newly re-signed defensive back Cyrus Jones, Belichick said the two have “done as much as they can do in the few days they’ve been here, we’ll see how it goes,” (via Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston).

Belichick went on to say that Gordon is a “smart kid” who has “picked up a lot,” so that could bode well as the former Browns standout tries to learn the Patriots’ playbook in short order.

Here’s more on the Pats:

  • Speaking of Jones, his new two-year deal gives him the same base salaries he was set to make on his previous Patriots contract before they cut him, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. That means the defensive back will earn $814K this year ($718K prorated) and $996K next year. The Patriots probably did that in order to convince Jones to forego restricted free agency next year. If the 2016 second-round pick plays up to his potential, it will be a worthwhile investment for New England.
  • Former Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell filed an injury grievance against the team seeking his entire 2018 salary of $630K, Volin writes. Mitchell had six catches for 70 yards in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Falcons, but missed the entire 2017 season with a knee injury. He was cut in August without an injury designation, meaning that he was unable to recoup any of his salary. Mitchell will be examined by a neutral doctor selected jointly by the NFL and NFLPA and a neutral arbitrator will decide the case, as per the rules laid out in the collective bargaining agreement.
  • The 49ers had interest in Gordon before he was traded to the Patriots, but they backed out towards the end.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Bortles, Coleman

Frank Gore may be competing for touches with fellow running back Kenyan Drake, but that doesn’t mean the veteran isn’t impressed by his Dolphins teammate. In fact, Gore told Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post that he understands why the organization moved on from their former starter in order to give Drake more reps last season.

“I was like, ‘Man, I kinda see why they traded Jay Ajayi,’” Gore said. “He’s very talented. Jay Ajayi was a great back, too, but Kenyan is a very talented guy. He’s smart. He can do everything on the field. I think that me and him can really help this team be successful this year.”

Ultimately, Gore is expected to be a mentor to both Drake and fourth-rounder Kalen Ballage. Despite running for at least 850 yards for the 12th-straight season in 2017, the veteran is willing to have a larger impact off the field than on the field.

“People said that I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t (last) more than three years, and I’ve been blessed going into my 14th year,” the 35-year-old said. “Now I want to go out here and be successful, have fun and do whatever it takes with my team and try to get some wins.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Blake Bortles is looking forward to his first healthy season in several years. The Jaguars quarterback told ESPN’s Michael DiRocco that he’s been tolerating a right wrist injury for several seasons, forcing him to have three cortisone injections in 2017. Bortles finally opted for surgery this offseason to repair a partially torn ligament on the outside of his wrist, and the 26-year-old said the operation helped him have the best offseason and training camp of his career. “When you do not have to worry about going to rehab or going to get treatment, you have to make sure you warm it up the right way, you have to take anti-inflammatory [medication] and do all of that stuff. … It is just a lot of process to be able to go out there and do what you should be able to do without any pain,” Bortles said. “To be able to do that now finally is pretty awesome.” Despite the injury, Bortles managed to complete a career-high 60.2-percent of his passes last season for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
  • The Bills traded for former first-round wideout Corey Coleman last night, and Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com believes the receiver could have an immediate impact on his new team. The writer points out that Kelvin Benjamin and Jeremy Kerley are the only two players locked in at the top of the Bills depth chart, and this was emphasized when the coaching staff add recently-recovered Andre Holmes to the first team during camp (Zay Jones has since recovered from his injury, as well). At the very least, Coleman will provide the Bills with unmatched speed, a skill set that the team’s fellow receivers are lacking.
  • When the Patriots released wideout Malcolm Mitchell earlier today, many assumed the former fourth-rounder was still battling a nagging knee injury. While that could be partly true, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the receiver was waived as a healthy player. This means Mitchell passed his final physical with the organization. After making six starts as a rookie in 2016, Mitchell sat out the entire 2017 campaign due to injury.

Patriots To Release WR Malcolm Mitchell

The Patriots have released wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Pats put Mitchell on the trade block earlier this summer, but were unable to find any takers for him. 

Mitchell, a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, appeared in 14 games and made six starts as a rookie, posting 32 receptions on 48 targets for 401 yards and four touchdowns. The 26-year-old was also extremely efficient during the Patriots’ Super Bowl comeback in 2017, putting up six catches for 70 yards as New England defeated Atlanta.

Unfortunately, injuries have held him back as of late. Mitchell missed all of the 2017 season and was unable to fully participate in practice this offseason after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee.

Even though Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games of the 2018 campaign and Jordan Matthews is no longer in the picture, the Patriots still have a busy wide receiver depth chart, particular with options such as Chris HoganCordarrelle Patterson, and the newly signed Eric Decker available. Kenny BrittPhillip Dorsett, and rookie Braxton Berrios are also in the mix and each player brings something different to the table.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell

Although Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell did recently undergo an operation on his knee, it was not a surgical procedure, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Instead, the operation was designed to “accelerate healing” on Mitchell’s knee, which has sidelined him for the entire 2017 season.

Mitchell is now on the trade block, although this most recent procedure — even if it wasn’t surgical in nature — figures to reduce any possible interest other clubs may have expressed. Nevertheless, Rapoport indicates New England is “poised to move on from the [Mitchell] and his health issues,” which sounds as though the Patriots are prepared to waive Mitchell if no team decides to take a flier via trade.

Even though Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games of the 2018 campaign, the Patriots still have a busy wide receiver depth chart, with options such as Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, and Cordarrelle Patterson available. In his most recent look at New England’s roster, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com predicted Mitchell would not make the club’s 53-man squad, which could open a spot for Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, or rookie Braxton Berrios.

Mitchell, a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, appeared in 14 games and made six starts during his rookie campaign, posting 32 receptions on 48 targets for 401 yards and four touchdowns. The 26-year-old was extremely efficient during the Patriots’ Super Bowl comeback in 2017, putting up six catches for 70 yards as New England defeated Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Malcolm Mitchell Undergoes Knee Procedure

Sidelined all of last season due to a knee injury, Malcolm Mitchell needed another knee procedure on Monday, Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal reports (on Twitter).

Mitchell is now a trade candidate, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, who adds (Twitter link) that this operation explains some of the Patriots’ frustration here. But this procedure figures to complicate any trade talks New England will have regarding the third-year wide receiver.

The Patriots are high on Kenny Britt‘s ability to bounce back after a dreadful showing with the Browns, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). New England also has Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson and rookie Braxton Berrios in the mix now. And while Julian Edelman will miss a second straight September, he’s going to lead the receiving group upon return. There might not be room for Mitchell, leading Daniels to tweet that Mitchell is facing an uphill battle to make the roster while floating the idea of an injury settlement at this point (Twitter links).

Mitchell showed promise as a rookie in 2016, catching 32 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns. He added 70 air yards in Super Bowl LI but could not build on that momentum because of the rampant knee trouble he experienced last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Looking To Trade Malcolm Mitchell

Malcolm Mitchell is on the trade block. The Patriots have been shopping the wide receiver this summer, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Mitchell has shown potential in the Patriots’ offense, including the 2016 season in which he had 32 catches. However, he has been held back by injuries and he may be on the wrong side of a numbers crunch this offseason, even when factoring in Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension.

The Patriots hope they’ll be able to turn back the clock and get bounce-back seasons out of Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews. Beyond that, they also have Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, Braxton Berrios, and special teams ace Matt Slater in the mix. It’s likely that they could move forward with those six WRs for Week 1, which would allow them to perhaps net a draft pick for Mitchell.

Mitchell — who missed all of the 2017 campaign with a knee injury – had 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. Then, in the Super Bowl, Mitchell caught six passes for 70 yards as the Patriots defeated the Falcons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Beckham, S. Jones, Patriots

The Giants and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are far apart in extension talks, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes Beckham should stage a holdout. After all, if Beckham reports for training camp — as he said he will do — but does not get the deal he’s looking for, then he would essentially be foreclosed from holding out. As Florio notes, a player who reports and then leaves subjects himself to a “five-day letter,” in which a team advises such player that, if he does not return within five days, he will be put on the reserve/left squad list, thereby tolling his contract for a full year. And, if Beckham reports but does not practice with the team until he gets a new deal, he could be subject to fines and suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.

As such, Florio believes Beckham’s only chance to get the contract he deserves this year is to hold out and put a little pressure on the Giants, which none of his other alternatives would do. Beckham, though, appears to be sensitive to the stigma associated with holdouts, so this will remain a fascinating case to monitor.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Matt Lombardo of NJ.com names the secondary as perhaps the biggest weakness on the Giants‘ roster, though he says UDFA cornerback Grant Haley — who reportedly received a whopping $100K in guaranteed money from Big Blue — could be a solid slot corner in his rookie season. Lombardo also says the team could reunite with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, which grows more likely the longer DRC lingers on the open market.
  • Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones had a strong offseason, but as Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com observes, Jones spent the last three practices of the spring on the sideline with soreness in his lower body. Philadelphia has said that soreness is wholly unrelated to the Achilles injury that forced Jones to miss almost all of his rookie season, but Shorr-Parks says the fact that the Washington product was forced to miss the most important practices of the spring with a vague injury is noteworthy. The team needs Jones to live up to his collegiate potential, which would have a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of a secondary that needs to replace Patrick Robinson (as of now, Shorr-Parks says, Jalen Mills is the favorite to serve as the Eagles’ nickel corner, a role that Robinson filled so admirably last year).
  • Free agent WR Eric Decker indicated earlier this week that the Patriots would be a good fit for him, and while no team — including the Patriots – has publicly expressed interest in Decker in nearly three months, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says New England could be interested once it has had the opportunity to fully evaluate its receiving corps in training camp.
  • One potentially key member of the Patriots‘ receiving corps, Malcolm Mitchell, is unsure if he will be ready for the start of training camp. Per Stephen Hewitt of the Boston Herald, Mitchell — who missed all of the 2017 campaign with a knee injury after a promising rookie season — simply said “we’ll see” when asked if he would be ready to go when camp opens next month. New England would love to have a healthy Mitchell, especially in light of Julian Edelman‘s impending four-game suspension.
  • Reiss says that Patriots‘ UDFA punter Corey Bojorquez is a legitimate threat to incumbent Ryan Allen.

Patriots Notes: Matthews, Mitchell, QBs

While Tom Brady may be a year-to-year proposition following the 2018 season, his timeline may not matter to Jordan Matthews since the receiver signed only a one-year deal with the Patriots. And the wideout factored the future Hall of Fame quarterback into his decision considerably. Matthews wanted to catch passes from Brady, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The reigning NFL MVP is still near the peak of his powers despite going into his age-41 season, and Matthews made a point to include two of the game’s premier quarterbacks in his free agency tour. Matthews visited the Packers and Patriots, with Titans and Cardinals stops being on his spring itinerary as well, but he will spend a year in New England. The fifth-year receiver has done his most prominent NFL work in the slot, but Julian Edelman is due back this season. Reiss reports Matthews had other offers. The Cardinals extended one to him before signing Brice Butler. Matthews faced the Patriots once last season while with the Bills but did his best work — three 800-plus-yard seasons — with the Eagles.

Here’s the latest out of New England:

  • Malcolm Mitchell also figures to be a part of Brady’s receiving corps in 2018 after missing all of his second season with a knee injury. He’s expected to be ready for OTAs, per Reiss, and has been working with Alex Guererro at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center.
  • Troy Niklas may not factor in prominently in Brady’s arsenal, having caught just 19 passes in four seasons and being known for his blocking more. But Reiss notes a knock on the former Cardinals tight end has been that his physicality doesn’t match up with what would be expected from a 6-foot-6, 270-pound player. Should he make the New England roster, it’s likely he’ll be asked to block plenty considering Rob Gronkowski is expected back.
  • The Patriots may be taking a flier on Luke Bowanko because of his versatility. Reiss writes Bowanko worked at all five offensive line spots in practice while with the Jaguars, and Bill Belichick values an assorted skill set. An interior lineman in games, Bowanko would seemingly be in line for a swing backup job if he were to make the 53-man roster.
  • Belichick’s history and the Patriots’ need for talent capable of helping the near-future rosters points to New England not pulling off a blockbuster trade for a quarterback, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes. Curran expects Brady to at least play out his through-2019 contract before evaluating if he wants to play what would be a 21st season in 2020. Although, Robert Kraft said the team needs to think about taking a quarterback this year since there is no longer a viable succession plan after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.

Patriots Won’t Activate Malcolm Mitchell

The Patriots have decided against activating Malcolm Mitchell in advance of the Wednesday deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That means that Mitchell will be out of action for the AFC championship game as well as the Super Bowl, should the Patriots make it. Malcolm Mitchell (vertical)

This was the expected outcome as Mitchell did not suit up for Wednesday morning’s practice. Ideally, the Patriots would have liked to have the 24-year-old on the field. As a rookie in 2016, Mitchell had 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. This year, he was set to have a larger role in the offense before a nagging knee injury sidelined him in the preseason.

The Pats brought Mitchell back on the practice field in late December, giving them three weeks to decide whether to activate him. In theory, the Patriots could have put him on the 53-man roster and left him on the bench for the AFC title game, giving them the option of playing him in the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks. Ultimately, they felt that they would rather preserve their depth elsewhere with a healthy player.

Heading into the big game against the Jaguars, the Patriots still have a solid cast of receivers including Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Kenny Britt, Dwayne Allen, and Chris Hogan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Don’t Activate Malcolm Mitchell For Divisional Round

While the Patriots have been without second-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell for the entire season, the 2016 fourth round pick has been inching closer to a return in recent weeks. However, the team chose not to activate him for this weekend’s playoff matchup vs. the Titans, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

Malcolm Mitchell (vertical)

Mitchell, 25, had a productive rookie campaign, collecting 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. He was set to become even more impactful for this past regular season, but was forced to the injured reserve during the preseason because of a nagging knee injury.

Since Mitchell returned to practice on December 27, that means he has until next week for the team to make a decision on his availability should they move onto the AFC Championship next Sunday. The team can place him on the active roster as a player designated to return from injured reserve.

Even without Mitchell, the Patriots are now mostly healthy in terms of playmakers entering Saturday’s contest. While the team is missing Mitchell and Julian Edelman, Tom Brady will have the likes of Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Kenny Britt, Dwayne Allen and Chris Hogan, who will be returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for seven of the team’s final eight games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.