Patriots Rumors

Patriots Shopped Gronk To Four Teams

The Patriots deny having shopped Rob Gronkowski this offseason, but evidence to the contrary is mounting. The Pats engaged in trade talks with the Lions, Titans, Texans, and 49ers, Albert Breer of The MMQB told FS1 (transcription via NESN). 

[RELATED: Will 2018 Be Shaq Mason’s Last Year With Pats?]

Recently, we learned the Patriots were discussing deals involving Gronk as recently as three days before the draft. Meanwhile, Mike Florio of PFT hears from a league source that the Patriots had conversations with more clubs than the four listed by Breer. However, a deal was never close enough for the Pats to talk to the tight end about the possibility. When Gronk put the retirement rumors to rest in April, it seems that the trade discussions were also 86’d.

Breer hears that the Patriots only discussed a potential Gronkowski trade with teams they “trust.” The tentacles of the Patriots extend to all four teams: Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia used to work for the Pats, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien previously served as the Pats’ offensive coordinator, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel played for the Pats and GM Jon Robinson spent more than ten years in New England, and Bill Belichick has a solid relationship with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

For now, it seems like Gronk is staying put, but the Patriots weren’t entirely truthful when they threw water on the latest round of trade rumors. The two sides will likely hammer out a revised contract between now and the start of the season, but it’s still a situation worth monitoring.

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Will 2018 Be Shaq Mason's Last Year With Pats?

Zack Martin just inked a massive extension with the Cowboys, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com wonders what effect Martin’s contract will have on Shaq Mason‘s future with the Patriots. Mason is not on the same level as Martin or Andrew Norwell — who signed a similarly large deal with the Jaguars this offseason — but he is still a very good guard and should command upwards of $10MM per year when he hits free agency at the end of the 2018 campaign. Reiss is skeptical that New England will pony up that much cash for a guard, so this could be Mason’s last year in Foxborough.

Eric Rowe Not A Roster Lock

  • Cornerback Eric Rowe isn’t a lock for the Patriots’ 53-man roster, opines Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Undrafted rookie J.C. Jackson has reportedly been running ahead of Rowe during OTAs and minicamp and despite Rowe being a fairly big name, Kyed says he “could see scenarios” where Rowe is on another roster come week 1.

Brown, Wynn To Battle For Pats' LT Job

  • One of the bigger free agency defections the Patriots have had to deal with in a while, Nate Solder‘s departure to the Giants leaves what looks like a two-man battle for his left tackle spot, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston notes. Trent Brown took the lion’s share of the first-team reps during offseason work, with first-rounder Isaiah Wynn lining up at left guard more. However, left guard starter Joe Thuney is currently absent. Once he returns, Perry points out Brown and Wynn are likely set to compete for one spot. The other would become a swing backup, with Marcus Cannon now back at right tackle.

Brady: End Is Coming "Sooner, Rather Than Later"

Tom Brady‘s career will soon be coming to an end, but the future Hall of Famer still wasn’t willing to give a definitive timeline in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The Patriots quarterback acknowledged that retirement would be coming “sooner, rather than later,” but he also noted that he’ll still play if he has the passion and drive.

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Patriots Extend LS Joe Cardona

After signing fullback James Develin to a new deal, the Patriots have handed out their second extension of the day. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports (via Twitter) that the organization has signed long snapper Joe Cardona to a four-year extension. The 26-year-old was entering the final year of his contract.

After serving as Navy’s starting long snapper for four straight years, the Patriots selected Cardona in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, making him only the fourth player at his position to ever be drafted. After having his Naval assignment delayed so he could play his rookie season, New England signed the player to an unorthodox contract. The organization ended up nixing $100K of his signing bonus in favor of roster bonuses.

The long snapper ultimately earned all of that money, as he hasn’t missed a game during his three years in the league. The special teamer has also managed to compile six tackles throughout his career. Cardona has continually had to request permission to play in the NFL, which he’s been granted for each of his three seasons.

Earlier today, the Patriots inked Develin to a two-year extension worth $3.8MM.

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Patriots Meet With Christian Hackenberg

Christian Hackenberg could return to the AFC East. The former Jets quarterback visited with the Patriots on Thursday at Gillette Stadium, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). 

The Patriots have some level of interest in the former second-round pick, but that doesn’t mean they’ll sign him right away. Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter) doesn’t expect Hackenberg to officially join the Pats on Thursday, but he may be an option for New England going forward.

The Jets used the No. 51 overall pick on Hackenberg in 2016, but he did not see a regular season snap with the team in his first two seasons. This year, he was effectively squeezed out of the picture thanks to the re-signing of Josh McCown and the additions of Teddy Bridgewater and No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold. The Jets shipped Hackenberg to the Raiders for a conditional seventh-round pick, but he was released after three weeks in Oakland.

The Patriots do not have a clear need for a quarterback with Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, and rookie Danny Etling in the fold. However, it may be useful to have a fourth arm in camp this summer and someone like Hackenberg could conceivably push Etling – a seventh-round pick – for the final QB spot on the 53-man roster.

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Patriots, James Develin Agree To Extension

James Develin and the Patriots are closing in on a two-year contract extension, a source tells Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). The deal will be worth $3.8MM with a $600K signing bonus, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Develin signed his first NFL contract with the Bengals, but he has played all of his NFL downs with the Patriots. Save for the 2015 season he lost to injury, Develin appeared in every regular season game for the Pats between 2013 and 2017. Last year, he earned his first career Pro Bowl nomination.

Develin typically doesn’t see a ton of targets in the Pats’ offense, but he provides tremendous blocking ability. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked run blocker amongst qualified fullbacks and fourth amongst FBs for his pass blocking. Many teams have gotten away from using a fullback, but Develin’s 407 snaps ranked first amongst all players at the position, ahead of other notables such as Zach Line, Kyle Juszczyk, Patrick DiMarco, and Anthony Sherman.

 

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Patriots Discussed Gronk Trade

Patriots owner Robert Kraft says last week’s trade buzz surrounding Rob Gronkowski was nothing but “hogwash.” However, it sounds like the Patriots did explore trading the tight end earlier in the offseason. The Pats were calling other teams about a possible Gronkowski trade as recently as three days before the draft, a league source tells Mike Florio of PFT

Incidentally, Gronkowski decided against retirement just two days before the draft, so one can’t help but wonder if the two events were related. It’s not clear how close the Patriots were to trading Gronkowski in the spring, or what they were seeking, but the notion of trading the tight end has at least been considered in New England.

In 2017, Gronk was on the field for 14 games, and managed 69 receptions, 1,084 yards, and eight touchdowns, all of which placed him within the top five among tight ends. When healthy, he is the most fearsome offensive weapon at his position and among the most dynamic talents in the game.

Gronk, who is signed through the 2019 campaign, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8MM in 2018. New England has reportedly been working on “tweaking” his deal, but nothing has been agreed upon just yet.

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