New England Patriots Rumors & News

Andrews, Cannon, Hogan and Slater Ruled Out For Week 11

  • The Patriots will be without two starting offensive lineman of their own when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Both center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) have been ruled out, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Backup lineman Ted Karras got some snaps at center during last week’s blowout of the Broncos and the team has reserve tackles in Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle who could fill in at right tackle. Bill Belichick and co. will also be without Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matt Slater, so the team has to overcome more than just new surroundings to get out of Mexico with their eighth win of the year.

Checking In On Gronk's Bonuses

Gronk is currently on pace for 72 catches for 1,093 yards and nine touchdowns while playing in 81% of the Patriots’ snaps. Those numbers would put him in line to earn $8.75MM, the second-highest incentive tier. In order to reach the $10.75MM max, he would have to play in 90% of the Pats’ offensive snaps or record 80 catches or 1,200 receiving yards or earn All-Pro recognition. Of course, Gronk’s name recognition could help his All-Pro case, even if he doesn’t satisfy the other triggers for the top incentives package.

Does Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski have a shot at maxing out his 2017 incentives? Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston checked in on Gronk’s deal to see if he can earn as much as $10.75MM this season through bonuses.

Gronk is currently on pace for 72 catches for 1,093 yards and nine touchdowns while playing in 81% of the Patriots’ snaps. Those numbers would put him in line to earn $8.75MM, the second-highest incentive tier. In order to reach the $10.75MM max, he would have to play in 90% of the Pats’ offensive snaps or record 80 catches or 1,200 receiving yards or earn All-Pro recognition. Of course, Gronk’s name recognition could help his All-Pro case, even if he doesn’t satisfy the other triggers for the top incentives package.

Matthew Slater Facing Multi-Week Absence

  • Special-teamer Matthew Slater suffered a “serious” hamstring injury in the Patriots‘ Week 10 victory over the Broncos and could now be sidelined for multiple games, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. A wide receiver in name only, Slater also missed the first four games of the season with a hamstring issue. He’s played only eight offensive snaps this year, but has seen time on a quarter of New England’s special teams plays. The Patriots are a top-five special teams unit in DVOA, as they have been in six of the past seven seasons.

Latest On Patriots, Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett‘s unusual exit from the Packers and reunion with the Patriots raised some eyebrows in the football world. However, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says the league office does not have any issues with how things played out (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe).

The Packers signed Bennett to a lucrative multi-year deal with the expectation that he would be a big, steady target for Aaron Rodgers in the red zone. Instead, Bennett never clicked with the Packers offense, perhaps due in part to his torn rotator cuff. After he intimated that he would retire after the 2017 season, the Packers released Bennett, opening the door for him to be claimed by his former team. It doesn’t take an Alex Jones-level conspiracy theorist to question whether Bennett might have orchestrated his own return to New England, but the commissioner’s office doesn’t share that same skepticism.

After he was cut loose, Bennett instructed his agent to inform interested teams that he might not be able to play due to his injured shoulder. Then, on Sunday, Bennett was on the field for seven snaps and caught three balls for 38 yards. He looked rather healthy in the 41-16 romp over Denver, and that didn’t help to quiet speculation about a potential pre-release arrangement between Bennett and the Patriots.

It’s a closed case in the eyes of the NFL, but the Packers may still go after a portion of Bennett’s signing bonus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patriots TE Martellus Bennett

After being waived by the Packers last week, tight end Martellus Bennett told his agent to inform teams not to claim him due to his injured shoulder, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.Martellus Bennett (vertical)

“It’s not about, ‘Could you play?’ It’s, ‘Should you play?’ It was one of those things,” Bennett said. “Right now, I’m just like, (expletive) it. At first, I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery. So when Bill (Belichick) called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No (expletive) way.’ ”

Bennett, who was apparently considering taking a desk job with Netflix for the rest of the season, will attempt to play through his injury as he closes the campaign with New England. Bennett disparaged Green Bay’s medical staff on his way out of town, but current and former Packers have since come to the unit’s defense. The Packers, meanwhile, may attempt to recoup a portion of Bennett’s signing bonus, and they could do so even if Bennett plays the rest of the year, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Bennett’s case is interesting on a number of levels, but its ramifications on the NFL’s compensatory pick system are unclear at the moment. At a base level, Belichick’s claim of Bennett seems designed to test the comp pick formula, as Nick Korte of Over the Cap notes (Twitter links). Players who are cut before Week 10 typically don’t count towards the compensatory process, but Bennett’s situation is unique given that he was claimed off waivers. However, Korte ultimately projects Bennett will not factor into the comp pick formula.

Claiming Bennett was essentially a no-risk move for the Patriots — Bennett is due a $2MM roster bonus on the third day of the 2018 league year, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, and if New England declines it, the club will have no further financial investment in the veteran tight end. The Patriots could also come away with even more windfall if the Packers file a grievance against Bennett. If Green Bay wins such a grievance, the Patriots would be entitled to a $13MM (Bennett’s salaries in 2018-19) credit on their cap next season, per salary cap guru Troy Chapman (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/11/17

Here are today’s practice squad moves.

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

  • Cut: LB Derrick Mathews

New England Patriots

New York Jets

 

Grissom Clears Waivers

  • Recently released Patriots defensive end/special teamer Geneo Grissom has cleared waivers, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Grissom was removed from the active roster to make room for new signee Martellus Bennett, who made some interesting comments today with how he perceived the Packers medical staff misguiding him with his injury. Meanwhile, Reiss notes that New England can now bring Grissom back to the practice squad if they so choose.

Latest On Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett did not practice in the final days of his Packers tenure and did not play against the Lions on Monday night. The Packers cut him, only for the talented tight end to return to the Patriots via waiver claim.

Bennett appeared at Patriots practice Friday, indicating he passed a physical despite reportedly having a torn rotator cuff. The 10th-year veteran addressed his status on Friday afternoon.

The 30-year-old pass-catcher said (on Instagram, via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport) he did, in fact, opt for shoulder surgery earlier this season. Bennett said he asked the Packers to examine his shoulder further after the team’s Week 5 win over the Cowboys, and he added he elected to have surgery. However, Bennett says the Packers persuaded him to play through this injury — one he said was made worse this season.

Three subsequent visits to separate doctors revealed, per Bennett, the damaged shoulder needed to be repaired. And he posts that he decided to do that, only to see the Packers cut him. He alleges the Packers’ reasoning for waiving him (with a Failure to Disclose a Physical Condition designation) was bogus, writing that he circled “shoulder” weekly when he filled out a team-issued body evaluation sheet.

Bennett writes in his post he made this decision for surgery after Week 5. This comes after a report indicated the tight end wanted out of Green Bay after Aaron Rodgers‘ Week 6 injury. Bennett mentions his October declaration to retire after this season as the Packers’ reasoning for this cut. He was due a $2MM roster bonus on Day 1 of the 2018 league year. The $6.3MM guarantee in Bennett’s three-year, $21MM Packers pact was spread through 2019 via signing bonus.

While uncertain to play this week with the Patriots, Bennett is traveling to Denver, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. He’s listed as questionable to face the Broncos. Bennett now trying to play through pain for a different team, and not getting this surgery that’s been reportedly recommended, strikes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein as odd (Twitter link).

Demovsky (Twitter link) said he’s heard consistent praise for the Packers doctor Bennett’s criticized, Dr. Pat McKenzie, including rave reviews from Rodgers. Silverstein adds McKenzie has a conservative reputation when it comes to injuries, and Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal (on Twitter) echoes this sentiment.

So, this might not be the last that’s discussed about Bennett’s unremarkable (but not exactly forgettable) Packers tenure. For now, though, the Packers (via Silverstein, on Twitter) aren’t responding to Bennett’s allegations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Martellus Bennett Passes Patriots Physical

Martellus Bennett‘s status has been one of the more intriguing stories in recent days, and Friday’s brought new chapters to it.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Bennett has a torn rotator cuff, but he showed up for Patriots practice on Friday to indicate he’s passed a physical for his new team, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

The Patriots were the only team to claim Bennett, whom they didn’t re-sign this offseason to lead to the Packers making a rare venture into non-street free agency in adding him. Varying degrees of rotator cuff tears exist, and Bennett — who played in seven Packers games before missing Monday’s — looks to have avoided a serious tear.

Bennett has 24 receptions for 233 yards this season after being the top tight end on the Patriots’ latest Super Bowl team. This time around, the injured player joins Dwayne Allen — who has no catches this season despite playing in each of New England’s eight games — as a supplementary cog behind Rob Gronkowski. While Gronkowski is one of the NFL’s more injury-prone players, he’s healthy right now.

Two years remain on the Bennett deal the Patriots are now responsible for, but the 30-year-old tight end said he plans to retire after this season. He may be attempting to play hurt in an environment that clearly worked for him last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Martellus Bennett Has Torn Rotator Cuff

The Packers waived tight end Martellus Bennett because he had a torn rotator cuff, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). He may or may not try to play through the injury. If he can’t, the Patriots could simply place him on injured reserve. Martellus Bennett (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots Claim TE Martellus Bennett]

There are varying degrees to rotator cuff tears and, presumably, Bennett is not dealing with a complete tear. A partial tear could help to explain his mediocre production in 2017. In seven games for the Packers, Bennett had just 24 grabs for 233 yards and zero touchdowns.

Bennett has indicated that he will retire after the 2017 season, so he might be willing to play through the pain without fear of the additional damage he might do to his shoulder. If he can gut it out, he might just have a chance at winning a second consecutive Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. This time around, he won’t have to be on the field as much thanks to Rob Gronkowski being healthy and the presence of Dwayne Allen.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.