New England Patriots Rumors & News

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/20/17

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: CB Josh Thornton

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

  • Signed: WR Ed Eagan

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/19/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

  • Signed: S Jameill Showers
  • Released: G Nate Theaker

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: WR Cyril Grayson Jr.
  • Released: WR Fred Brown

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rob Gronkowsi Has Minor Injury

  • Rob Gronkowski left the Patriots‘ win with a groin injury on Sunday, but the superstar tight end says the issue is “nothing serious,” according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com“Super relieved,” Gronkowski said. “I knew there was nothing really wrong from the beginning, so I’m good.” Despite not playing the fourth quarter, Gronk managed six receptions for 116 yards and one touchdown against the Saints. If Gronkowski does miss time, New England would turn to Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister at tight end.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/18/17

Today’s workout update notes:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/18/17

Today’s minor moves:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

  • Promoted to active roster: LB Curtis Grant
  • Waived: WR Tavarres King

Patriots, Lions Worked Out DL Datone Jones

The Patriots auditioned free agent defensive lineman Datone Jones today, while the Lions did the same on Saturday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link) and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).Datone Jones (vertical)

If signed by New England, Jones would likely play a role similar to that of incumbent options Deatrich Wise or Adam Butler, tweets Doug Kyed of NESN — that is, an edge player who can slide inside on passing downs. A former first-round pick, Jones is capable of playing either in a 3-4 or 4-3 front, and his scheme versatility could prove valuable for a Patriots club that prides itself on flexibility.

While the Patriots are short on edge defenders, the Lions are arguably even less equipped along the front seven. Kerry Hyder, last season’s breakout contributor, is done for the season with a torn Achilles, while Khyri Thornton and Armonty Bryant won’t return from suspension until midseason. Detroit should have a well-formulated view of Jones after facing him as a member of the division rival Packers in each of the past four years.

Now entering his age-27 campaign, Jones has never quite lived up to his draft status, and surprisingly couldn’t make the squad in Minnesota even after inking a one-year, $3.75MM pact that included $1.6MM in guarantees. Jones logged a career-high four starts and amassed 548 snaps across 15 games last season, when he added 22 tackles, a sack and ranked 70th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 110 qualified edge defenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower To Return Soon

  • Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s MCL injury was diagnosed as the 2-3 week variety by two different doctors, Rapoport tweets. The key Pats defender should be back either this week or next based on that timeframe. Problems with his right knee forced Hightower to start training camp on the PUP list and he was forced out of the season opener after aggravating it. Hightower earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2016 and re-upped with the Pats this offseason on a four-year deal that could pay him as much as $43.5MM.

Brandin Cooks’ Discontent Led To Saints Trading WR

Brandin Cooks faced his former team today, in a Patriots rout in New Orleans, but some additional details emerged on why he spent time in the visitors’ locker room.

The Saints dealt the fourth-year wide receiver for a first-round pick because of Cooks’ issues with his role in New Orleans’ offense and his doubts about the team’s future, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.

Cooks expressed doubt Drew Brees, who is now in his age-38 season, could continue to get him the ball deep, per Rapoport. And the Saints were skeptical of the 23-year-old’s status as a No. 1 wide receiver. Rapoport notes Cooks was going to want to be paid like a No. 1 receiver, and the Saints were not prepared to authorize that kind of contract for the deep threat despite his back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons.

A late-season meeting between Cooks and Sean Payton did little to clear the air, Rapoport reports, and the organization did not like what it perceived to be a self-over-team mindset from the talented pass-catcher. Payton told Cooks, who voiced frustration (the “closed mouths don’t get fed” comment) after going catchless in a 49-21 win over the Rams last November, he would see a target increase. Nevertheless, Cooks voicing his frustrations about his stat line following a blowout win rubbed some with the Saints the wrong way, per Rapoport.

And the wideout tied a season-high with seven receptions the following week. Despite Michael Thomas‘ emergence, Cooks saw at least eight targets in 10 games last season and at least six in 14 contests.

While Cooks was pro-Brees in terms of his relationship with the quarterback, the future Hall of Fame passer’s arm strength was not something the receiver felt he could address on any level, Rapoport adds. Cooks had discussions along these lines with Payton, OC Pete Carmichael, then-wideouts coach John Morton and GM Mickey Loomis.

Interestingly, the soon-to-be 24-year-old performer is now playing with a 40-year-old quarterback and for a team notoriously stingy regarding big contracts. Cooks caught two passes for 37 yards in New England’s win in New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dont'a Hightower Visited Dr. James Andrews For Second Opinion On Knee

  • Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower was riding a stationary bike after he left the team’s Week 1 contest with a right knee injury, leading to optimism that he might be ready for Week 2. However, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Hightower sought a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews last week, which Hightower did not deny. Problems with his right knee forced Hightower to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, and given that New England’s defense clearly needs him, this is a situation worth monitoring.