Patriots Rumors

Rob Gronkowski Out For Week 7?

Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable on the Patriots’ injury report. That designation may soon change.

The Patriots departed for Chicago, and the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride reports (via Twitter) Gronkowski was not with the team. Thus, he stands to miss New England’s Week 7 game.

Gronk is listed on the Pats’ injury report with ankle and back maladies, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport noting the back trouble surfaced Friday (Twitter link).

While Gronkowski could conceivably take a later flight to the Windy City, not traveling with the team is almost always a sign a player will not participate in a game. The Patriots are still not ruling Gronk out for Sunday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), but it certainly seems a long shot he’ll play.

The 29-year-old tight end’s played in all six Patriots games thus far this season but is a perpetual injury risk, having missed extensive time in the past. Back trouble has plagued him in the recent past, too, with Gronk having missed much of New England’s 2016 Super Bowl title season with back issues.

In the conversation for greatest tight end ever, Gronkowski is in his ninth season with the Patriots. He’s caught 26 passes for 405 yards and a touchdown this season. While his yards-per-game figure of 67.5 is down from his best seasons, he made some key catches in the Patriots’ 43-40 win over the Chiefs.

The four-time All-Pro also agreed to another incentive package this offseason, and the $3.3MM package is tied largely to his availability. Any absence will hurt his chances of cashing in like he did last season.

Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister would be the top Patriot tight ends if Gronk indeed can’t go. They’ve combined for four catches this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Rework Stephon Gilmore’s Contract

The Patriots have opened up some much-needed cap space prior to the NFL’s trade deadline. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the team restructured cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s contract, opening up $3.7MM of cap space in 2018.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss has some more info on the reworked contract (via Twitter), noting that $4.95MM of Gilmore’s base salary was turned into a fully guaranteed roster bonus, which is prorated over four years. Gilmore is still due his full $9MM for 2018, and the move will add an extra $1.2375MM to the cornerback’s cap numbers between 2019 and 2021 (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Twitter).

The move will provide the Patriots with a bit more flexibility as they approach the October 30th trade deadline. While the organization was previously rolling with a bit more than $1.6MM in cap space, today’s move increases that number to around $5.3MM in space. This will allow the front office to fill a number of holes, with Volin pointing to needs at running back, linebacker, and defensive end.

After spending the first five seasons of his career with the Bills, Gilmore joined the Patriots on a five-year, $65MM deal ($31MM guaranteed) prior to the 2017 season. The former first-rounder had an up-and-down campaign during his first season in New England, finishing with 50 tackles, nine passes defended, and two interceptions in 13 games. In six games this season, the 28-year-old has compiled 22 tackles, eight passes defended, one interception, and one forced fumble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Patriots, Colts, Lions, Redskins

The final injury reports for Week 7 came out earlier today, and there was a lot of news. Lots of key players will be missing their team’s games, while others will be returning after extended absence. One notable rule-out was the Patriots declaring that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon would miss their game against the Bears. It’s a big loss for New England, especially in a week where they have to go up against Khalil Mack. Mack will now be lining up across from a backup tackle, and could end up making life miserable for Tom Brady.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Colts have been the most injured team in recent memory the past few weeks, but are finally getting some good news. Star receiver T.Y. Hilton has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, but is ready to make his return this week. Unfortunately for Indianapolis, they’ll still be without tight end Jack Doyle and receiver Ryan Grant as well as several key contributors on defense like safety Clayton Geathers and defensive tackle Denico Autry.
  • The Lions will be without running back Theo Riddick, who went down during the team’s win over the Packers. Riddick has been operating as the Lions’ third down back, and rookie Kerryon Johnson should get more run with him out of the way. On the bright side, the team looks like it could be getting back pass-rusher Ezekiel Ansah, who hasn’t played since Detroit’s Week 1 loss. Ansah is listed as questionable but practiced all three days this week.
  • The Redskins will be thin on pass-catchers, as Jamison Crowder has been ruled out for the team’s game against the Cowboys while Paul Richardson is listed as doubtful. Washington promoted Jehu Chesson from the practice squad yesterday, signaling they weren’t expecting Richardson to play. Tight end Jordan Reed should see a ton of looks as the Redskins’ receiving corp is completely depleted.

For a rundown of every team’s injury situation, you can view all 32 injury reports over at ProFootballTalk.com.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Washington Redskins

Jason McCourty On Pace To Hit Incentives; Kenjon Barner Could Have More Job Security

  • Reiss also notes that Kenjon Barner, who has been shuttled on and off of the Patriots‘ roster several times since September 12, may have a little more job security right now. Barner’s former club, the Eagles, are very much in need of RB help, and the Pats know that if they cut Barner again, they may not get him back.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes that Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty is on pace to recoup the money that he lost when he agreed to a pay cut before the regular season. New England gave him the opportunity to make up the difference via incentives, and McCourty is well on his way to hitting those incentives. The same cannot be said for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, however.
  • Reiss also notes that Kenjon Barner, who has been shuttled on and off of the Patriots‘ roster several times since September 12, may have a little more job security right now. Barner’s former club, the Eagles, are very much in need of RB help, and the Pats know that if they cut Barner again, they may not get him back.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/12/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account unless otherwise noted:

Chicago Bears

  • P Brock Miller (link)

Houston Texans

  • OT Dieugot Joseph (link)

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • OT Corey Robinson; RB Thomas Rawls (link)

New England Patriots

  • DE Will Clarke; QB Connor Cook; LB Kasim Edebali; WR Devin Ross; TE Shane Wimann (link)

Tennessee Titans

  • LS’s Andrew East, Taybor Pepper (link)

Overall, nothing too noteworthy. The Patriots interestingly continue to work out quarterbacks, bringing in former Raiders third-rounder Connor Cook for a tryout. New England has Bryan Hoyer firmly entrenched behind Tom Brady, but also recently worked out Landry Jones.

Meanwhile, the Titans seem set to bring in a new long snapper, as the team also worked out veteran Jon Condo today.

Practice Squad Updates: 10/9/18

Today’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: LB Brandon Chubb
  • Released QB: Connor Cook

Dallas Cowboys

  • Released: RB Bo Scarbrough

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: RB Tra Carson, WR Keon Hatcher
  • Released: RB Joel Bouagnon

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Placed On PS-IR: LB Robert McCray

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

  • Signed: RB Kenneth Farrow

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

NFL Workout Updates: 10/8/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit, courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer unless otherwise noted:

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/8/18

Here are Monday’s practice squad decisions:

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • Signed: NT Niles Scott

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Jets

  • Signed: DL Bronson Kaufasi
  • Cut: T Dieguot Joseph

Patriots Bring Back RB Kenjon Barner

The Patriots agreed to sign Kenjon Barner for the third time in a month. The two-time Pats cut will again serve as the team’s No. 3 back behind James White and Sony Michel.

Barner initially signed with New England on Sept. 12 before being released a week later. He came back to join the team on Sept. 26 before being released Oct. 4, prior to the Pats’ Week 5 game against the Colts. Heading into the Patriots’ high-profile clash with the Chiefs, the nine-time reigning AFC East champions will have three running backs on their roster.

Although depth has been Barner’s primary purpose in New England, he did play in the Pats’ Week 4 win over the Dolphins, taking three handoffs. He has not been used as a return man, which has been his primary NFL responsibility. Barner, 28, played the past three seasons with the Eagles. He served as the Super Bowl champions’ primary kick and punt returner last season.

The Pats could have brought back Mike Gillislee, whom the Saints released over the weekend, but they’re going with their more recent employee in Barner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.