New England Patriots Rumors & News

Patriots Inquired On Richard Sherman

Before signing free agent Stephon Gilmore earlier this month, the Patriots inquired on the availability Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Seattle head coach Pete Carroll admitted this morning the Seahawks had discussed Sherman in trade talks, but added a deal isn’t expected to take place.Richard Sherman (Vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots, Darrelle Revis Have Not Discussed Contract]

New England was clearly looking to add a clear-cut No. 1 cornerback to its secondary this offseason, and Sherman would have been just that. Sherman, 28, has two years left on a hefty four-year extension he signed in 2014, but because the Patriots would have only been responsible for Sherman’s base salary (and not his prorated signing bonus), Sherman would have been relatively affordable. His $11.431MM cap charge would have ranked just ninth among NFL corners in 2017.

For that price, Sherman would have represented a bargain, even though he’s coming off the worst season of his career, according to Pro Football Focus‘ grades. Given that he’s been one of the best corners in the league throughout his Seattle tenure, Sherman has set a high bar for his performance, so the “worst” campaign of his career amounts to finishing as the NFL’s No. 15 corner, per PFF. Sherman appeared in all 16 games for the fifth consecutive season, racking up four interceptions and 58 tackles while playing excellent run defense.

Trades involving stars of Sherman’s ilk don’t typically occur in the NFL, but the Patriots have shown a willingness to make deals this offseason. New England has already completed three deals this month, adding wide receiver Brandin Cooks, tight end Dwayne Allen, and defensive end Kony Ealy at the cost of draft pick compensation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Rumors: Saints, Butler, Mixon

Saints GM Mickey Loomis tried to play it cool when asked about his team’s pursuit of Patriots restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler (via Larry Holder of The Times Picayune).

There’s not a lot I can say. We’re kicking the tires I guess,” Loomis said. “That’s the way to describe that. We’ll see how that process works.”

The Saints have presented the corner with a contract offer, but not an offer sheet. The Saints would like to work out a trade with the Patriots in which they can land Butler without forfeiting the No. 11 overall pick, but so far the Patriots are acting as though they will not play ball.

Here’s more on Butler and other news from the NFC South:

  • Saints coach Sean Payton termed the Butler situation as “an exploratory mission,” (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Payton, from Rapoport’s perspective, seemed to indicate that the team has hit pause on a potential deal.
  • When asked about the possibility of signing Butler to an offer sheet and giving up the No. 11 overall pick, per the terms of the first-round tender, Payton said, “I know we’re not going to do that.” (Twitter link via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com).
  • Saints head coach Sean Payton says the team will meet with Joe Mixon during the draft process (Twitter link via Holder). New Orleans previously met with Mixon in early March. This week, we learned that the Patriots and Dolphins have both ruled out the controversial Oklahoma running back.
  • Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he’ll be at Leonard Fournette‘s LSU Pro Day and added that no spot is “too high” to take a running back (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Recently, Panthers GM Dave Gettleman indicated that the team’s recent extension for Jonathan Stewart will not preclude the team from taking a running back early on in the draft. The Panthers own the No. 8 overall pick.

Patriots Rule Out Drafting Joe Mixon

Now we have two teams that reportedly won’t go near Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. The Patriots will not even consider drafting him, according to a source who spoke with Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald. Joe Mixon (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots Rumors: Brady, Butler, Garoppolo]

Earlier this week, we learned that the Dolphins have also removed Mixon from consideration. Of course, it’s easy to take Mixon off the board when you already have talent at the running back position and that’s the case for both AFC East clubs. The Dolphins have Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake on the depth chart while the Patriots have plenty of depth with free agent pickup Rex Burkhead, James White, Dion Lewis, and DJ Foster.

For other teams looking for an impact player in the backfield, the moral conundrum isn’t quite as easy to sort out. Mixon, despite his red flags and potential for a PR nightmare, is one of the most talented running backs in this year’s class. The Sooners star could be available after Leonard Fournette, D’Onta Foreman, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey are all off the board. In terms of talent, one could argue that he offers higher upside than at least two of those well-regarded backs.

When asked about Mixon this week, Patriots owner Robert Kraft declined to speak specifically about him, but he did reiterate his stance against domestic violence.

While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right,” Kraft said. “For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Take Another Run At Jimmy Garoppolo?

  • “An NFL source familiar with all the principals involved” speculates the Browns will “make another run” at Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the league meetings, ESPN.com’s Tony Grossi writes. Business tends to go down at the league meetings with everyone in the same place and we could see trade talks get a jumpstart this week in Phoenix. If a trade does happen, however, the same source says it might not occur until closer to the draft on April 27.

Patriots Rumors: Brady, Butler, Garoppolo

Moments ago, Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed the media in Phoenix, Arizona. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • Apparently, Tom Brady isn’t going anywhere. “As recently as two or three days ago, he assured me that he’d be willing to play another six or seven years,” Kraft said (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB).
  • Kraft says that he hopes Malcolm Butler returns to the Patriots for 2017 and that the team’s intention is not to trade him (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate). Butler, a restricted free agent, has discussed contractual terms with the Saints and the two sides apparently far off. An unmatched offer sheet from the Saints would result in New Orleans’ No. 11 overall pick going to New England. Of course, that’s a steep price to pay and the Saints are reportedly unwilling to go that far to land the cornerback. The possibility of a sign-and-trade with lesser compensation could be in the cards, but right now the Pats are acting as though they want Butler back.
  • When asked about the possibility of trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Kraft deferred that decision to coach Bill Belichick (Twitter link via Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald).

Patriots Notes: Floyd, Develin

Now that the Patriots have acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Saints, fellow pass-catcher Michael Floyd may not be on New England’s radar, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Heading into the offseason, the Patriots reportedly expressed interest in re-signing Floyd, and Floyd himself indicated he’d like to return to the team. But given that he’s pleaded guilty to DUI, Floyd can’t leave the state of Arizona until this summer. By that point, the Patriots (and other clubs) will likely have moved on.

  • Under the terms of his new two-year contract, Patriots fullback James Develin can earn $100K for playing 20% of New England’s offensive snaps, and another $100K for playing in 30% of the club’s snaps, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Develin played in 31.3% of New England’s offensive snaps in 2016.

LeGarrette Blount, Patriots Couldn't Agree On Terms

Coming off an 18-touchdown season, LeGarrette Blount hasn’t found much traction on his latest free agency odyssey. The Patriots, though, have discussed a deal with the bruising running back, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports. However, the sides could not agree on terms. Reiss suggests that even though the Pats signed Rex Burkhead they still don’t have a power back, with their roster housing only multipurpose cogs Dion Lewis and James White, pointing to a possible reunion between the oft-reunited parties after the draft. Blount rushed for a career-high 1,161 yards as well last season but turned 30 in December. He ranks as PFR’s No. 2 UFA running back.

La Canfora: Malcolm Butler Trade Will Happen

  • There has been “momentum” regarding a Malcolm Butler-to-Saints trade, and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com believes the deal will ultimately happen. The pundit says the Saints and Patriots “are motivated to make it happen,” and it will be a matter of New Orleans meeting New England’s price for the deal to be finalized.
  • The Panthers essentially moved up eight spots when they dealt defensive end Kony Ealy to the Patriots, and general manager Dave Gettleman was perfectly happy with making that move. “It’s a heavy draft and it was an opportunity for us to move up. To you guys, eight spots doesn’t seem like much. But to me, it’s gold,” he said (via Conor Orr of NFL.com). “You’ve got to give up something to get something. You’re not fooling anybody anymore. There’s too much film available. We just wanted to move up and get another second-round pick. I think it gives us more flexibility.”

    [SOURCE LINK]

Patriots Interested In OT Sam Tevi

  • There were a number of offensive line coaches at Utah’s Pro Day, including staff from the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and Lions. Offensive tackle Sam Tevi was impressive during the workouts, and the big man has drawn particular interest from both the Saints and Patriots.

    [SOURCE LINK]

Patriots, Revis Have Not Discussed Contract

Reports from earlier this week indicated that it was looking “increasingly likely” that veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis would be returning to New England. While that could still be the case, CSNNE.com’s Tom Curran reports that the two sides have not had discussions regarding a contract.

Darrelle RevisThe Jets released the seven-time Pro Bowler in late February, and the Steelers emerged as a potential landing spot (although earlier reports noted that the organization had no interest). Revis’ supposed decline is apparently scaring away suitors, but some executives believes the veteran hasn’t played his last NFL snap.

We did our work on him. He can still play. He can cover,” the exec told Jason La Canfora. “He doesn’t have that long speed anymore; he’s not going to cover a No. 1 receiver deep. But he can cover in tight spaces and he has great instincts. The film is not as bad as some would have you believe. He’s a perfect fit in that quarters scheme Belichick runs, and they have the kind of safeties who can help him out, too. We’re convinced he’s going back to New England. It just makes too much sense.”

The Patriots could certainly use some reinforcement at cornerback. Despite signing Stephon Gilmore, the team lost defensive back Logan Ryan via free agency. It’s also sounding like Malcolm Butler could be on his way out of New England, meaning the Patriots would have to rely on some combination of Eric Rowe and Cyrus Jones to play opposite their free agent addition. If nothing else, Revis would at least provide coach Bill Belichick with some depth.

Revis ultimately appeared in 15 games this past season, compiling 53 tackles, one interception, and five passes defended. He was listed as the second-best remaining free cornerback in our positional rankings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.