New England Patriots Rumors & News

Pats Didn’t Consider Trading Garoppolo

Although Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was popular in trade rumors earlier in the offseason, the reigning Super Bowl champions never considered dealing Tom Brady‘s backup, ESPN’s Adam Schefter told Bleacher Report’s “Stick to Football” Podcast (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI). The Browns were the most aggressive suitors for Garoppolo, even inquiring about him during the first round of the draft, but he’s primed to remain in New England for at least one more season.

Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

As a contract-year player, the Patriots could risk losing Garoppolo to free agency next March and potentially receiving only a compensatory third-round pick in return – significantly less than they would have gotten had they traded him this offseason, perhaps. But Schefter expects the Patriots to find a way to keep Garoppolo past next season, noting that they’re “big believers” in the 25-year-old and consider him the heir to Brady, who’s entering his age-40 campaign. Brady remains the best quarterback in the NFL despite his age, and there’s no indication that he’s going away anytime soon, though Schefter cautions that “Father Time usually wins that battle.”

In the event Brady’s excellence continues in 2017, that should make it more difficult for the Pats to extend Garoppolo, who would likely land a massive contract and a guaranteed starting job if he were to reach free agency next March. As such, the Patriots might have to place the franchise tag on Garoppolo to retain him, which will cost in the neighborhood of $22MM in 2018. Otherwise, if keeping Garoppolo as a franchise player would be too pricey, New England could tag and trade him – as it did with former Brady backup Matt Cassel in 2009.

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Jets Meet With WR Kenbrell Thompkins

Free agent wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins visited the Jets today, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Thompkins spent time with the Jets in 2015 and was slated to return to the team in 2016 before suffering a season-ending injury. Kenbrell Thompkins (vertical)

Thompkins is perhaps best known for his time with the Patriots. In 2013, he caught 32 of the 69 passes sent in his direction for 466 yards and four scores. In the next season, he split time with the Patriots and Raiders and didn’t have quite the same level of success (21 catches, 262 yards). His 2015 season with the Jets saw him catch 17 passes for 165 yards, which was enough to convince the team to give him a restricted free agent tender.

The Jets made a move at wide receiver earlier this week when they waived/injured wide receiver Devin Smith and re-signed Deshon Foxx. The Jets have presently have 13 receivers on the 90-man roster, including Eric DeckerQuincy Enunwa, free agent pickup Quinton Patton, and 2017 draft picks ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen.

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Patriots To Waive WR Devin Street

Andrew Hawkins‘ chances of making the 53-man roster just got a bit better. The Patriots will waive wide receiver Devin Street, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Devin Street (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots Sign WR Andrew Hawkins]

Street, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Colts earlier this month. He hasn’t done much since entering the league as a fifth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2014, but he was thought to have a shot at making the Patriots’ final cut. Now, the team’s WR group is headlined by Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Hawkins, and special teams ace Matthew Slater.

Rival teams will have 24 hours to put a claim in on Street from the time his officially waived. If he clears waivers, he will be free to sign with any team.

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Andrew Hawkins Had 4 Other Offers

  • Andrew Hawkins declined four other offers so that he could play with the Patriots and catch passes from Tom Brady, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Hawkins inked a one-year deal with New England, but his place on the 53-man roster is not a sure thing given all of the talent New England has.

Patriots Sign WR Andrew Hawkins

The Patriots have signed Andrew Hawkins, the wide receiver announced via the Twitter account for FS1’s Undisputed. It’s a one-year deal, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Andrew Hawkins (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots, Gronk Restructure Contract]

Hawkins becomes the latest veteran addition to the Patriots this offseason, joining Brandin Cooks, Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and Dwayne Allen. Still, his spot on the 53-man roster is anything but a certainty since the Pats already have wide receivers Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, and special teams ace Matthew Slater under contract. Hawkins’ contract likely doesn’t have much in the way of guaranteed cash and perhaps has no guarantees, so there probably won’t be any real fiscal consequences for New England if they cut ties.

Until today, the 31-year-old had spent his entire career to date in the AFC North. After playing for the Bengals from 2011-2013, he hooked on with the Browns as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. Hawkins was initially a focal part of the offense in Cleveland, racking up 63 catches for 824 yards and two scores in his first season there. After that, however, his role shrank. Last year, he had just 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores.

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David Andrews Contract Details

  • Offensive lineman David Andrews‘ three-year, $9MM extension with the Patriots contains $2.1MM ($700K annually) in playing time incentives) that can bring the maximum value of the deal to $11.1MM, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap. The pact also contains a $1.6MM signing bonus — the only fully guaranteed portion of the contract — plus per-game roster bonuses of $300K in 2017 and $400K in 2018-2020. Andrews’ extension places him within the top half of the league’s highest-paid centers.

Patriots, Gronk Restructure Contract

Rob Gronkowski has a new deal. Gronk’s new deal will give him chance to boost this year’s salary from $5.25MM to $10.75MM, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Facebook link). If he’s able to reach the maximum value of the deal for 2017, he could wind up as the league’s highest-paid tight end. Here are the complete details:Rob Gronkowski (vertical)

  • Gronk can max out at $10.75MM if he sees either 90% play time or hits 80 catches or 1,200‪ receiving yards or earns an All-Pro nomination.
  • He can make $8.75MM if he hits 80% play time or 70 catches or 1,000 receiving yards or 12 touchdowns.
  • His salary will reach $6.75MM if he achieves 70% play time or 60 receptions or 800 receiving yards or ten touchdowns.

In terms of playing time, the top tier of this reworked contract might be tough to achieve. Gronk reached 84.2% in 2015, but he came in at just 31.5% last year and 70.3% in 2014. He also has not eclipsed 1,200 receiving yards since 2011. Still, Gronk has three First-Team All-Pro nominations to his credit including the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In that 2014 season, he had 82 receptions, so an 80+ catch total is not out of the realm of possibility. Even with the addition of Brandin Cooks, Gronk figures to be a focal point in the Pats’ offense.

Gronkowski has pushed for a new contract in the past but was never able to get a bump on the six-year, $54MM extension he signed with the team in the summer of 2012. The Patriots didn’t exactly rip up the remaining three years on his pact, but they did tack on some bonuses in a year where he has a tidy $6.75MM cap number.

Gronk’s deal calls for an $11MM cap number in 2018 and a $12MM figure in 2019. However, much of that money is non-guaranteed. If Gronk were to suffer another serious injury and the Pats wanted to release him next offseason, they’d only be on the hook for $4MM while saving $7MM against the 2018 cap. Prior to the 2019 season, the breakdown shifts to $2MM of dead money versus $10MM in savings. Ideally, Gronk probably would have liked more long-term security, but today’s restructuring is a compromise that keeps both sides happy.

Gronkowski is represented by Drew Rosenhaus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/22/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Former Chargers sixth-round pick Tourek Williams signed with the Chiefs, who cut Victor Ochi in a Monday exchange of linebackers. Williams is entering his fifth season after playing four with the Chargers. Williams started in six games as a rookie and played in 16 during the 2014 and ’16 campaigns. He saw a broken foot end his 2015 slate after three games.
  • The Saints signed tackle Bryce Harris and waived defensive back Forrest Hightower. Harris played three seasons, 2012-14, with the Saints before bouncing around the league. He failed to make New Orleans’ 53-man roster out of training camp in 2015 but returns nearly two years later. The former UDFA out of Fresno State has four career starts on his resume, each with New Orleans.
  • The Rams signed defensive tackles Omarius Bryant and A.J. Jefferson while waiving offensive lineman Kwayde Miller. Meanwhile, defensive back Dravious Wright left the team. Wright caught on with the Rams as a UDFA last month. Jefferson is a UDFA out of Mississippi State. The Ravens cut Bryant, who played at Western Kentucky.
  • The Patriots re-signed wide receiver DeAndrew White, who spent the 2016 season on the team’s practice squad. White was originally a 49ers UDFA addition in 2015. He saw action in four games with San Francisco that season as a return man.

Pats Beat Writers On Tom Brady's Alleged Concussions

Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com says Tom Brady will have to address his wife’s recent comments about his alleged concussions at some point soon. It appears that, if Brady has suffered concussions, he never told the Patriots, so the club will not face discipline for failing to note his concussions on injury reports. Interestingly, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, recently said that Brady “was not diagnosed” with a concussion last year, which is quite different than saying he did not actually suffer one.

Browns Claim Chris Barker From Patriots

  • The Browns have claimed offensive lineman Chris Barker off waivers from the Patriots and waived defensive lineman Gabe Wright. Barker, whom the Patriots cut Thursday, appeared in six of their games from 2013-15. Wright, a fourth-round pick of the Lions in 2015, was in and out of the Cleveland organization last year after joining its practice squad in early September. He ultimately suited up for five of the Browns’ games and picked up four tackles.