New England Patriots Rumors & News

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. The Pats already have wide receivers Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Devin Street, 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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Tom Brady Has Dealt With Concussions?

In an interview Wednesday with Charlie Rose of CBS, Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said that the five-time Super Bowl winner “had a concussion last year” and “has concussions” that they don’t talk about (Twitter link). If Brady actually has dealt with head injuries and the Patriots have been aware of them, they could face discipline from the NFL. After all, the Pats have never listed Brady’s alleged concussions on the injury report. For its part, the league issued a statement Wednesday (via Doug Kyed of NESN) indicating that it’s now looking into the matter, saying: “There are no records that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms. Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

Pats, Jason McCourty Had “Mutual Interest”

After the Titans released cornerback Jason McCourty in mid-April, speculation abounded that he’d join twin brother and Patriots safety Devin McCourty in New England. Instead, Jason McCourty ultimately inked a deal Tuesday with the Browns. However, it seems the Patriots at least kicked the tires on signing McCourty.

Jason McCourty (Vertical)

“I think there was definitely mutual interest, but to be honest, the Patriots are kind of set at cornerback,” McCourty told NFL Network on Thursday (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “They have a lot of talent in that room. There really wasn’t room for me. Me and Dev talked about that and that’s just the way of the league. I’m excited about the opportunity I have in Cleveland to work with those guys.”

It’s unclear when the Pats showed interest in the 29-year-old McCourty, though they may have viewed him as a fallback option in the event of a Malcolm Butler trade. It appeared earlier this offseason that New England would send Butler to the Saints for draft-pick compensation, potentially the 32nd overall choice, but that never came to fruition. And with Butler still around to serve as one of the Patriots’ top corners, joining big-money offseason signing Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe, there wasn’t a clear fit for McCourty.

While playing with Devin McCourty would’ve been a “dream come true,” Jason McCourty instead looks primed to team with Joe Haden as one of the Browns’ starting corners in 2017. Since signing with the Browns, though, McCourty has indicated that he’d be willing to play free safety (via Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com). Cleveland’s penciled-in No. 1 option there is Ed Reynolds, who started in seven of 10 appearances last season and ranked a respectable 45th among Pro Football Focus’ 90 qualified safeties.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Sign Fourth-Round DL Deatrich Wise

  • The Patriots have signed former Arkansas defensive lineman Deatrich Wise, a fourth-rounder who was the 131st overall selection. Wise underwhelmed as a senior with the Razorbacks last season, when he posted 3.5 sacks after totaling eight in 2015, notes Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. However, the 6-5, 274-pounder possesses “rare physical attributes,” Zierlein writes.

Patriots Waive One, Sign Two

  • The Patriots have waived guard Chris Barker and signed a pair of players – offensive lineman James Ferentz and undrafted free agent tight end Sam Cotton – Mike Reiss of ESPN.com was among those to report (on Twitter). Barker appeared in six games with the Pats from 2013-15. Ferentz, the son of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz (a friend and former colleague of Bill Belichick‘s), played his college ball with the Hawkeyes and then went undrafted in 2014. He appeared in 20 games, including seven last season, with the Broncos from 2015-16. Cotton, meanwhile, attended Nebraska and posted modest numbers there over the previous four years, catching 17 passes and three touchdowns.