Phillip Dorsett

Contract Details: Nsekhe, Anderson, Dorsett

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts:

Patriots To Re-Sign WR Phillip Dorsett

Phillip Dorsett is heading back to the Patriots. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the receiver is returning to New England on a one-year deal. The reporter describes it as “prove-it” deal before Dorsett returns to free agency next offseason.

Back in 2017, the Patriots acquired Dorsett from the Colts in exchange for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. His first season was a bit of a dud, but Dorsett emerged in 2018.

While his role was reduced following the return of Julian Edelman and the acquisition of Josh Gordon, Dorsett still finished the campaign with 32 receptions for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Dorsett also came up big during the Patriots’ Super Bowl run, hauling in five receptions for 70 yards and two scores in three games.

As it stands right now, Dorsett may have an opportunity to play an even bigger role in 2019. The Patriots current receivers depth chart essentially consists of Edelman, although the organization has reportedly been hunting for wideouts. Even if Chris Hogan re-signs or Gordon is given the chance to return, Dorsett should still have an opportunity for plenty of targets next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Interested In Amendola Reunion?

Danny Amendola‘s Dolphins tenure lasted one season, and a report indicated the veteran wide receiver was interested in rejoining the Patriots. It appears the defending Super Bowl champions are open to that.

The Patriots have interest in bringing Amendola back, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (on Twitter).

New England’s wideout situation features extensive uncertainty. Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett are free agents, and Josh Gordon — an RFA, were he to be reinstated again — cannot be counted on to come back at this point. Julian Edelman delivered another productive season, culminating in a dominant playoff stretch, but will be 33 next season.

The Patriots would be interested in a Dorsett return, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, but the team does not appear to be eyeing a bigger role for the former first-round pick. Should another team view Dorsett in a better light, Reiss expects the four-year veteran to leave New England.

Amendola will turn 34 this year and was not especially consistent for the Patriots. But he came up big in some key moments, including in his final playoff run with the Pats.

Last season, Amendola caught 59 passes for 575 yards and one touchdown. The Dolphins gave him a two-year, $12MM deal, which they scrubbed from their books earlier this week. Another Patriots contract would not be for that much, but given Amendola’s experience with the team, it would be logical the Pats could pursue him to fill in as an auxiliary weapon on a lower-end deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions To Josh Gordon Suspension

With news of yet another suspension sidelining Josh Gordon, the mercurial wide receiver’s on-field work with the Patriots likely will end up concluding with the team’s Week 15 loss to the Steelers. Here are some reactions to the news of Gordon’s ban.

  • The Patriots’ decision to trade for him as a possible quick-fix option was naive, NBC Sports’ Peter King said during a WEEI radio interview (via NESN.com). Citing the Patriots’ failure to properly address their skill positions this offseason, King scrutinizes the organization for bringing in a player with Gordon’s immense baggage — and doing so just after yet another incident in Cleveland prompted the Browns to engage in serious trade talks. New England traded Brandin Cooks and cut a slew of wideouts — Kenny Britt, Malcolm Mitchell, Eric Decker and Jordan Matthews — before acquiring Gordon. Although Gordon’s 720 yards are the second-most in NFL history by a wideout playing on a different team than he did when a season started, behind only Wes Chandler‘s 857 for the 1981 Chargers, the Pats are again shorthanded at wideout.
  • New England’s attempt to acquire Demaryius Thomas from the Broncos stemmed from its concern about Gordon, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required). The Patriots also protected seldom-used wideout Phillip Dorsett before the deadline, with Howe noting the team rebuffed at least one trade inquiry regarding the former first-round pick. Minimized by Gordon’s arrival, Dorsett has not caught a pass since Week 12. He’ll surely be called upon more now.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson has repeatedly failed to live up to expectations that come with being a first-round wideout, despite his immense talent as a kick returner, and Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston notes the Patriots have been hesitant to put too much on Patterson’s plate as a receiver. But they now may have to turn to him more in that area, Curran adds. New England still has Dorsett and Chris Hogan as Julian Edelman complements, but with Edelman and Rob Gronkowski not quite on their former levels, Gordon’s exit will damage the Patriots’ passing game. Patterson has 20 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns as a Patriot.

Texans Inquire On Patriots’ Phillip Dorsett

The Texans might not be done shopping for wide receivers. The Texans have called about Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Broncos Trade Demaryius Thomas To Texans]

Time is ticking on the trade deadline clock, and Howe hears that there hasn’t been much progress on the Dorsett trade front. But, as we saw last year, teams are often willing to up the ante as the 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline approaches.

The Texans acquired Demaryius Thomas from the Broncos on Tuesday, giving them an experienced receiver to carry the load in the wake of Will Fuller‘s season-ending injury. That deal alone could be a big difference maker for Houston, but the Texans are unwilling to take chances after injuries ruined their playoff aspirations last year.

Dorsett, 25, has just 20 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns this season. The Patriots are on the lookout for wide receiver help themselves, and they could free up a roster spot for a new pass catcher by dealing the Miami product.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Kraft, Kaepernick, Brady, Gronk

Add Robert Kraft to the list of executives and coaches who have been deposed in the collusion grievance filed by Colin Kaepernick. TMZ reports that the Patriots owner gave his deposition to lawyers yesterday. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were deposed earlier this week, as was Broncos general manager John Elway.

We learned back in October that Kaepernick had planned a grievance against the NFL, claiming that teams conspired to keep him out of the league. The whole situation stems from the quarterback’s decision to kneel during the national anthem back in 2016. A five-year starter in San Francisco, the 30-year-old was unable to find a gig during the 2017 campaign.

While the Broncos and Seahawks had been connected to Kaepernick, the Patriots never showed any reported interest in the embattled quarterback. Of course, Kraft has enough clout around the NFL, so he could provide lawyers with valuable information. While Kaepernick was present for previous depositions, it’s uncertain whether he attend Kraft’s.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of New England…

  • Tom Brady has yet to attend the team’s voluntary OTAs, and ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes that his absence shouldn’t be cause for concern. Former Patriots players Matt Chatham and Rob Ninkovich said Brady’s decision to spend time with his family “isn’t a big deal,” although it might be notable if the quarterback misses the “third phase” of the workouts. As Reiss writes, this is the point of OTAs that Brady generally builds a rapport with his new wideouts. With three new receivers on the roster (including Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, and rookie Braxton Berrios), it might be telling if Brady also sits out this portion of OTAs.
  • The Patriots adjusted receiver Phillip Dorsett‘s contract earlier this week, but Reiss writes the move “shouldn’t have a trickle-down effect” on a Rob Gronkowski extension. The Patriots saved around $300K thanks to the new contract, and the renegotiation was more about Dorsett’s standing on the roster. The organization could have easily cut bait with the wideout, but the reduced salary means he can stick around and compete for a roster spot.
  • In case you missed it, the Patriots signed offensive lineman Jason King yesterday. This is the Purdue product’s third stint with the organization, and he was waived by New England only last week. To make room on the roster, the team waived wideout Chris Lacy. The Oklahoma State product had joined the team as an undrafted free agent earlier this month.

Patriots Adjust Phillip Dorsett’s Deal

The Patriots adjusted wide receiver Phillip Dorsett‘s contract in order to open up some cap space. Dorsett was supposed to collect a $450K roster bonus on the fifth day of training camp, but that was slashed to $150K, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. However, he can collect on the full $450 by achieving $100K in added per-game roster bonuses and $150K in reception incentives. 

It’s not clear how many receptions Dorsett will need in order to achieve that $150K bonus, but it may be challenging at any level. Currently, Dorsett profiles as the Patriots’ fifth wide receiver, behind Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, and Jordan Matthews. Cordarrelle Patterson is also in the mix and the Pats may use him as a wideout in addition to being a return specialist. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that Dorsett makes the roster with special teams ace Matt Slater, Malcolm Mitchell, and Braxton Berrios also under contract.

Dorsett is entering the final year of his deal with the Pats. His $1.1MM base salary is not guaranteed, so the Pats can cut him between now and September without penalty. The Pats could have extended his option through 2019 through the fifth-year option, but it was a no-brainer to decline given his lack of production thus far in the NFL.

Dorsett played sparingly in his first season with the Patriots and totaled just 194 receiving yards. His best season to date came in 2016 when he had 33 catches and 528 yards with two touchdowns for the Colts. Needless to say, the Colts were expecting more of him when taking him in the first round of the 2015 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Decline Options For Brown, Dorsett

The Patriots had to make the call on three players with fifth-year options for the 2019 season. They have declined all three of them. 

[RELATED: Patriots Decline Danny Shelton’s Option]

In addition to turning down the option for defensive tackle Danny Shelton, the Pats have also declined an extra season for defensive tackle Malcom Brown and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Turning down Dorsett was something of a no-brainer and Shelton was something of a 50/50 proposition, but the decision to decline Brown’s option comes as a surprise.

Brown, the final pick in the first round of the ’15 draft, would have earned $7.154MM had his option been exercised. The Patriots may look to hammer out an extension to keep him in the fold beyond 2018, but it would likely be at a lesser rate per season. The 24-year-old defensive tackle has started in 37 of his 45 games for the Pats over the last three seasons. In that time, he has managed 8.5 sacks from the interior. In each of the last two seasons, he graded out as a top-32 player at the defensive tackle position, per Pro Football Focus.

The Patriots are known for crafty cap maneuvering, so they could be eyeing cheaper replacements in 2019 for their young defensive tackles. They would also stand to gain compensatory picks by losing either player to free agency after the 2018 season.

The option on Dorsett, 25, would have cost New England nearly $9.4MM in 2019. After Dorsett played sparingly in 2017 and amassed just 194 receiving yards, the team gave no real thought to extending him through 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Foles, Giants, Breeland

The Eagles and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles just agreed to a reworked contract that gives Foles a $2MM raise for 2018, plus a whole host of incentives. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2019, though if Foles were to decline the option, he would have to give back the $2MM he just received.

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com examines why Philadelphia, which is tight against the cap this year and will be again in 2019, made the move. The reworked deal probably had little to nothing to do with the Eagles’ wanting to reward Foles for his postseason heroics, so Shorr-Parks speculates that Foles and his camp could have put some pressure on the team, and he also suggests the new contract may come with a lower cap hit.

The chances that the Eagles exercise the 2019 option are very slim, as Foles would be owed a $20MM salary under that scenario. But, if the two sides want to continue their relationship beyond 2018, this gesture will certainly buy the Eagles some goodwill when it comes time to negotiate again. It also guarantees that Philadelphia, which already had the best QB insurance policy in the game, will keep that policy perfectly content this season, and even if Carson Wentz cannot stay healthy, the team has given itself a chance to deploy a capable signal-caller for at least the next two years.

Now let’s take a quick swing around a few other east division clubs:

  • Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com says the Giants could look to trade offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the draft, though that will probably be a difficult trick to pull off. Raanan also says Big Blue has done a lot of pre-draft work on punters this year, and he believes the team could bring in a UDFA punter to compete with Riley Dixon. Dixon was recently acquired from Denver for a conditional seventh-round pick, so if he does not make the club, the Giants will likely not need to surrender the pick.
  • Former Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland was set to sign a three-year, $24MM pact with the Panthers last month, but Carolina scuttled the deal due to a “non-football incident” in which Breeland cut his foot. The foot became infected, and at the time, it was reported that Breeland was a few months away from being able to pass a physical. He will surely garner some interest this summer once he is healed, but JP Finlay of NBCSports.com says Washington is not expected to bring Breeland back into the fold. Indeed, Breeland himself indicated on Instagram that the Redskins never had interest in retaining his services.
  • The Patriots are in the unique position of having three fifth-year options to either exercise or decline before May 3, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the team will almost certainly exercise those options on defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown (at a little over $7MM apiece). However, the team is unsurprisingly not expected to exercise the $9.387MM option for receiver Phillip Dorsett.
  • The Cowboys are expected to exercise Byron Jones‘ fifth-year option.

Extra Points: Broncos, Ward, Dorsett

The Broncos did not discuss a pay cut with safety T.J. Ward before releasing him on Saturday, Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post tweets. “It was a football decision,” a team source tells her, adding that the motivation was to give more playing time to Justin Simmons and Will Parks. Meanwhile, Broncos players are upset about losing Ward and his locker room presence, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets.

While Ward searches for a new home, here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Colts had offers for Phillip Dorsett from other teams, but those proposed swaps involved draft choices instead of netting a young player at a positional need, Mike Lombardi of The Ringer tweets. Lombardi doesn’t name teams, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link) says the 49ers, Jets and Cardinals were among the teams that showed preliminary interest in him.
  • The Jets are expected to be interested in running back Travaris Cadet now that he has been released by New Orleans, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. The Jets showed interest in Cadet during free agency but ultimately lost out.
  • T.J. McDonald‘s new deal with the Dolphins has built in protections for the team that will override his guarantees if he has another suspension issue, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald tweets. The pact includes $10MM in “guarantees,” but McDonald can’t slip up if he wants to collect on all of it.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz says that he got a “clean bill of health” on his MRI this week, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. He’s now a free agent after being released by Chicago.
  • Chiefs GM Brett Veach says veteran running back C.J. Spiller could still end up on the Chiefs’ roster (Twitter link via BJ Kissel of Chiefs.com). Spiller was among the Chiefs’ mass cuts on Saturday as they trimmed down to 53.