Byron Cowart

AFC East Notes: Watson, White, Pats

The much-discussed Deshaun Watson trade between the Dolphins and Texans never came to fruition, in part because Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted Watson to settle the 22 civil suits that have been brought against him. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes, Ross also wanted to speak with Watson directly and requested permission to do so, but because there was no chance that Watson’s legal situation would be resolved by the November 2 trade deadline, there was no point in having a conversation just yet.

However, if Houston and Miami reopen talks this offseason, it seems that a sit-down between Ross and Watson will be necessary before a deal can be struck.

Now for more from the AFC East, starting with another item out of South Beach:

  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wonders if the Dolphins will consider parting ways with WR DeVante Parker this offseason. Though Parker has been effective when he has been on the field in 2021, he is now on IR and has played in just five games this year. Plus, the ‘Fins could save $6.2MM by making him a post-June 1 cut, though that would leave the club with even more work to do to address the receiving corps, as Will Fuller and Albert Wilson are not expected to be back. Jackson does believe Mack Hollins will be retained.
  • Jets QB Mike White, who led the club to a surprising win over the Bengals in Week 8 and who was playing well in New York’s Week 9 loss to the Colts before he was forced out with an early injury, is hugely popular in the Gang Green locker room, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. White’s journey and attitude have earned the respect of his teammates and have energized the building, and as Cimini writes in a separate piece, the 2018 fifth-rounder may have already made himself a nice chunk of change. He is playing the 2021 season on a one-year, $850K contract, but he will become a restricted free agent at season’s end. He should at least be in line for an original-round tender of $2.4MM, and he could force the Jets to tender him at the second-round level, which would net him $3.9MM.
  • It certainly didn’t create many headlines, but the Patriots plucked LB Calvin Munson off the Dolphins‘ practice squad several weeks ago. The 26-year-old has only seen action on special teams with his new club, but New England clearly thinks highly of him. Per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, the Pats gave Munson a contract that runs though 2022 and that included a bit of a pay bump. A number of the Patriots’ off-ball linebackers are slated for free agency at the end of the year, so Munson could have a shot at more significant playing time next season.
  • Patriots DL Byron Cowart opened the season on the reserve/PUP list. Though he returned to practice in October, the 21-day window for activating him off the PUP list has expired, as veteran NFL writer Aaron Wilson tweets. As such, Cowart, who started 14 games last year, will be forced to miss the entire 2021 campaign.

Patriots Reduce Roster To 53

The Patriots made headlines earlier today when they cut quarterback Cam Newton, a move that made rookie Mac Jones the starter. The team has since reduced their roster to 53 players, and we’ve detailed each of the moves (including those previously reported) below:

Released

Waived

Placed on Reserve/PUP list

Placed on Reserve/NFI list

Placed on Injured Reserve

The Patriots veterans are most notable, but the organization also waived a pair of 2021 draft picks. Sherman was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado who appeared in 30 games during his collegiate career. Nixon was a seventh-round pick; the wideout split his collegiate career between Ole Miss and Central Florida, earning All-AAC honors in 2019.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/21/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Matt Pryor

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/12/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Patriots, Titans Close Facilities Again; Pats-Broncos Rescheduled

12:17pm: We have an update on Cam Newton to pass along. According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Newton has yet to return the two consecutive negative tests required to return to action (video link). But now that the Pats’ game against the Broncos has been pushed to next week, he will have more time to get right.

10:37am: Assuming the Titans are able to play on Tuesday, the Broncos and Patriots will indeed play each other next Sunday, as Schefter tweets. The Broncos and Chargers will then play each other in Week 8, which was supposed to be when Denver had its bye, and the Dolphins will now play the Broncos in Week 11. However, the Jaguars have now been impacted by this mess, as they were supposed to play the Broncos in Week 8. So there is still more rearranging to be done.

08:35am: The Patriots had one new positive COVID-19 test this morning, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). It was a player who tested positive, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says that player was starting DT Byron Cowart. The team’s facility has been shut down again, more testing is being done, and Cowart will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list today.

Meanwhile, the Titans released a statement indicating that a coach tested positive. Their facility has been shut down as well, but as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports, that coach hasn’t been in the building for nearly two weeks (video link). As such, his positive test might be unrelated to the outbreak that has plagued the team, and contact tracing is being done as we speak.

New England and Tennessee just returned to their facilities yesterday after two consecutive days of negative tests. The Pats’ game against the Broncos this week had been pushed to Monday, and the Titans’ contest against the Bills was rescheduled for Tuesday, but now the Broncos-Patriots matchup has been moved to next Sunday (Twitter link via Schefter). New England and Denver will have their byes this week, and the league will need to reschedule the Broncos-Dolphins game that was originally slated for next week.

We heard several days ago that new positive tests were expected on the Patriots and Titans given the results of contact tracing on both clubs. The league was clear that additional positives would not necessarily mean the cancellation of games, and initial reports this morning indicated that the NFL still planned to move forward with Broncos-Pats tomorrow (Twitter link via Schefter).

However, a decision needed to be made quickly given that the Broncos were scheduled to make a cross-country flight to Foxborough today. Plus, Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston says the Pats were not going to let the league compel them to play, and that if players and coaches are uncomfortable, they will not play (Twitter link).

Given the on-going contact tracing taking place within the Tennessee organization, there is not yet an official word from the league as to the Titans-Bills game. Since the Titans have already lost their bye week, the NFL will presumably want to move forward with that contest. Even if that happens, though, it seems that a Week 18 for rescheduled games around the league is becoming more and more realistic.

As always, we will keep you updated as soon as we have more to pass along.

Patriots Sign Three Draft Picks

The Patriots have signed three members of their 2019 draft class: second-round cornerback Joejuan Williams (Twitter link via Doug Kyed of NESN), third-round offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle), and fifth-round defensive tackle Byron Cowart (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of The Athletic). has signed his rookie contract with the Patriots, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link).

Williams is an exceptionally tall at 6’4″, and there’s at least some question as to how he’ll be deployed in New England. Over the past decade, only one cornerback — Brandon Browner — has started an NFL game at a height of 6’4″ or taller. Browner, of course, spent the 2014 campaign with the Patriots, leading to speculation that Williams could be used in a similar fashion.

Lance Zierlien of NFL.com praised Williams’ size in a pre-draft profile, but noted the Vanderbilt product’s lack of speed and ball skills. For now, Williams is behind Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, and J.C. Jackson on the Patriots’ secondary depth chart.

Cajuste isn’t likely to see much action during his rookie campaign given that the Patriots are set at tackle with Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon, but the West Virginia product couldn’t have asked for a better developmental destination than New England, where he’ll get to work under revered offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

Vikings Deal No. 159 To Patriots

After moving down four times late Friday night, the Vikings did so again in Round 5. The Patriots climbed up three spots, acquiring the No. 159 pick from the Vikings.

Minnesota’s next pick window will open at No. 162, and New England will send a seventh-rounder (No. 239) to the NFC North team. With the pick, the Patriots took Maryland defensive tackle Byron Cowart.

Cowart joins fellow former Big Ten defensive lineman Chase Winovich as front-seven players headed to New England. Cowart only played one season at Maryland, doing so after transferring from Auburn. He finished his college career with just three sacks, all three coming with the Terrapins last season.