Jakobi Meyers

Patriots LS Joe Cardona Done For Year

One of New England’s longest-tenured players is done for the season. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports (via Twitter) that long snapper Joe Cardona has a torn tendon in his foot and won’t play again this season.

The 30-year-old suffered a partial tear in his foot earlier this month, but he still managed to play through the injury in Week 15. It’s uncertain if Cardona made the injury worse by playing, but either way, he won’t be back on the field until the 2023 campaign. Reiss notes that the veteran is expected to be fully recovered by the spring.

Cardona made a name for himself when he became the fourth long snapper in NFL history to be drafted, with the Patriots selecting the Navy product in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Cardona hasn’t missed a game since joining the organization, appearing in all of New England’s 127 regular season games and 13 playoff games over that stretch. During his time with New England, Cardona has earned a pair of Super Bowl rings. He was also named to the organization’s ‘All-Dynasty Team’ in 2020. Cardona inked a four-year extension with the Patriots in 2018 that is set to expire following this season.

Elsewhere on the injury front, receiver DeVante Parker and cornerback Jalen Mills will both be out again for the Patriots this weekend when they take on the Bengals. Running back Damien Harris, cornerback Jack Jones, and receivers Tyquan Thornton and Jakobi Meyers are all questionable for this weekend.

AFC Injury Rumors: Pats, White, Wilson

The Patriots will be facing off against the Cardinals on Monday night without a few key pieces. The team’s official injury report lists wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, cornerback Jalen Mills, and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn as out for the game on Monday night.

Meyers is the team’s leading receiver. Despite trailing running back Rhamondre Stevenson for the team-lead in receptions, Meyers still leads the team in receiving yards, by a healthy margin, and receiving touchdowns with 593 yards and three scores. Without Meyers, quarterback Mac Jones will be throwing to DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and rookie second-round pick Tyquan Thornton, among a few others. This is the third game of the year that Meyers will miss.

Mills, one of New England’s starters at cornerback, will also be missing his third game of the season and his second consecutive game. When Mills was out last week, the Patriots used a combination of fourth-round rookie Jack Jones, third-round rookie Marcus Jones, and Myles Bryant to replace him. I imagine the same approach will be used tomorrow night to handle Cardinals receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, and A.J. Green, as Rondale Moore is also reportedly out for Week 14.

The absence of Wynn, a starting tackle, is troubling for the Patriots, as their other starting tackle Trent Brown and backup tackle Yodny Cajuste are both listed as questionable heading into the week. The only tackle on the depth chart with no injury designation is Conor McDermott. Backup linemen James Ferentz and undrafted rookie Kody Russey are also available and starting guard Michael Onwenu could potentially kick out to tackle in an emergency.

Here are a few more injury rumors from around the conference, all concerning signal-callers in the AFC:

  • The Ravens started third-year quarterback Tyler Huntley in place of an injured Lamar Jackson today against the Steelers. The team called up practice squad quarterback, and undrafted rookie, Anthony Brown as a standard gameday elevation in case of emergency, and emergency struck when Huntley left the game in concussion protocol after a brutal blow from Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Brown wasn’t asked to do much but held on to the Ravens lead in a 16-14 win over the team’s division rival. Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that Brown would be playing next Sunday against the Browns if Huntley is unavailable but seemed to think Huntley will be just fine, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “He seems good to me. He’s reciting the months of the year backwards,” Harbaugh quipped with reporters. “Can you do that right now?”
  • Jets quarterback Mike White took a pounding today during a loss to the Bills in which Buffalo’s defense racked up eight quarterback hits and four sacks. White left the game twice after receiving shots to the ribs. Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco entered in place of White, but, both times, White returned to play and eventually finished a close game in Buffalo. Head coach Robert Saleh informed reporters that White was headed to the hospital after the game for precautionary checks, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. A follow-up provided that White did rejoin the team in time for the flight home after finishing up at the hospital, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The quarterback situation next week will be something to keep an eye on. If starting quarterbacks Zach Wilson and White remain on the injury report, Flacco could earn his fourth start of the year and his first since September. Flacco would be set to face off against the Lions next week, a team he has never lost to in three matchups over 15 years in the league.
  • Another quarterback who took a beating today, Broncos signal-caller Russell Wilson was knocked out of today’s loss to the Chiefs with a concussion, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Wilson’s day was even more brutal than White’s as the Chiefs defense accounted for six sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Broncos third-year backup quarterback Brett Rypien would enter for Wilson and attempt to mount a comeback against the division rival Chiefs, falling just short when he was hit while throwing on the team’s final drive resulting in a duck of a pass that fluttered down into the waiting arms of Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Since the loss today officially eliminated the Broncos from postseason contention, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Denver give its quarterback a rest, not rushing Wilson back to play for little-to-no reason. Wilson may be eager to return, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Rypien took the team the rest of the way.

WR Injury Notes: Meyers, Toney, Cardinals

The Patriots were a talking point in some circles after their Thursday night loss to the Bills. Their passing attack in particular came under fire, but a turnaround this week against Arizona will have to come without their leading receiver.

New England has ruled out Jakobi Meyers for their upcoming Monday night game as a result of a concussion. The news comes as little surprise, given the fact that the 26-year-old was unable to practice throughout the week as a result of the injury. His absence will be felt by the Patriots, given his team-leading 593 receiving yards this season, to go along with three touchdowns.

Overall, New England ranks 20th in the league with an average of 232 yards per game through the air. The WR position has not been dominant in that production, though, with running back Rhamondre Stevenson and tight end Hunter Henry ranking third and fourth, respectively, in receiving yards on the team. Nevertheless, plenty of snaps and targets will be available for the likes of Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton as complementary pass-catchers to DeVante Partker.

Here are some other wideout-related injury notes heading into the remaining Week 14 contests:

  • The Chiefs were hoping to get Kadarius Toney back in time for this week after he logged three straight limited practices, but the midseason trade acquisition will miss at least one more contest due to his lingering hamstring issue. The former Giants first-rounder showed plenty of potential in his second game in Kansas City (four catches for 57 yards and one touchdown), but he will now be sidelined for his third consecutive game. With Mecole Hardman still on IR, the NFC West leaders will again be relatively shorthanded at the position.
  • The Cardinals will also be undermanned with respect to their pass-catchers when they play on Monday night. Rondale Moore has been ruled out with a groin injury. The 2021 second-rounder missed Week 12, and was unable to sufficiently heal during the team’s bye week. The news extends the injury issues which have plagued the Purdue alum dating back to his time in college, and will leave Arizona without their slot starter. In more positive news, DeAndre Hopkins will be available for the Cardinals when they look to find consistency on offense and avoid a three-game losing streak.

Patriots Receiving Calls On RB Damien Harris, S Jabrill Peppers

With a 3-4 record and coming off an embarrassing Monday Night Football loss, it’s been speculated that the Patriots could start selling. While we’ve previously heard that receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are on the block, it sounds like rival teams are sniffing around at some other players in New England.

According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus (on Twitter), the Patriots have received calls on running back Damien Harris and safety Jabrill Peppers. However, the reporter is quick to clarify that the Patriots are not actively shopping the two players. Kyed also passes along that the team has also received calls on receivers Jakobi Meyers and DeVante Parker.

Harris is set to hit free agency following the season. The former third-round pick had a standout season in 2021, finishing with 15 rushing touchdowns. He had 246 yards and three touchdowns through his first four games this season, but a hamstring injury forced him to miss most of Week 5 and all of Week 6. He returned on Monday night but was limited to only three carries. Over that same three-game span, Rhamondre Stevenson had collected 364 yards from scrimmage, so there’s a chance the Patriots are ready to give the second-year pro the full-time gig.

After being limited to only six games last year, Peppers joined the Patriots on a one-year deal. He’s started one of his seven appearances this season, collecting 20 tackles. He’s seen an inconsistent role in New England, with only two of his contests featuring him in more than 40 percent of New England’s defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus has been fond of his limited role, ranking him 29th among 87 qualifying safeties.

The Patriots have a crowded receivers depth chart, so it’s no surprise that Meyers and Parker are now being included in the rumor mill. Meyers had a career year in 2021 with Mac Jones, and despite shaky QB play this year, he’s continued to be New England’s most consistent WR. In five games, Meyers has hauled in 26 receptions for 355 yards and two scores. After being acquired from the Dolphins this past offseason, Parker has topped 60 yards in three games (including an 156-yard outburst in Week 3) but couldn’t hit 25 yards in his other three appearances (including a pair of shutouts).

AFC East Notes: Bills, White, Moss, Patriots, Jets

The Bills are hoping Tre’Davious White can avoid a stint on the PUP list to begin the regular season. While speaking to reporters, GM Brandon Beane said the team is going to “run out the clock” when it comes to White’s roster spot in the hope that he’ll progress over the next week.

“We don’t have the final answer,” Beane said (via Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic on Twitter). “I can’t sit here and say, ‘He’s going to be here on this day.'”

The cornerback tore his ACL last November, and while reports have indicated that he’s progressing well in his return to the field, it’s still uncertain if he’ll be ready to go for Week 1. White landed on the PUP to start training camp, but the team will have to make an important decision on him as they reduce their roster to 53 players. If White is placed on PUP to begin the regular season, he’ll miss Buffalo’s first four games.

The former first-round pick has spent his entire career with the Bills, earning All-Pro nods in both 2019 and 2020. In 11 games last season, White collected 41 tackles, six passes defended, and one interception.

More notes out of the AFC East…

  • To enter Bills camp, there was an expectation that free agent acquisition Jamison Crowder would battle with holdover Isaiah McKenzie for the starting slot receiver role. As Buscaglia writes, the team has given every indication that McKenzie has won that position battle, and Crowder’s training camp struggles may have put him on the roster bubble. Despite his assessment, Buscaglia later opined that the veteran’s experience will ultimately earn him a spot on the 53-man roster.
  • Elsewhere on offense, it sounds like the Bills are ready to roll with a RB committee. Buscaglia writes that both Devin Singletary and rookie James Cook could end up seeing extensive work outside of the red zone, while Zack Moss is expected to serve as the team’s goal-line running back. Moss has gotten an extensive look during the preseason, and while the writer hints that the coaching staff could be showcasing him for a trade, he also acknowledged that the team has been happy with the RB’s performance during training camp and preseason.
  • Before rookie wideout Tyquan Thornton went down with a shoulder injury, the Patriots were fielding offers on their receivers, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. However, it now “seems unlikely” that the Patriots would subtract from the grouping of Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Nelson Agholor. Meanwhile, the trio of Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Kristian Wilkerson, and Tre Nixon are competing for limited roster spots, while Ty Montgomery‘s best chance of making the roster may be as a running back.
  • While cornerback Sauce Gardner and wideout Garrett Wilson are expected to play important roles for the Jets next season, their other first-round pick may see more of a complementary role. Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes that Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, and John Franklin-Myers are expected to start along the defensive line, meaning Jermaine Johnson will have to compete with Jacob Martin for the role of “situational rusher.” “However I can help the team win is honestly how I look at it,” Johnson said. “I practice like I’m a [undrafted] free agent anyway, so I don’t really care. It’s like I’m fighting for my life. That’s how I am, what I believe and how I practice — and it just lines up perfectly with what Coach Saleh is all about: Practicing hard, balls to the wall, giving 110 percent not only for yourself but for the team.”

Patriots, Jakobi Meyers Discussing Deal; WR Signs RFA Tender

Jakobi Meyers made his desire for a Patriots extension public recently. That prospect is in play for the Patriots, whom Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports are in discussions with Meyers about a new deal (Twitter link).

The former undrafted free agent also signed his second-round RFA tender Monday. Like Packers tendered wideout Allen Lazard, this locks Meyers in for a $3.99MM salary. This week represents the deadline for RFAs to sign their tenders. Had Meyers not done so by Wednesday, the Patriots could have scrapped the near-$4MM payment and paid him 120% of his 2021 salary ($850K).

Arriving during a tumultuous year for the Patriots’ wide receiver position — a 2019 campaign in which Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown and Mohamed Sanu passed through — Meyers has been the team’s most consistent presence at the position over the past three years. Last season proved to be the North Carolina State product’s best work. He caught 83 passes for 866 yards and finally scored his first NFL touchdown, adding a second TD for good measure.

It famously took Meyers 39 games to log his first NFL touchdown, but despite the Patriots signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne during their busy 2021 offseason, the 200-pound target led last year’s team in receiving. The 2022 campaign stands to set up Meyers with an opportunity to drive up his 2023 free agency price — if, in fact, he plays this season on the RFA tender.

The Patriots’ lofty Agholor contract comes off the books after this season, while Bourne — New England’s second-leaving 2021 pass catcher — is signed through 2023. The team also drafted Tyquan Thornton and traded for DeVante Parker, providing more competition than they had in recent seasons. Parker is also signed through 2023. Mac Jones‘ rookie salary opens the door for more Pats flexibility here, but as of now, Meyers is set for a pivotal contract year.

Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers Seeking Long-Term Deal

The Patriots have lacked consistent production from their wide receivers in recent years. They seem to have found a significant contributor in the form of Jakobi Meyers, though. If he has his way, the former UDFA will remain in New England for the foreseeable future. 

Meyers has been with team at OTAs, despite not being under contract, notes Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. The chief reason, he details, is Meyers’ desire to sign a long-term deal after three seasons with the team. The 25-year-old put up modest numbers as a rookie, but has established himself as a key pass catcher since.

Starting nine contests in 2020, the North Carolina State alum took a major step forward in terms of receptions and yardage. Last season, he led the team in catches (83) and yards (866), finding the endzone for the first two times in his career. To little surprise, the Patriots responded by tendering him at the second-round level. That would give Meyers a one-year contract valued at $3.986MM.

He has yet to sign that tender, however, aiming for a long-term pact. Negotiations on a new deal would be complicated by the expected uptick in the team’s WR corps — which has seen the trade acquisition of DeVante Parker and the addition of Tyquan Thornton in the draft this offseason — and the limited finances New England has to work with. The Patriots currently rank last in the league in cap space, and have yet to sign first-rounder Cole Strange to his rookie contract.

Callahan notes that many key Patriots extensions have taken until August to be finalized. That, coupled with the financial maneuvering the team would need to make to accommodate even his one-year tender, could leave Meyers waiting until after training camp to have a contract in place. At this point, at least, he is remaining optimistic about his future.

“Who wouldn’t, honestly?” he said, when asked about wanting to sign long-term in New England. “It’s a great place to be… It’s just been great to be around those guys. It’s a great city to be in. I’m happy here.”

Patriots Tender Jakobi Meyers

The Patriots will use the second-round restricted free agent tender on wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, agent Drew Rosenhaus tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). In a related move, they’ve elected not to tender fullback Jakob Johnson

[RELATED: Teams Showing Interest In Patriots’ Harry]

Per the terms of this year’s second-round tender, Meyers will be retained on a one-year, $3.986MM deal. However, if another team pries him away, the Patriots will receive a second-round pick in exchange.

Johnson, meanwhile, could have been cuffed at the lowest-level RFA tender, which would have paid him $2.433MM. It’s still possible that he could return to the Patriots, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) hears, though it’d be a lower salary.

Meyers began his career at North Carolina State as a quarterback, before moving to wide receiver as a sophomore. In his third year on campus, he put himself on the NFL radar with 63 grabs for 727 yards and four touchdowns. He followed that up with 92/1,047/5, but still went undrafted.

The Pats saw something in him, however, and he’s blossomed into one of their best offensive weapons. Last year, Meyers set new pro watermarks with 83 catches for 866 yards and two touchdowns.

Latest On Patriots’ Offseason Priorities

The post-Tom Brady era in New England has seen plenty of change both in terms of players and coaching personnel. As ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes, the Patriots have a number of important decisions to make on their roster, leaving them with a relatively clearly-defined list of positional priorities. 

Reiss lists inside linebacker, cornerback and wide receiver – in that order – as the three positions that should be the primary focus this offseason. The incumbent starters at the first on that list, Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley, are pending free agents, while Raekwon McMillan is coming off of a torn ACL. The position is the one on defense where the overall need to get younger and faster is perhaps the greatest, so youth could very well be preferred to experience there.

The same could hold true at cornerback, where the team likely faces its most important decision. J.C. Jackson is a pending free agent, and could be in line for a large payday. In the last two seasons, the 26-year-old has totalled 17 interceptions and 37 pass breakups. In coverage, he hasn’t allowed a completion percentage above 59% or a passer rating over 66.5 in his four years with New England. His play after Stephon Gilmore was traded to Carolina proved his value to the Patriots, or any number of free agent suitors.

The Patriots may be well positioned to replace the Pro Bowler, or add some vital depth behind him if he is retained, via the draft. As Reiss notes, cornerback is considered one of the strongest positions in this year’s class, so an impactful addition could be made in April. The team will likely be looking to do the same with their wide receivers.

The signings of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne have added experience and depth to the Patriots’ pass-catching core, but, as Reiss writes, the addition of a true No. 1 “would be ideal”. New England was reportedly close to signing Odell Beckham Jr. before he ultimately went to L.A.; adding someone of his caliber, along with increased production from 2021 free agent signing tight end Jonnu Smith would go a long way in quarterback Mac Jones‘ development. Pending restricted free agent Jakobi Meyers, meanwhile, is likely to receive an extension, or at least a second-round tender, according to Reiss.

With plenty of questions surrounding the team’s coaching staff – and, to a lesser extent, the front office – the moves New England makes with their free agents will dictate much of their success in attempting to return to Super Bowl contention.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, McCourty, Dolphins

Ben Watson is now in his second stint with the Patriots, and the veteran tight end acknowledged that he has a greater respect for coach Bill Belichick than he did during his first go-around.

“I definitely have a different appreciation for him than I had 15 years ago,” Watson told SiriusXM Radio (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “There are many ways he hasn’t changed. Sitting in the team meeting room, he says a lot of the same things, because they are still true. Being much older than I was before, I’m able to appreciate that a lot more — a lot of the coaching, and embrace it in a way I wasn’t before. I can also see him separate from the coach, he does enjoy himself, he does smile, he does do all those things as a young player you thought he never did.”

The 2004 first-round pick spent the first six seasons of his career with New England, and he came out of retirement to (partly) replace the offensive production of Rob Gronkowski. Watson will sit out the first four games of the upcoming season after failing a drug test.

Let’s check out some more notes out of the AFC East…

  • The Patriots have had an undrafted rookie make their 53-man roster for 15 straight years, and Reiss writes that NC State wideout Jakobi Meyers is the leading candidate to earn a spot this year. The six-foot-two wideout was seen practicing with the first team all week, and the Patriots’ depth chart is currently struggling with Julian Edelman sitting out. Meyers hauled in 92 receptions for NC State last season, breaking Torry Holt‘s school record.
  • Safety Devin McCourty is about to start his 10th NFL season, but the Patriots veteran hasn’t thought about when he’s going to hang up his cleats. “I’ve been having a lot of fun this year,” McCourty told Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “I haven’t thought about next year or anything else. I’m just trying to see how much better I can get in year 10 and see how good I can be still at, in a couple weeks, (when I turn) 32 years old and still playing football and trying to embrace that.”
  • The Dolphins defense should look a whole lot different next season, and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that much of that can be attributed to the defensive-minded Brian Flores. The team’s new head coach is planning on having several different looks (or “groups,” as Flores calls them) on defense, including 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, and something else altogether different. “It really comes back to trying to put the right personnel groupings out there to match up with what the offense is doing and try to maximize the skill set of our players,” explained defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. “If it’s five or 10 safeties, then that’s what it is.”
  • Defensive lineman Tank Carradine is a fan of the defensive scheme, noting that it could help him become a three-down player. “There are different schemes that we run, and I have to be able to set the edge, play inside,” Carradine said. “They’re trying to move me all over the field. That’s something that I like. It’s giving me a chance to play different positions and be all out there and be an every-down player.”