Shea McClellin

Patriots Notes: Kraft, McClellin, Rowe

Back in January, an explosive piece from ESPN.com detailed a major rift within the Patriots organization. Since that time, there have been continued whispers about the tension in Foxborough, particularly between head coach Bill Belichick and franchise quarterback Tom Brady. Owner Robert Kraft has continually denied those rumors, and he did that once again on Friday. Appearing on CNBC, Kraft attributed the reports to “envy and jealousy.”

“We’ve been together 19 years, which is unheard of for a head coach, a quarterback and an ownership group,” Kraft said (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). “Thankfully, we have had a lot of success and whenever that happens you become a target. We understand that and there is always tensions and issues and different things you’ve got to deal with. That is part of the privilege of owning a team and being successful. I have a little saying that envy and jealously are incurable diseases. You’d rather be a recipient than a donor. That is what is going on now.”

A new book by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor has renewed interest in the dynamic between Belichick and Brady. In “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time,”O’Connor reports that Brady would “divorce” Belichick if he could, but feared alienating New England fans after the Patriots traded backup (and possible successor) Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers last season.

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

  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets that retired Patriots linebacker Shea McClellin filed for Injury Protection last night, which entitles him “to 50 percent of the base salary he was supposed to make this year.” Therefore, the team ended up losing another $1.075MM worth of cap space, dropping them down to $1.17MM of room. As Volin observes, it’s an interesting predicament for the Patriots, who haven’t been so close to the cap in at least a half decade. The team doesn’t have a whole lot of high-priced players, leading the reporter to wonder whether the issue is by design or due to “poor cap management.”
  • Eric Rowe returned to practice yesterday, but Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal points out that the cornerback was limited after having missed the past two sessions. It’s still no guarantee that the 25-year-old will end up playing this weekend, and he’s currently listed as questionable (along with 10 other teammates, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, offensive lineman Marcus Cannon, safety Patrick Chung, and defensive end Trey Flowers).
  • Despite adding Josh Gordon to the mix, the Patriots are still eyeing some reinforcement as wide receiver. Over the past week, the team has auditioned three wideouts: Breshad Perriman, Jeremy Kerley, and Dontrelle Inman.

Former Patriots/Bears LB Shea McClellin Leaning Towards Retirement

Former NFL linebacker Shea McClellin has accepted a high school coaching position in Idaho and is leaning towards retirement, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

“I’m still staying ready, still working out. I’ve learned to never say never, there’s always a chance that I could still play again, but for now all my focus is on coaching high school,” said McClellin, who didn’t appear in a game last season while spending the entire campaign on injured reserve.

“I was feeling good [in 2017], but unfortunately had more residual effects from concussions,” said McClellin. “It’s something they can’t clear you for. That’s the way it is nowadays, they’re tough on concussion things. It’s difficult, but I got through it. One thing I’d say, [the Patriots] handled it like they should have. I’m not upset with them, they’re not upset with me, it’s just the way it is. They handled it perfectly.”

A first-round pick out of Boise State in 2012, McClellin spent the first four years of his career with the Bears. Although he appeared in 38 games and made 31 starts during that time, McClellin never lived up his to his draft stock. Billed as an edge rusher, McClellin managed only four sacks in Chicago before inking a three-year deal with New England.

With the Patriots, McClellin played more off-ball linebacker and also saw more action on special teams. In 2016 (ultimately the only season during which he saw the field in New England), McClellin played on 41.7% of the Pats’ defensive snaps and posted 16 tackles, one sack, and two fumble recoveries. He was released in March after being dogged by his aforementioned concussion issues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Release LB Shea McClellin

The Patriots have parted ways with linebacker Shea McClellin, releasing him with a failed physical designation, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). McLellin was unable to suit up last year after beginning the season on injured reserve and suffering a concussion at practice during his comeback attempt.

McClellin, 28, was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Bears in 2012. He was set to enter the second season of a three-year, $9MM deal ($3.5MM guaranteed) signed with the Patriots in 2015. In his lone season with the Patriots in 2016, he appeared in 14 games — starting four — and recorded just one sack. He was graded by Pro Football Focus as the No. 72 edge rusher in the NFL out of 108 qualified players.

In four seasons with the Bears, McClellin appeared in 52 games and made 31 starts. His finest season came in 2014 when he recorded a career-best four sacks and matched his career high by appearing in 14 games.

McClellin would have likely worked as a rotational player behind Patriot starters Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. Injuries limited Hightower to just five games last season. New England also has Elandon Roberts, Nic Grigsby and Harvey Langi rostered at linebacker, with James Harrison and Marquis Flowers unrestricted free agents this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots’ Shea McClellin Done For Year

The hits just keep on coming for the Patriots. After officially placing Dont’a Hightower on injured reserve, the Patriots have learned that linebacker Shea McClellin will be unable to return from IR this year (Twitter link via Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald). Shea McClellin (vertical)

McClellin suffered a concussion in practice which will keep him from seeing the field in 2017. We still don’t know the nature of the original injury that landed him on IR to begin the year.

McClellin, a former first-round pick by Chicago, joined the Pats on a three-year, $9MM deal in 2016. He appeared in 441 snaps for New England last year and made some athletic plays, including his memorable leap over the line of scrimmage to block a field goal against the Ravens in December. The Patriots were hoping that he could help beef up their weakened pass rush this season, but he admittedly wasn’t stellar in that area last year. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 72 ranked edge defender among 108 qualified players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: DRC, Marshall, Cowboys

Let’s take a swing around the league’s East divisions:

  • In keeping with reports from several days ago, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Giants CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will miss Big Blue’s matchup against the Broncos this week, but he will be back for next week’s game against Seattle, which means he will have served just one game of a possible four-game suspension.
  • Giants WR Brandon Marshall, who is out for the season due to an ankle injury, has no plans to retire, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Said Marshall, “I’m a competitor, and I don’t want to go out like that. I’m definitely not going out like that.” The report does not come as a major surprise, as Marshall indicated when he signed his two-year deal with the Giants that he would retire at the end of that contract, which expires after the 2018 season.
  • Former Dolphins OL coach Chris Foerster has checked into a rehab facility in Miami, per Schefter. Foerster’s decision comes less than a week after his resignation from his post with the Dolphins following publication of a video that shows him snorting a white, powdery substance off a desk in the Dolphins’ training facility. Should another NFL club try to hire him in the future — and he had been in demand in the past — he would be subject to league discipline.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Patriots LB Shea McClellin, who is eligible to begin practicing this week after opening the season on IR, appears to be close to returning to the field. WR Malcolm Mitchell , however, is not close to returning, and he may not be back this year. DT Vincent Valentine, who went on IR on September 22, could be back at some point this season.
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has become a vocal member of the anti-protest contingent in the NFL, and according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, that is creating anger and frustration in the team’s locker room. The anthem issue had not been a hot topic among the Cowboys before Jones’ public statements on the matter, but Jones has helped to make it one, which is not good for a team that already has plenty of on-field concerns.
  • Despite a great deal of confusion on the matter, we learned earlier today that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will remain suspended unless and until he receives an en banc hearing from the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the temporary restraining order that was previously issued is reinstated. The odds of that happening are pretty slim.

Patriots To Place LB Shea McClellin On IR

The Patriots are placing linebacker Shea McClellin on injured reserve, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates. The nature of his injury is currently unknown. Shea McClellin (vertical)

McClellin missed most of the preseason with his mystery ailment. Whatever the issue is, it won’t rule him out for the year as he remains a candidate for one of the team’s IR-DTR spots.

McClellin, a former first-round pick of the Bears, signed a three-year, $9MM deal with the Patriots in 2016. He appeared in 441 snaps for New England last year and made some athletic plays, including his memorable leap over the line of scrimmage to block a field goal against the Ravens in December.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Patriots re-signed running back Brandon Bolden. He had just just one carry last season and spent the bulk of his time on special teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Contract Details: Patriots, Ravens, Texans

Here are the contract details on some notable AFC deals which were agreed upon or signed within the last week:

  • Shea McClellin, LB (Patriots): Three years, $8.95MM. $2.5MM signing bonus. $3.5MM guaranteed. $1MM salary in 2016 guaranteed. Annual $300K roster bonus. $100K workout bonus in 2016, $200K workout bonuses in 2017 and ’18. (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Chris Long, DE (Patriots): One year, $2.375MM. $1MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus. $625K roster bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Chris Carter, LB (Ravens): One year, $1MM. No guaranteed money. $500K split salary (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Jonathan Grimes, RB (Texans): One year, $900K. $200K guaranteed roster bonus. Deal includes a de-escalator clause (Twitter links via Wilson).

AFC East Notes: Fitzpatrick, Wilkerson, Blount

The Jets made it clear earlier this week that their goal is to sign free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but general manager Mike Maccagnan is still realistic about his team’s chances to retain the 33-year-old.

“We like Ryan — we’d like to have Ryan back — but at the end of the day, it’s free agency,” the Jets executive said (via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini). “You go through it. At some point in time, hopefully, we can find a middle ground we’re both happy with.”

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

  • As Jets Pro Bowler Muhammad Wilkerson continues to recover from a broken leg, agent Chad Wiestling tweets that the defensive lineman will be playing for “someone” during the 2016 season.
  • Considering his age and price tag, it would make sense for the Jets to trade for Broncos offensive lineman Ryan Clady to replace incumbent D’Brickashaw Ferguson. However, if the team was truly looking for a Ferguson replacement, Cimini believes the team would have been better off pursuing Russell Okung, who signed with the Broncos earlier this week.
  • ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss doesn’t believe the Donald Brown signing would prevent LeGarrette Blount from returning to the Patriots. Even if the team does bring back the veteran, the writer still envisions the Patriots selecting a running back in the draft.
  • Before signing with the Patriots, linebacker Shea McClellin also met with the Seahawks, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Patriots Sign Shea McClellin

FRIDAY, 7:35pm: McClellin’s three-year contract is worth $12MM, including $3.5MM guaranteed, ESPN’s Adam Caplan tweets.

4:03pm: The Patriots have officially signed McClellin, the team announced in a press release.

WEDNESDAY, 9:08pm: After agreeing to acquire tight end Martellus Bennett from the Bears on Wednesday, the Patriots will add another ex-Chicago player. The Pats have reached an agreement on a three-year accord with free agent linebacker Shea McClellin, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter links). Financial details are not yet available.

In landing McClellin, the Pats have kept him from the AFC East rival Jets, who visited with the 26-year-old last week. McClellin Shea McClellinwas the Bears’ first-round pick in 2012, but he never lived up to his draft status, totaling just 161 tackles and 7.5 sacks in four years. As a result of his disappointing play, the Bears declined his fifth-year option for 2016 last offseason. McClellin responded by notching a career-best 81 tackles in 12 games. Eleven of those 12 appearances were starts, giving him 31 overall. Pro Football Focus wasn’t impressed with McClellin’s output last season, though, grading him 88th among 97 qualifying linebackers.

With the Patriots, he’ll join a linebacking corps that features two stars – Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower – as well as Jonathan Freeny. The Patriots liked McClellin prior to the 2012 draft, notes Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter), and he has shown versatility by taking snaps along the defensive line and as both an inside and outside linebacker during his career.

The addition of McClellin is the latest move in a week of seemingly nonstop transactions by the Pats. The club has added (unofficially in some cases) receiver Chris Hogan, guard Jonathan Cooper, defensive end Chris Long, Bennett and McClellin since March 11.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Okung, Kerley, Bruton, Allen

Now that they’ve agreed to sign offensive tackle Ryan Harris, the Steelers are out of the running for free agent tackle Russell Okung, a source tells Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). It’s not clear if the Steelers are also out on Kelvin Beachum – since he’s their own free agent, they may be more willing to bring him back – but it seems clear that they’re willing to let him walk if he gets a better offer elsewhere.

With the Steelers no longer in contention for Okung, that likely reduces the field of suitors for the former first-round pick to three teams — the Seahawks, Lions, and Giants. Harris almost certainly won’t earn as much on his new deal as guys like Okung and Beachum will on theirs, but his signing may have given the tackle market the push it needs to get other players signed. Stay tuned.

Let’s round up a few more free agent rumors and updates from across the league….

  • After losing one of their wideouts – Chris Hogan – to the division-rival Patriots, the Bills are taking a look at another free agent receiver from the AFC East. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that Buffalo is bringing in ex-Jet Jeremy Kerley for a visit. Having recently been cut by New York, Kerley would likely compete for the No. 3 receiver spot and punt-return duties if he were to sign with the Bills.
  • Washington hosted safety David Bruton on a free agent visit on Tuesday, a source tells John Keim of ESPN.com. Bruton, a special-teamer who held his own when forced into action on defense for the Broncos, recently told Arran Anderson of KMGH-TV (Twitter link) that Denver had expressed interest in re-signing him, but he wanted to explore the market if the price wasn’t right.
  • Free agent defensive back Antonio Allen, who missed the 2015 season due to an Achilles injury, is visiting the Texans, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Allen made 18 starts in the Jets’ secondary from 2012 to 2014.
  • Linebacker Shea McClellin is making a visit with the Seahawks, per Caplan (via Twitter). The Bears recently signed Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, signaling that McClellin’s time in Chicago has likely come to an end.
  • Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram confirms (via Twitter) that the Cowboys‘ previously-reported visits with cornerback Leon Hall and defensive end Chris Long will both take place on Wednesday.