Tom Brady

East Rumors: Giants, Bryant, Patriots, Brady

Dez Bryant took to Instagram to post a video of him working out with Giants star Odell Beckham Jr., fueling speculation that he could land with the Giants. Bryant has been vocal about his desire to sign with the G-Men, but it’s not clear if that interest is being reciprocated by GM Dave Gettleman.

Earlier this week, Brandon Marshall posted – then deleted – a post of his own on Instagram in which he informed Bryant that there was “no room” for him in the Giants’ locker room. Days later, the Giants released Marshall, so there could be room for the three-time Pro Bowler in New York after all.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • Was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ever considering retirement? At least two of his teammates aren’t buying it. Two Pats players tell Mike Giardi of NBC Sports Boston (on Twitter) that they’ve spoken to him this offseason, including discussions about the upcoming season, and he’s never indicated he wasn’t playing/retiring. Brady is also continuing his normal workout regimen/diet, even while in Qatar, according to the players. Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com hear that Brady will indeed play in 2018, though he would like a new contract.
  • Meanwhile, Brady already has made arrangements to get together with some of his Patriots teammates between the end of the offseason program and the start of training camp, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Mike Florio of PFT.
  • Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas wonders if it will be tougher for the team to land quality undrafted free agents this year because of perception that it will be tough to make the final cut on a deep roster (Twitter link via NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks).
  • In speaking with reporters, Douglas also noted that there have been many running backs from all parts drafts that have contributed right off of the bat with their teams (Twitter link via Shorr-Parks). That could give some insight into the Eagles’ plans heading into next week’s draft.

Tom Brady Will Play In 2018, Wants New Contract

Tom Brady will indeed suit up for the 2018 campaign, but he’d like a new contract from the Patriots prior to the season getting underway, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.

Earlier today, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported that while most close to Brady expected he would return for New England for another year, the future Hall of Famer hadn’t officially committed to continuing his career. Per the NFL.com scribes, Brady is not giving any thought to an immediate retirement, and the Patriots are planning as if he will be their starting quarterback.

While Brady is hoping to work out a fresh deal before the season begins, his contractual status is “not driving” his absence from voluntary workouts, tweets Garafolo. In fact, it doesn’t seem as though a new pact is a pressing issue, as Garafolo notes the most important matter on the table is determining Brady’s “short- and long-term future.”

Brady, who has long been a bargain by quarterback contract standards, is currently signed through the 2019 campaign. In each of the next two years, he’s scheduled to earn a base salary of $15MM, while $7MM of annually prorated signing bonus money will bring the 40-year-old’s cap charges to $22MM in each season.

New England, of course, dealt Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers at the 2017 trade deadline, so the club doesnt’t currently have a youthful quarterback on its roster. Veteran Brian Hoyer is the only signal-caller aside from Brady on the Patriots’ depth chart, but the team has been linked to a number of quarterback prospects leading up to the 2018 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tom Brady Has Not Committed To Playing For Patriots In 2018

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady still has yet to commit to playing in 2018, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter hears. Those close to Brady believe that he will suit up again, but there is some room for doubt since Brady has not pledged to play. 

My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don’t know,” one source told ESPN.

Brady, 41 in August, still wants to continue playing. However, Schefter hears that some around Brady want him to retire. That may include close family members who would rather see Brady enjoy his millions of dollars instead of risking brain trauma.

Before the Super Bowl, Brady said that he would continue playing next season. Apparently, some combination of the loss, the deterioration of his relationship with coach Bill Belichick, and the opinions of his inner circle have swayed him over the last ten weeks.

Even at age 40, Brady was terrific in 2017, leading the league in passing yards on the way to his third MVP trophy. The veteran is signed through the 2019 campaign with a team-friendly $15MM base salary ($22MM cap hit).

Meanwhile, teammate Rob Gronkowski is also considering retirement. It’s not clear whether the standout tight end is serious about walking away or if he is angling for a new deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Brady, Belichick, Guerrero

It’s no secret that there is some tension among the three most prominent figures in the Patriots’ organization: owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes, one of the sources of conflict between Belichick and Brady is the role of Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero.

Belichick, of course, wants one voice when it comes to his team’s strength and conditioning program, so he wants his players to adhere to programs established by head strength coach, Moses Cabrera, and head trainer, Jim Whalen. But by the middle of last season, approximately 30 of the Patriots’ 53 players were seeing Guerrero regularly, either in Gillette Stadium or at the TB12 facility at Patriot Place. Guerrero’s methods clash with the more traditional approaches set forth by Cabrera and Whalen, and Belichick revoked Guerrero’s special privileges after the bye week last season (although he did not ban players from seeing Guerrero).

We heard back in January that Guerrero’s presence was creating some problems in New England’s locker room, and Volin’s story provides some interesting context to those reports.

Now for more news out of Foxborough:

  • Kraft is not concerned about extending Brady’s contract, and Volin notes that there is no reason for the team to do so at this point. Brady is under club control through the 2019 campaign, and his cap number of $22MM is reasonable given his ability, importance to the franchise, and the quarterback market.
  • For the second consecutive year, Brady is unlikely to be present for the first day of the Patriots’ offseason program, per Volin, which is somewhat curious given that he has been a “devout offseason participant” in prior years. But as Brady’s absence is tied to his appearance as a Best Buddies Global Ambassador in Qatar, Volin is not putting much stock in it until Brady starts to miss more time. Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says Belichick “went out of his way” to hint that he and Brady have at least one talk in that regard. Belichick said, “[The offseason program] will be heavily attended, but I know there are a couple players that I’ve talked to that have other commitments, but that’s the way it always is. So, not really anything new there.”
  • Volin says the Pats do have the ammunition to move up in the draft to select one of this year’s top signal-callers if they want to, though it remains more likely that they will stand pat.
  • In the same piece linked above, Reiss reports that the Patriots have hired Cameron Achord as an assistant coach. Achord has ties to special teams coach Joe Judge, and he has already been on the scouting trail on behalf of the Patriots.
  • It was previously reported that Brady was a big reason for Jordan Matthews‘ decision to sign with the Patriots, but as Reiss notes, Matthews was impressed with the organization as a whole. Matthews said, “There was a lot of intentionality during the visit. They were very detailed. They were very specific with me on what they thought about me and areas they thought I could grow. I appreciated that more than anything. I appreciated that type of honesty.”
  • We learned yesterday that the Patriots did not come close to matching the two-year, $12MM deal that Danny Amendola signed with the Dolphins, which made Amendola’s decision to leave New England a little easier.

Patriots Notes: Matthews, Mitchell, QBs

While Tom Brady may be a year-to-year proposition following the 2018 season, his timeline may not matter to Jordan Matthews since the receiver signed only a one-year deal with the Patriots. And the wideout factored the future Hall of Fame quarterback into his decision considerably. Matthews wanted to catch passes from Brady, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. The reigning NFL MVP is still near the peak of his powers despite going into his age-41 season, and Matthews made a point to include two of the game’s premier quarterbacks in his free agency tour. Matthews visited the Packers and Patriots, with Titans and Cardinals stops being on his spring itinerary as well, but he will spend a year in New England. The fifth-year receiver has done his most prominent NFL work in the slot, but Julian Edelman is due back this season. Reiss reports Matthews had other offers. The Cardinals extended one to him before signing Brice Butler. Matthews faced the Patriots once last season while with the Bills but did his best work — three 800-plus-yard seasons — with the Eagles.

Here’s the latest out of New England:

  • Malcolm Mitchell also figures to be a part of Brady’s receiving corps in 2018 after missing all of his second season with a knee injury. He’s expected to be ready for OTAs, per Reiss, and has been working with Alex Guererro at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center.
  • Troy Niklas may not factor in prominently in Brady’s arsenal, having caught just 19 passes in four seasons and being known for his blocking more. But Reiss notes a knock on the former Cardinals tight end has been that his physicality doesn’t match up with what would be expected from a 6-foot-6, 270-pound player. Should he make the New England roster, it’s likely he’ll be asked to block plenty considering Rob Gronkowski is expected back.
  • The Patriots may be taking a flier on Luke Bowanko because of his versatility. Reiss writes Bowanko worked at all five offensive line spots in practice while with the Jaguars, and Bill Belichick values an assorted skill set. An interior lineman in games, Bowanko would seemingly be in line for a swing backup job if he were to make the 53-man roster.
  • Belichick’s history and the Patriots’ need for talent capable of helping the near-future rosters points to New England not pulling off a blockbuster trade for a quarterback, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes. Curran expects Brady to at least play out his through-2019 contract before evaluating if he wants to play what would be a 21st season in 2020. Although, Robert Kraft said the team needs to think about taking a quarterback this year since there is no longer a viable succession plan after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.

Tom Brady Confirms He’ll Play In 2018

Tom Brady and the TB12 method will return for yet another NFL campaign, as the Patriots quarterback confirmed in a pre-Super Bowl interview with Westwood One’s Jim Gray that he will indeed play in 2018.Tom Brady

“Yeah, you’re gonna see me playing football next year,” Brady said. “I don’t envision not playing. You’re at the end of the race but you’ve got your biggest mountain to climb right at the end. Hopefully all the lessons we’ve learned have allowed us to be at our very best for this moment and that’s what it’s going to take and that’s what we’re prepared for and that’s what I go out and expect our team to do.”

Even at age-40, Brady was terrific in 2017, leading the league in passing yardage on the way to his third MVP trophy. Reported turmoil in the Patriots’ organization had lent some credence to the notion that Brady could retire after the season, but New England has refuted many of the details in that original ESPN.com report. Both Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are expected to return for a 19th season together.

Brady, who will attempt to secure his sixth career Super Bowl title later today, is signed through the 2019 campaign. Next season, he’ll earn a $15MM base salary and count for $22MM on the Patriots’ salary cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Gronk, Brady, Jets

The Patriots are optimistic tight end Rob Gronkowski will be fully recovered from his concussion in time to play in the Super Bowl, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Indeed, New England is game-planning as though Gronkowski will be available against the Eagles. Gronk did not wear a red non-contact jersey during practice today (as he previously had), tweets Doug Kyed of NESN, another positive development as the Patriots prepare for Sunday. Meanwhile, quarterback Tom Brady wore only black tape on his injured right hand during Wednesday’s practice, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Brady’s hand injury didn’t seem to affect him in the AFC Championship Game, and likely won’t have an effect on his Super Bowl performance.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Pending free agent corner Malcolm Butler said he “without a doubt” wants to return to the Patriots in 2018, reports James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Butler, 27, had an up-and-down season on the field, and was repeatedly involved in trade rumors during the preseason and during the 2017 campaign. New England engaged in Butler trade conversations with the Saints throughout the summer, and were reportedly open to dealing the former Super Bowl hero near the trade deadline. While the two sides could theoretically reach an agreement before the start of free agency, negotiations were never expected to take place until the season concluded.
  • The Patriots signed linebacker James Harrison in late December after he was released by the Steelers, and the veteran edge rusher today offered more details about his departure from Pittsburgh, as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. Per Harrsison, the Steelers promised him 20-25% playtime, but he ended up seeing action on only 40 defensive plays, which amounts to roughly four percent. Fed up with his lack of a defined role, Harrison says he asked Pittsburgh three times to be traded before he was ultimately cut. The 39-year-old former Defensive Player of the Year has racked up two sacks in four games with New England.
  • The Jets worked out Canadian Football League star wideout Luke Tasker on Wednesday, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. Tasker, the son of former NFL Pro Bowler and current broadcaster Steve Tasker, set career-highs with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2017 by posting 104 receptions for 1,167 yards and seven touchdowns. He worked out for the Packers in 2014, but reportedly passed on a Green Bay offer to sign an extension with Hamilton.

East Notes: Giants, Foles, Patriots

New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman — in stark contract to their predecessors at this time last year — recognize that Big Blue needs to make significant improvements to its O-line in order to return to contention in 2018, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes. Schwartz views the rapid improvement that the Vikings’ O-line made from 2016 to 2017, in large part due to heavy free agent and draft investment, as an indication that New York will be able to make a similar jump under Shurmur.

Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg are unrestricted free agents and there is no guarantee that either will be re-signed, John Jerry can be cut without many salary cap implications, and the new regime has no connection to Ereck Flowers, so the Giants’ line will be in for a major overhaul, and Schwartz thinks Shurmur is the right man to lead that change.

Now for more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Shurmur was able to retain Giants assistant offensive line coach Lunda Wells, who also garnered interest from the Raiders and other teams. New York will promote Wells to tight ends coach. In addition, the team is expected to retain RB coach Craig Johnson, per Schwartz (via Twitter).
  • Carson Wentz believes he will be ready for the start of the 2018 season, which is already leading to speculation as to what the Eagles will do with Nick Foles, who has guided the team to a berth in Super Bowl LII in Wentz’s absence. Jimmy Kempski of the PhillyVoice says the team’s medical staff also believes Wentz will be available when Week 1 of the 2018 season rolls around, and Foles will count for $7.6MM against the cap in 2018, the last year of his current deal. Rather than let Foles leave in free agency after 2018, Kempski speculates that Philadelphia could trade Foles to a QB-needy team this offseason. Of course, the Eagles have the luxury of simply holding onto one of the best backups in the league if they do not get an offer they like.
  • Patriots QB Tom Brady had an appointment earlier this week to remove the 12 stitches on his throwing hand that he played with in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Brady is expected to be fully healthy for Super Bowl LII.
  • James Harrison has given the Patriots‘ defense a nice boost since joining the team on December 26, and the 39-year-old said he does not intend to retire at the end of the season. Per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, Harrison says he may want to play for up to two more years.
  • Assuming the Jets are not able to land Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold in this year’s draft, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes Gang Green would prefer Josh Allen over Baker Mayfield (Twitter link). Although Allen may be more raw than Rosen or Darnold, some believe he has the highest ceiling of any signal-caller in the draft.

Latest On Pats QB Tom Brady’s Hand Injury

As was fully expected, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is active and will start today’s AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars. However, a few new details have now emerged about the hand injury Brady suffered during practice last week.Tom Brady

The 40-year-old Brady is dealing with a collateral ligament sprain in his right thumb, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link), who adds that injury could be cause for concern regarding Brady’s “functionality.” Additionally, Brady required 10 stitches after sustaining a cut to his right hand, and sources claimed there was a “good amount of blood” following the laceration, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

Exactly how much either of these injuries will affect Brady’s performance later today is impossible to predict, but there didn’t seem to be any realistic chance that Brady wouldn’t suit up for Sunday’s contest. New England, of course, only has one other quarterback on its 53-man roster: veteran Brian Hoyer, whom the Pats signed earlier this year after trading Jimmy Garoppolo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tom Brady’s Sunday Availability

Despite suffering an injury to his throwing hand, Tom Brady will start the AFC Championship Game vs. the Jaguars on Sunday, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports (Twitter link).

The cut the Patriots’ 40-year-old quarterback suffered on his throwing hand required several stitches, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston tweets.

A source informed ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss the collision that caused the injury was “minor.” Reiss adds Brady is not believed to have suffered any ligament, tendon or bone damage.

While Curran reported Brady was not taking snaps under center when he returned to practice Friday, Reiss received conflicting viewpoints of whether this will be an issue come Sunday. One source said Brady “should be OK” for Sunday while another added it’s possible this freak ailment could affect him to some degree in the game.

Reiss notes Brady threw the ball well in practice on Friday and believes he can execute the Pats’ game plan effectively. New England did not bring in another quarterback to work out this week after the setback, per Reiss. Brian Hoyer is the only other passer on the Patriots’ active roster or practice squad.

Brady battled an Achilles injury this season but has not missed a game due to injury since 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.