Tom Brady

AFC Notes: Pats, Gronk, Brady, Dolphins

The Patriots‘ decision to deactivate Rob Gronkowski for Thursday night’s game could cost him major money at the end of the season, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss points out. Gronkowski has played in 70.5% of the team’s snaps this season, which puts him on pace for the lowest possible incentives tier of $6.75MM. He can still reach the first ($10.75MM) and second tiers ($8.75MM) based on receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, or All-Pro selection, but those markers will also be hard to reach without a certain volume of snaps.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered what is thought to be an AC joint sprain in his left, non-throwing shoulder, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He says he’ll play on Sunday against the Jets.
  • The Dolphins are expected to bring back assistant Dave DeGuglielmo to take over as the team’s new offensive line coach, Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).
  • Despite some recent optimism, it’s premature to say that Chargers first-round pick Mike Williams will be ready to make his NFL debut next week, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Cody Latimer, one of the Broncos‘ top special teamers, underwent a blood injection procedure in his right knee and could be out for the next game or so, Mike Klis of 9 News writes. Latimer has excelled as a kick returner so far this year with an average of 28.4 per attempt. He’s also a gunner on punt and kickoff coverage.
  • Former NFL safety Taylor Mays has signed with the CFL’s Roughriders, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The former second-round pick was most recently with the Bengals.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Brady, Taylor, Colts

The NFL postponed the DolphinsBuccaneers‘ Week 1 game until Week 11 due to Hurricane Irma (Twitter link). Both teams had byes that week, making this rare postponement easier. Both south Florida teams will now play 16 straight games.

Here’s the latest from several other AFC cities on Wednesday morning.

  • After a joint review by the NFL and NFLPA, the Patriots were determined to have followed protocol regarding a potential Tom Brady concussion last season, the sides said in a statement (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, on Twitter). Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, said earlier this offseason her husband suffered a concussion last season that wasn’t reported by the Patriots. Brady issued a vague response when asked about this in July, but the quarterback turned over his medical records during this investigation — one that examined film from all 19 Patriots games, along with reports from unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and concussion spotters assigned to those respective games. While the NFL isn’t claiming Bundchen is lying about the concussions, Volin tweets this examination merely determined the Patriots followed protocol. This matter appears to be closed, from the league’s perspective.
  • Tyrod Taylor‘s agent contacted the Browns, Jets and 49ers prior to the Bills agreeing to a revamped deal with their incumbent starter, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports. After those discussions, Carucci reports Taylor’s camp decided it was best to agree to the reworked Bills pact. The three teams possessed some degree of interest in Taylor had he hit free agency, but it evidently wasn’t enough to dissuade Taylor from staying with the Bills on a contract that now pays him $10MM less over the next two years than it would have under the previous terms. “Maybe a couple less touchdowns, but as far as yardage, I did what I did to get that deal in the first place,” Taylor said, via Carucci, about the adjusted contract. “So whether they thought that I didn’t deserve it, I don’t know. That’s up to them.” Taylor threw for just 12 fewer yards last season (3,023) and rushed for 12 more (580) than he did in 2015. Although, the quarterback played in one more game last season than he did during his first year as Buffalo’s starter.
  • The Texans‘ deal with cornerback Marcus Burley is for two years, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. A former sixth-round pick, Burley’s played in 38 games during his three-year career. After two seasons with the Seahawks, Burley played with the Browns in 2016. Cleveland cut him last week.
  • The Colts worked out offensive lineman Emmett Cleary, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Cowboys cut Cleary on Saturday after he played in 13 games for them last season.
  • Newly acquired Steelers defensive backs Joe Haden and J.J. Wilcox account for a combined $5.541MM in 2017 cap hits, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. Pittsburgh now holds $11.07MM in cap space.

Extra Points: Brady, Jones, Colts

Tom Brady finally addressed his wife’s comments about his possible undisclosed concussions, doing so in an interview on ESPN’s “E:60.” Gisele Bundchen said her 39-year-old husband suffered a concussion last season and multiple others the Patriots didn’t disclose in previous years. Brady did not deny this during his interview but was vague in his response.

She’s there every day. I mean, we go to bed, you know, in the same bed every night. So I think she’s, you know, she knows when I’m sore,” Brady said (via CBSSports.com). “She knows when I’m tired. She knows, you know, when I get hit. I mean, we drive home together. But she also knows how well, you know, I take care of myself. She’s a very concerned wife and very loving.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio provided a translation from this answer that Brady has sustained concussions that were not reported. Nothing has come out yet regarding the Patriots’ knowledge of these concussions, so the team would not be in a position to be punished for concealing such injuries. Brady’s agent, Don Yee, said the quarterback wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion during the 2016 season. This doesn’t deny that he suffered one, however. The NFL in May said there was no record of Brady suffering a concussion last season.

Here’s the latest coming out of New England and other NFL cities.

  • Brady continued to insist he wants to play until he’s in his mid-40s. He added a “health-permitting”-type caveat when the subject was broached during his latest interview. “My mid-40s, I’ve always said, so naturally that’s 45, but football is a contact sport,” Brady said. “I don’t think you can take anything for granted in football, things happen. It’s just part of the sport. I would love to be able to continue playing at that level. As long as I keep playing well and committed to it, I’ll keep doing it. I know I got a lot left in me.” Brady, who will turn 40 next month, is signed through the 2019 season. The Patriots will have a big decision to make regarding how they approach Jimmy Garoppolo‘s situation come 2018, and Brady’s 2017 performance figures to have a major say in they handle the quandary.
  • News emerged about Matt Jones changing agents Sunday. Drew Rosenhaus now represents the Redskins running back. Previous agent Hadley Engelhard lobbied the Redskins to trade or release him, and Jones did not show for Washington’s OTA sessions. He skipped the workouts on the advice of Engelhard, according to Liz Clarke of the Washington Post, who wonders if the agent switch will have an impact on Jones’ standing with the Redskins. Washington deactivated Jones midseason after persistent fumbling trouble and added Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine in the fourth round. Jones did report to minicamp, but his status in Washington’s backfield hierarchy is murky.
  • Chuck Pagano and Colts DC Ted Monachino are encouraged by what they’ve seen from third-round pass rusher Tarell Basham, Kevin Bowen of Colts.com notes. Pagano said it will be “exciting” to watch the former Ohio Bobcats defensive end develop, while Monachino said a safe prediction can be made Basham will do “several things well.” Bowen writes Basham will likely be shuttled to outside linebacker in Indianapolis’ 3-4 look. Recently retired edge dynamo Robert Mathis has helped Basham (9.0 sacks as a senior last season) with that transition this offseason. The Colts added edge players Jabaal Sheard, John Simon and Barkevious Mingo in free agency, moving to younger cogs after Mathis retired. Trent Cole and Erik Walden remain unsigned after their Colts contracts expired.

East Rumors: Brady, Eagles, Hackenberg

Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com says Tom Brady will have to address his wife’s recent comments about his alleged concussions at some point soon. It appears that, if Brady has suffered concussions, he never told the Patriots, so the club will not face discipline for failing to note his concussions on injury reports. Interestingly, Brady’s agent, Don Yee, recently said that Brady “was not diagnosed” with a concussion last year, which is quite different than saying he did not actually suffer one.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe makes the common sense point that Brady has of course suffered a few concussions over the course of his 17-year career, and that he, like many before him, has simply done whatever he can to conceal them from his team, both out of a sense of pride and out of a desire to not miss any time.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com looks at the Eagles‘ 2018 salary cap situation, and while the team is currently projected to have limited cap room again, there are plenty of options to free up some space. For instance, the club is likely to release Jason Peters, and may even consider releasing Brandon Graham if Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry do well in 2017.
  • The Eagles‘ recent signing of LeGarrette Blount will likely force UDFA Corey Clement, who had a real chance of cracking the 53-man roster as the club’s resident big-body back, to the taxi squad, as Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com writes. Zangaro predicts the club will carry four backs on their roster heading into 2017, including Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, and Donnel Pumphrey. We learned yesterday that Philadelphia was interested in drafting both Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, but that the price to move up in Rounds 1-2 to be in range to select them was too steep.
  • The Jets‘ QB competition will be the story to watch at the team’s OTAs over the next several weeks, though Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, like most other writers, believes it would be a surprise if Josh McCown is not the team’s Week 1 starter. Head coach Todd Bowles wants to identify a presumptive starter before training camp in order to give that player the majority of first-team reps in camp, and McCown is likely to prevail over the untested youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, Cimini is especially bearish on Hackenberg, who does not fit OC John Morton‘s West Coast offense.
  • James Kratch of NJ.com looks at some of the Giants‘ high-profile players who are entering their contract years and what their long-term outlook with the club looks like. Kratch says an extension for Justin Pugh will not happen, and that Big Blue is either going to have to pony up big bucks for a multi-year deal next offseason or else slap Pugh with the franchise tag. Kratch believes an extension is slightly more likely for Weston Richburg, but that it is still a remote possibility, and if Richburg returns to form in 2017, he could set himself up for an Alex Mack-level payday.

AFC Notes: Pats, Broncos, Texans, Bills

In an interview Wednesday with Charlie Rose of CBS, Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said that the five-time Super Bowl winner “had a concussion last year” and “has concussions” that they don’t talk about (Twitter link). If Brady actually has dealt with head injuries and the Patriots have been aware of them, they could face discipline from the NFL. After all, the Pats have never listed Brady’s alleged concussions on the injury report. For its part, the league issued a statement Wednesday (via Doug Kyed of NESN) indicating that it’s now looking into the matter, saying: “There are no records that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms. Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

More from the AFC:

  • Running back Jamaal Charles, one of the Broncos’ highest-profile pickups this offseason, only has a 50-50 shot to make their roster, opines Mike Klis of 9News. While the 30-year-old Charles averaged a whopping 5.5 yards per carry with AFC West rival Kansas City from 2008-16, knee injuries limited him to a combined eight games over the past two seasons. Combining Charles’ recent health issues with, as Klis notes, his low-money contract and the presences of fellow runners C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and rookie De’Angelo Henderson, Charles might not play a down for Denver.
  • As expected, the Texans have added ex-Colts executive Jimmy Raye III to their front office. Raye will serve as the Texans’ vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com was among those to report. He’s replacing Brian Gaine, who left Houston for Buffalo earlier this week. Additionally, the club has tabbed Rob Kisiel as its director of pro personnel and Mike Martin as its assistant director of college scouting.
  • The Bills, continuing to reshuffle their front office, have announced the hiring of Lake Dawson as their assistant director of college scouting. Formerly with the Titans and Browns, Dawson joins Gaine, Joe Schoen and Malik Boyd as additions the Bills have made to their front office since naming Brandon Beane their general manager last week. Dawson was a wide receiver with the Chiefs from 1994-97.

East Rumors: Brady, Patriots, Bills, Taylor

Recently, Tom Brady was asked if he is annoyed that Bill Belichick hasn’t traded Jimmy Garoppolo and his non-answer might raise some eyebrows.

When you’re a member of a team sport, the best guy plays,” the Patriots quarterback told Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com. “So I always want to make sure I’m the best guy, and I give our team a great chance to win. But if you’re ever not [the best guy], part of being a great teammate is letting the other guy do that, as well. Competition is what has always driven me. I’ve never been one that was hand selected, to be this particular player. … In high school, college, professionally, I think the greater the competition, the more that it really allows me to dig deep and bring the best out of me.”

Of course, this is a far cry from Brady saying that he’s peeved at the team for not trading the backup QB, but he didn’t shoot the notion down when given the opportunity either. The Patriots were at least mulling a Garoppolo trade at some point this offseason, but it seems that they set an extremely high asking price because they ultimately did not want to part with him.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC East:

  • In an interview on Monday, Bills GM Brandon Beane said Tyrod Taylor will probably be the team’s starting QB, but he cautioned that he’s “not in business of handing out jobs on May the 15th,” (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak).
  • Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas cleared a giant hurdle this weekend when the team declined to sign veteran Travis Coons after a weekend tryout. “I try not to focus on the competition,” Rosas told James Kratch of NJ.com. “I just try to focus on how I can improve myself and be the best specialist I can be.” For now, Rosas stands as the only kicker on the team’s roster.
  • The Jets auditioned running back Stevan Ridley last week.

Patriots Rumors: Brady, Butler, Garoppolo

Moments ago, Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed the media in Phoenix, Arizona. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • Apparently, Tom Brady isn’t going anywhere. “As recently as two or three days ago, he assured me that he’d be willing to play another six or seven years,” Kraft said (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB).
  • Kraft says that he hopes Malcolm Butler returns to the Patriots for 2017 and that the team’s intention is not to trade him (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate). Butler, a restricted free agent, has discussed contractual terms with the Saints and the two sides apparently far off. An unmatched offer sheet from the Saints would result in New Orleans’ No. 11 overall pick going to New England. Of course, that’s a steep price to pay and the Saints are reportedly unwilling to go that far to land the cornerback. The possibility of a sign-and-trade with lesser compensation could be in the cards, but right now the Pats are acting as though they want Butler back.
  • When asked about the possibility of trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Kraft deferred that decision to coach Bill Belichick (Twitter link via Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald).

Latest On Jimmy Garoppolo

Few NFLers have been involved in more trade rumors over the past several months than Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but “there’s a persistent belief within league circles” that the team wants to retain Tom Brady‘s backup, a high-level employee of an AFC team told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Jimmy Garoppolo

While Garoppolo would likely fetch a haul in a trade, perhaps from the draft-pick rich Browns, the Patriots are cognizant of the fact that Brady isn’t immortal, notes Florio. As excellent as the five-time Super Bowl champion still is, 2017 will be his age-40 season, so there’s some question as to how much longer he’ll play. By keeping the 25-year-old Garoppolo, the Pats would protect themselves against a sudden retirement or decline from Brady.

Garoppolo will only take up $1.1MM-plus of New England’s spending space next season, his fourth in the league, meaning his presence wouldn’t be onerous to the club’s cap in 2017. Then, if Brady’s still in the fold next winter, the Pats could attempt to re-sign Garoppolo – it seems unlikely they’d succeed, granted, given that he’d be able to find a starting job and more money elsewhere – or even place the franchise tag on him.

In the opinion of head coach Bill Belichick, Patriots third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett isn’t the long-term answer, suggests Florio, making it all the more realistic that Garoppolo will stay in their plans. Like Brissett, Garoppolo has limited NFL experience, but the latter made good on his first two career starts last year. Garoppolo began the season as New England’s starter because of Brady’s four-game Deflategate ban, and he completed 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in wins over the Cardinals and Dolphins. The second game was Garoppolo’s final start of the year – and perhaps his last for a while, if the Pats keep him – as he suffered a sprained AC joint on a hit from Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso and sat out for the remainder of Brady’s suspension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots, Tom Brady Begin Extension Talks

Tom Brady’s is under contract with the Patriots through the 2019 season, but the team is already getting a head start on extension talks. The five-time Super Bowl winner is in early talks with the Pats about a new deal, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets. Howe cautions that things are still preliminary and nothing is imminent. Tom Brady

Both sides are still basking in the afterglow of a thrilling Super Bowl 51 victory, so it will probably take a while before a deal can be finalized. Brady will turn 40 in August and his current deal will take him through his age-42 season, but he has been vocal about wanting to play into his mid-40s. If it were any other player, we would all be dubious of his ability to stay in the game for that long. However, Brady just finished a spectacular season in which he was arguably the No. 1 QB in the entire league. There’s no reason to doubt the future Hall of Famer and the Patriots are willing to commit to him for as long as he’s able to play.

Right now, Brady is scheduled to make $14MM in 2017, $22MM in 2018, and $22MM in 2019. By extending Brady, the Pats might be able to smooth out some of those cap hits. From the QB’s perspective, a lengthy new deal coupled with a trade of young upstart Jimmy Garoppolo would be the ultimate show of confidence.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Texans, Patriots, Ihedigbo

While upgrading at quarterback will be a priority for the Texans, reaching an agreement to keep A.J. Bouye in Houston will be the AFC South champions’ top priority, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes. This gels with what came out of Houston last week, with a report indicating the team eyes a Bouye re-up and a DeAndre Hopkins extension. Finishing behind only the Broncos’ standout pair on Pro Football Focus’ 2016 cornerback rankings, Bouye emerged as one of 2016’s top breakout players, and McClain Chronicle comrade Aaron Wilson expects the fifth-year player to secure a deal that pays him upwards of $13MM annually. Bouye comes in at No. 7 on PFR’s Free Agent Power Rankings.

Here’s more from Houston and some other AFC locales.

  • Bob McNair said the Texans will target a young quarterback in the draft after an investment in Brock Osweiler did not generate much this season. This means the team does not stand to be a player in the Tony Romo sweepstakes. At least, that was the last update coming out of Houston. But McClain expects the Texans to take a look at Romo if he hits free agency. McClain agrees with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport by saying the Texans won’t be interested in trading for Romo, and the longtime Houston reporter notes the soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback will have to take a big pay cut if he wants to play for the Texans. However, McClain doesn’t expect the team to bypass this potentially high-caliber stopgap solution entirely.
  • No surprise walkoff retirement appears to be in the cards for Tom Brady, with the 39-year-old passer relishing in the joy of the Patriots‘ most recent Super Bowl championship and saying on Instagram (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com) the mythical nature of winning championships is “why I’ll never stop as long as I’m able.” Brady insisted he wants to play into his mid-40s, and remaining a top-tier quarterback by that time would put him on uncharted terrain. Brett Favre serves as basically the only comparison of a 40-year-old high-end passer. The Patriots, though, aren’t counting on a slowdown soon, planning an extension after the 2017 season.
  • Malcolm Butler will be a restricted free agent, and Joel Corry of CBS Sports (via Twitter) expects the Patriots to place a rare first-round tender on their top cornerback. Corry anticipates that price to come in at nearly $4MM after settling in at just over $3.6MM last year. Another team would have to surrender a first-round pick to sign Butler in the event the Patriots don’t match the offer sheet.
  • James Ihedigbo became a starter almost immediately after signing with the Bills late in the season, and although the veteran safety ended his year on IR, he wants to return to the Bills, he told the team’s website. The 33-year-old Ihedigbo made three starts for the Bills, his fifth NFL employer, last season.