New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Devin McCourty Says He’s Happy for Tom Brady, Not Surprised by Departure

Devin McCourty was understandably a bit preoccupied as speculation about Tom Brady’s future took over the NFL offseason, Jenna Ciccotelli of the Boston Globe reports.

The Patriots safety was a free agent after spending all 10 seasons of his NFL career in New England. He watched the Patriots pick up the team option on the contract of his twin brother, Jason, but didn’t know if he would be playing alongside him again. McCourty, 33, spent the early offseason focusing on himself.

“I honestly didn’t think twice about Tom Brady’s free agency because I was a free agent,” McCourty told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “That was my main concern, where my family would end up. Would we be back in New England?”

He eventually signed a two-year deal in March, and even after Brady announced that “his football journey would continue elsewhere” and signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McCourty was appreciative of his time with Brady, but ready to move on.

“When I signed my deal and I was back, you kind of think of all the guys. Tom, the Kyle Van Noys, the Jamie Collinses,” he said. “All of those guys you had relationships with, Matthew Slater. That you kinda know, man, this could be it. That coulda been the last game I played with these guys. When he made a decision, to me, it wasn’t like the end of the world.

“He’s a free agent and when free agency hits, there’s always a chance a guy could go to another team. I’m happy for him,” he continued.

“He played 20 years for one organization. The knowledge he’s passed down. How open he has always been with guys learning from him, asking him questions. Always so open. Great teammate. You become a free agent, that’s what our league is about. That’s what players before us have fought for. Be a free agent and choose. I was happy for him if he did what makes him happy.”

Was LB Clay Matthews Close to Joining the Patriots Prior to the Draft?

The Patriots reportedly considered signing linebacker Clay Matthews before selecting linebacker Josh Uche 60th overall in the 2020 Draft, Christopher Smith of Masslive reports.

Fowler wrote, “There was some leaguewide buzz that the Patriots considered signing free agent Clay Matthews for pass-rushing help, but that was before they landed outside linebacker Josh Uche out of Michigan.”

Matthews, who turned 34 on Thursday, spent his first 10 seasons with Green Bay before playing for the Rams in 2019.

Patriots Ink Third-Round Draft Choice TE Dalton Keene

Whenever football starts back up, Dalton Keene will be in the fold for the Patriots. The third-round pick became the latest New England draft pick to sign, Matt Vautour of Masslive reports.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported the tight end from Virginia Tech’s signing and tweeted:

“The Patriots and third-round TE Dalton Keene have agreed to terms on his rookie contract, per source. That leaves just top pick S Kyle Dugger to sign from their 10-man draft class.”

Patriots with Five Prime Time Games as 2020 Schedule is Released

The Patriots may no longer have Tom Brady as their quarterback, but they do still have national appeal, as the team will have five prime time games in 2020.

The team’s complete slate was released on Thursday night, and the opener will be at home against the Dolphins, the team that knocked them out of a first-round bye last December.

Here is the complete 16-game regular season schedule:

Week 1: vs. MIA (Sunday, Sept. 13 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 2: @ SEA (Monday, Sept. 20 @ 8:20 p.m. ET)
Week 3: vs. Las Vegas (Sunday, Sept. 27 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 4: @ KC (Sunday, Oct. 4 @ 4:25 p.m. ET)
Week 5: vs. DEN (Sunday Oct. 11 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: vs. SF (Sunday, Oct. 25 @ 4:25 p.m. ET)
Week 8: @ BUF (Sunday, Nov. 1 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 9: @ NYJ (Monday, Nov. 9 @ 8:15 p.m. ET)
Week 10: vs. BAL (Sunday, Nov. 15 @ 8:20 p.m. ET)
Week 11: @ HOU (Sunday, Nov. 22 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 12: vs. ARI (Sunday, Nov. 29 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 13: @ LAC (Sunday, Dec. 6 @ 4:25 p.m. ET)
Week 14: @ LAR (Thursday, Dec. 10 @ 8:20 p.m. ET)
Week 15: @ MIA (Sunday, Dec. 20 @ 1 p.m. ET)
Week 16: vs. BUF (Monday, Dec. 28 @ 8:15 p.m. ET)
Week 17: vs. NYJ (Sunday, Jan. 3 @ 1 p.m. ET)

Report: Patriots Showing Interest in Just Released Bengals QB Dalton

Early Thursday the Bengals released veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, a player who taken in the second-round of the 2011 NFL Draft has never been anything but a starter in the NFL.

The 32-year-old has had plenty of ups and downs with the Bengals, but overall threw for 31,594 yards with 204 touchdowns and 118 picks with a 87.5 QB rating over nine seasons.

A Thursday afternoon report stated that the Patriots along with the Jaguars had interest in Dalton.

Dalton led the Bengals to a couple of playoff appearances, but the team never got over the hump, and lost in the first round of every playoff game they played in, all five.

“This city has been our home since I got drafted here, and this city’s meant a lot,” Dalton said after the team released him.

“I’m thankful for all the people that we’ve met. There’s been a lot of good people in Cincinnati who have pushed me, my wife and my family to be better people, and we’re grateful for that.”

By releasing Dalton and four other veterans, the Bengals cleared $41.6 million toward its 2020 cap allotment.

The Bengals QB was set to earn $17.7 million in the last year of a six-year contract worth $96 million.

Patriots Newly Drafted Kicker Justin Rohrwasser to Remove “The Three Percenters” Tattoo

Patriots rookie kicker Justin Rohrwasser told WBZ-TV in Boston on Monday that he will remove a tattoo on his arm associated with “The Three Percenters” — a right-wing militia group — because it doesn’t represent who he is, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports.

Rohrwasser, 23, said he was 18 when he got the tattoo.

“As soon as I saw what it was linked to on Saturday, it was exactly that time I knew I had to get it totally taken off my body,” he said. “I said cover it up [to reporters], but I want to get it removed from my body. It’s shameful that I had it on there ignorantly.”

Rohrwasser, who was selected in the NFL draft’s fifth round Saturday (No. 159 overall), told Patriots reporters that day that he thought the tattoo stood for supporting the military and said he “should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol like that on my body.”

In the television interview Monday, he added, “It was described to me as the percentage of colonists that rose up against the government of the British. I was like, ‘Wow, that is such an American sentiment, a patriotic sentiment.’ Coming from a military family, I thought that really spoke to me. I always was proud to be an American. I’m very proud to be an American.”

Patriots Release Veteran Safety Obi Melifonwu

The Patriots continued reshaping the team’s roster following the NFL draft, reportedly releasing veteran safety Obi Melifonwu, Hayden Bird of the Boston Globe reports.

The news came in a report from ESPN NFL insider Field Yates, who said Melifonwu had been informed of his release.

The 26-year-old safety, who was originally drafted in the second round out of the University of Connecticut by the Raiders in 2017, was signed by the Patriots in 2018. He was waived by New England in September 2019 before rejoining the team’s practice squad for the duration of the season.

No QB Drafted Means Jarrett Stidham Ready to be the Patriots 2020 QB

The Patriots passed on Jordan Love with the 23rd pick, and then did the same with every other quarterback in the NFL draft, creating a clearer path for Jarrett Stidham to serve as Tom Brady’s successor in 2020.

Stidham, who was Brady’s backup last season after the Patriots selected him in the fourth round, might have been the biggest beneficiary from New England’s quarterbackless approach. Still, coach Bill Belichick isn’t handing him the job just yet, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports.

“Jarrett had a good year last year. He improved a lot. We’ll see where that takes him,” Belichick said Saturday night.

Belichick also expressed confidence in veteran Brian Hoyer, who has started 38 games over his 11-year career. Hoyer re-signed with the Patriots in March after being released by the Indianapolis Colts, and this will be his third stint with the franchise.

Hoyer had been Brady’s backup from 2009 through 2011, and then for half of 2017 and all of 2018. The Patriots released him at the end of the 2019 preseason, giving the No. 2 job to Stidham, but would have entertained re-signing him later in the season if the Colts hadn’t snatched him up.

As for the draft, Belichick said the Patriots were balancing other needs as they considered their quarterback options.

“If we feel like we find the right situation, we’ll certainly draft them. We’ve drafted them in multiple years, multiple points in the draft,” he said. “Didn’t work out the last three days. That wasn’t by design. We just tried to do the best we could with what we had this weekend.”