New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Rob Gronkowski Says He and Bill Belichick Are All Good; Wants a New Deal

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski maintains he is still on good terms with the team and coach Bill Belichick, Rachel Bowers of the Boston Globe reports.

The All-Pro was present for Day 1 of New England’s mandatory minicamp, taking his usual place with the starting offense and getting his usual number of reps.

Gronkowski also seemed to have a lot of fun, galloping into the end zone for a few long touchdowns and playfully taunting some teammates and coaches.

“Whenever I step on the field for the first time, you get those jitters,” he said. “It just felt good to be back out there, get some rust off, see what I got to work on, what I can improve, what my strengths are to make them stronger. It was just good to be out there competing.”

After practice, Gronkowski told reporters that he is “trying to’’ get a new contract. He is set to be the fourth-highest-paid tight end for 2018 at $8.75 million, behind Jimmy Graham ($13 million), Greg Olsen ($12.35 million), and Trey Burton ($11.3 million). Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz are also making in the $8 million range.

Rob Gronkowski Says He’s Not at Patriots Minicamp to ‘Take Care of My Body’

Rob Gronkowski made an energetic return for the first practice of the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp Tuesday, and then explained that he didn’t attend seven weeks of voluntary workouts because he believed training on his own was the best decision for him, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports.

“I wanted to take care of my body, take care of myself and see where I was at before I came out here. I think it was a good decision,” he said. “I was having all different thoughts — see if I really wanted to go through it again.

“I feel like I’m just going to do what’s best for myself and take care of myself, because if I can’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anyone else and help out the team.”

Gronkowski, who at one point let out a loud yell of excitement after catching a pass from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer against double coverage, acknowledged the approach was different for him as he enters his ninth NFL season.

“But coming back, definitely the same. I felt like I was never gone,” he relayed, adding that he initially had some “jitters” at the start of practice.

“It just felt really good to be back out on the field, and that’s what matters most,” he said. “I enjoyed it a lot today. I love playing the game of football. The game of football is fun when you’re feeling good. If you’re not feeling good, myself, I’ve asked many other players, you really don’t like the game of football. But if you’re feeling good, your body feels good, your mind feels good, the joy of playing the game of football is off the charts. At the same time, if you’re not feeling good, it can be awful.

“I just want to be feeling good, keep my mind clear, and keep playing the game and enjoy it.”

Patriots QB Tom Brady Not at the Start of the Teams’ OTA Practices

It’s not been an easy offseason for the Patriots, with losing to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and all the offseason drama that people seem to think exists, the news about quarterback Tom Brady not being at the opening of the Patriots’ organized team activities Monday was just more fuel for the fire of those that want to bring the empire down.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning the news about Brady not being present, though for now 4NJBets still has New England listed as the AFC favorite to get to the Super Bowl in February of 2019.

Brady regularly has participated in the Patriots’ voluntary OTAs in the past. He has skipped all of the team’s offseason program so far this season.

In the past the Patriots future Hall of Fame quarterback had stated that his decision to miss earlier portions of the offseason program as being based on family while also helping him be “really rejuvenated” for the 2018 season.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels noted May 11 that he would like all players at the workouts but understood the quarterback’s decision, for now.

Brady is making plenty of people nervous about the overall direction of the team, with the drama last year regarding the teams’ decision to stop his trainer from helping out the franchise, to now him not being at camp, there’s plenty of reasons to be nervous with the overall direction the team is taking this offseason.

Rapoport along with fellow NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo pointed out on April 18 that Brady is looking to get more more mega deal with the franchise, despite having two years remaining on his current deal and is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $14 million in 2018.

At some point it sounds more and more like Robert Kraft, Patriots owner, is going to have to decide the fate of the team with Brady being at the head, or coach Bill Belichick.

Expect more drama this summer with the Pats, and this latest Brady news should have more people on alert as to what’s next for New England.

Patriots Dump 2017 Third Round Pick OL Antonio Garcia

The Patriots have released offensive tackle Antonio Garcia according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, quickly cutting ties with their third-round draft pick of a season ago.

It is a shocking move considering the team traded up to nab Garcia in the third round out of Troy just one year ago.

Garcia missed his entire rookie season while battling blood clots in his lungs but had been declared fully healthy and cleared to play in late March. Just a week ago the Patriots were talking about the 24-year-old as a legitimate option to replace Nate Solder at left tackle. Garcia did lose 40 pounds during his medical ordeal so conditioning may have been an issue.

Apparently the Patriots lost patience but, given his talent, it will likely not take Garcia long to resurface in the NFL.

Patriots Not Expected to Pick Up Options on CB Malcom Brown or DT Danny Shelton

The Patriots are not planning to pick up the fifth-year option in Malcom Brown’s contract, Kevin Duffy of Masslive reports.

Brown was eligible for the fifth-year option because he was a first-round pick in 2015.

If the Patriots had picked up the option, they would have owed him $7.15 million for the 2019 season, per Miguel Benzan of Boston Sports Journal.

Brown, who was the No. 32 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, enters the final year of his rookie deal this season.

He has started 37 games in three seasons for the Pats.

Additionally, the Patriots are not planning to pick up the option on Danny Shelton’s contract, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Shelton, who was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason, will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

Tom Brady Says He Wished Malcolm Butler Would Have Played in Super Bowl LII

Malcolm Butler going through drills.
(Photo By: David Silverman)

Most of New England has moved past Super Bowl LII, but the Malcolm Butler benching was broached on Monday during Tom Brady’s hour-long interview with Jim Gray, Kevin Duffy of Masslive reports.

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Santa Monic, Calif., Brady said he wished Butler had played in Super Bowl LII.

Curiously, Brady also said he wasn’t aware that Butler had been benched until the game was over.

“I’ll say this: For a team, this side of the room is the offense and this side is the defense,” Brady said. “We don’t interfere with them much. I didn’t know. Malcolm kept coming over to me during the game and was like ‘Come on, TB, let’s go!’ And I kept going, ‘What defense are we in where Malcolm’s not on the field?’ Is it short-yardage, goal line? And then after the game, I found out. So I just didn’t know. And I asked Malcolm and Malcolm said, ‘I don’t know. Coach has just decided something different.’ I said, ‘OK.’ So I don’t know what was a part of that decision-making, but I know we were trying to win the game. I don’t think we were trying to do anything but win.”

“Well, I don’t make those decisions. I wish he would’ve played, but the coach didn’t play him and we still had a chance to win,” Brady said,.

Report: Patriots Considered Moving Up to Number Two in the Draft to Take Baker Mayfield

The big news of the day is that the Patriots were one of the teams in the mix for the player that ended up being the first overall pick of Thursday’s NFL Draft – that being quarterback Baker Mayfield.

USA Today and other outlets report that the Pats were interested in moving up to the number two spot to make a deal for Mayfield, but the Browns quickly scooped him up with the first pick.

Here’s the story from USA Today.

Some of the best NFL trade stories are about ones never made.

This year’s NFL draft could have seen a blockbuster deal with the New England Patriots moving up to draft Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield in the No. 2 spot — if he hadn’t gone first overall to the Cleveland Browns.

Mayfield’s agent, Jack Mills, said on “The Business of Sports with Andrew Brandt” podcast he knew going into the draft his client was going to be one of the top three picks.

However, the Patriots were a wild card in the process.

“Another team had said, ‘You may get a big surprise on draft day, at No. 2, if he’s available.’ And it was the Patriots,” Mills said.

“They had 23 and they had 31 and they had two seconds. We thought, ‘That’s gonna be a heck of a move, to get up that high from where they are.’ And of course he wasn’t available so we never knew if that was a reality or not.”

Patriots Earn an ‘B+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Pats, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

The last time I saw Tom Brady on a football field, he threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns against a good defense. If the draft told us anything, it’s that the decision-makers in New England think No. 12 can continue to defy age for at least another year, because unless you think seventh-rounder Danny Etling is a great developmental prospect (I don’t), Brady has no Jimmy Garoppolo pushing him. In fact, the Patriots had a focus on helping Brady out. Isaiah Wynn (pick 23) has traits that say he might be better at guard, but he can play tackle. And if it wasn’t such a crowded backfield, I’d peg Sony Michel as a Rookie of the Year candidate — he’s an explosive SEC-tested running back who is scary in space. I’m typically down on first-round RBs, but he was No. 28 on my board, and the Patriots nabbed him at 31.

The Patriots’ defense — the secondary in particular — was thrashed too often last year, certainly in February, and Duke Dawson (56) could help. He’s best when he can play press-man, and seems like an immediate help in the slot. Linebacker would be a major concern if I were a Patriots fan, and Ja’Whaun Bentley (143) at least has a chance to stick. Braxton Berrios (210) seems cut from New England wide receiver central casting. No surprise if he sticks and finds a way to help — though don’t expect early returns.

Every year we ask if the Patriots could have done more, but this team annually picks at the end of Round 1. You have to develop when you pick where they do, and to their credit, they do. The big question will be whether they could have used the Michel pick for needed defensive help.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/23 Isaiah Wynn OT GEORGIA
1/31 Sony Michel RB GEORGIA
2/56 Duke Dawson CB FLORIDA
5/143 Ja’Whaun Bentley ILB PURDUE
6/178 Christian Sam OLB ARIZONA STATE
6/210 Braxton Berrios WR MIAMI
7/219 Danny Etling QB LSU
7/243 Keion Crossen CB WESTERN CAROLINA
7/250 Ryan Izzo TE FLORIDA STATE