We All Saw This Coming, Right?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Trying to figure out the New England Patriots is like this vintage office chair I am sitting in right now. I have sat in this chair everyday for years. I know this chair. Every once in awhile however, I will lean back to admire my work or take notes of the next prospect the Patriots probably won’t draft, and it happens. I keep leaning….and leaning…and leaning. Panic sets in an I flail about trying to regain my balance. I am sure when my Grandfather built this chair 60 plus years ago, he did not follow any safety guidelines and therefore created a chair that can lean back to a near horizontal position. That is why I love this chair but also realize that if I let my guard down, it might kill me. Then there is the Patriots. I have followed this team for the better part of thirty years and yet, just like this old chair, they can send even the longest tenured fan into a state of unrest at any moment. Like many of you, I thought I had a pretty good idea on how the start of free agency would go. I mean, they are so predictable, right? I assumed they would sit out the first few days without out making any headlines except maybe resigning Dont’a Hightower. I also thought they would be mulling over the decision on whether to match another teams offer for Malcolm Butler. Then I leaned back in my chair….

So now what? I suppose the only logic thing to do is to put pen to paper and try to predict the next few days, right? That can’t possibly backfire on me. So, here are a few things I think might still happen and here are some thought on what has already gone down.

  1. I think Hightower resigns with the Patriots. The more time that passes with Hightower still on the market, the more I think he is coming back to New England. My guess is that they are just working out some details and he should be in the fold sometime today or tomorrow.
  2. I think either Jimmy Garappolo or Malcolm Butler will be traded. I have gone back and forth on this so much, but I have a hard time thinking Belichick is comfortable going into this draft with no first or second round pick. I think that may actually kill him if he has to wait until the end of Day 2 of the NFL Draft to make a pick. He has always preached that you build your team through the draft and how he hates to have large gaps between picks. Something has to give in order for the Patriots to have some earlier picks.
  3. I think with the moves the Patriots have made, the Patriots will need to focus on LB, RB, OL, DE and CB in the NFL Draft.

Now, lets talk about what has actually happened.

  1. Stephone Gillmore: I was shocked when I heard the Patriots were going to sign him. I have always liked Gillmore, but I never would have guessed they were throw that kind of money at a player that was not a player they had drafted and developed. I was assuming that type of contract was going to be going to Butler. If the Patriots do keep Butler at least for this season, their secondary is going to be very special.
  2. Kony Ealy: Ealy has shown flashes of a player that warranted his original draft slot, but his performance has been inconsistent in his first couple of seasons. The reality of this trade is that the Patriots gave up next to nothing for a player who fills a position of need, is young, and has the athletic traits to develop into a really good player.
  3. Brandin Cooks: For years, Patriots fans have clamored for the team to get a home run threat to pair with Tom Brady. Well, ask no more. Cooks is an electric receiver who does more than just run go routes. The price tag was steep, but not outragous. Cooks is a proven NFL top tier Wide Receiver and is only 23 years old with 2 years of control at a reasonable cost. Losing the first rounder hurts from a draft perspective, but its tough to argue with the talent they are getting.
  4. Lawrence Guy: When the Patriots resigned Branch, I thought the team would be satisfied with their Defensive Line. I was wrong. Guy will be a nice rotational player that can get some pressure on the QB. I think his role and his performance could be very close to what Akeem Hicks did for the team a few years ago.
  5. Dwayne Allen: Allen should have been #1 on this list, but after all the moves that happened over the last couple of days, I kind of forgot about this move to be honest. I actually like this trade a lot. Allen is younger than Bennett and has a Patriots mindset. I think he will fit in well and can produce similarly to Bennett last year. He needs to stay healthy, but even his injury concerns have been a bit overblown.

The Patriots also resigned Harmon, which is a solid resigning that keeps the continuity together at the Safety position. I think all three (McCourty, Chung, Harmon) Safeties have defined roles and keeping those players in those roles is a good thing.

I am waiting a few more days to get back into my reports to see if any other news drops. I want to make sure I am focusing on the right positions when scouting. Enjoy this, because who knows if we will see this type of activity in free agency from the Patriots for awhile.


180 Responses to “We All Saw This Coming, Right?”

  1. Russell says:

    Saints offer to butler was not enough, he needs to settle with a Patriots offer in the $8 mil. yr. for 3 yrs. ball park, OR sign the tender a play for $3.9 mil. for 2017.

    • EdgeX says:

      Is this fact or your opinion?

      • steve earle says:

        According to WBZ in Boston Pat’s are working on trading Butler to N.O. for their #32 pick used to get Cooks. Make what you will of this. To me is says no one outside the Pat’s knows anything, all guesses.

  2. Stephen J says:

    A breakdown of the Saints selections: Breakdown of Patriots selections:

    Round 1, pick 11

    Round 1, pick 32

    Round 2, Pick 10 (42nd overall)

    Round 3, Pick 12 (76th overall) Pats Round 3, Pick 8 (72nd)

    Round 3, Pick 39 (103rd overall) Pats Round 3, Pick 32 (96th)

    Round 6, Pick 12 (196th overall) Pats Round 4, (131st)

    Round 7, Pick 11 (229th overall) Pats Round 5, (163rd)
    Pats Round 5, (183rd)
    Pats Round 6, (200th)
    Pats Round 7, (239th)

    Here are the picks both teams currently have that could be traded or swapped.

    • Russell says:

      I still think 2nd #42 & 3d #76 is more to BB liking then 1s #32.

      • EdgeX says:

        I think they are going to get #32, #42, and #76!

        The Saints would probably rationalize it by saying – hey! We still have another first rounder and a 3rd rounder, so under normal draft circumstances you’re telling me we can have Malcolm Butler for a 2nd round pick??? Where do I sign!

        At least this is my hope.

        • Russell says:

          Holey Cow, If I’m the Saints you can have #11, we’ll keep #32, #42, #76……..they need players!

    • Gerry says:

      The Saints real problem is how they find cap to sign Butler to a contract he will want, deserves. It would have to be a larger signing bonus with a small year one base. That would result in larger cap hits in the next 2-3 years.

      I have not heard of other team negotiating with Butler. I think he is back in NE.

      • steve earle says:

        Been thinking the same thing, where are they going to get the money? I’m a fan of Butler and hope he gets resigned to a good contract by Bill. Crossing my fingers.

  3. GM-In-Training says:

    What happens if Butler and the Saints agree, but the Saints and Pats don’t?

    I could see the Saints thinking, “We’ll pony up $11M/year for 3 years with a big SB and sweet guarantees” but we won’t pony up #32 and a 4th rounder.”

    The Pats have the leverage. They could say, “If you want Butler, outbid us and give us #11 and he’s yours. If you want to trade, it’s gonna cost more than giving us our #32 back.”

    Butler is a good guy who deserves more than $3.9M this year…but there are a whole bunch of scenarios where that doesn’t happen.

    As far as retconning all this to take back the #32 and pretend it was just a Cooks for Butler trade…I actually think awesome CB are more important than awesome WR. You can scheme a receiver open, but a CB has to just be better than the WR they’re covering. I think Butler makes a bigger difference in the outcome of games.

    • Jeff says:

      They may have already decided the draft pick compensation in advance when they were negotiating the Cooks trade. If so, it may simply be contingent on if Butler and the Saints agree on a contract. Sounds like the Pats 1st rounder is the primary piece in this deal from reports.

      • Russell says:

        VERY good thought Jeff, I was wondering the same thing, where Butler was part of the original talks.

      • steve earle says:

        Have to disagree. If it was all about the #32 it would have been a straight trade in the first place it seems to me. Now so why in the world BB get into trade talks again with N.O. rather then just let them and Butler’s agent beat their gums and try to come to some deal that Bill can say yes or no to? Bill would then have the option to match or take their 1st #11.
        I know Russell doesn’t think Bill wants #11 but again if he didn’t a deal would have been already made.

        • Todti says:

          a) Since Butler hadn’t signed his tender at that point, it was not possible to include him in the actual trade.
          b) Belichick and Payton are friends, or at least have a good relationship, so you can pretty much rule out any aggressive negotiation practice.
          c) It would just make sense for both teams to have agreed on the whole Cooks-Butler-trades as early as possible so they can confidently work on other FAs.
          d) It’s not like the Saints suddenly realised they have a tight cap situation. They certainly had Butler at the back of their minds.

        • steve earle says:

          @ Todti: All very true. It could be that a deat between Pat’s and N.O. was already worked out in principal but that sense Butler has not signed his tender N.O. is trying to get him on board contract wise. This is all speculation of course and we will not know anything until something actually happens. I’m still hoping Butler is resigned.

  4. Russell says:

    Coach Belichick is at Vanderbilt pro-day , no doubt looking/meeting with OT Will Holden.

  5. Ryan says:

    Elijah Lee of Kansas State, an OLB, had his pro day on Tuesday. Here’s how he did:

    He measured 6-2, 229 pounds and ran an unofficial 4.65 40-yard dash, 4.27 in the short shuttle and a 6.91 time in the 3-cone event. He also produced a 38-inch vertical jump, 18 repetitions on the bench press and a 122-inch broad jump.

    Seems like a very good athlete for the position. Now that Hightower’s back I’m not sure that we would pick a linebacker early in the draft, but Lee would be a great candidate for a Day 3 pick because he somehow wasn’t invited to the combine. If he can continue to float under the radar like he has so far, he could be a tremendous bargain. Over the past two years he’s accumulated 190 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss to go with 5 picks and 2 forced fumbles. There’s a bit of everything in his game and I’d like to see him given the chance to be a sideline-to-sideline defender like Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones.

    • Ryan says:

      Conflicting results from NFL.com, timing him a little bit slower in everything:

      LB Elijah Lee (6-2 1/2, 229) ran the 40 in 4.73 and 4.71 seconds, had a 38-inch vertical, a 10-2 broad jump, a 4.36-second short shuttle, a 7.14-second three-cone, and added 18 lifts on the bench. He’s a bit of a late-developer who likely has worked his way into Day 3 draft discussion.

      The old report was from a New Orleans news website, nola.com. I’m more tempted to believe NFL.com, especially since the other website reported the times as unofficial.

      On another note, here’s what NFL.com had to say about Deante Burton, a receiver who failed to materialize in KSU’s offense, posting just one 100-yard game in his three years:

      WR Deante Burton (6-1 7/8, 200) ran an identical pair of 40s in 4.52 seconds, had a 38-inch vertical, a 10-foot-10 broad jump, a 4.13-second short shuttle, a 6.79-second three-cone drill, and didn’t participate in the bench press. He’s a smooth route runner who didn’t have a single drop in his workout.

      He looks like a prime UDFA signing for the Pats. He’ll have to be a much better player in the NFL than he was in college to see playing time, but if we stash him on the practice squad we could end up with a very nice athlete in the future.

      • steve earle says:

        Not sure I’d want to use locker space as from what little being presented here doesn’t sound very optimistic chance to stick. Lots of other UDFA types in this draft. Still I’m going to see what I can find about him.

    • Stephen J says:

      Elijah Lee is another one of those tweeners that they are too slow to be a safety yet too small(Needs to add another 10-15 lbs) to be a LB. What do you do with that.
      He was one that initially I was excited about then I started realizing what the Pats look for in Safety’s and LB’s then I realized he didn’t fit them. Then his times just brought that about even more so.

      • Ryan says:

        Well, Kwon Alexander is doing an amazing job for the Buccaneers and Deion Jones is off to a great start with the Falcons. These guys can be impact players if they are used right, so while Lee would represent a risk for us he could pay off substantially as a lighter player who can fly from sideline to sideline and make plays. Lee is interesting because he could potentially be had for a Day 3 draft pick and there is evidence of players like him succeeding in the NFL.

      • Ryan says:

        Also, Belicheck spent today putting Zach Cunningham through his paces. Cunningham is only 5 pounds heavier than Lee and considered a first- or second-round pick. Seems like Belicheck has some level of interest in this type of player.

        • Stephen J says:

          He maybe willing to work with a player who only needs to add 5-7 and not 10-12. Maybe he is putting him through drills because he wants to see him first hand because it maybe a player he has to deal with because the Jets Dolphins or Bills are interested in him. He has personally scouted many players they haven’t selected. Who knows at this point just have to go by their track record with who they have selected right now.

        • Ryan says:

          The visit could very well be a smokescreen, I’ll give you that. But if it’s not, there’s genuine interest in this type of player, and the guys I cited before are NOT bulking up to 240 to play. In fact, Alexander and Jones are both sub-230 right now. These guys stay light so that they can fly around the field; it’s a new dimension of linebacker used more now that box safeties aren’t used as much. Taking a player like Cunningham or Lee and asking them to bulk up and be a traditional linebacker is a waste of a special talent, and I don’t Belicheck doing that.

          As for tradition in Foxborough, we all know Bill liked to shake things up. He wouldn’t be the first on this train, but he has a chance now to catch before the rest of the league does. Tell me, why exactly did Belicheck draft Kamu Grugier-Hill last year?

        • Stephen J says:

          Well Ryan you maybe in luck. I just checked out Elijah Lee’s pro day. Here are his measurements and times. 6’025″ 229 lbs Bench 18 reps Vertical 38″ Long 10’2″ 122 inches, 40 4.65, 20 shuttle 4.27 and 3 cone 6.91. Outside of his weight he tested very well and exactly what the Pats would look for.
          So I decided to look for LB’s that Pats have drafted for their Height Weight. Well I didn’t have to look long for there is one that stood out right away and it was last year Kamu Grugier-Hill.
          Here are his Pro Day measurements and times 6’021 220 lbs Bench 15 reps Vertical 38.5″ Broad Jump 10’9″ or 129 inches 40 4.45; 20 shuttle 4.20 and 3 cone 6.89. So both KGH and Elijah Lee are very similar and actually Lee weighs 9 pounds more and is a little slower but a little stronger as well. So it is possible that the Pats would draft him but KGH was drafted in the 6th round and then later released because of his weight and strength. So not sure if they would go for Lee in the 3rd but if he was around in the 5th-6th rounds he could be an option.

        • Ryan says:

          I agree. Unless we get more picks I wouldn’t even think of Lee until the 5th, and certainly not in the 3rd. I’ve seen players who are snubbed from the combine fall far in the past, however, because their absence at the combine indicates a lack of interest from NFL front offices, who are polled to determine participants. If Lee falls, I hope the Patriots capitalize.

  6. EdgeX says:

    Per the contract guru over at Patscap after signing Dont’a Hightower and everyone else in free agency is accounted for, except upcoming draft class – which he has calculated with current picks will cost Pat’s ~$750K against the cap.

    With that said, Pat’s have over $27M left in available cap space!!!

    Also he has a post on possible restructure for Amendola which would save the Pats another $5m towards cap space!

    So what moves are most likely next?

    Extend Brady?
    Extend Solder?
    Extend Edelmen?
    Extend Butler?

    How about other players they could sign? Because I don’t think they are done.

    First name that sticks out to me is Jonathan Hankins, who’s a young upcoming DT, signing him would definitely lock up some depth at the DT position for the Pat’s.


    • Russell says:

      OT Nate Solder #1 to extend 2-3 years (draft a developmental OT this yr. )
      QB Garoppolo “IF” your going to keep him, extent contract 2-3 years.
      OLB Van Noy , extend 2-3 years. (draft a developmental LB this yr.)
      Do what ever is needed for Brady
      Roll over money to next year.
      I don’t see many holes that need more free agents.
      The draft needs to get , a Chung replacement, (draft a S)
      Draft a CB, S, OT, Edge/LB, RB

    • rob says:

      OLB Connor Barwin- playing out of position in Philly as a 4-3 D end. He can dropin coverage and rush the Q.B.

      Use money on Butler or save for Garappolo next year

      As I see it draft is dependent on possible Butler trade

      Draft needs- DE OLB S TE Swing Tackle

      UDFA- Tanner Gentry WR, Kyle Fuller C, Leon Mcquay S, Medina K,Georgr Kittles RB

  7. Russell says:

    If the Saints can work out a way to pay Butler $10 mil. per year, I doubt the Patriots match that much, $8 mil. yes they match and keep Butler.
    My feeling is the Saints come up with a way to give Butler $10 mil. a year for 4-5 years & trades , for 2nd,#42 & 3d #76.
    If they gave BB the 1st #32, BB would likely trade it for a 2nd & 3d anyway on draft day. At least this way he knows what picks & where they are; so he can project his selections.

    • Russell says:

      Another reason I think the Saints trade for Butler with their 2nd #42 and 3d #67 is the Saints want 1st #32 & 1st #11; is to draft a QB (Trubisky) and a starting Defensive player.( DE Barnett or Jordon Willis, or Hassan Reddick, )
      To the Saints 1st #32 is an advantage to pick, a great prospect who may have dropped on the 1st round board (remember DT Malcom Brown) before the start of the second round.

      • Matt says:

        If the Saints sign Butler they have to give the Pats there first round pick # 11 at least that’s whats on there tender offer. Why in the world should the Pats make things easy for the Saints? By taking a lesser pick so the Saints can draft who they want in the first round like you said they might take a QB and a D line man in the first screw that.

        • Russell says:

          you are correct, however BB knows the #11 pick is to Rich, for Butlers value. Remember if no team makes a deal for Butler (tender) Butler signs tender for $3.9 mil. & plays for the Patriots, OR holds out the 2017 season. Then 2018 Patriots lose Butler to free agency , & at best get a 3d round compensatory pick 2019.
          So any team interested in Butler, must pay him , ( Est. $10 mil. a yr.) will not want to give a 1st pick. (maybe Green bay # 29)
          So a trade is much more likely, a player, or two/three draft choices.

        • Matt says:

          You really think Butler would do that?It would not make him look good to his team mates. Also how many players sat out a whole year over a contract? Plus the Pats could tag him in 2018 and really piss him off. Then were is he? He would just be two years older.

      • Stephen J says:

        There are 2 late round to Undrafted players the Pats could be looking at as well

        Adam Butler who is 6’5″ 300 lbs who can move and has the versatility to play multiple positions along the DL

        Then there is BARRETT GOUGER who is 6’4 305 lbs he has the versatility to play all three interior offensive line positionsand is a highly intelligent guy who has the ability to call plays from the center position. According to Scout.com

    • Todti says:

      My thoughts exactly, although I’m not sure the Patriots wouldn’t match $10m. It would definitely be a lot of money already allocated for the next season, but they could get rid of Gilmore for reasonable costs after 3 years if he didn’t pan out.
      Are there any projections for the future development of the salary cap? If it keeps on rising it will be a smart move to sign Gilmore and Butler for less than $25m over the next 5 years, especially if Brady keeps on playing during that period (and continues to take below-average money).

  8. GM-In-Training says:

    For compensatory picks, do we count resigning our own FA the same as signing FA away from other teams? Do we count Hightower, Branch, Harmon and such?

    From other teams we’ve got:
    Gilmore $13.5M/yr.
    Guy $3.3M/year
    Burkhead $3.1M/yr.

    Offsetting that we’ve got:
    Ryan $10m/year.
    Sheard $8.5M/year.
    Bennett $7M/year.
    Mingo $2.5M
    Long TBD

    Blount and Butler TBD, but it seems most likely Butler would be traded rather than tendered.

    • Stephen J says:

      I don’t know for certain but I believe its for players we have lost and then brought in(elsewhere) and not for those that we have retained.

    • Russell says:

      Base on info to date, I would project the Patriots get an early 4th round compensatory pick OR two later picks 6th round?
      Bolden will likely sign in Detroit, my be Blount also.

  9. Stephen J says:

    Nothing surprising but Nick Underhill just tweeted that Malcolm Butler is in New Orleans. Tomorrow’s story we will be following now that Hightower is done.

    • Russell says:

      Given New Orleans salary cap issues, it will take some ‘work’ to get Butler a $10 mil. a year contract. Saints could be thinking of trading a player, for Butler to lose some cap space. DT Sheldon Rankins ?? (about $3 mil. in cap space.)

      • EdgeX says:

        At $10million or less a year, one would have to think the Pat’s would match that right?

        I’d be shocked if Pat’s let him go at that price. I know this is a good CB draft, but still….proven commodity here with MB.

        It will be interesting to see how this works out.

        • Stephen J says:

          My thoughts exactly EdgeX. The only other thing would be with bringing in of Gilmore maybe they changed their backfield approach and they spotted someone who could fit/fill that role better in the draft at a cheaper cost for 4-5 years. Time will tell but as of right now until things become clearer I am hoping to work things out with Butler would love to see him and Gilmore on the field together.

        • steve earle says:

          Agree completely, $10M or under for a pro bowl cal. in his prime who knows the system, how do we pass on that
          I will be drooling to see our Def backfield if that happens, Jeeze!

      • Ryan says:

        Rankins for Butler? Please let the Saints be that stupid.

        • Stephen J says:

          That’s a possibility. Say it’s a straight up trade no picks involved. That would solve the DT position but we still don’t have any picks in the 1st and 2nd and now would need a CB. Let’s say Gilmore is Butler’s replacement then we would be looking at a replacement for Logan Ryan which is more likely or doable with the current picks we have. At this point not sure how I feel about that.

        • Ryan says:

          Rankins is on a relatively cheap deal for the next few years, making him a bargain compared to Butler. Butler is the better player right now, but Rankins is the better value.

      • Stephen J says:

        Now the Saints just brought Travaris Cadet back as well no mention of contract as of yet but that lowers their cap even more.

  10. GM-In-Training says:

    Depth, Depth, Depth, Depth, Depth.

    Part of why last season was so great was the Pats had some luck on player health, and depth.

    Any position that mattered seemed to have two talented players just in case.

    TB12 got to rest 4 extra weeks at the start of the season, and that may have helped. 2 backup QB won games in the mean time.

    That is why I’m still not 100% sure what will become of Butler and JimmyG. Is depth today or future development better served by having them on the roster, or cashing them out for talented rookies? What helps most?

    If you recall, last year the Pats invited several “high-upside” highly-drafted veterans to camp who did not stick around. Donald Brown, Terrance Knighton, J. Cooper come to mind. They also invited several journeyman players who could have been depth upgrades, but didn’t stick such as DT M. Kuhn, and TE Cliff Harbour. They seem to be giving more guaranteed money to this year’s mid-tier FA guys, so I’m not sure what to make of it.

    I ask you, what positions do Pats look for more cheap FA so they can miss on a few and still have really good depth?

    My guess is LB, DT, RB and Center. They’re all affordable positions who get worn down in camp.

    • Jeff says:

      Honestly their depth at most positions is already pretty good before the draft even starts, but one position I’d expect a veteran signing or two at would be wide receiver. While there are 5 “roster locks” in Cooks, Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell, and Slater, I see Amendola as a likely cap casualty, which would leave the Pats with 6 bodies (including Lucien) at the position. They often have 10-12 at the position in camp. So even if you throw in 3 players through the draft and undrafted free agents, you still need a body or two to get your numbers up. Furthermore, if you strike gold with a guy, they can consider carrying a sixth man at the position, especially if they have return or other special teams skills. There’s going to be bodies at the position coming from somewhere, so at least 1 low cost FA would be likely. Deonte Thompson and Marquess Wilson would be my picks for guys that you wouldn’t have to break the bank for but could provide some good camp competition. They’ve got the back end of their DT lineup covered with Hamilton and Kilgo, and may need to cut one or two linebackers from the final roster as well. At interior OL, they have 3 practice squad guys from last year – as much as I’d like to see a name of someone with pro experience in that group, they must like what they have to have used 3 spots on guards. I could see a DE brought in on the cheap, as they’re a bit short on bodies there as well.

  11. Stephen J says:

    Here is an interesting article on New Orleans cap space


    It is going to be interesting to see how they handle Malcolm Butler

    Right now it looks like they have around 12 million available and need 7 million for draft which leaves 5 million until June when Jairus Byrd with a June 1 designation will free up $7.8 million

    • steve earle says:

      These numbers, assuming there close, begs two questions in my mind. Are Butler’s agent(s) going to wait two and a half months hoping N.O. will pony up big bucks and have no other “wants” on their minds? Does N.O. have any other way to free up the cash to make a deal for Butler?
      If the answer to the latter is “no” looks like the Butler question is not going to be settled, at least with the Saints, until June. Another question now comes to mind. After the Hightower signing could BB match an offer from N.O.?

      • Stephen J says:

        I don’t think it would be a problem this year but where it would start having an effect would be next year and beyond especially with Jimmy G not sure how they work both out and have room for others sign one or the other sure both highly unlikely

        • steve earle says:

          Sure, agree with that but just looking at the Butler N.O. factors effecting any signings there. The whole other question is does Bill want to keep JG? The debate rages.

        • steve earle says:

          Stephen you may have hit on the answer to why Bill hasn’t signed Butler. It keeps prospective teams looking to acquire JG from being sure if BB wants to trade Jimmy. That indecision could keep the price high. Any thoughts?

        • Stephen J says:

          Steve you want me to read BB’s mind. Ha Ha Ha lol. Here are my thoughts though. I don’t think they have anything to do with each other. 2 separate entities that are playing out. I do think BB is allowing others to do the bidding for him. Meaning he judges what the market is and says ok here is what I am willing to pay, now go and see what you can get. He then waits to see what unfolds and makes a decision on what he see’s as best for the team. Now if other teams misconstrue what is happening and make foolish decisions based off of misinformation/perceptions or other things then all the better for us.

        • steve earle says:

          @ Stephen: Probably right, two unrelated but they don’t make it any easier on other GM’s. Yea, very obvious Bill is letting those other GM’s do the negotiating and setting the market prices, smart.

  12. Stephen J says:

    Ok Mike Binky vs Binky who would you pick 3rd round Kareem Hunt vs Joe Mathis

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Stephen, I think my head just exploded. I can cheat and get both because the Patriots have 2 3rd round picks right now.
      The way the team is set up right now….I give the edge to Hunt, but a smile would be on my face if either is wearing a Patriots uniform next year.
      I am working on a Scouting Report for another guy with binkie potential at the Corner position.

  13. Todti says:

    Per Adam Schefter:
    “Patriots are giving LB Dont’a Hightower a 4-year, $43.5M deal that includes $19M guaranteed, per @_sportstrust.”

    That’s a nice deal, probably includes a lot of incentives and boni based on health/availability.

  14. Mike Gerken says:

    Hightower is back! 4 years, 43.5 million dollars. 19m guaranteed. Likely that playing time incentives are built into that contract so could be even a better deal for Patriots. Great day! Great value

    • Russell says:

      Patriots at South Carolina pro day spend extra time with LB T.J. Holloman, 6’3″ 230 lbs. 4.7 40yd, 23 bench , two time team Captain.
      I’ve been watching DE Marquavius Lewis at S.C., 6’3 1/2″ 276 lbs. 4.96 40 yd,,

      • Stephen J says:

        Patriots at South Carolina pro day spend extra time with LB T.J. Holloman, 6’3″ 230 lbs. 4.7 40yd, 23 bench , two time team Captain.
        I’ve been watching DE Marquavius Lewis at S.C., 6’3 1/2″ 276 lbs. 4.96 40 yd,

        Out of the two I would say Lewis at least he is more in line with what the Pats look for in regard to size/measurements. As far as Holloman he is to small weight wise to be an ILB and to slow to be a Safety what do you do with that. Over all I’d pass on both but keep Lewis in the back of my mind for a possible Undrafted Free Agent

        • Russell says:

          I watched some tape on Holloman, not anything stands out. Interviews well.
          My Binky in Jimmie Gilbert similar size, 6’4″ 237 lbs. 34 3/8″ arms , runs 4.67 40 yd. Gilbert plays more DE/OLB, interviews well, intelligent.
          Willis would be the best bet for Edge/OLB but he had a lot of teams talking to him , at his Pro-day.

        • Stephen J says:

          In regards to Willis. I think he will be a good player but needs a year or two to develop ie Trey Flowers. I just see someone drafting him higher more as a starter than I would take him (mid 3rd-4th)in order for him to develop. Right now his athleticism namely speed and change of direction just doesn’t show up on tape not sure why that is.

  15. Russell says:

    Burkhead’s contract was surprising only one year. RB Dion Lewis, and RB James white contracts end next year as well. I would think, (looking ahead a year, like BB) that the Patriots may be looking in the draft for a RB ,this year. With RB Foster & Gaffney on the roster presently.
    With Butler likely heading out of town, I would think drafting a CB, would be part of this years plan as well.
    A S to replace Chung, “if” Richards is a bust, could be in this years draft as well.

    • Stephen J says:

      As far as Safety goes I’ve been looking at Josh Jones of NC State in the 3rd Delano Hill of Michigan in the 5th and Xavier Woods from Louisiana Tech in the 7th(Questionable due to his weight needs about 10 more pounds)

      RB I’ve looked at 7 of them but they all except for one don’t meet the Pat’s requirements/check list across the board(carries/fumbles,measurements(Height Weight) intangibles(3 cone/20 shuttle) and on/off field issues.

      At CB to many possibilities in the 1st and 2nd rounds but since we don’t have any picks right now I will just cover a couple. Someone will most likely slip to the 3rd but who is anyone’s guess right now.
      One that I don’t hear anyone talking about is Houston’s Howard Wilson outside of Washington’s Kevin King his 3 cone and 20 shuttle times scream Patriots slot corner. He could put on another 5-10 pounds. Now there is more that needs looking at but that catches my attention as a possibility in the late 3rd-4th
      Ahkello Witherspoon of Colorado is another CB that is a possibility but falls into that early/mid 3rd round to as late as the 4th here is a nice breakdown of him.

      Another CB that Russell brought up recently that has peaked my interest because he matches what the Pats look for as far as measurements and times goes is Jack Tocho of NC St. While watching Josh Jones video I would notice him coming up and make plays(doing his job). He seems to read plays well and seems to tackle well in the limited amount I saw of him.

      Now LB/Edge is real interesting I’ve been surprised at what I found when looking outside the box. At first I was looking at just Linebackers which there are a couple that fit the Pats criteria but either it was a reach injuries etc then when I started looking at all those edge rushers and then looking at their combine measurements and times and started projecting them to the LB position wow some things started catching me by surprise.
      The three that I like the best at that Jamie Collins roll is TJ Watt, Tyus Bowser, and Derek Rivers. Now TJ Watt will probably be off the board the earliest so I pretty much discounted him. My preference is Tyus Bowser because he is more athletic and speedy but Derek Rivers is also athletic just a bit bigger and more powerful almost a mix between Collins and Hightower meaning not as rangy and quick as Collins but not as big and strong as Hightower. Pick which one you like better both fit the mold. Now this next one caught me as a surprise but as I looked at it more from this new perspective as an ILB I started liking it because it played to his strength’s and abilities and that was Trey Hendrickson at Dont’a Hightowers position now mind you this was before Hightower re-signed today but if you look at their measurements and times Hendrickson actually grades out a bit better than Hightower that shocked me. Hendrickson plays much better as an ILB than as a DE. When I watched his tape he diagnosis’ plays well uses his hands sheds blockers and tackles well. Where he struggles is his pass rushing moves(needs more moves and refinement of those moves he does have) and double teams. So he is someone that would be great to develop.
      The other DE that keeps coming up in the later rounds 5th on is Deatrich Wise Jr from Arkansas. The one thing I noticed with him when I watched him was his motor he seemed to take plays off. Then something hit me maybe he was taking plays of because of conditioning. If that is the case then he would be someone I’d be interested in. As Doug Kyed He was a strong run defender and missed just one tackle as a senior and is similar to Kony Ealy in size and athleticism.

      • Stephen J says:

        Also a LB from a straight Height Weight and Athletic times wise perspective that checks the Patriots boxes is Ben Gideon. Haven’t watched tape specifically on him but what I’ve seen it seems that he doesn’t do anything great but isn’t really out of position or a liability either but one who is just a consistant football player

      • Russell says:

        CB Jack Tocho looked very good to me, and he is HIGHLY intelligent. S josh jones looked very good as well, nice size to replace Chung in the future.

        • Stephen J says:

          Jones biggest problem is he can be over aggressive which leads to penalties bad angles etc. He is a no nonsense hit now ask questions later type of guy.

      • steve earle says:

        Of those DE/OLB’s you mention Tyus Bowser looked really impressive in his highlight reel, but of course that’s why there highlights. Still I don’t think he would disappoint.

  16. Mike Gerken says:

    Well, as we patiently wait for the Hightower and Butler fiasco to unfold, I have been working on my “Big Board” and hope to get another Scouting report out either later today or tomorrow morning.
    Hopefully we get some more good news today.

  17. Todti says:

    A couple of lower-tier FAs that I’m still hoping the Patriots sign:

    – Luke Willson, TE, Seahwaks
    A good blocking TE who is a reliable target in the passing game. He’s not going to wow people but he should be #3 immediately. Furthermore, while Bennett was basically a lesser version of (a healthy) Gronk, Allen is a completely different type. One of the reasons the Patriots were fine without Gronk was that they didn’t have to change their scheme, they just called the same plays with Bennett in Gronk’s place. They won’t be able to do that with Allen, which limits their offensive play calling. So, in my opinion, they need a reliable and solid Gronk-type TE. That could be Willson (or Adam Shaheen if they get back a high draft pick). I could go off on a rant about the small difference in pay between Allen and Bennett, but why bother…

    – Kerry Wynn, DE, Giants
    He’s a great run-stuffing DE and that’s it. But the Giants gave him an original-round tender at $1.8m and since he was an UDFA, another team won’t have to give up any draft pick at all. Since the Patriots’ DEs’ task #1 is setting the edge I could see Wynn getting a good, reasonable offer from the Patriots. Especially if the Patriots don’t trade Butler and Garoppolo and don’t have a high draft pick.

    – DeAndre Levy, LB, Lions
    I could see the Patriots offering him a one-year deal to see what condition he’s in and if he
    could get back to his 2013/14 version. Priority might increase if Hightower left.

    – Brandon Flowers, CB, Chargers
    Similar to Levy, but should be a real option in case they trade Butler. He was pretty good before his injury and would present a CB type that’s not on the roster (at least not as a reliable option at this point).

    • Ryan says:

      I’m in favor of 3 of those 4. I personally think that Levy is the definition of washed-up, and I don’t see any reason to add him unless Hightower leaves. Flowers might be similar, but I like him as an undersized veteran guy who has experience matching up against slot types.

  18. macspak says:

    disappointed Burkhead’s contract only is for 1 year though it is a nice contract making me wonder if Blount is coming back.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Here are my thoughts on the one year deal for Burkhead (or any 1 year, prove it deal really)
      The key is getting the guy in your building, and in your system. I am sure he wants a chance to show he can be more of a runner than he has been given the chance. I think the Patriots want to see IF he can do that. If he can, then the Patriots have shown some loyalty to him by giving him the $$$ and the chance which gives them the inside track to resign him.
      If he really goes off and has a great year and another team throws money at him, the Patriots get the compensatory pick, which they could see the value in as well.

      • Todti says:

        I’m wondering whether the Patriots adapt this as a strategy to accumulate compensatory picks. Low-buy one-year players have quite worked in their favour lately: Bennett, Long, maybe Floyd, Hicks, Ayers, Blount’s first stint. Now Burkhead, Ealy and maybe even Housler could be those one-year rentals that yield the Patriots compensatory picks while providing at least depth in the short term.

  19. Russell says:

    Next guy to watch for the Patriots in free agency: TE Mychal Rivera 26, 6’3″ 245 lbs. Would be a smaller contract, for sure.

    • macspak says:

      Isn’t he coming off a down year after an injury? I agree he could offer great value and depth with relatively high upside.

    • Ryan says:

      Maybe I’m a bit paranoid, Russell, but I’d rather not roll with 3 injury-prone tight ends. I love Dwayne Allen and I really like Mychal Rivera’s potential, but having both of them as backups to Gronk seems like a recipe for disaster.

      • Russell says:

        Good point on the injury issue, but having three guys splitting playing time may help to save any injuries. Rivera is a better receiver , than Allen, while Allen is the better blocker. Patriots sign TE Williams coming of a knee, but at 290 lbs, more of a blocker.

  20. Stephen J says:

    For those that are looking for more on Rex Burkhead here is a great breakdown of him coming out of college with a comparison to retired RB Fred Jackson who played 10 yrs was 6’1 215 with 1305 carries for 5746 yards


  21. EdgeX says:

    Jeff Howe of Boston Herald echoing some of my feelings here regarding MB trade:

    “The NFL draft trade value chart (outdated, but a guideline nonetheless) lists the 11th pick as worth 1,250 points. A comparable trade should then include the 32nd (590 pts), 42nd (480) and 76th (210) picks (1,280 points total). So unless the Pats get that type of haul in return, they’d be doing the Saints a huge favor by negotiating a trade before an offer sheet.”

    Either way you dice it Pat’s should get a haul for MB if they choose to go the trade route.

    • Todti says:

      a) Using Chase Stuart’s EMPIRICAL draft value chart, 11 (19.3) is by far less than 32 (12.5), 42 (10.8) and 76 (7). It’s even less than 42, 76 and 103 (5.1). A fair equation would be:
      11 (19.3) = 42 (10.8) + 76 (7) + 103 (5.1) – Pats’ 131 (3.6)

      b) I’m pretty sure, no team will sign Butler to a contract and give up a 1st round pick. Not with the amount of money they would have to pay him. It’s going to be a trade or nothing, and the Saints/Payton are pretty close with Belichick.

      c) Regarding what Howe recently wrote, the most important part is:
      “According to the source, the Patriots also told Butler they wouldn’t pay any cornerbacks that type of money. (Darrelle Revis, who earned $12 million in 2014, was the exception, but consider his credentials.) Butler understood the message, raised his performance level in 2016 and didn’t cause any locker-room disruptions.
      But it stung Butler last week when the Patriots signed Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract that included $40 million in guaranteed money. There’s no denying Butler was ticked off upon hearing a free agent landed the most lucrative contract Bill Belichick has ever doled out, especially when it was his understanding, according to the source, that the Pats had no intentions of hitting $10 million annually for any corners.
      That frustration soon subsided, but Gilmore’s deal will have ramifications. Butler has no plans to hold out this season if he remains a Patriot under the terms of the $3.91 million tender, and it would be out of character to protest his contract behind the scenes. It’s important to highlight that distinction, as employees can both wish for more money and still be productive members of the team.”

      You could say Butler got kinda f***ed by the Patriots and he’s still a class act.

      d) I’m still pondering the reasons for the Patriots to basically switch the type of their #1 CB. To recapitualte, they played Butler 1-on-1 against the quick, agile WRs and had their bigger CB with safety help against the big WR. Apart from the freaks like Julio Jones, the really big WRs are usually not faster than the quick ones.
      My theory is that the Patriots got frustrated with having safety help over the slower WR because it is somewhat redundant while Butler had to play 1-on-1, which no CB can win all the time. So the couple times that Butler lost it was a home run (e.g. him falling down against OBJ in 2015 resulting in a long TD). So, the Patriots reallocated their #1CB onto the bigger WRs (and Gilmore is by far more athletic and agile than Rowe) so that they don’t need the safety help, which they move towards the smaller, quicker WRs ho they now can cover with a lesser CB. In the end, it would be a net gain because your 1-on-1 CB will (hopefully) lose less times than in the past while you still limit the other WR with safety help/double coverage. It’s just more effective for roughly the same amount of cap space.

  22. Russell says:

    Houston is interested in Butler also;, but they would have to give their 1st #25.

    • macspak says:

      be nice if Cleveland hopped into the fray with their multiple 2nd rounders

      • Matt says:

        Interesting idea. How about the Browns first round pick # 12 and the Browns pick #33 which is the first pick in the 2nd round for MB. I’m still trying to figure out one thing. Is MB pushing for this trade or is it his agent pushing for it more. If his client gets more money then he would get more money also. I know agents get a %.

  23. D. Martin says:

    Just read an interesting article in which it was explained that D. Revis was rated the best CB in the league in 2013, 3rd best in 2014, 31st in 2015 and 64th last season. I think Stephon Gilmore finished last season ranked around the 62nd best CB in the league. I bet Revis would play with the Pats for about 6 Mil per. I still don’t see why Gilmore was given so much when Butler had the second most interceptions/passes defensed over the last two seasons combined, and he can’t get a deal. Heck, Gilmore might not even be as good as the less effective 2016 version “Revis Island.” Trade Butler for a first round pick and bring in Revis for 6-7 Mil per. And if Garoppolo is still on the roster post draft, I am worried he’ll be starting for the Pats much sooner than we had hoped.

    Here is hoping Butler and Garoppolo are both traded for many draft picks this season!

  24. Stephen J says:

    Thanks to Doug Kyed for this quote from Bengals RB coach


    Does this qualify Rex as a big/power RB

  25. macspak says:

    Something I brought up the other day:

    According to the league office, the Patriots will lose the highest fourth-round pick they possess at the time of the draft. So if they acquire additional fourth-round picks along the way, they will lose the best of those picks due to the punishments handed down from Deflategate.

    My thought at the time I posted is exactly what this excerpt states: what 4th rd picks they possess on the day of the draft………

    This interpretation would allow them to trade the 4th they recently received from NO, or from any other team, as long as they keep one 4th that would be forfeited. I don’t know if this statement is true or false but if true it opens up possibilities.

    • steve earle says:

      I don’t believe the league would allow them to trade away all their 4ths.

    • Russell says:

      This is tricky, but the League WILL NOT allow the Patriots to trade their earliest 4th round pick #118. “If” they get via trade another 4th round pick say #107 (example) then, the Patriots can trade #118, but NOT #107.
      They can get as many 4th round picks (via trade) after #118 presently, and use how they like.

  26. D. Martin says:

    Just signed Rex Burkhead. I’m very happy about this.

    Question, would you guys rather have Burkhead or Blount, all things being equal contractually?

    • Turbo says:

      Can’t we have both? 😀 I think Burkhead is more like a Bolden replacement and next year could play some more if we don’t re-sign White or Lewis.

    • Russell says:

      Burkhead replaces Brandon Bolden, Patriots could still sign Blount.

      • D. Martin says:

        I agree and I hope they do. But they on’t seem to be prioritizing Blount. Of course, other teams don’t seem to be either. I am hoping this guy can produce far more than Bolden. Whatever happened to Jonas Gray I wonder.

  27. Russell says:

    I look for the Patriots to trade CB Butler after he works out a deal with New Orleans, and signs his tenor . New Orleans will send their 2nd #42,& 3d #103 (from Cooks deal) for Butler.
    No-way do they give up 1st #11, and BB would rather get two picks, than 1st #32.
    VERY surprised no Burkhead deal yet, maybe delayed with the snow storm, for a physical.

    • EdgeX says:

      Sorry but I got to disagree. NO WAY the Pat’s give up Butler for a 2nd and 3rd round pick. Bill doesn’t “give up” or take a loss on a trade just for the sake of it.

      Only way I see this deal going through is for Saints #11 so they can sign a premier CB from this draft class.

      As you once stated only way Bill moves up in the draft is if he’s targeting a player. If this deal goes through like this, I’m getting that vibe that they have their sights set on one.

      • steve earle says:

        Exactly edge and I would be very surprised if N.O. even signed Butler knowing Bill could just sit back and take their #11 if the deal was to rich and if was to low Bill could just match it. So my question is why would they bother it’s lose/lose for them.

        • Russell says:

          The ONLY way the Saints go after Butler is a trade, not the tenor deal. BB would do that “if” he can get some picks.

        • steve earle says:

          @ Russell: Maybe, maybe not. If he took the #11th he has the option of taking a top prospect. Or he could trade down, possibly twice in the first accumulating up to three additional picks while retaining a 1st in the lower 1st rd. Nothing is cast in stone as far as BB is concerned. Absolutes do not apply.

      • Russell says:

        I would think the Saints 1st #11 is no-way, UNLESS the Patriots give up a 3d #96, along with Butler.
        The only guy I see BB targeting that early is DE Barnett.
        I think BB is more interested in #42, and a pick or two more, maybe something next year. ( a 2nd??)

        • steve earle says:

          I don’t associate BB with Machiavellian scenarios. He sets a value on players and pretty much sticks to them. The value he set on Butler apparently was a 1st rd pick, if reports are reliable. He holds all the cards so why would he settle? If he wanted the #43 and 103 he would have already made that deal I would think. Right now Butler’s people are negotiating against themselves so Bill is letting them.

      • macspak says:

        How about get back our 32, pick up 42 and give up 96 giving us picks in all rounds

    • Turbo says:

      For #42 + #103 i wouldn’t trade him. We get 3rd comp pick if we let him go after the season, and i want him for 1 season with a 4 million salary better than a 2nd rounder. As you say 11th pick is not gonna happen, but a #32 + #42 would be okay for me. This value is still less than the 11th pick what originally the Pats should get.

    • matt says:

      1 St pick # 11 from the Saints. Screw the Saints 32nd pick. But I really think the Pats should just pay the man and move on.

  28. HDH says:

    I think they get M. Butler to sign the $3.9M deal and trade him to someone for a 1st round pick and maybe a 6th in this year’s draft. They’s then pick the very impressive CB Gareon Conley from Ohio State to replace him. (though Conley’s going to be harder to pick in 1st round since the incredibly unfortunate injury S Jones from Washington suffered at his Pro Day 🙁

    And I don’t think the Pats would let Garoppolo go for less than the first pick of this year’s draft and Cleveland’s first or second round pick next year. If they knew for sure that Brissett’s the next franchise QB than I’d obviously see them willing to accept less but they’re probably a year removed from that very important determination.

    • steve earle says:

      How can we be sure Conley will not be picked before our highest pick? How sure are we that any pick we make will be what we hope? Cyrus Jones illustrates my point, a 2nd rd pick but a flop in his rookie year. Will he make that 2nd year jump? Who knows? We already Know Butler is a pro bowl caliber CB, we have the cap space to sign him, so why the push to trade him? Seems like one of those “grass is greener” kind of things to me. We already are way ahead using our 1st and 2nd picks on young established talent as well as signing excellent free agents. Why throw a monkey wrench into the mix? Bill should find a way to get both Butler and Hightower under long term contracts. It only makes sense to me.

    • EdgeX says:

      Pat’s would have to be picking in the 10 to 20 range in first round to pick up Gareon Conley. Highly doubt he will still be on board past 20th pick.

      Chance of this right now seem small unless Pat’s trade Jimmy.

    • rob says:

      I really think they blew it with Butler. Should have resigned him well before the Logan Ryan deal . If they get a 1st, would like to see Adoree Jackson. But everyone knows Bill will end up drafting a Guard with the 1st pick. RIGHT?

      • steve earle says:

        I think you and edge are both right Butler should have been signed by now. He’s in N.O., so what? Even if he signs with them Bill has the option of matching or letting him go, he doesn’t have to make a “deal” for a 2nd and, and as Russell says because Pat’s would get N.O.’s 1st #11. That’s why he’s a RFA, he’s restricted.

  29. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft and Predictions. 9.0

    Patriots Free Agents to sign.
    Malcolm Butler Give him same deal as Gilmore got and you will have 2 shutdown CB.
    LaGarrette Blount

    NFL Free Agents
    Manti’ Teo ILB
    Perry Riley ILB

    Patriots Mock Draft
    3 Devonte Fields DE Louisville
    3 Alvin Kamara RB Tennessee
    4 Josh Harvey Clemons S Louisville
    5 Sean Harlow G Oregon St.
    5 Conor McDermott OT UCLA
    7 Sefo Liufau QB Colorado
    7 Joshiah Price TE Michigan St.

    Enjoy the snowstorm and I know the Patriots will be at work and being aggresive.
    “No days off”

    • carlo strada says:

      hadnt Manti Te¨o be injury prone, i d gladly substitute HT with him

      • Dan Sullivan says:

        He only played three games last year as he was hurt. Reminds me a bit of Teddy Bruschi he
        plays with a lot of Heart and Emotion.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree, give Butler the deal!!! I was high on Fields last summer but he had a pretty mediocre season. He’s not the player that flashed so dramatically early in his collage years.

    • steve earle says:

      The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing but we’re not getting any news Dan. Anybody hearing anything? I’m starving for info.

    • Stephen J says:

      One thing to be aware of is out of his 87 carries he has fumbled the ball 1 time. Also out of his 34 receptions he fumbled once as well. So out of 121 touches he has fumbled 2 times.

      • Stephen J says:

        Didn’t think to check his carry to fumble ration while at Nebraska yesterday but here it is 7 fumbles with 707 touches (running catching KR and PR)

  30. Stephen J says:

    Some info on Rex Burkhead I came across. This from RBScout.

    This is a small sample size but for what it’s worth, Rex Burkhead gained 5 or more yards on a staggering 35 of 74 carries (47.30%)

    As well as this also from RBScout


    • Stephen J says:

      This by Warren Sharp of SharpFootball

      Rex Burkhead (visiting NE) was #2 in success rate for RBs. But on plays that weren’t successful, he was the #1 RB in fewest missed yards.

    • Stephen J says:

      He was also a core special teamer, leading the Bengals in special teams tackles (12) last season

      • Stephen J says:

        Compare that to Nate Ebner who led the Patriots in Special team tackles with 18.

        Here is a highlight video from this year of Rex Burkhead

    • Russell says:

      gooooood stuff , Stephen J ; Patriots will sign Burkhead. BB loves ST guys.

    • steve earle says:

      Burkhead sounds interesting but he’s a tweener. Bill, I think, is doing due diligence unless his plan is to trade or release Louis or White. I believe we should be looking for another big power back to replace Blount if he leaves or with any luck an upgrade.

  31. EdgeX says:

    Interesting tweet by Michael Lombardi this morning basically stating that all of this “unhappy” talk being leaked by Malcolm Butler’s camp is designed to accelerate a team offering a long term contract so he gets paid a lot of money right now.

    Paints the picture that Butler is chomping at the bit to get paid, and not necessarily “unhappy” with the Patriots, which seems to echo everything that’s happened in the past with him regarding his contract so far.

    Can’t say I really blame him at 27 years old he’s probably only going to have 1 big contract in his playing career.

  32. Stephen J says:

    If we keep Butler would he be our slot CB with Gilmore and Rowe as our outside CB’s or would you have Butler and Gilmore as our outside CB’s and say sign Nickell Robey who had a passer rating of 74.86 in the slot; 2nd best for slot CBs just behind Chris Harris Jr.

    • EdgeX says:

      I think the Pat’s view Rowe more as a rotational piece that can match up against taller receivers on the outside – not so much as our primary CB2. But! Time will tell how they really feel once things are worked out with Butler and the draft.

      Cyrus Jones is our future slot CB unless they draft another one this year.

      • steve earle says:

        A solid “maybe” on Cyrus Jones in my thinking. I’d be okay with him if he can show he can do the job in slot coverage while someone else takes the punts but have my doubts. Don’t know if it’s the bright lights of NFL or what but to me he has to prove it. I don’t want Edelman having to be a prime receiver and taking punts. Really I fear a bust in the making.

      • Stephen J says:

        I am not sold on Cyrus Jones right now I have Jonathon Jones ahead of him and unless he has a drastic turn around like Marcus Cannon I don’t see him seeing the field. I do see BB giving him every opportunity during camp and preseason but he needs to take advantage of those opportunities. That is why I brought up Nickell Roby he has already proven himself and would be a huge upgrade to anyone that we currently have.

    • steve earle says:

      On this one I agree with Edge that Rowe is best as a situational CB depending on the opposing WR’s. Signing Butler to a contract he deserves would give us two terrific starters at CB for years and great depth with Rowe (possable C. Jones too).

  33. Russell says:

    Also hearing Patriots have an interest in QB Ryan Nassib Former 4th pick by N.Y. Giants, 6’2 227 lbs. 26.

  34. Russell says:

    Look for the Patriots to sign RB Rex Burkhead today; likely deal; 3 yrs. 4.8 mil. Bolden & Blount likely gone.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Would be a solid signing IMO. Not flashy from a speed perspective, but he runs with great patience, good vision, has an ability to get skinny. He is a good pass catcher and a ST contributor as well. His best trait though is that he plays with great contact balance. He rarely goes down on first contact and you better come prepared to make a solid tackle if you are going to try and tackle him, because he makes people bounce off him.
      I think him with a mid round rookie (maybe a guy from Toledo) would be more than adequate to pair up with White and Lewis.

      • Russell says:

        Yes; Burkhead is a “Patriot” type player. Also hearing Patriots interest in CB Alterraun Verner.

        • GM-In-Training says:

          I find CB Alterraun Verner unlikely. He had one good season in 2013 (5 int, pro bowl), got a big FA contract out of Tampa, and hasn’t done much since. He made $6M last year and didn’t play much. Would he be a good value at this point? His traits aren’t amazing. He’s not a long corner. Maybe he becomes a slot guy. I guess if he’s willing to sign something incentive-laden with low guarantees…maybe….but would he do that?

    • EdgeX says:

      Eh, I don’t much about this guy, is he really any good?

      I’d be more excited if the Pat’s drafted Kareem Hunt or Samaje Perine.

  35. Stephen J says:

    A late round RB that is a possibility is Chris Carson of Oklahoma St he had a nice combine. A power running back at 6’0″ 218. He finished 3rd in the bench(RB class) with 23 ran a 4.58 40 Broad Jumped 130″(10’10”) good for 2nd overall in RB class Jumped 37″ in the Vert which was the 4th best in the RB class. Not only did he have a nice combine but I also looked to see his carry to fumble ratio and this is what I found he carried 212 times and never fumbled.
    Here is a game against TCU this year
    Two plays that were impressive the 1st one at the 3:32 mark then the 2nd one at the 5:20 mark
    I see him as more of a Brandon Bolden type replacement if he doesn’t come back

  36. Stephen J says:

    This by Tony Pauline

    Tanner Gentry who finished the 2016 campaign with 72 receptions for 1326 yards and 14 TDs, measured 6010 and 208 pounds, completed 19 reps on the bench, posted a 38.5-inch vertical jump and reached 10-foot-3 in the broad.

    He timed in the mid 4.5s during the 40 (4.53s/4.56s) and then looked outstanding during pass-catching drills, including a one-handed grab on a go route which drew a rise from scouts.

    Gentry met with several teams including the New England Patriots.

    Gentry is presently graded as a seventh-round pick on our board, and he’s the type of player the Patriots swipe in the late rounds who goes on to have a tremendous career.

    Here is a tweet along with video of a catch during his Pro Day


    Just another WR to be aware of that’s if the Pats are still interested in WR’s after the Cooks trade.

    • Ryan says:

      I would LOVE to see Gentry as a Patriot. I was shocked that he didn’t receive a combine invite and I incorrectly assumed that it was because he wasn’t an NFL athlete. With numbers like that, I’d love to see the Patriots grab him late with an eye towards his long-term development because he plays HARD.

  37. Stephen J says:

    Does anyone see any team signing Butler. They would have to give up a 1st round pick plus work out a long term contract worth millions in the deepest CB draft in a long while. Now anything is possible but seems unlikely to me.

    • GM-In-Training says:

      If anybody takes the 1st round tender on Butler, it will probably be one of a few teams drafting 22-30 in the first round. The team has to need a #1 CB. The team has to have enough cap space to extend Butler at $11-$13M per year. So, basically that sounds like Tennessee. I think you’re right that with the depth of the 2017 CB Class, that seems unlikely.

      The Pat’s have ~$30M in cap space left, so they could throw $11 at Butler and $11 at Hightower, restructure a few existing contracts, and still sign their draft class with an emergency reserve left over.

      If they deal Jimmy G, they can still sign their draft class.

      That makes bunches of sense for it to play out that way. BB does seem like he’d want to be able to play in the second round.

    • EdgeX says:

      I find it unlikely.

      Too many good prospects in the draft that are cheaper. Looking for a team to sign to a long term deal is really only helping out the Pats because they can match.

      Matter of fact – funny thing, looking at Overthecap, the Pats could apply Gilmore’s contract, to Butler AND Hightower this year AND still have about $17 million left over in cap space (and before reworking Amendola’s deal too).

      Taking it another step further – Pat’s have about $62M in cap space for 2018 as of right now….and that’s before restructuring Brady’s contract for the future.

      Obviously that will change in the future as other contracts come in and we resign players for the 2018 season……..but……..darn it’s nice to have some cap space for what seems like the first time in 5 years.

    • Russell says:

      IF I was the GM in Green Bay, or Dallas I would go get CB Butler. However Green Bay lost two starting O-lineman so they need to figure that out.
      If Butler does not sign his tender by JUNE 15th, ($3.9 mil.) he goes back to $600K for 2017 with the Patriots.

  38. Mike Gerken says:

    I was assuming that as soon as I posted this, some new story would break, but things have quieted down for the time being. Would love to see the Hightower situation resolved soon. Knowing if he is here or not will create a ripple affect.

    • Jeff says:

      Hightower is the probably the most significant free agency move left for the Pats. If they lock him up they will be largely done, maybe a running back or a couple of guys near the minimum might still get picked up, but hopefully they will be done making significant investments in free agents. Of course, there may still be lots of action through draft day, with possible trades of Jimmy G and Butler. Butler is an interesting case because it’s easy to imagine him being traded, signing an extension, or playing out under the current deal – very unpredictable.

      I also think extending Solder would be a great move and would leave the Pats with very few significant guys hitting free agency next year.

      • macspak says:

        Never been a big Solder fan believing his hype and potential greatly, not always, has far outweighed his actual production. He was absolutely horrendous in the SB, an infamous LT game for the ages. (I forget the exact stats but they were BAD) Yet, OT’s are so scarce you have no choice but to hang onto him and because of that it does make sense to extend him for maybe 2 years. It should be efficient to have OL stability for 3 years or so as the interior line improves with age.

    • rob says:

      I think S is going to be a bit more important than you might think. Chung wasn’t exactly brilliant last year and Jordan Richards seems to be a bust, We know Belichek likes to think a year ahead so someone like Montae Nicholson Mich. St. in the 3rd makes some sense. Also I say let Solder play out the year and use next years # 1 on your LT of the future

      • Stephen J says:

        I agree with you Rob about the Safety position just not the player. The players that comes up most often for me is Josh Jones of NC State(3rd-4th round) then Delano Hill of Michigan(4th-5th round). As it stands right now I see us drafting an Edge and LB with our 3rd round picks then after that who knows the highest ranked player available at a position they are looking to fill Safety being one of them.

        • Stephen J says:

          Another late round Safety that would be useful as a returner as well is Jonathan Ford of Auburn but he is on the light side by about 10lbs

      • Ryan says:

        There are plenty of names that would interest me in the third or fourth: Marcus Williams (probably off the table after his ridiculous showing at the combine), John Johnson, Rayshawn Jenkins, Eddie Jackson, Shaquil Griffin, Josh Jones, Justin Evans, and Jadar Johnson.

  39. steve earle says:

    From everything I’m reading it looks as though all the additions were worth the costs. I don’t mind spending 1st and 2nd rd draft picks on well established young players who we know can start day 1 and Allen and Guy look like bargains too. So now, come on Bill, get Butler and Hightower on board and we’re SB LII bound.

  40. Ryan says:

    I’m not particularly enthused that we resigned Harmon. He’s been okay, but this year seems like a good time to grab a safety in the third round. After that, the class drops off pretty hard, so if we aren’t going for a starter I’m not sure we should bother with one at all.

    • steve earle says:

      I kind of like a Saf from Okla, Ahmad Thomas in late rds. 7th in my mock, Looks like a good kick/punt coverage kid and it’s an area Bill likes to have good ST guys.

    • EdgeX says:

      I disagree on both points. Harmon was pretty integral to the Pats scheme on defense.

      My 3 highest priorities for free agents this year:

      1. Hightower
      2. Alan Branch
      3. Duron Harmon

      Just waiting for the biggest one to sign…the rest of our free agents…meh.

      Also this draft is crazy deep at S/DE/CB/TE/RB and I think you will still be able to find good safety prospects in the 5th round.

      John Johnston is a guy I think a lot of people are sleeping on, is one of my favorites right now, and I’d like the Pat’s to go for him in the 4th or 5th round.

      • Ryan says:

        I just don’t see “integral” when I watch him play, and his numbers don’t really support that either. 29 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 passes defenses and 1 interception do not indicate an active player on defense, and though he played in all 16 games he only started 4 of them. He’s a rotational player, and I think that the defense could survive just fine without him. He is versatile, but he’s not a star by any means.

        • Ryan says:

          I’m talking about Harmon, that is. When it comes to safeties, I could see some good ones dropping to the fourth round as well, but unless we trade Garoppolo I see our top few picks going to other needs (RB, OL, LB, DL).

  41. Russell says:

    The next free agent move I’m projecting is; RB Rex Burkhead 5’10” 212 lbs. from Cincinnati. Burkhead is a hard runner inside, but a very good pass receiver (Up-grade from Blount who may sign with Detroit)
    If things don’t change with the Patriots draft picks, my prospects list is cut in half. I will be looking at later round guys the next few weeks. A prospect that stands out is CB Jack Tocho, very intelligent team captain, 6′ 202 lbs. 31 5/8″ arms, 4.54 40 yd. 21 reps on the bench, 125 in the BJ. A very strong tackler in the run game. Interviews well, “fit in” personality.

  42. EdgeX says:

    News leaked that now the Jet’s and Pat’s are contenders to sign Hightower.

    Me thinks this is a ploy by DHT’s agents to try and drive up the price the Pat’s are offering.

    …..Or the Jet’s are just trying to mess with us as we did with Revis (Can’t say I blame them).

    I’m guessing that DHT’s market hasn’t been what he thought it would be that’s why he’s been waiting to sign for so long.

  43. Russell says:

    I’ve done some research on DL- Ealy (living only two hours from Carolina’s Stadium) I see many of there games (sadly). Ealy has conditioning issue’s and as I thought, weight issues. (276-310 lbs.) He played part time with good results. (30-40 % snaps) However his production fall’s off at near 58-63% of the snaps.
    Price was right for him, so if he can keep his weight at 270 lbs, he looks like a great player pick-up.
    Lawrence Guy will be a GREAT addition, his tape is very good, and has the right personality.

    • carlo strada says:

      given that you ve get some background on him, i d like to know whether if he´s good to hold his ground on double teams?

      • Russell says:

        Ealy played mostly 5 tech, (DE) for Carolina so he did not see true double teams, “Chipping ” from TE’s helping the ROT.

    • Stephen J says:

      Well BB will get his conditioning up to par you know how he loves having his players run those hills. It also was a big yet unspoken part of how they were able to come back in the SB. They gassed the Falcons D big time late in the 3rd to 4th while our D held up and made plays.

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