Patriots

Report: WWE trying to sign Rob Gronkowski

Report: WWE trying to sign Rob Gronkowski

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has hinted about walking away from football at 28 and apparently World Wrestling Entertainment is listening.

According to Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer newsletter, WWE is willing to offer Gronk a "similar style deal" that it offered UFC star Ronda Rousey, who made her WWE debut late last month, is scheduled to be part of its "Elimination Chamber" event Feb. 25 and is being advertised as being part of their WrestleMania signature event April 8.

Gronk was part of Wrestlemania last year (see video below) and his friend, wrestler Mojo Rawley, hinted earlier this week that Gronkowski might be looking to give up football for the ring. Gronk has also reportedly been considering retiring to pursue a movie career. 

Eagles' Lane Johnson is at it again on the Patriots

Eagles' Lane Johnson is at it again on the Patriots

Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson, who caused a stir last week by calling the Patriots a "fear-based organization," was back doubling down on his comments on another Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast.

Johnson's comments come at the 59-minute mark of the hour-plus-long podcast. 

"I think a lot of guys just wanna be happy playing football...," Johnson said. "The Patriots, they obviously won five Super Bowls. So it's the Patriot Way to win the Super Bowl. Does that mean that everybody has to act the same way, do the same thing? Is that necessarily the guidelines to win the Super Bowl?"

After Johnson's first PMT podcast appearance a week ago, in which he wondered how much fun the Patriots had in winning their five Super Bowls, he drew responses from ex-Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi and current Pats linebacker Marquis Flowers, who each fired back about the Eagles tackle's criticism.  

This time, Johnson told the podcast that obviously an ex-Patriots and current Patriots aren't going to be critical of the organization. 

"Well they kept interviewing ex-Patriots players, what do you think they're gonna say? 'I hated it there? No, I won Super Bowls. We had a great time.' They're not gonna bad-mouth their coach," Johnson said. "They're not gonna say what they really want to say. Do you think that's gonna happen? Hell no, it's not gonna happen."

Johnson said he's gotten plenty of hate mail from New England fans, but said he hasn't read it.

"And I just pissed in everybody's Cheerios and everybody in Boston," Johnson said. "Hey, I got hate mail I still haven't read. I'm looking forward to reading it."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

#FridayBag: A boy named Suh?

giardi-perry-fri-mailbag.jpg
NBC Sports Boston illustration

#FridayBag: A boy named Suh?

Each week, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi answer you Patriots questions in a joint mailbag, or FridayBag as they call it. Got a question? Tweet at them using the hashtag #FridayBag. Now on to this week's edition: 

MG: Pete, I’ve heard nothing but good things about him so far but have just started to roll up my sleeves and get heavier into the draft. Mentioned him earlier and was also told he is a good touch passer. He’s a ways away, but if Brady keeps rolling on, there’s no rush.

MG: Jacob, you think yes, I think yes, and most of my Twitter timeline is in agreence as well. Is Belichick? Man, you have to think he’s right there with us that an upgrade at that position is needed. Roberts is a guess guy capable of a play here or there but not nearly consistent enough nor - in my opinion - talented enough to be in the middle of that defense. I think the other issue here is 54 himself. I don’t know how you can count on Dont’a Hightower to be there at the end. His body has been battered dating back to college. It’s what scared other teams off in free agency. Yet it’s hard to manage him because he’s clearly one of your best players. I’d love to see that whole group get power washed.

MG: If Bill thinks a deal is what’s best for the team, he’ll do it, last year be damned. Every year is different. He tells us that all the time. As for Suh, I hope not. I know folks in Miami said he was better behaved this year but the year prior he was a pain in the ass who played when he felt like it. Plus, from an interior defensive line standpoint, the Pats are ok. Malcom Brown and Lawrence Guy are nice players. Vincent Valentine will return next year. I’d worry more about the edge guys and the linebacker level.

MG: Let’s go case by case here, Joe. Belichick wanted to retain Hicks. Even called him right before Chicago scooped him up. But finances played a role as did - I suspect  the freedom Hicks was going to get with the Bears. Sheard did a terrific job in year one with the Pats. Year two started off poorly though to the player’s credit he rebounded after that benching for the San Fran game. I think that was a situation where the lack of an extension may have distracted the player, like it certainly did for Malcolm Butler this year. Finally, you’re lamenting Akeem Ayers? No. Just no.

As for Marsh and Harris, yep, those were two swings and misses though Harris was lauded for his professionalism. You don’t hit ‘em all out of the park but yes, there’s a greater need to get it right this offseason when you consider some of the depth issues they face.

PP: He does, Sugar Shane. Re-signing Solder, in my opinion, is the most important move the Patriots could make this offseason. Only finding the next quarterback comes close. Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater, Dion Lewis . . . they're all critical to the operation. But if the Patriots don't re-sign Solder, I'm not sure there is an answer to the void left behind at left tackle. We went over the other options in our Depth Chart series here, but none of them are all that encouraging. 

PP: None of the above, ML. He's left the NCAA, and he's in this year's draft. 

PP: Hey, Joe and William. I don't think the Patriots will be spending big money at corner in free agency this year. They have their No. 1 in Stephon Gilmore, and I believe they'll try to piece together the other spots with what they have in Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones. If they do go the free-agency route, I could see them going with an inexpensive outside-the-numbers option (maybe Vontae Davis) or a slot corner who won't break the bank. Callahan, who is a restricted free agent, would be a fascinating option in that regard. An undrafted rookie out of Rice in 2015, he dealt with an injury that forced him to miss more than a month, but he was one of the league's more effective slot corners when he was on the field, according to Pro Football Focus. The Patriots have shown in the past that they're not afraid to delve into the RFA market. As far as linebacker goes, this is another spot where spending big money doesn't make a ton of sense, in my opinion. Nigel Bradham, as Giardi has pointed out, would be a great fit as an athletic 'backer who can cover, but there will be competition for his services. Adding Navorro Bowman would allow Dont'a Hightower to kick down onto the edge, one would think. And Bowman is 29 with a long injury history so he probably won't demand huge dollars. Old friend Jon Bostic, who's only 26, could be a cost-effective option to play off the line as well. They'll have enough dough to spend on a couple of pieces, it's just a matter of figuring out which pieces.

PP: DQ! I think Curran would win the first 10 yards. He's explosive. Not sure his long speed is what it used to be, though. I'll give the edge to Brady in the 40-yard dash. Longer strides. 

PP: The Patriots have all kinds of respect for Landry's on-the-field ability. Not only is he fearless in the way he works out of the slot, but he provides special teams value, and defensive backs have referred to him as one of the toughest receivers in the league to bring down when he has the football in his hands. But because Landry is the most accomplished wideout on the market this offseason, his price tag is going to be through the roof. Belichick could try to find his next slot in the draft. There are a handful we'll touch on in our recevier installment of the Depth Chart series next week. Like you said, Matt, you never know. But I'd be very surprised if they made a play for Landry. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE