Patriots

There's a rush on Should-They-Trade-Jimmy-G? questions

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There's a rush on Should-They-Trade-Jimmy-G? questions

FOXBORO -- Every Friday we take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or a Friday Bag, as they call it. 

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. 

What’s up, Jim …

I’d have to peg that possibility as low for three reasons. One, the reasons the Patriots kept Garoppolo in the first place – he’s real good, he’s tremendous insurance, the team keeps its future options open at the position. Two, it would be selling really, really, really low on an asset that they were offered more for previously and (if they franchise him in March) may be again. Three, while the pocket pressure isn’t there, they keep dealing with slippery people like Alex Smith, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and (to a lesser degree) Jameis Winston that they don’t usually sellout to get on the ground. In other words, I’m not sure they’d agree their pass rush sucks.

SHHHHHHHHHHIMMMMMMONNNNNN. What’s up? No. No. A thousand times no.

Hey Vyas,

Three prime candidates are Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin and Vincent Valentine. We discussed on the pod Thursday night
 https://twitter.com/jeduron/status/918665340158128128

Interesting questions, Jorge. Alan Branch is a prime candidate. Garoppolo if the trade partner agrees to send back 25 percent ownership stake in the franchise and a new golf cart for the Family Kraft. Malcolm Butler. I would peg the latter two as unlikely in the extreme.
 

Ohhh, Andy.

Absolutely. The same five guys won a gottdamm Super Bowl in February. The parts around that group, the playcalling, the week-to-week matchups and challenges are all a bit different and you hope they get it fixed before Brady breaks but they will improve. They always do.

IRONHEAD!

I’m totally and completely flummoxed by his inability to contribute anywhere. Or for the Patriots to not look to him for contributions. Clearly, with the signing of Will Tye to the practice squad, the clock’s ticking on Allen now. He’s not even Scott Chandler-level. Chandler was kind of hurt and he at least got targets that he then screwed up. Allen’s not even getting that.

Hey, Pat. Tye is on the practice squad for now so he's not changing anyone's role on the 53-man roster. And I don't think his addition to the roster has much to do with what the Jets are doing. They have five games and four preseason games with new offensive coordinator John Morton under their belts. Morton comes from New Orleans, an offense the Patriots are very familiar with working closely with Sean Payton so frequently in training camps in recent years. So Tye isn't going to provide game-changing intel, I don't think. I do believe that the Patriots could use an extra body at the position with Rob Gronkowski banged up and Dwayne Allen scuffling. Tye is experienced and could realistically contribute in game action if he's able to pick up the offense. That's not always the case with practice-squad additions. 

Kevin. Interesting question. I hadn’t even thought of that. No.

Doc! The only person they have who opens up quickly and with regularity between the hashes is Amendola. White is a solid secondary outlet. But with no Edelman, and Cooks and Hogan to a lesser degree being more vertical receivers than horizontal, some of what you’ve seen you’ll keep seeing. Pats didn’t hesitate to use Gronk as a pass blocker earlier in the year and I’m sure we’ll see more until the tackles stabilize. 

 

I read things this week reflecting both views. In my unlearned opinion, he seems like a guy who was doing business as business was done back in 1492. Now, 550 years later, the things he’s blamed and credited for are seen in a context Chris, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella didn’t contemplate. If they had better foresight, they would have understood the hell they’d catch in the 21st century.
https://twitter.com/powhitekid1/status/918678099960782848
Either. But both must be frozen.

Hey, Bob. The draft capital lost because of Deflategate was significant, obviously. In theory, they're without at least two roster-quality players, and potentially more based on whether or not the Patriots would have been able to turn those two picks into multiple selections. We did this at the time of the 2016 and 2017 drafts, but just as a reminder, here are the players who went in the range of the No. 28 overall pick in 2016 and the No.118 overall pick in 2017. (It looked like the Patriots would initially lose No. 132 in 2017, but they picked up a higher fourth-rounder in the Brandin Cooks trade and were docked that pick instead.) Had the Patriots held onto the No. 28 pick last year, they would have had the opportunity to add any number of talented players to their defensive front seven. Defensive tackle Chris Jones (No. 37 to the Chiefs), linebacker Myles Jack (No. 36 to the Jaguars) would have been particularly intriguing fits because of their NFL-ready athletic ability. Later in that year's draft the Patriots took tackle Vincent Valentine and linebacker Elandon Roberts so those were positions they were interested in. If they decided to go with a corner, offensive lineman or quarterback -- the three positions the Patriots spent their first three picks on in 2016 -- what's interesting is that there weren't many impact players taken at those spots between picks No. 28 and No. 60, where they drafted Cyrus Jones. Christian Hackenberg was the only quarterback taken in that range. Xavien Howard, Mackensie Alexander and TJ Green were the corners to go in that area. Nick Martin and Cody Whitehair were the interior offensive linemen. As for what they might've missed out on at No. 188 this year? That's where the Eagles took receiver and special-teamer Mack Hollins. Bears running back Tarik Cohen went one pick later. The Patriots scooped up Deatrich Wise later in the round. 

Thanks for checking in, Tucker! It feels like we're wondering every week if THIS WILL BE THE WEEK THEY UNLEASH THE LEWIS. I wouldn't expect a drastic change in his role for a few reasons. It's been pretty apparent that he's one of their most dynamic backs. He's able to make something out of nothing better than any other player they have at the position. Yet for all the production he's had in 64 snaps (six missed tackles forced on 19 attempts), his workload hasn't changed all that much. His snap counts over five games look like this: 6, 14, 12, 14, 18. He had a season-high seven carries in Tampa, but I'm not sure if that number will rise soon. Rex Burkhead could be back, which could sap a portion of Lewis' workload, and it seems as though the Patriots want to try to manage Lewis to be as healthy as possible for the stretch run. His injury history is what it is, and if he could be a full-go in December and January, he could be a game-changer. The other thing to remember is the offense has been very efficient even with Lewis playing less than a full-time role. Their hand isn't exactly being forced at the moment.  

Want to thank the JPR for this contribution. I put some thought into this. I'm a hard "h" guy when I say the word "historian." (As opposed to "isstorian.") So I'd go with the radio host there. "A historian." Think if you're going "an isstorian" you're trying too hard. Know your concern level might now be through the roof, but you've kind of brought this upon yourself. Stop trying so hard. 

Mr. Q! They've spent a good deal on defensive personnel, depending on where you look. Stephon Gilmore is an obvious example. Devin McCourty was the highest-paid player at his position when he re-signed. Jerod Mayo got paid. Darrelle Revis got paid for one year. They've spent a good number of their first-round picks (who don't make as much as they used to but still get paid) recently on defensive players like Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown. I think they try to be smart with where they spend at every position. Don't think there's a specific budget for the defensive side versus the offensive side. As far as the bend-don't-break idea goes, I think that's more strategic than anything else. I think no matter the price of the personnel they have, if they can force offenses to sustain drives and come away with field goals instead of touchdowns, that's a plan they'd be OK with.

What do mean, Nick? On Twitter? Pshh. Never seen anything too . . . 

. . . Oh. 

Fast Eddy, I think we sniffed out the limitations Harris during that telling week of joint practices with the Texans. Didn’t matter which player got isolated on Harris in space, the veteran linebacker couldn’t keep up. Now he seems like a “break in case of emergency” type player. I’m not sure I see the value there, but they did pay him a million and a quarter in guaranteed dollars and maybe Belichick is seeing value in his leadership. Will be interesting to see who loses spots when two of the injured three (McClellin, Valentine, Mitchell) are able (if able?) to return. I’d put him at the head of the chopping block list.

Michael, this idea has been kicked around a lot and Lewis would certainly like more carries. He’s got some incentives in this, the final year of his contract that he’s now unlikely to reach. But with the injury to Burkhead, and even back to this summer with Edelman, the Pats are loathe to surrender a playmaker, even if this one doesn’t play all that much. Additionally, I don’t think you’re getting anything of value back for him. He’s more valuable here, doing what he’s doing, than a pick or back end of the roster guy.

Mix Master Marx (I just made that up), they couldn’t cover running backs when Collins was here either. I mean, he was athletic enough to do it and certainly flashed at times, but consistency was never his thing. With the speed of some of these so-called pass catching backs, the better matchup is a defensive back and we’ve certainly seen the Pats deploy six and sometimes seven DBs to protect themselves in that regard.

Not an unreasonable ask and something the Pats have done before, including versus the Texans on the game-winning drive (well on at least one of those plays. He also aided Cannon). But he’s still one of best receivers and a trusted guy for Brady. Can’t keep him in there forever. Pick your spots and move on, hoping Solder can get past his early season struggles.

https://twitter.com/MikeGiardi

Dwayne Allen is not getting cut, IMO. It hasn’t been great, but prior to Tampa, I didn’t think he was completely lost as a blocker. Anyway, it hasn’t been the greatest stretch of dealing for or signing NFL vets - Kony Ealy, Allen, Gilmore, Hit or Miss Marsh. As for Dorsett, one Pats wideout told me “he gets it” and there’s “ a lot of talent there we just haven’t gotten to see just yet.” I’ll take that man at his word. 9 Tailors can save almost anyone, even Tanguay. 

Young, talented safeties available for Patriots entering 2018

Young, talented safeties available for Patriots entering 2018

Before free agency kicks off, and before we dissect the top college prospects entering this year's draft, we're taking a look at the Patriots on a position-by-position basis to provide you with an offseason primer of sorts. We'll be analyzing how the Patriots performed in 2017 at the position in question, who's under contract, how badly the team needs to add talent at that spot, and how exactly Bill Belichick might go about adding that talent. Today, we put the safety position in focus keeping in mind that this is one position that’s morphing as quickly as any in the NFL.

OTHER ENTRIES IN THE SERIES

HOW THEY PERFORMED


Fine. OK. Pretty good sometimes. But certainly nothing that can be confused with dynamic. In a league stocked with playmaking safeties. They are in the right place and – aside from Jordan Richards - are sure tacklers. They communicate well. They get the concepts of the defense and do their bit on special teams. But the safety group combined for six picks and four of those came from Duron Harmon. Patrick Chung was murder on tight ends in coverage but the third-down performances in some of the team’s biggest games was abysmal. The Steelers and Eagles were both 10 for 16 on third down and the Jags were 4 for 6 in the first half of the AFCCG. Devin McCourty played with an injured shoulder down the stretch that has since been surgically repaired but he just didn’t have a lot of impact plays in 2017. Richards, after three seasons in the league, has a handful of nice tackles as a box safety. Other than that, he’s got a very long way to go in a very short amount of time to approach the level of play expected from a second-round pick. 

WHO IS UNDER CONTRACT FOR 2018?
Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, Devin McCourty, David Jones, Damarius Travis

WHO ISN'T?
Nate Ebner

HOW DIRE IS THE NEED?


Not dire at all. But looming. McCourty is signed through 2019 and has a $13.4M cap hit next season when he’ll be 31. Chung is 30 and entering the last year of his deal. Harmon is signed through 2020 and is just 27. Unless the team thinks Richards is the heir apparent to Chung – which would be alarming – they need to get back in the draft pool to find someone at what I believe is one of the NFL’s most important positions. The team puts so much on both Chung and McCourty that it will take years for a new player to gain the depth of knowledge and nuance at the spot. And then there’s the versatility and kicking game expectations they deal with. Whether its in the draft or in free agency, spending needs to be done. But for this year, the need is a 5.

WHAT'S AVAILABLE IN FREE AGENCY


This is a position stocked with talented young players. Here are some of them: Green Bay’s Morgan Burnett, the Rams’ LaMarcus Joyner, Kenny Vaccaro from the Saints, San Fran’s Eric Reid and Tre Boston from the Chargers. Vaccaro’s coming off an injury. Burnett and Joyner are both going to be high-cost options. Reid is already anticipating some teams steering clear of him because of his outspoken support for Colin Kaepernick.  Further down the free agent chain are players like Boston who was outstanding in 2017. Reid, Vaccaro and Boston are players the Patriots could target. Boston is the youngest and healthiest of the group and already theorizes that he will probably move on from the Chargers.

WHAT'S AVAILABLE IN THE DRAFT?


Alabama has a pair of safeties who’ll be coveted, the first being Minkah Fitzpatrick who is a top-10 prospect. The other is Ronnie Harrison. Stuck in between those two as a top-20 prospect is Derwin James from Florida State. The reason I could see the Patriots taking a safety in the first two rounds is because the right one can address myriad needs – coverage at the linebacker level, run-support and playmaking. Stanford’s Justin Reid (6-1, 204 pounds) and Va. Tech’s Terrell Edmunds (6-2, 220) are bookends to the type of safety builds the Patriots could use. 

HOW CAN THE PATRIOTS CAN ADDRESS IT?


Make a run at Tre Boston. If the price is too high, settle on Edmunds or Reid.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Report: Bortles receives 3 year, $54m contract extension

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Report: Bortles receives 3 year, $54m contract extension

The Jaguars had plenty of talent last season, especially on defense.

But question marks remained due to some of their offensive players.

Could Blake Bortles play well enough to support the strong play of the Jacksonville defense?

He delivered this past season and helped bring the team to the AFC Championship. 

Now he will be in Jacksonville for several years to come.

According to a report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Bortles and the Jags have agreed to a new 3-year contract worth $54m. 

Adam Schefter of ESPN confirmed the extension, adding that Bortles can earn up to $66.5m with incentives. The contract includes $26.5m guaranteed. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE