Curran: Unlikely Pats were 'fooled' in Rowe trade

Curran: Unlikely Pats were 'fooled' in Rowe trade

FOXBORO -- Joe Banner, a longtime Philadelphia Eagles executive now working in media, suggested Tuesday the Patriots got “fooled” by Philly in the deal for Eric Rowe.

The Patriots sent a conditional draft pick in 2018 to the Eagles in exchange for Rowe, the 47th overall pick in 2015.

The pick is a fourth that can become a third based on Rowe’s playing time, according to Ian Rapoport.


Banner alleges that Rowe was about to be released but that the Eagles keeping him on their 53-man roster fooled the Patriots into coughing something up.

Three observations on that.

-- If, indeed, the Eagles were going to release Rowe, they had to know how crappy that would play in the media: Giving up on a second-round pick and getting nothing in return, even if the release could be framed as a swing-and-a-miss by former Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

-- I heard on Saturday that Kline (who was originally part of the deal) was going to be released by New England so it was a surprise to me that he made their 53.

-- ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that the Patriots and Eagles were close to working out this deal last week but weren’t able to consummate it until now. So the likeliest scenario is that both Kline and Rowe were kept on the roster merely to keep the trade alive until the conditional future pick could be decided.

If one would like to allege that a conditional fourth-rounder and an undrafted lineman (who is a useful player) in exchange for a 23-year-old second-rounder means New England got hustled, have at it. But the “fooling” is a misreading of the situation

Why would Banner have a particular hair across his posterior for the Patriots?


Banner – who I got into it with exactly a year ago about some Deflategate-related stuff  – is a Massachusetts native who seems to regularly find himself in these Machiavellian power struggles.

A power struggle in Philly ended Banner’s time there. He became part of the Cleveland Browns ownership group along with Jimmy Haslam and became their CEO. There, Banner and GM Mike Lombardi became embroiled in a whole new power struggle

Lombardi, who knows how to cloak-and-dagger with the best of them, is a longtime friend and advisor to Bill Belichick and wound up back with the Patriots as an advisor after Lombardi and Banner ran their leadership boat aground under Haslam.

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.

So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.

According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.

That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay. 

“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.