Patriots

Bills GM on Hogan: 'Sorry we’re gonna lose him'

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Bills GM on Hogan: 'Sorry we’re gonna lose him'

BOCA RATON – After Bills GM Doug Whaley spent about a minute extolling the skills of departed wide receiver Chris Hogan, the obvious question became, “Why didn’t the Bills match the Patriots offer to the restricted free agent?”

“Strictly finances,” Whaley admitted. “For what we dedicated last year to offense and what we needed to do defensively, you can’t pay everybody.”

And the Bills’ loss, said Whaley, is very much the Patriots gain.  

“It was (difficult to let him go),” said Whaley. “He’s done a great job, not only on the field as a third and fourth wide receiver (and) special teams, (but also) what he’s brought to the community. He’s a great asset to the Patriots. We’re sorry we’re gonna lose him. And add the fact that we’re gonna have to deal with him with the other end of that being [Tom] Brady, it’s a tough matchup because he’s a talented person.”

Hogan had 77 catches on 120 targets in the past two seasons at Buffalo. Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Charles Clay were the three players who saw more passing targets than Hogan in 2015. In 2014, it was Watkins, Woods, Fred Jackson and Scott Chandler.

Even with a three-year, $12 million deal from the Patriots, Hogan may not necessarily become a more featured player with the Patriots. Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Dion Lewis figure to get more looks. Martellus Bennett could, as well. Until there’s clarity on whether or not the team will keep Danny Amendola around at his current salary, it’s hard to handicap exactly what Hogan’s role will be.

But Whaley sees Hogan bringing something different to the Patriots offense.

“He fits the mold of their third wide receiver, that slot guy, but he brings the added dimension of size which they haven’t had for a while,” said Whaley. "Couple that with the ability to play four downs on special teams he’s a very good get.”

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

The New England Patriots just got whole lot of financial breathing room.

The Patriots have earned a total of $6.25 million in settlements from compensation grievances involving former wide receiver Antonio Brown and ex-tight end Aaron Hernandez, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported Saturday.

New England now has $7.79 million in cap space, per Reiss and Yates, a huge bump from the less than $500,000 in spending money the team had earlier this week.

Brown, who spent less than two weeks with the Patriots last September, filed a grievance against the team in October 2019 following his release seeking to receive his unpaid Week 1 salary, his $1.025 million guaranteed base salary and his $9 million signing bonus.

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The Patriots will pay Brown $5 million as part of the settlement, per Reiss and Yates.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Patriots on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013 seeking over $6 million in guaranteed salary. Hernandez was arrested and later convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and died in prison in April 2017.

New England was up against the cap after squeezing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton in on a one-year contract and inking all of its 2020 NFL Draft picks to rookie deals. With nearly $8 million in cap space, however, the Patriots have more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency or trade.

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran suggested tight end David Njoku could be a strong fit in New England after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and there are a number of quality free agents still on the market, as well.

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.