Patriots

Floyd reportedly talking to Vikings and others, hopes to have deal soon

Floyd reportedly talking to Vikings and others, hopes to have deal soon

Michael Floyd is still without a team, but that may not be the case for long.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the free-agent wideout who was last with the Patriots has been in conversations with the Vikings and others about a new contract. And Floyd hopes to have said new contract soon.

The timing of Floyd's new deal, whenever he gets one, will be key as far as the Patriots are concerned.

As Pro Football Talk points out, the compensatory pick formula only includes free agent signings (and departures) that happen by May 9. If Floyd does not put pen to paper before then, he won't factor into the 2018 compensatory pick formula -- either for the team he joins or the team he's left.

Just as a reminder: It's unclear exactly how the NFL's compensation pick formula works since the league does not make that information public, but we know the basics. 

It's based on free agents lost and free agents acquired in a given year by a particular team. The level of those players is taken into consideration -- based on salary, playing time and other factors -- and then picks are issued to teams who have lost more (or better) free agents than they acquired.

If Floyd were to sign with a team before May 9, and if he were to play a significant percentage of snaps and perform at a relatively consistent level, then the Patriots would be entitled to a compensatory pick in 2018. If the Patriots acquired a free agent this offseason who performed at a level similar to Floyd's, then those two moves may cancel out in the comp pick formula.

Floyd was waived by the Cardinals in December and was claimed by New England soon thereafter. With the Patriots, he caught four regular-season passes and one pass in the postseason. 

The 13th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Floyd was a disappointment for four seasons in Arizona, with the Cardinals finally cutting him after a drunk driving arrest in December. The Patriots picked him up at the end of the season and he caught four passes in the last two regular-season games -- including a touchdown against the Dolphins in the season-finale -- then caught one pass in the one postseason game he played. He was inactive for both the AFC title game and the Super Bowl.

During Super Bowl week Floyd told Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran that he hoped to return to New England, but given the team's depth at that spot a reunion looks unlikely.

More WR trouble for Patriots: Dorsett helped off field at practice

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More WR trouble for Patriots: Dorsett helped off field at practice

The Patriots already-thin wide receiver group appeared to take another hit Tuesday when Phillip Dorsett had to be helped off the field during an 11-on-11 period at practice. 

Dorsett went down late in the practice following an 11-on-11 rep when he ran a route over the middle of the field. After hitting the turf -- I didn't see if he was hit or if he went down on his own -- a defensive player immediately called for help. Dorsett was eventually helped off the field by two staffers and made his way directly to the blue medical tent parked on the back of the practice fields. When he emerged, he got a hug from team chaplain/character coach Jack Easterby. Nick Caserio later came by to give Dorsett a pat on the back. After a few moments, Dorsett put his helmet back on and caught passes from an equipment assistant. He did not leave the field until the session was finished, walking off on his own. 

He gave a thumbs up as he made his way down the stairs toward the stadium and got into a cart that took him into the tunnel. Moments later, Dorsett was back on the field, spending time in the friends and family area before going back down the stairs to the stadium a second time.  

The Patriots - who've been without Kenny Britt, parted ways with Malcolm Mitchell and Jordan Matthews and been without Cordarrelle Patterson and Matthew Slater in portions of camp -- can ill afford to lose another wideout. Dorsett had a strong start to camp, which Tom Brady noted following Tuesday's work, and looked like the No. 2 receiver behind Chris Hogan for the first month of the season with Julian Edelman out the first four games serving a PED suspension. 

In Dorsett's absence, Hogan, Riley McCarron and Eric Decker seemed to see a bump in repetitions. Hogan was tired enough after practice that he hopped on the same cart Dorsett rode for a lift into the locker room area. 

When he met the media after practice Tuesday, quarterback Tom Brady spoke about Dorsett's injury.

"You never like to see it and everyone wanted to go over to see how he was doing because he's been doing so well in the spring and in training camp," Brady said. "Hopefully he's OK. I certainly hope he is. He has a great opportunity ahead of him. I hope he takes advantage of it."

Dorsett, in his fourth year out of Miami, was acquired early last season from the Indianapolis Colts in a trade for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. He had 12 catches for 194 yards last season in 15 games. 

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Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

FOXBORO -- It's been well-documented. Eric Decker had a rough early portion of practice on Monday. He dropped a pass in one-on-ones. He dropped two more in a side session with Tom Brady. 

He wasn't thrilled with himself. He punched his own helmet. He hung his head briefly. 

During the session, in response to a tweet from NESN's Doug Kyed, former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins (who had a brief stay with the Patriots last year) tried to shed some light on what exactly Decker is going through at the moment as the new guy in town. 

Some players never fully grasp what they're being told and never get the chance to play at full speed. Decker, who has some background in the offense thanks to his time under Josh McDaniels in Denver, says he's getting close. But Monday's start was a sign he was still a ways off.

Bill Belichick said on Tuesday that it's his job to properly assess the mistakes made by a player in transition.

"I think you always have to account for the transition of a player who joins your team at some point during the season, training camp, midseason, whatever it is," he explained. "I don't think there's any set formula on that. Just evaluate it, engage it. The more time you have, the easier it is to make the right decision."

Decker finished Monday with a handful of catches in the 11-on-11 period, including one deep down the sideline with corner Jonathan Jones on him tight. That sort of bounce-back didn't surprise Decker, but both he and the team know that there's only a limited number of opportunities for him left before they have to make a decision as to whether or not he deserves a roster spot. 

"The more you know about the player and his fit on the team, his role, so forth, how well he can do, sometimes that takes time," Belichick said. "We only have the time we have. Whatever it is, it is. Just have to make the most of it. [We] would like to have more in all situations, but that's not always possible. Sometimes you have to make a decision with less information than you'd like to have."

The subject of Decker came up when Brady met the media at camp later Tuesday.

"I've watched him play a lot of football over the years," Brady said. "He's always been on great offenses. He's got to use his skill set, the one he's learned and used for a long time. He knows how to get open. Now, it's just about learning about what we do and how we do it. 

"He's worked hard. He's been out here every day. You can tell he's a real pro and hopefully, he can add something to the group." 

Decker should be able to provide the Patriots with more information on Thursday night against the Eagles. He played just six snaps against Washington last week but could be in line for more in preseason game No. 2. That may mean more reps with Brady. The quarterback told reporters at camp Tuesday that he plans to play in that game.

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