Harmon: 'Ready to go' for training camp after missing OTAs


Harmon: 'Ready to go' for training camp after missing OTAs

LOWELL, Mass. -- Duron Harmon was not present for any of the Patriots OTA or minicamp practices held this spring, but he said on Wednesday that he's expecting to be ready for the start of training camp.

Harmon explained he was "just trying to clean up some things physically" while his teammates practiced through late May and into June.

He was one of a handful of Patriots regulars -- a group that included running back LeGarrette Blount, receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer and corner Logan Ryan -- who was not spotted by media members at Patriots practices, but he said, "I'm feeling good right now, and that's the only thing that matters."

When asked about his availability for training camp, where Patriots veterans will report on July 27, Harmon answered, "No worries at all. I'll be good. Ready to go. I'm excited."

Harmon suffered a knee injury in a Week 9 win over the Redskins last season, but he was removed from the team's injury report less than two weeks later. He was not included on the final injury report of the season leading up to the AFC title game against the Broncos.

Headed into his fourth year with the Patriots, Harmon is coming off a season in which he set a career-high with 683 snaps. Taking advantage of his range, the Patriots often asked him to patrol the deep part of the field in three-safety nickel packages that also included Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. 

Pro Football Focus graded Harmon as the sixth-best safety in coverage last season -- one spot ahead of Eric Weddle and one spot below Earl Thomas, two of the best in the league at the position over the course of the last several years. He also checked in with a 74.7 quarterback rating when targeted, per PFF, which placed him 22nd among safeties who played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps. 

Harmon is one of several Patriots players headed into a contract year. While corner Malcolm Butler and linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins have garnered much of the attention, there are other players like Harmon, Ryan, and defensive end Jabaal Sheard who are also staring at the prospect of hitting free agency after the 2016 season.

Harmon knows what's on the horizon, but he said he's not devoting much time to thoughts of a new contract at the moment. 

"To tell you the truth, I realize, just talking to Dev, he's been through the situation, and he tells me all the time, the more time you focus on contracts and all that, the less time you have to focus on your craft," Harmon said while visiting Sports International Football Camp. "I'm putting that in the back of my mind. I'm focusing on getting better, being able to go out there and make some plays for the New England Patriots, and just help them win some football games."

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.