Patriots

McDaniels’ tenure as Patriots’ OC likely winding down

McDaniels’ tenure as Patriots’ OC likely winding down

FOXBORO - A long, detailed, well-written, behind-the-scenes look at Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels achieves two things.

The article, written for Bleacher Report by longtime NFL reporter Dan Pompei , investigates the growth of McDaniels as a person and coach since his ill-fated run as Denver Broncos head coach. And it serves as a de facto announcement of McDaniels’ suitability and availability as a head coaching candidate after 2016.

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McDaniels deserves the recognition and the second chance. Mistakes and miscalculations he made when he was 33 and 34 shouldn’t be a millstone for the rest of his coaching career. If second chances weren’t given to Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan and Tony Dungy, they wouldn’t have combined for seven Super Bowl wins.

That Pompei got the go-ahead from McDaniels and Belichick to write this story now – complete with in-depth quotes from both of them and Tom Brady about McDaniels’ growth – shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s unusual for a piece like this to emerge in-season.

So why are we seeing it now? What should we infer?

First, that McDaniels – now 40 – wants the record on him updated. He takes a measure of blame for mismanaging the Jay Cutler situation in Denver ("I learned the hard way," he says. "We could have avoided that, no question."), he talks about the importance of delegating and about forging better relationships with players and assistants.

Second, having the record updated won’t hurt when the offseason vacancies emerge and that he’d like to be in the mix.

Third, Belichick speaking to Pompei is ostensibly an endorsement of McDaniels candidacy as well. From that, you can infer that Belichick appreciates McDaniels’ work, is willing to help McDaniels realize McDaniels’ coaching goals, does not have immediate plans to step aside himself (as McDaniels inferred on the radio this week) and probably has a succession plan in place. Brian Daboll, who – McDaniels noted in the story – prepared a third-down scouting report, would be the likely successor.

That anecdote was an interesting one:

Not long ago, Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll was assigned to put together a third-down scouting report. Daboll came up with a new way of presenting it. He ran it by McDaniels first. It gave McDaniels pause. In the past, he would have told him to redo it the way that McDaniels was most comfortable. But he knew Daboll felt good about the report and had worked hard on it.

Green light given.

"As much as we are on the same staff, we don't all think the same," McDaniels says. "That's OK. Before, I might have been frustrated with that. Now I feel that's a healthy thing."

Last season, McDaniels passed on interviewing for head-coaching positions. There were options, he just didn’t take any. Part of that, no doubt, had to do with the head coach-front office-ownership stability that seemed to be lacking in many of the opportunities that arose.

This offseason, with former Patriots’ executives Bob Quinn in Detroit and Jon Robinson in Tennessee, the landscape could be more comfortable if those positions open up.

Full disclosure, I think McDaniels is a talented coach and the first three games of 2016 should have teams looking to make a switch on high alert. He deserves and will get his next shot. Pompei’s feature indicates the time is approaching.

 

 

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.