Patriots

Patriots sign QB Jacoby Brissett to rookie contract

Patriots sign QB Jacoby Brissett to rookie contract

The Patriots finally have all nine of their draft picks under contract. 

The team announced that it signed its third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Thursday. The North Carolina State product inked a four-year deal worth $3,410,832, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. That amount is more than 17 players drafted ahead of the No. 91 overall slot where Brissett was taken, Volin noted.

The 6-foot-4, 231-pound signal-caller is set to be the Patriots No. 2 quarterback for the first month of the season behind Jimmy Garoppolo should Tom Brady be forced to serve a four-game suspension for Deflategate. Brady is currently waiting to hear from the Second Circuit on whether or not that court will rehear his case.

Brissett's contract negotiations were unique on a few different accounts. First, he opted not to hire an agent during the pre-draft process. Instead, he was helped through the process by the NFLPA and by former NFL safety Abe Elam. 

Brissett's negotiations were also complicated by the fact that he was drafted in the third round. Though rookie salaries are slotted based on draft position, the CBA allows for more creativity in the deals for third-rounders. One agent told the Florida Times-Union that the third round is the "wild, wild West" for negotiations. 

Despite the fact that he was not technically under contract, Brissett was present for rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp. He showed a relatively accurate arm and good decision-making in team drills during practices open to the media, giving coach Bill Belichick two seemingly-capable young quarterbacks behind Tom Brady. 

Matt Cassel: What Tom Brady is really like when Patriots' offense is struggling

Matt Cassel: What Tom Brady is really like when Patriots' offense is struggling

People sometimes don’t take into account is how ultra-competitive Tom Brady is.

He and Josh McDaniels have a level of expectation for the New England Patriots' offense and how they’ve built it up over the last 20 years to where it really should be like a machine. 

And when it’s not operating on all cylinders for a multitude of different reasons, there’s a level of frustration. 

It’s not the fact that they’re not winning. I guarantee he’s happy that they’re winning. It’s just that the expectation he has for himself and the offense is always at the highest level.

He’s pretty consistent around the guys in the locker room. During the week, he just puts his head down and gets to work to do whatever he can to help the offense, like he’s done for his entire career.

A lot of times you’ll watch film with the skill players: the wide receivers, running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks all in the same room.

And Tom has been like this since when I first came into the league: He’s like another coach in the film room.

The receivers sit behind him, and he’ll be like, “Hey, on this next route, you’re going to see it: You faded a little bit on the stop route. I need you come downhill, because this guy is going to be on top of you.” 

When Tom speaks, whether it’s a veteran or a rookie, he speaks directly to you. He’ll turn around and look you in the eyes and say, “Hey, I need you to do this because this is what I’m expecting.” 

He's constantly coaching. Ben Watson would run a seam route, for example, and he’d be like, “Hey, I really need you to give me that stick and give me that indicator step so I know when you’re breaking, and then you can come flatter on it.”

In a lot of organizations, the coach just speaks for the players. But Tom is a coach inside that room, especially in the offensive meetings after practice, and is trying to make sure everybody is on the same page.

Here's the other thing about Tom: He doesn’t talk just to talk. He talks with a purpose. 

When he's talking in those meetings, it’s not like he’s yelling at somebody or coming down hard on them or anything like that. What he’s doing is addressing a specific route and how he expects it to be run. 

And when he speaks, whether it’s a veteran or a rookie, he speaks directly to you. He’ll turn around and look you in the eyes and say, “Hey, I need you to do this because this is what I’m expecting.” 

He's not yelling at the receivers saying, “This is dogs---! You’ve got to do better!” It's more from a coaching perspective of, “Hey, I’m speaking directly to you because I think this will help us on Sunday.” 

I think everybody appreciates that, because they know Tom doesn’t just talk to hear himself talk like some people do. 

So, people shut up and listen when he's talking directly to them, because they know that if they want to get the ball on Sundays, then they should listen to his advice.

After Eagles game, I think Tom was just speaking honestly and candidly.

I think everybody on that offensive unit -- including Josh McDaniels and the entire coaching staff -- would probably tell you their expectation level is higher than what they’ve been playing at. 

And I think some of the struggles they’ve had, whether it’s in the running game or red zone offense, are things they want to address and are a little bit frustrated about. 

So, I think he’s just being honest with the questions and how he feels the offense can improve from where it's at.

Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.

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Patriots sign former Vikings defensive lineman to practice squad

Patriots sign former Vikings defensive lineman to practice squad

The New England Patriots are getting busy with practice squad transactions this week.

The Patriots announced Thursday they have signed defensive lineman Tashawn Bower to their practice squad.

Bower signed with the Vikings in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of LSU and spent the last three seasons in Minnesota.

He recorded one sack over a total of seven games for the Vikings over the 2017 and 2018 seasons but was placed on Minnesota's non-football injury list in July 2019 with a torn Achilles.

The Vikings waived Bower on October 15, and the 24-year-old was a free agent until Thursday.

The Patriots now have nine players on their practice squad after adding wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo to the group Wednesday.

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