Patriots

Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins 'felt comfortable' with Patriots at NFL Combine

Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins 'felt comfortable' with Patriots at NFL Combine

The New England Patriots have a reputation for asking the tough questions at the NFL Scouting Combine. And the 2020 combine has been no different.

So far this season, the Patriots have asked questions about how a quarterback would feel replacing Tom Brady and they also critiqued a prospect for having a "loser's mentality" during one of their interviews.

It's easy to understand why some would be intimidated by the Patriots' questions. They have a no-nonsense approach and look at very specific traits and qualities that fit to build their culture. And that can rub some the wrong way.

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But not Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins. He actually enjoyed his time with the Patriots and he said that he felt comfortable with the Patriots staffers he talked to.

“I like those guys [the Patriots], they’re real cool and relaxing, they make me feel comfortable,” Higgins said per Patriots Wire's Henry McKenna. “Some coaches can be all intimidating and get you on the books right away, but they just talked to me and got me comfortable.”

That's certainly a good sign that Higgins was able to mesh with the Patriots staffers some quickly. Of course, it doesn't mean that the team is going to select him, but he would fill a need at receiver and if he did as well in the meeting as he believes he did, he will surely earn consideration from the team.

Higgins checked in at 6-foot-4, 216 pounds at the NFL Combine and is expected to be an early-round pick in April. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compared him to A.J. Green thanks to his length, size, and ball skills.

In his final year at Clemson, Higgins caught 59 passes for 1,167 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also ran the ball once and turned into a 36-yard touchdown. All were career-high numbers.

Will Patriots make 2020 NFL playoffs? Here's oddsmakers' latest betting lines

Will Patriots make 2020 NFL playoffs? Here's oddsmakers' latest betting lines

The NFL officially changed its playoff format Tuesday, which, among other tweaks, will add a third wild card team to both conferences.

The extra playoff spot will give more teams a chance to play meaningful January football, which should create plenty of excitement over the final weeks of the regular season. One team that could be in the mix for one of those wild card spots is the New England Patriots.

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The Patriots are about to enter a new era. Longtime quarterback Tom Brady, who spent the last 20 years and won six Super Bowl championships with the Patriots, left the franchise to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. New England also lost several important defensive players in free agency, including linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. 

The Patriots missed the playoffs in only one season (2002) during which Brady played more than one game. New England reached the postseason 17 times with Brady overall, and it was the AFC East winner in each of those years. In fact, the Patriots haven't entered the playoffs via a wild card berth since 1998.

Will the Patriots make the playoffs next season? Oddsmakers are giving them a pretty good chance.

DraftKings Sportsbook has odds to make the playoffs for all 32 teams. Here are the Patriots odds: Yes (-200), No (+165)

DK doesn't have odds for which teams will make the playoffs in a wild card spot, but it does offer odds on the division winners. The Patriots, despite losing Brady and other key players in free agency, still are the betting favorites to win the AFC East at +100 odds. The Buffalo Bills are closely behind at +160, followed by the New York Jets (+750) and Miami Dolphins (+900).

The Patriots' ability to return to the playoffs likely will depend on the play of second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who is the favorite to win the starting job. A lot of talent remains on the Patriots roster, but there still are a several areas that need upgrading. Luckily for the Patriots, they own 12 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, which will help head coach Bill Belichick surround Stidham with more talent and add youth to the defense

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Report: Tom Brady renting out Derek Jeter's massive Tampa mansion

Report: Tom Brady renting out Derek Jeter's massive Tampa mansion

Being a member of sports royalty has its perks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recently confirmed Tom Brady would move his family to the Tampa area after signing with the team in free agency.

But how would the former New England Patriots quarterback relocate his wife, Gisele, and their children from New York to Tampa amid a global coronavirus pandemic?

With a little help from Derek Jeter, of all people.

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Brady arrived in Tampa on Thursday morning and is staying at the sprawling Davis Islands mansion owned by the New York Yankees legend, the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud reports.

"The JP Show" first reported the news, adding that Brady is renting the mansion at an estimated per-month rate of between $75,000 and $100,000 per month.

Good thing Brady's two-year contract is fully guaranteed.

Brady will get what he pays for, though. Jeter's palatial estate, which was constructed in 2011 for a cool $7.7 million, boasts over 30,000 square feet, seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two three-car garages and a boat dock with private access to Hillsborough Bay.

 

Another perk: The mansion is a short 20-minute drive (seven miles) from the Bucs' practice facility.

Former Bucs tight end and current Tampa resident Anthony Becht actually predicted Brady may land in Davis Islands last week.

"A lot of guys that kind of come in short term but money isn’t an issue, that’s kind of where they go, into there," Becht told The Boston Globe's Nora Princiotti, "and they rent a home and they have all the amenities you’re kind of looking for around the water and stuff."

Brady's move appears temporary for now, but he's officially out of the Northeast after spending the previous two decades in New England.