Patriots

Could buzz around Dolphins make Tua Tagovailoa an option for Patriots?

Could buzz around Dolphins make Tua Tagovailoa an option for Patriots?

The first few picks of the 2020 NFL Draft seemed predetermined.

The Cincinnati Bengals would take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1, and the Miami Dolphins would either trade up to No. 2 to select Tua Tagovailoa or hope the Alabama QB fell to them at No. 5.

But Tagovailoa to Miami apparently is far from a sure thing.

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ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. wrote Tuesday there's "some buzz" around Oregon QB Justin Herbert going to the Dolphins. That's after a report surfaced last week that Miami could try to trade up to the No. 1 pick to take Burrow.

Why the Dolphins' apparent cold feet with Tagovailoa?

The 22-year-old insists he's fully recovered from a broken hip, but as Kiper points out, Miami's team doctors can't conduct their own in-person assessment on his health due to the coronavirus pandemic restricting travel.

That's where the Patriots come in. With 12 picks in this year's draft, including No. 23 overall, New England in theory could consider trading up to draft Tagovailoa, whose college coach, Nick Saban, has a strong connection to Bill Belichick.

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The Boston Globe's Ben Volin resurfaced that idea Tuesday after initially floating it last week.

The Patriots drafting a QB isn't far-fetched; while our Tom E. Curran has reported they're confident in Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as their QB duo in 2020, the Patriots still could draft a high-upside arm to compete with Stidham in training camp and potentially take the reins if the 23-year-old regresses.

But is Tagovailoa the right fit, and does New England have the draft capital to land him? Even if the Dolphins don't take Tua at No. 5, it's hard to see the QB-needy Los Angeles Chargers passing on him at No. 6.

The Patriots only have two picks in the top 90 (Nos. 23 and 87), so a jump up to No. 6 likely would require them to include a current player in the deal.

As recent history has shown, trading up in the first round to draft a QB can pay off in a big way. It's unclear whether Tagovailoa is worth the risk, but the option seemingly is there for New England.

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.