Patriots

Cowboys reportedly releasing Allen Hurns; could Patriots have interest?

Cowboys reportedly releasing Allen Hurns; could Patriots have interest?

The New England Patriots seemingly are looking to add wide receiver depth. And as fate would have it, a veteran wideout is hitting the open market.

The Dallas Cowboys are releasing wide receiver Allen Hurns, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday.

Hurns suffered a gruesome ankle injury in last season's playoffs that required surgery, but NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports he's healthy entering 2019 training camp.

The Patriots, meanwhile, are expected to be without top receiver Julian Edelman for about three weeks due to a recent thumb injury. They reportedly brought four pass-catchers in for workouts Monday, suggesting they'd like to add another body in Edelman's temporary absence.

Hurns likely wouldn't come cheap; he was scheduled to make $4 million in base salary this season with a $6.25 million cap hit and reportedly turned down a discounted Cowboys offer to test the open market.

Still, the 27-year-old has a proven track record that includes a breakout 2015 season of 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns with the Jacksonville Jaguars and a career-high 69.6 percent catch rate in 2017.

If New England is willing to pay a bit more than the minimum to add a receiver ahead of the first day of training camp Thursday, Hurns may be worth looking into.

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Patriots vs. Panthers live stream: Watch NFL Week 3 preseason game online

Patriots vs. Panthers live stream: Watch NFL Week 3 preseason game online

Week 3 of the NFL preseason typically is when starters get an extended period of playing time, so Thursday night's game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium should be an exciting matchup.

The Patriots are 2-0 in the preseason with impressive wins over the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans.

The biggest takeaway from the first two weeks has been the encouraging performances of the Patriots rookies. New England's first-year players have played quite well, most notably undrafted wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Meyers, Stidham and edge rusher Chase Winovich all made Pro Football Focus' list of the top 10 offensive and defensive rookies through the first half of the preseason.

A pair of top-tier quarterbacks likely will steal the show Thursday night. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is expected to play, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Patriots quarterback Tom Brady get his first action of the preseason. Brady's last appearance for the Patriots was their 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII back in February.

Here's how and when to watch Patriots vs. Panthers online.

When: Thursday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: WBZ
Live Stream: Patriots.com

Five Patriots players to watch vs. Panthers>>>

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Is Patrick Chung facing NFL suspension, and if he is how would Patriots cope?

Is Patrick Chung facing NFL suspension, and if he is how would Patriots cope?

FOXBORO — Odds are the Patriots aren't going to have to worry about taking the field without Patrick Chung any time soon. 

Even though he's facing an arraignment in New Hampshire next week after being indicted for felony cocaine possession on Aug. 8, there are multiple factors that will go into Chung's ability to be on the field come Week 1. 

The first is the timing of the legal proceeding. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Belknap County court documents say that if Chung's case goes to trial it might not occur until after the 2019 NFL season in March. 

Then there's the reality that the NFL seems to be relying more on local law enforcement to come to a decision in cases pertaining to league individuals before a decision is made on punishment. 

The NFL investigated Tyreek Hill's recent case but leaned on the point of view of local authorities in explaining why Hill wasn't suspended, saying, "Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child's injuries . . . If further information becomes available through law enforcement, the pending court proceeding, or other sources, we will promptly consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time." 

In the case of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, commissioner Roger Goodell was very open in explaining that the league would wait for the legal proceedings to play out before determining if any punishment would be handed down. 

It would make sense, then, for the league to wait until Chung's legal proceedings play out before imposing any kind of punishment. 

According to the NFL's policy on substance abuse violations, a player convicted of a violating the law is "subject to appropriate discipline as determined by the Commissioner . . . Discipline for a first offense will be a suspension without pay for up to four regular and/or postseason games."

If Chung is not found to have violated any laws, and if he is a first-time offender in the league's eyes, he would avoid suspension altogether but be entered into the league's substance abuse program. Players who have committed multiple violations of the league's substance-abuse policy — players who are in the program because of a previous offense — would be eligible to be suspended. League policy is to keep first offenses confidential.

Given the timing of Chung's legal proceedings, and given the league's recent deference to local law enforcement, if he is going to face suspension, it appears as though it wouldn't come down until before the 2020 season at the earliest. 

That means the Patriots shouldn't have to plan for what their defense would look like without Chung for a while. But the 32-year-old is a critical piece to the overall operation and would be one of the more difficult players to replace on that side of the ball because of his unique skill set as a hybrid safety/linebacker. 

Under contract through 2021, Chung really has no logical replacement currently on the roster. Fellow safety Terrence Brooks has seen some snaps as an in-the-box safety this summer, and Obi Melifonwu — thanks to his size and athleticism — would be an interesting fit as a defensive back deployed closer to the line of scrimmage. When Chung has missed time in the past, the Patriots have used Devin McCourty closer to the line of scrimmage and played free safety Duron Harmon more frequently in McCourty's place.

Those types of considerations, as of right now, seem to be a long way off. It looks like it's going to be a while between now and whenever the Patriots would even have to think about taking the field without Chung because of any punishment levied by the league.

Patriots release statement on Chung situation>>>>>

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