Patriots

Dalton Keene responds to Skip Bayless' criticism of Patriots' rookie tight ends

Dalton Keene responds to Skip Bayless' criticism of Patriots' rookie tight ends

The bulletin board material for the New England Patriots keeps coming in, and the latest comes from Skip Bayless.

The co-host of FOX Sports 1 show "Undisputed" was recently reacting to the Patriots reportedly agreeing to sign quarterback Cam Newton when he took a shot at New England's rookie tight ends Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi. Keene went to Virginia Tech and Asiasi attended UCLA. Both were selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

"They took (two tight ends) in the third round and you can't name them because nobody knew them in college football," Bayless said. "Are they diamonds in the rough? ... So one of those guys is going to just rise and shine and become the next Rob Gronkowski or even the next Greg Olsen? Ah, stop it. No, not going to happen."

There are many issues with Bayless' comments, but one that immediately comes to mind is the fact neither Keene nor Asiasi need to become the next Gronkowski or Olsen to make a positive impact on the Patriots offense. 

Keene had a simple, measured response on Twitter when alerted to Bayless' criticism. 

Sure, the Patriots didn't get much offensive production from their tight ends last season. There's no denying that, but to knock Keene and Asiasi before they have ever played a game is pretty foolish. Both showed time and time again in college that they could be a factor in the passing game as a receiver and in the run game as a blocker -- the kind of versatility that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick values a lot.

Bayless joins a long list of experts, former players and talk/debate show hosts who've been critical of the Patriots over the offseason -- one that has seen several important players including quarterback Tom Brady depart New England. In fact, before Newton joined the Patriots, oddsmakers had the Buffalo Bills winning the AFC East.

You might not find a more motivated team in pro football than the Patriots this season. No team thrives off of bulletin board material more than New England, and Belichick has so much content to work with entering Week 1 of the regular season.

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Six New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (Aug. 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (Aug. 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (Aug. 2)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB CJ Mosley (Aug. 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)

Julian Edelman shows Tom Brady love on ex-Patriots QB's 43rd birthday

Julian Edelman shows Tom Brady love on ex-Patriots QB's 43rd birthday

Tom Brady and Julian Edelman are no longer teammates, but they're very much still friends.

Brady celebrated his 43rd birthday Monday as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an NFL first for the quarterback after 20 years with the New England Patriots.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Edelman, who spent 11 seasons as Brady's teammate in New England, used his Instagram story to shout out his former QB with some heartfelt well wishes.

Edelman seemingly is eager to prove he's not just "a product of Brady" after the QB helped him amass a career-high 1,117 receiving yards last season.

The 34-year-old wide receiver also has been working out with new Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, so he's certainly not dwelling on the past.

Then again, he and Brady developed an incredibly close bond as Patriots teammates and won three Super Bowl titles together, and that bond hasn't broken despite Brady migrating to Tampa Bay.