Patriots

Did Rob Gronkowski tell Drew Brees about NFL comeback at ESPYs?

Did Rob Gronkowski tell Drew Brees about NFL comeback at ESPYs?

Rob Gronkowski was all over the place at the 2019 ESPY Awards. And the retired New England Patriots tight end almost made it through the night without stirring up any NFL comeback drama...

... Until he stopped for a quick chat with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

The NFL on ESPN Twitter account posted a video of their interaction, and you can hear Gronk's part of the exchange. Have a listen:

Let's toss it to the Twitter detectives:

To channel Captain Obvious (who's randomly standing in the background), we have zero context for this conversation. But Gronk clearly tells Brees, "That's what I'm hoping for," before saying something slightly less audible that sounds a lot like, "I'm coming back."

Could Gronk and Brees be talking about something completely unrelated to football? Sure. Could Gronk be telling Brees he's hoping the Patriots are in contention again this season so he can return late in the year for their playoff push, as some have reported? It's possible.

It's also possible the 30-year-old ex(?) tight end was speaking sarcastically. Or maybe he told Brees he's planning to come back but will change his mind later. We have no idea.

But you'll forgive Boston fans for over-analyzing videos of star athletes' supposedly private conversations. Just look at where Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant ended up after their February hallway chat.

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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.