Patriots

Dontrelle Inman could be Chris Hogan-type signing for Patriots

Dontrelle Inman could be Chris Hogan-type signing for Patriots

The Patriots have brought aboard another big body at wide receiver. Dontrelle Inman, who spent last season with the Colts, was signed to a one-year deal on Friday.

The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport. I did some checking to make sure Ian wasn’t lying. He wasn’t.

What are the Patriots potentially getting in the 30-year-old? A 6-3, 205-pounder who was at his best for the Chargers in 2016 when he had 58 catches for 810 yards and four scores.

After getting boxed out on the Chargers depth chart in 2017 by Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and rookie Mike Williams, Inman was traded to the receiver-needy Bears in October of that year. He languished with Mitch Trubisky as his quarterback during the tail end of Trubisky’s rookie year. He wound up with 25 catches in eight games for the Bears.

Inman spent 2018 in Indianapolis and was pretty productive on a per-game basis with 28 catches (on 39 targets) in nine games.

Inman isn’t blazing fast and he’s not exceptionally strong (he had 11 reps on the bench at his Pro Day when he came out of Virginia in 2010).

Back in 2017, this was the detailed scouting report an AFC West scout gave Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune when the Bears acquired him:

“Good size,” the scout said. “He was hurt in training camp so he didn’t do much at all this year. Solid. Reliable. Dependable. He’s realistically a fourth (wide receiver), a teams guy. But considering their depth, gosh he’s better than (Josh) Bellamy. He’s better than better Tre (McBride). Kendall Wright is obviously more talented but it’s a trade that works for both ends in an ideal world. His reps were declining even more with Mike Williams coming back in the mix now. Travis Benjamin making some plays.

“He’s not going to wow you. In an ideal world, like I said, he’s probably a fourth. In their situation, he’s going to climb up the chart. I like the (Tanner) Gentry kid. I think they need to keep that guy. Off the preseason tape, I thought there was some stuff to him. It takes time. They’ve got a young quarterback and they need to find a guy for him to develop a relationship with. We’ll see. They’re hurting so bad. I don’t know what the market looks like on teams’ practice squads right now. So the trade works for both.”

Inman also played in the CFL and won a Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts. So he’s well-traveled, well thought-of and versatile. Realistically, he could be a Chris Hogan-level player for the Patriots, which is to say useful at times but not jaw-dropping.

With the addition of N’Keal Harry during the draft and the release of Bruce Ellington earlier in the week, the Patriots receiver corps is Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas, Maurice Harris, Harry and Inman. Second-year player Braxton Berrios, rookies Jakobi Myers, Xavier Ubosi, Damoun Patterson and Ryan Davis round out the other hopefuls. Suspended wideout Josh Gordon may also be in the mix at some point but that figures to be a very involved process.

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Raiders QB Derek Carr to face Patriots early in what could be bounce-back season

Raiders QB Derek Carr to face Patriots early in what could be bounce-back season

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Las Vegas Raiders with Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area.

The Las Vegas Raiders reportedly were among the teams with some level of interest in signing Tom Brady in NFL free agency, but the Silver and Black ultimately decided to stick with Derek Carr as its starting quarterback.

Carr shouldn't be too comfortable, though.

Despite making the most of a tough situation in 2019 during which the Raiders lacked skill and depth at many offensive positions, Carr's job doesn't appear to be safe. For example, the Raiders signed veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency, and he has several seasons of starting experience.

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NBC Sports Bay Area's Raiders insider Scott Bair recently spoke to our Patriots insider Phil Perry, and one of the topics centered around Carr's future and if he can once again perform at the level of a top-tier quarterback.

"Actions speak louder than words, and (head coach) Jon Gruden and (general manager) Mike Mayock at the combine and all these different places, they say the right things -- Derek Carr is their guy," Bair said. "But then, they're constantly flirting with Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, and they sign Marcus Mariota to a deal that could evolve into paying him starter money should he take over that job. Those actions don't say (Carr is their guy).

"I've seen every professional snap that Derek Carr has ever taken. I've seen every practice rep that I've been allowed to see, and I may be in the minority, but this is a guy I believe can be an upper-tier NFL quarterback. He can make every throw, and if you go back to 2016 when he had a loaded offensive line and lots of good skill players, he finished third in MVP voting despite the fact he broke his leg in Week 16. I know that's in there. Now, Raiders fans don't believe me, the national media doesn't believe me, but I think the stage is set for him to have a career year and find that 2016 form yet again, that most fans think is lost forever."

One defense Carr will go up against in 2020 is the New England Patriots.

The Raiders are scheduled to visit Gillette Stadium on Sept. 27 for a Week 3 matchup, and they currently are underdogs by almost a touchdown, according to oddsmakers. Bair thinks the matchup is closer than the betting lines would suggest.

"I would definitely hammer the Raiders pretty hard right there," Bair said. "I just think they're going to have a lot of explosive firepower, and when there's uncertainty at quarterback, (the more explosive team) seems to be a safer bet. Maybe you know better than I do exactly how (the Patriots') quarterback situation is shaping up, but if there are major questions marks there, I would go with the more established quarterback, the more established offense. Again, (the Raiders) are going to be able to score in bunches, and I think they're going to be pretty excited to come to Foxboro and finally get a win, even if Brady isn't there."

The Raiders and Patriots both face a bit of uncertainty at quarterback entering the 2020 season, and whichever coach is able to surround his young QB with the best system and the right talent will put his team in a strong position to reach the playoffs. The Patriots haven't missed the postseason since 2008, while the Raiders have made only one appearance since 2002.

If Brian Hoyer starts for Patriots in Week 1, that's absolutely crazy

If Brian Hoyer starts for Patriots in Week 1, that's absolutely crazy

Rob Ninkovich sounded drunkovich when he spoke of Brian Hoyer starting Week 1 for the Patriots.

Get that man a breathalyzer. Stat.

And if Nink turns out to be right, get Bill Belichick one too. 

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I have said this before — and I will say it again: I will not watch one down of Brian Hoyer under center for the Patriots.

And you shouldn’t either!

Don’t be a sucker. Really, you’re going to waste your time watching a guy who has started 25 games in 11 seasons in the NFL?

He may be a nice guy, good at carrying a clipboard and ridding Tom Brady of his insecurities, but he is a lousy quarterback. Patriot fans deserve better.

Going from Tom Brady to Brian Hoyer is cold turkey to the extreme. I can feel the cotton mouth, cold sweats and shakes coming on already. 

Does Bill Belichick expect you to accept Brian Hoyer as a starter? If he does, it should piss you off. 

If Hoyer does get the call you can still watch some of the game. I plan to. When the Patriots are on offense I will switch to the other game or Red Zone, and when I see on my phone that the Pats are back on defense, I will switch back over and watch Gilmore, Hightower and the McCourtys do their thing. 

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.