Patriots

Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola gives his take on Tom Brady's NFL future

Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola gives his take on Tom Brady's NFL future

Danny Amendola is the latest NFL player to weigh in on the future of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady is able to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in March unless he and the Patriots come to a contract agreement before that point. The 42-year-old quarterback has spent his entire 20-year career in New England, but nothing lasts forever and you can bet most teams would love to add Brady to their roster if he ever chose to leave the Patriots.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Amendola appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Friday, where he was asked about Brady's upcoming decision. He doesn't know exactly what will happen, but he noted family definitely will play a factor.

"It's going to go however he wants. He's the ultimate competitor," Amendola said. "I think as his kids get older, he wants to spend time with his family. I think that's going to weigh heavily on his decision and where he goes, and he can set that up the way he wants. His competitive nature, his ability is still through the roof. And whatever team gets him -- if he stays in New England or if he goes somewhere else -- he's going to bring a high level of football there."

When asked about the Los Angeles Chargers being a potential destination for Brady, Amendola admitted it's difficult to see the six-time Super Bowl champion in a different uniform.

"It's hard for me to see him in any other jersey than a Patriots jersey, so I'm holding on just like everybody else is," Amendola said.

Patriots fans obviously would love for Brady to return for at least one more season in New England, and most of them probably wouldn't mind Amendola coming back as well. The Patriots need to upgrade their depth and talent at wide receiver before the 2020 season, and Amendola will be a free agent in March.

Phil Perry: Why Pats can't wait on Tom Brady's free agent tour

Patriots have the NFL's toughest schedule next season

Patriots have the NFL's toughest schedule next season

With or without Tom Brady at quarterback, those traditional complaints about the Patriots having an easy schedule will likely die down a bit next season.

Yes, there's still the AFC East for the Pats to feast on, but based on their opponents' records in 2019, New England has the NFL's toughest schedule in 2020. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Patriots opponents had a .537 winning percentage in 2019. Dates and times will be released as usual in mid-April, but the opponents have been known for a while and they include the two Super Bowl teams (on the road vs. the champion Kansas City Chiefs and hosting the runner-up San Francisco 49ers) and five other games against team who made the playoffs (the Buffalo Bills home and away, at the Seattle Seahawks, at the Houston Texans and home vs. the Baltimore Ravens).

The Pats are matched up with the AFC West and NFC West for non-division opponents, which throws some coast-to-coast trips in the mix. It also puts New England's AFC East rivals right up there with the toughest schedules as well, with the Jets second, the Miami Dolphins third and the Bills the fifth-toughest. 

The team with the easiest schedule next season? It's the one that won the most regular-season games (14) last season and earned the AFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs, the Ravens. Their opponents had a combined .437 winning percentage last season. 
 

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs' Instagram activity sparks Patriots trade speculation

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs' Instagram activity sparks Patriots trade speculation

One of the New England Patriots' primary focuses this offseason will be to add weapons to an offense that lacked its usual explosiveness in the 2019 season.

There are plenty of options on the free agent market that could help the Patriots in that regard, but they also could look to improve their roster via trade. In fact, one particular star wide receiver appears to be placing himself on the trade block.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Vikings star Stefon Diggs removed all Vikings-related content from his Instagram page. That means no Vikings photos or videos, and no mention of the organization in his "bio" section.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Predictably, that sparked plenty of "Diggs-to-the-Pats" speculation on social media.

And there's much more where that came from.

Making a move to add a top-tier wideout like Diggs not only would give the Patriots' receiving corps a much-needed boost, it also could entice soon-to-be free agent Tom Brady to stay in New England. The 42-year-old quarterback is set to officially hit free agency on March 18.

As for Diggs, he has four years remaining on his contract and the Vikings' asking price would be reasonably high. The 26-year-old caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.

Is there a chance this is nothing and we're all reading way too much into social media? Of course. But it wouldn't be an NFL offseason if we didn't have this kind of drama to talk about.