Patriots

Jared Cook reportedly signing with Saints; Which free-agent tight ends are left?

Jared Cook reportedly signing with Saints; Which free-agent tight ends are left?

If the New England Patriots want to acquire a legitimate insurance policy for Rob Gronkowski in free agency, their options are running out.

The New Orleans Saints are expected to sign free-agent tight end Jared Cook, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning.

Cook turns 32 in April but arguably was the best free agent tight end left on the market; he posted career highs in receptions (68), receiving yards (896) and touchdowns (6) for the Oakland Raiders in 2018 while making his first Pro Bowl.

Cook joins big names like Tyler Eifert, Jesse James and Tyler Kroft who have either re-signed with their clubs or joined new teams. So, who's still out there? Here's an updated look at the some of the top remaining free-agent tight ends still available:

- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (last team: Jaguars)
- James O'Shaughnessy (Jaguars)
- A.J. Derby (Dolphins)
- Jermaine Gresham (Cardinals)
- Neal Sterling (Jets)
- Maxx Williams (Ravens)
- Levine Toilolo (Lions)

Translation: It's slim pickings out there.

The Patriots did acquire a tight end in free agency, signing 26-year-old Matt LaCosse from the Denver Broncos. After Dwayne Allen's departure, though, LaCosse and Jacob Hollister don't inspire much confidence as New England's tight end depth chart behind Gronkowski, who hasn't even confirmed he's playing in 2019.

That would suggest the Patriots may seek tight end depth via trade or the 2019 NFL Draft, where several quality prospects could fall to Bill Belichick's club at No. 32 overall.

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Tom Brady shares heartfelt message for his parents on their 50th anniversary

Tom Brady shares heartfelt message for his parents on their 50th anniversary

Tom Brady took a break from the humorous social media posts to share something more sentimental on Friday.

Brady wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram for his parents on their 50th anniversary. In the post, Brady explains the core values he's learned from his mother and father.

50 years ago today, my mom and dad were married and began the journey to start their own family. The strength of their marriage has always been an inspiration and the best example to me and my sisters of what true love, respect and commitment mean. 
Life always has its ups and downs and their togetherness in good and bad taught us teamwork. Their trust, love and dedication as parents taught us how to become the parents we are today. They have always put our family first and instilled in us the values they were taught from their parents, which we now carry on and teach our own kids. They have always encouraged us to attain milestones and we’re honored to celebrate this one they’ve achieved. We love you so much, mom and dad. Happy anniversary!!!

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50 years ago today, my mom and dad were married and began the journey to start their own family. The strength of their marriage has always been an inspiration and the best example to me and my sisters of what true love, respect and commitment mean. Life always has its ups and downs and their togetherness in good and bad taught us teamwork. Their trust, love and dedication as parents taught us how to become the parents we are today. They have always put our family first and instilled in us the values they were taught from their parents, which we now carry on and teach our own kids. They have always encouraged us to attain milestones and we’re honored to celebrate this one they’ve achieved. We love you so much, mom and dad. Happy anniversary!!!

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The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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Prototypical Patriots: Looking at the future for interior of offensive line?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Prototypical Patriots: Looking at the future for interior of offensive line?

One of the more unheralded positions of strength on the Patriots has been the interior of their offensive line.

Put dependable guys like David Andrews, Joe Thuney, and Shaq Mason under the leadership of one of the best positional coaches in the game — Dante Scarnecchia — and that's unquestionably a recipe for success.

But that triumvirate isn't going to be around forever (Thuney is set to hit free agency in 2020), and at some point, the Patriots have to plan for the future of the position.

Could this be the year that Bill Belichick looks for a succession plan in the Draft?

If so, Phil Perry has broken down which candidates in the draft pool fit the criteria that past Patriots linemen have exhibited.

Here are Phil's Prototypical Patriots for the interior of the offensive line.>>>>

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