Patriots

Kyle Van Noy (finally) confronts Max Kellerman over Patriots hot takes

Kyle Van Noy (finally) confronts Max Kellerman over Patriots hot takes

The feature fight between Kyle Van Noy and Max Kellerman finally came Thursday, and it lived up to its billing.

First, some background: Van Noy has taken the New England Patriots' critics to task this season, most notably Kellerman, who still stands by his take that Tom Brady is in decline.

Van Noy recently said the ESPN analyst should "stick to boxing," and during the Patriots' Super Bowl parade Tuesday, fellow linebacker Elandon Roberts actually held up a sign dubbing Kellerman the "Haterade Player of the Year."

That all led to Van Noy (joined by rookie running back Sony Michel) and Kellerman working out their differences on-air Thursday during ESPN's "First Take."

Here are a few highlights, as aired on ESPN:

Van Noy on the "Haterade" sign: "First of all, I didn't have that sign. Because if I had that sign, I probably would have thrown it in the trash, because that's giving (Kellerman) too much credit.

"There's other people that probably deserve it more. I mean, you've got (Fox Sports') Rob Parker that should be moving to Mexico right now because he said we couldn't beat the Chiefs."

"We just enjoy everybody that doubted us, and thank you Max."

Van Noy on Kellerman saying Patrick Mahomes outplayed Brady in the AFC Championship Game:  "You can sit here and argue with me all you want. At the end of the day, he's the GOAT, we won another Super Bowl, and just the look (on your face) and your smile says it all."

Kellerman: "You're saying I'm wrong about Brady being in decline?"

Van Noy: "I'll take his wet noodle arm any day.

"He's good at what he does. He is an excellent communicator, he's excellent at what he does, he gets everybody orchestrated and runs the offense to the best of his ability with Josh McDaniels."

Van Noy on if last year's Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles motivated this Patriots team: "I think it was a big motivation all year. I think if we sit here and say it wasn't a motivation, we'd be lying to you, but it was.

"I think the guys understood that, and we didn't want to walk off that field with the other team's confetti coming down on (us)."

Van Noy on his initial reaction to being traded from the Detroit Lions to the Patriots in 2016: "I finally get to play chess and not checkers, baby."

Van Noy's parting shot for Kellerman: "Enjoy another year of talking about Tom again. ... You don't even deserve that hater award."

So, yeah. Kyle got his money's worth today.

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NFL rumors: Patriots among teams expected to meet with Will Grier before draft

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL rumors: Patriots among teams expected to meet with Will Grier before draft

The New England Patriots still don't have a real successor to Tom Brady on their roster, but could they find that quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday that the Patriots are expected to be among several teams to meet with West Virginia quarterback Will Grier.

West Virginia held its pro day Thursday, and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was in attendance.

Grier is one of the top QB prospects in the 2019 draft class. 

He set career highs as a junior last season with 3,864 yards and 34 touchdown passes. He also completed 67 percent of his passes and threw just eight interceptions. 

Grier is not expected to be a first-round pick, however. If that ends up being the case, the Patriots could have a decent chance to snag him -- they own two second-round picks (56th and 64th overall) and three third-rounders (73rd, 97th, 101st overall).

The West Virginia star is very confident in his abilities, and he even told NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry on a "Next Pats Podcast" that he's the best quarterback in this class. Click here to listen to his explanation.

Click here for the latest Patriots mock draft roundup

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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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