Patriots

Maybe it's old news, but the idea of trading Gronkowski is still dumb

Maybe it's old news, but the idea of trading Gronkowski is still dumb

Am I stuck in a time warp?

The Patriots tried to trade Rob Gronkowski in the offeason? Yes! Yes! A thousand times, YES!

A Sunday splash report by ESPN's Adam Schefter adds a layer of reporting to the very well-established fact that the Patriots wanted to trade Gronk before the draft but didn't. The Lions were on the hook and talks were "deep."

The Lions, coincidentally, are the Patriots’ opponent tonight. When the Patriots play the Titans on November 11, it can also be reported then that Tennessee was asked if they were interested in a deal. Same with the 49ers whenever the Patriots see them again (now THERE’S  a team that owes the Patriots a solid).

How much did we know about this prior to day?

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Well, according to multiple sources and as previously reported, Gronk was shopped to a few teams prior to the draft

He made it clear he’d sooner retire than accept a trade. Tom Brady made it clear that if the team traded Gronk, they better be ready to find another quarterback. 

These are things I spoke about in early April.

Sources within the organization have characterized the disillusionment of Brady and Gronk as being completely quarantined. They are on an island. The other coaches and players aren’t bristling about an uncomfortable environment, thudding negativity, or the never-ending mind games. It’s not Shangri-La. It’s closer to Parris Island. But it’s always been that way so who really changed?

Meanwhile, you’re Bill Belichick and watching this offseason of indiscreet discontent and thinking to yourself, “What’s my move here? Do I throw Gronk another pile of incentives to sweeten up his contract and get him to dummy up for a while? Does Brady want more money? I can knock his cap down.”

Then you remember you’re Bill Belichick and that’s the motherscratching opposite of what you normally do. So you think about trading Gronk.

Then you think about the further fallout with the quarterback. And the fact that -- if Gronk is already babbling about retirement -- he isn’t going to report to whatever Godforsaken outpost you ship him to. And you realize that, if Brady is already waffling about his future, why would you extend him past 2019? To save money against a cap that really isn’t even an issue right now? 

That stupid-ass motocross press conference Gronk did on Saturday, April 21, five days before the draft was – as everyone in New England guessed – the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Bill Belichick – who’d had it with Gronk’s offseason ambivalence and Gronk and Brady going rogue with their offseason participation – wasn't going to be shown up like that. And Gronk's teammates who were already working in the voluntary offseason program, weren't going to be shown up like that. 

But once Gronk nixed the trade, an air-clearing meeting happened on Tuesday, April 24, as reported by Schefter after a conversation with Rosenhaus. 

They put the toothpaste back in the tube. Belichick assured Gronk he wouldn’t be traded and would get a contract tweak, which eventually came in August.

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While Schefter reported on the fence-mending meeting in April, it wasn’t until early June when the scuttlebutt about the possible trade bubbled up. At that time, it was portrayed as current and poised to happen. 

It wasn’t. The most detail on that day came from Adam Kurkjian, a former Boston Herald writer who tweeted:

From multiple sources, here's what I have re: the Gronk rumors. Told Belichick wanted to trade him. Offers on the table w both the Titans and 49ers. He and Robert Kraft had a closed-door meeting to discuss. Tom Brady threatened to retire if the deal went through. Kraft nixed it.

The Patriots shot that down saying there was “zero truth” to anything Kurkjian reported. 

I was merely able to report that A) they’d tried to trade him and B) they weren’t going to

Schefter’s add today was the Lions. And that’s news.

But here we are, on September 23 back kinda where we were a few months ago. The Patriots tried to trade Gronk. We know.  

The details aren't the story. The fact that this is a story, that this came close to happening if not for Gronk putting big foot down, is and continues to be THE STORY.

Six months after trading Jimmy Garoppolo for peanuts, two months after benching Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl, in the midst of a war with the greatest quarterback of all-time that put Belichick at odds with an owner who couldn't bear the thought of a post-Brady Patriots - Belichick was trying to trade the best tight end in football. 

Regardless of how rancorous things had gotten or how much Gronk and Brady were acting out, that there was no Camp David summit meeting prior to Gronk being almost dealt is both ridiculous and not the least bit surprising. 

I don't know what kind of machinations the Patriots had in place if they dealt Gronk - I'm sure it wouldn't have included Brian Hoyer throwing to Dwayne Allen for the opener - but whatever scenario unfolded, the Patriots wouldn't have been better now without Gronk and Brady. 

They are what's best for the football team. And Gronk saying "Me no go!" saved the Patriots. For now. 

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What will new QB coach Jedd Fisch bring to Patriots offense in 2020?

What will new QB coach Jedd Fisch bring to Patriots offense in 2020?

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 Los Angeles Rams with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

One under-the-radar personnel move made by the New England Patriots after the 2019 season was the hiring of Jedd Fisch as quarterbacks coach in January.

Fisch spent 2018 and 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams as an assistant offensive coordinator. His experience as an offensive coach dates back to 2004, when he was an offensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens.

Since then, Fisch has spent time with numerous teams including the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he served as an offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. Before joining the Rams, Fisch was an offensive coach at Michigan (2015-16) and UCLA (2017), where he also was named an interim head coach.

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On the latest edition of Patriots Opposing Views, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated shed some light on what Fisch will bring to the Patriots in 2020.

"Very much a quarterbacks guy," Breer said about Fisch. "I'm sure [Bill] Belichick's connection to him at least to some degree came through Mike Shanahan. Mike Shanahan helped welcome Jedd Fisch into the league, and he's clearly been a part of the development of Jared Goff over the last couple of years, went to a Super Bowl with Jared Goff at the quarterback position. He was a part of that room.

"Everywhere he's been, he's been locked in on the quarterbacks. My feeling is [the Patriots] brought him in for very Jarrett Stidham-specific reasons. His experience, again, is working with young quarterbacks. He was a college coach both at UCLA and at Michigan. And so, I think part of the reason you bring him in is to give Jarrett Stidham one more resource to work with."

Considering Stidham's inexperience at the pro level, it makes sense to give the 2019 fourth-round draft pick every resource possible to help expedite his development. While Fisch may not be a household name, his role is tremendously important to Stidham and the Patriots' success in 2020.

Stidham will have plenty of coaches in his corner as he prepares to take over for Tom Brady. Along with Fisch, Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, and veteran QB Brian Hoyer each will play a major part in getting Stidham ready to lead the Patriots offense in Week 1.

Chris Simms: Patriots' Jarrett Stidham 'reminds me a little of Tony Romo'

Chris Simms: Patriots' Jarrett Stidham 'reminds me a little of Tony Romo'

Jarrett Stidham is expected to take over the New England Patriots offense in the 2020 NFL season, and he's getting rave reviews from teammates, former coaches and several members of the media.

Despite having thrown only four career regular season passes, Stidham impressed people with his work in training camp and the preseason last year, and in practices during the 2019 regular season.

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Where does he rank among NFL quarterbacks? NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms placed Stidham at No. 35 on his latest list. While that isn't very high, Simms had plenty of good things to say about the Patriots quarterback.

"First off, I loved (Stidham) coming out of college," Simms said. "I saw a lot of him in preseason last year and loved the way he looked. Really, when you look at him, there's nothing to say or look at him physically and go, 'Oh, there's a weakness to his football game.' He reminds me a little of Tony Romo. He's a very pure thrower of the football. He's got great mechanics, he's natural that way. He's smart, and we know he's being well-schooled up there in New England.

"He doesn't have as strong of an arm as Tom Brady, but it's not far off -- it's right there in that range. It's a really good arm, and he's a good athlete. Not an athlete that's going to run for a ton of yards, but can move around the pocket and extend plays that way. That's what I'm excited about with Jarrett Stidham. He's got great feel. He's a natural at playing the quarterback position, let alone, he's got skills that can really shine and stand out as well."

The Romo mention is interesting. Say what you want about Romo -- sure, he didn't win a ton of playoff games, but he was a top-tier quarterback for a long time. If Stidham puts up similar stats to Romo, the Patriots should be quite pleased.

Watch the full segment with Simms in the video below:

While it's easy to like what Stidham has shown so far, he's still very much an unknown. The Auburn product will need to go out and prove these people right, and it looks like that opportunity will come soon for him.

The Patriots have not brought in a veteran quarterback this offseason, aside from Brian Hoyer, to give Stidham a tough competition for the starting job. So, unless something changes over the next few months, all signs point to the post-Tom Brady era in New England beginning with Stidham at quarterback.