Patriots

NFL odds: Patriots among betting favorites to land Cam Newton

NFL odds: Patriots among betting favorites to land Cam Newton

The NFL's quarterback market has rapidly changed over the course of the past 48 hours. The New England Patriots lost Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Philip Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Nick Foles was traded to the Chicago Bears. And the Las Vegas Raiders signed Marcus Mariota to compete with Derek Carr.

Though there has been a lot of movement at the quarterback position, there are still some quality players left on the open market. Jameis Winston stands out as a top free agent available while Andy Dalton and Cam Newton are both sensible trade targets if the Patriots want to add a veteran to compete with Jarrett Stidham.

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Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, could be particularly intriguing for the squad. The Carolina Panthers are looking to move on from him after signing Teddy Bridgewater to a deal worth $21 million per season and they will try to offload him in a trade.

Newton has struggled with injuries the past two seasons -- he was limited to just two games by a foot injury last year -- but with one year left on his contract, perhaps the Patriots would be willing to acquire him if they think Stidham needs more seasoning.

That could explain why oddsmakers increasingly like the Patriots' chances of landing him. The Patriots are currently +170 to land Newton before Week 1, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Just two days ago, the Patriots' FanDuel Sportsbook odds were +470 to land Newton and they ranked third overall among teams that could be in the mix.

But now, the Patriots are one of the few teams in the league that currently has an unsettled starting quarterback situation. So, having an interest in a guy like Newton, who could bounce back if healthy, does make sense.

So too does the Washington Redskins ranking as the new favorite to land Newton. That would reunite the veteran with his former head coach, Ron Rivera, and would give the team some needed competition for second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

The only other team on the list that's not currently considered a long shot is the Miami Dolphins. The team is likely to draft a rookie passer with one of their three first-round picks, but they could view Newton as a high-upside investment given their excess of draft capital. Having Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and a rookie in the fold would give the Dolphins and Brian Flores plenty of options as they look to start building themselves into a contender.

Benjamin Watson: 'I do think there's a much more acceptance now of players speaking out'

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Benjamin Watson: 'I do think there's a much more acceptance now of players speaking out'

The death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis has sparked protests throughout the United States as people have gathered to raise awareness and call for change in the fight against racial injustice.

Many athletes across different sports have been leaders in that movement, including a few right here in Boston.

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to engage in peaceful protests last weekend. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, as well as guard Marcus Smart, participated in peaceful protests in Boston on Sunday.

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NBA players aren't alone, though. The 2020 NFL season isn't scheduled to start until September, but many of the league's players have not been shy about speaking out or taking part in peaceful protests in recent days.

NFL players also haven't been afraid to protest racial injustice before games, including former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem during the 2016 season. Several other players have done the same since Kaepernick.

Former Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson joined the latest episode of the "Patriots Talk Podcast" with Tom E. Curran to discuss a number of topics related to the events that have unfolded throughout the nation over the last week or so.

Does Watson think NFL players will be more willing to and unified in protesting when the season begins, and will the league, its fans and the owners be more receptive to understanding those protests if they happen?

"Yes, yes, and yes," Watson said. "I think we are on a continuum of awareness, we're on a continuum of involvement of many people in different phases and spheres of life who are getting on board with this. Some people may not even agree that it's an issue, but they say, 'You know what, everyone else is doing it and I don't want to be left out.' And so they get involved, maybe disingenuously, but then over time they realize the truth of the matter. And that's great as well, even if they get in on false pretenses. At some point if they realize it, then I think the goal has been accomplished. I do think there's a much more acceptance now of players speaking out about these things."

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Watson also thinks the Patriots have done well to allow their players to speak out and make an impact on important matters away from the football field.

"And I'll say this, I was talking to someone the other day with the team, and I was telling him just that the Patriots, I believe, have done a good job in allowing their players to get involved with issues outside of the game," Watson said. "They've provided a space. There was a bill about education that came up last year, here in Massachusetts. A number of players got on board, speaking about it and talking about it. They had support from Mr. Kraft. They had support from coach Belichick to go and do those things. Support from the PR department. Other teams aren't like that, so there are varying degrees of which the organization will support and understand.

"I think the biggest thing here in Boston that I've seen is the reaction, especially of fans, when players are kneeling -- everybody can get behind education, but when it comes to police brutality and racism and those sorts of things, it gets a little touchy. I do think that there will be more of an acceptance -- there will be more involvement from other players. We've seen an outcry from players, black, white, it didn't matter, when it came to George Floyd. I've had multiple players reach out, 'I don't understand these things, give me some resources so I can read about what's been going on that I'm just not privy to.' I think there's definitely going to be a greater awareness and a greater togetherness with at least in identifying the issue. ..."

You can check Watson's full conversation with Curran in the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

Kraft family issues statement on George Floyd's death: 'We are horrified by the acts of racism we've witnessed'

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USA TODAY Sports

Kraft family issues statement on George Floyd's death: 'We are horrified by the acts of racism we've witnessed'

The New England Patriots reacted Tuesday night to the death of George Floyd by releasing a statement from the Kraft family.

Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody last week, which has led to protests over racial injustice throughout the United States over the last several days. 

Here is the Kraft family statement in full:

"Over the last several days, we have tried to listen, learn and reflect. We have been at a loss for the appropriate words, perhaps because there are none to adequately describe the horrific incidents of the last few weeks. It is impossible for us to comprehend what happened to George Floyd or the pain his family must be feeling, a pain that resonates with so many others who have lost loved ones in similar brutalities that were not captured on video for the rest of the world to see. We cannot begin to understand the frustration and fear members of our black community have faced for generations. Recent events have shined a light on a topic that demands much more attention.

"Our country deeply needs healing. We don't have the answers, but we do know that we want to be a part of the change. As leaders in the New England community, we must speak up. Here is where our family, and our organization, stands:

"We are horrified by the acts of racism we've witnessed. We are heartbroken for the families who have lost loved ones, and we are devastated for our communities of color, who are sad, who are exhausted, who are suffering. We know that none of the sadness, exhaustion or suffering is new. We know it is systemic. Our eyes, ears and hearts are open.

"Our family has a long history of supporting vulnerable people in our communities and advocating for equality. But past efforts don't mean anything until we all stand on equal footing in America, so we must act in the present, and not simply rely on what we've done in the past. There remains much work to be done. We will not rest on statements, because words without actions are void. Rather, we will work harder than ever before ‚Äď through our philanthropy, community engagement, advocacy and supporting the work of our players ‚Äď to build bridges, to promote equality, to stand up for what's right and to value ALL people."