Patriots

NFL rumors: Broncos' expected asking price for Emmanuel Sanders revealed

NFL rumors: Broncos' expected asking price for Emmanuel Sanders revealed

The NFL trade deadline is set for Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET, and the Denver Broncos have one of the top wide receivers who could be dealt.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday, citing sources, that the Broncos "are likely to be open to listening to offers for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders."

What is Denver's expected asking price for Sanders? A third-round pick or better, per Schefter:

Denver traded fellow veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Texans last year for a 2019 fourth-round pick, and sources tell ESPN that the Broncos are expected to be seeking a higher form of compensation for Sanders, who is in the last year of his contract.

Schefter also listed several teams "expected to be in the wide receiver market," and the New England Patriots were among those clubs.

The Patriots definitely would benefit from adding a wide receiver before the trade deadline.

Veteran wideout Josh Gordon will miss Monday night's Week 7 game against the New York Jets because of a knee injury. Phillip Dorsett missed New England's Week 6 win with a hamstring injury, and he's questionable to play versus the Jets. Reigining Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman also has been banged up a bit this season, although he has not missed a game.

Making matters worse for New England is its lack of offensive production at tight end. And now, injuries also are a concern at the position. The Patriots already have ruled out tight ends Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) for Monday's matchup in New York, leaving 38-year-old Benjamin Watson atop the tight end depth chart.

Sanders and Cincinnati Bengals star A.J. Green are two of the most popular wide receivers involved in trade rumors entering the deadline. Green has battled an ankle injury all season and has yet to play in 2019. Sanders, meanwhile, has played in all seven of Denver's games with 30 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He can play outside or in the slot, and we know Patriots head coach Bill Belichick values versatility quite a bit.

The Patriots must decide if adding a player of Sanders' caliber is worth the cost required to bring him to New England. The Patriots are 6-0, but there are genuine concerns about their depth at wide receiver. Taking a chance on Sanders, even at the cost of a valuable draft pick, does make sense because New England should do all it can to maximize what's left of quarterback Tom Brady's career.

Phil Perry: Why Broncos should make Sanders available>>>

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Xavier McKinney on NFL Combine meeting with Patriots: 'It was a little tough, a little awkward'

Xavier McKinney on NFL Combine meeting with Patriots: 'It was a little tough, a little awkward'

The New England Patriots have been the subject of many NFL Combine meeting stories over the years. And 2020 has been no different.

Notably, the team told one tight end prospect that he had a "loser's mentality" at one point in their interview. They also asked one of the quarterback prospects how he would feel to replace Tom Brady. And an LSU tight end said that he was "kinda scared" in his meeting with the team.

Some haven't minded the meetings. And one Clemson Tiger actually "felt comfortable" talking to the Patriots.

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Still, the same can't be said of former Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. 

McKinney had a formal meeting with the Patriots at the combine and he called his interview with New England "tough" and "awkward".

"That was one of the harder meetings that I had. It was a little tough, a little awkward," McKinney said, per Nora Princiotti of The Boston Globe. "But Vinnie Sunseri was in there so it just made me a little more comfortable just knowing that I’ve been in the room with him plenty of other times. It was a good meeting though."

Sunseri joined the Patriots coaching staff this offseason but the former Alabama safety had previously served as a graduate assistant with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban before. So, he had a connection with McKinney, which eased his nerves a bit.

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But McKinney said he just felt "uncertain" about the meeting coming out of it.

"Just towards the end, I wasn’t sure if they enjoyed the meeting or if I did well," McKinney said. "You kind of walk out of these meetings kind of uncertain sometimes. But I think that’s just how it goes. You just try to do the best you can."

McKinney has a good point and players often are unsure about what teams think of them. That's by design. Some teams really don't like to tip their hand in the lead-up to the draft, and the Patriots are certainly among those that keep their intentions close to the vest. 

So, it's well within the realm of possibility that the team liked McKinney. They just may not want him to realize that right away.

McKinney had 95 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions in his final season at Alabama. He's expected to be one of the first safeties off the board and our own Phil Perry mocked him to the Patriots in his first NFL mock draft of the offseason in January.

NFL Rumors: Patriots reportedly showing interest in free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota

NFL Rumors: Patriots reportedly showing interest in free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota

The New England Patriots are facing uncertainty at quarterback this offseason. Tom Brady will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason for the first time in his career and it seems possible that he will leave New England. In fact, one ESPN reporter even said that he'd be "stunned" if Brady returns to the Patriots.

So, the Pats may find themselves looking for a new starting QB. Luckily for them, they may be looking at one of the best free-agent quarterback classes ever, so they should have a chance to add a talented player if Brady walks.

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And it appears that they are at least looking into one of the other passers on the market.

Per Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline, the Patriots are showing interest in free-agent quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Keep this in the back of your mind – with all the uncertainty surrounding Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are showing interest in soon to be free agent quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former first-round pick is being courted by several teams who may have an open competition at quarterback.

Mariota was selected No. 2 overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 draft. Though he started his career off well, he plateaued after leading the team to the playoffs in 2017. His TD-INT ratio dropped from 45-to-19 in his first two seasons to 31-to-25 over the course of the next three. And after a 2-4 start to the 2019 season, in which the Titans offense just averaged 14 points per game, he was replaced by Ryan Tannehill and didn't start again.

Still, Mariota has upside. He's only 26 and if he can shake the nagging elbow injury that has plagued him the past couple of years, perhaps he'll return to the form he demonstrated earlier in his career.

While Mariota could be a sensible option for the Patriots, as our own Phil Perry noted in a recent piece, they may have competition if they do try to sign him. Pauline noted that the Colts have an interest in Mariota.