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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Patriots defense must beat Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in this area of the field

Patriots defense must beat Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in this area of the field

One of the key matchups in Sunday's Week 12 game between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys will be passes outside the numbers.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has shredded defenses on throws outside the numbers in 2019. The Patriots are the best team in the league at defending these passes.

NFL Research tweeted a few interesting stats Tuesday that highlight the importance of this matchup:

Prescott is playing at an MVP-level this season, and he's performed at a particularly high level over the last three weeks with 1,202 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions over that span. The Cowboys' success, in a lot of ways, rests on his shoulders.

The Patriots will be Prescott's toughest test of the year so far. Here's where New England's pass defense ranks in several statistical categories:

TD allowed 4 (1st)
Yards allowed/game: 152.6 (2nd)
Interceptions: 19 (1st)
Sacks: 37 (2nd)
Yards/Attempt: 5.3 (1st)
QB Cmp %: 53.6 (1st)
QB rating: 49.2 (1st)

The Cowboys are in a tight race with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title, and they enter Sunday's matchup at Gillette Stadium with a slim 1-game lead over their division rivals. It's hard to imagine the Cowboys leaving Foxboro with an upset win if Prescott doesn't play well, so it'll be exciting to watch how he handles going against the league's best pass defense on the road.

Antonio Brown apologizes to Patriots owner Robert Kraft>>>

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Rob Gronkowski includes cruel joke in his assessment of 2019 Patriots

Rob Gronkowski includes cruel joke in his assessment of 2019 Patriots

Rob Gronkowski essentially put the kibosh on a return to the New England Patriots in 2019. But he hasn't closed the book on his former team.

Shortly after revealing his latest "big announcement" -- he's hosting a mega beach bash in Miami on Super Bowl weekend -- the retired tight end told ESPN's Mike Reiss he's open to considering an NFL comeback down the road.

"I wouldn't say 'never coming back,' " Gronkowski told Reiss on Tuesday. "I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it.

"I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man."

The Patriots have gone 9-1 without him this season, but as Tom Brady will tell you, there are major issues to address on offense.

Gronkowski, who has kept a close eye on New England's games this season as a fan and analyst for NFL on FOX, couldn't resist pointing out one way the Patriots could address those issues in his assessment of the 2019 team.

"The defense is just tremendous, the way they're coming together with the veteran leadership they have there, and the skill set they have," Gronkowski told Reiss. 

"With the offense, they're finding ways to make it work like they've always done, putting guys in the right situation to make plays.

"But man, they're missing some guy who is 6-6, 260 [pounds]. They're missing that guy, for sure."

Gronkowski is referencing himself, of course, which is a cruel joke considering just how much the Patriots could benefit from his presence: New England's tight ends have combined for just 23 catches on the season, with 38-year-old Ben Watson accounting for 11 of them.

It sounds like Gronk misses the Patriots, too, even if 30-year-old has enough business and entertainment irons in the fire to keep him occupied through the end of 2019.

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