Patriots

NFL rumors: Jared Cook still an option for Patriots in free agency?

NFL rumors: Jared Cook still an option for Patriots in free agency?

UPDATE: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Jared Cook's deal with the New Orleans Saints is not yet signed, potentially leaving room for the New England Patriots to swoop in and steal him away following Rob Gronkowski's retirement. 

--End of Update--

The New England Patriots weren't able to sign veteran tight end Jared Cook in NFL free agency, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.

ESPN's Mike Reiss reported Sunday that the Patriots went hard after Cook before he reportedly decided to join the New Orleans Saints.

3. Similar to how the Patriots made an aggressive pitch to receiver Adam Humphries in free agency and didn't close the deal, a source close to tight end Jared Cook said the Patriots aggressively courted him before Cook elected to sign with the Saints late last week. Rob Gronkowski's uncertain status seems to have played a significant part in Cook's thinking, as there is clearer path to a top role on the tight-end depth chart in New Orleans.

Cook tallied 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders last season. He also was selected to the Pro Bowl. 

His decision not to sign with New England leaves the tight end market pretty barren. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the only notable tight end still unsigned in free agency.

The Patriots released veteran tight end Dwayne Allen before the free-agent market opened and haven't yet signed a tight end in free agency. Rob Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, recently said he doesn't know what decision his client will make regarding his future. Reports throughout the 2018 season suggested Gronkowski would consider retirement

At this point, the Patriots would probably be best suited to draft a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Luckily for the Pats, they have six picks in the first three rounds and there are a few highly rated tight ends in this draft class.

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Tom Brady recruits Zdeno Chara as Rob Gronkowski's replacement

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Tom Brady recruits Zdeno Chara as Rob Gronkowski's replacement

Tom Brady has an idea for Rob Gronkowski's replacement at tight end, and it doesn't involve free agency or the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Patriots quarterback had a light bulb go off above his head while watching the Bruins take on the Maple Leafs in Game 7. Why not have 6-foot-9, 256-pound defenseman Zdeno Chara give tight end a shot?

All jokes aside, Brady has been one of Chara's biggest fans during the Bruins' first-round series. He also left a motivational comment on Chara's Instagram post prior to Tuesday night's Game 7 matchup.

As for what the Patriots are really doing to fill Gronk's void at tight end, they signed both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse in free agency during the offseason. It remains to be seen whether they'll address the tight end position during the NFL Draft, which begins April 25.

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Next-Pats Podcast: Draft week is finally here; Mike Lombardi talks assessing talent

Next-Pats Podcast: Draft week is finally here; Mike Lombardi talks assessing talent

At last, the draft has arrived - almost. Phil Perry talks to former Patriots staffer Mike Lombardi as the annual selection of talent looms.

3:42 - Phil Perry is joined by former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff, football analyst and writer for the Athletic Mike Lombardi. The two begin by discussing the validity of certain reports on players in the upcoming draft.

7:44 - Are the Patriots in a position where they need to pick a quarterback this year? Lombardi explains how difficult it is to judge talent because of the difference in the level of competition in college football.

12:26 - Lombardi talks about how this year's draft could be weak compared to previous years' and how the Patriots should approach their selections because of that.

18:36 - Phil goes through his final mock draft, with the picks being decided by the fans via Twitter polls.


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