Patriots's greatest teams of the decade list has peculiar Patriots absence

USA TODAY Sports's greatest teams of the decade list has peculiar Patriots absence

The New England Patriots have won three Super Bowl championships this decade, but only one of those title squads made's list of the 10 greatest teams of this decade.

The 2016 Patriots, who went 14-2 and pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history by overcoming a 28-3 second-half deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, were the lone New England team on this top 10 ranking. 

The surprising omission? The 2014 Patriots.

Few people would argue the 2018 Patriots are one of the best teams of the decade. However, the 2014 squad is one of the most talented teams in recent memory, and maybe, from top to bottom, the deepest and most talented Patriots roster of all time.

The 2014 Patriots beat the defending champion Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks had one of the greatest defenses in league history, but led by quarterback Tom Brady (with a little help from Malcolm Butler), the Patriots became the first team ever to win a Super Bowl when trailing by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter.

So, the absence of the 2014 Patriots on this list is tough to accept for fans across New England. In fairness, these lists are hard to pin down.

Here's the full ranking, compiled by NFL Media's Tom Blair. Blair notes he limited himself to one representative per franchise, but even with that stipulation, the 2014 Patriots still should be on this list.

1. 2013 Seattle Seahawks
2. 2015 Carolina Panthers
3. 2017 Philadelphia Eagles
4. 2016 New England Patriots
5. 2013 Denver Broncos
6. 2015 Arizona Cardinals
7. 2012 San Francisco 49ers
8. 2011 Green Bay Packers
9. 2018 Kansas City Chiefs
10. 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars

There's still one more season left in this decade, and regardless of how the 2019 campaign plays out, we have a feeling that the definitive best teams of the decade ranking will look quite different than the one above.

Great Debate: 2004 or 2014 Patriots?>>>

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NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

The New England Patriots just got whole lot of financial breathing room.

The Patriots have earned a total of $6.25 million in settlements from compensation grievances involving former wide receiver Antonio Brown and ex-tight end Aaron Hernandez, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported Saturday.

New England now has $7.79 million in cap space, per Reiss and Yates, a huge bump from the less than $500,000 in spending money the team had earlier this week.

Brown, who spent less than two weeks with the Patriots last September, filed a grievance against the team in October 2019 following his release seeking to receive his unpaid Week 1 salary, his $1.025 million guaranteed base salary and his $9 million signing bonus.

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The Patriots will pay Brown $5 million as part of the settlement, per Reiss and Yates.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Patriots on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013 seeking over $6 million in guaranteed salary. Hernandez was arrested and later convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and died in prison in April 2017.

New England was up against the cap after squeezing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton in on a one-year contract and inking all of its 2020 NFL Draft picks to rookie deals. With nearly $8 million in cap space, however, the Patriots have more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency or trade.

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran suggested tight end David Njoku could be a strong fit in New England after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and there are a number of quality free agents still on the market, as well.

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.