Patriots

Patriots getting busy in 'second wave' free agency

Patriots getting busy in 'second wave' free agency

Some years, the Patriots start fast in free agency.

Some years they are more … laconic.

This year (and it’s worth mentioning again that we aren’t even a full day into official free agency), they are letting the game come to them.

Not entirely. The Michael Bennett trade – even if it wasn’t a signing – is a transaction brought about by the start of the new league year.

And the failed pursuit of Adam Humphries, which reportedly became more urgent when the team realized Humphries was going to the Tennessee Titans, showed they were moderately busy during the “tampering” phase.

But urgent pleas that the team DO SOMETHING!! could be easily countered with, “Well, what do you have in mind?”

The two biggest positions of need – wide receiver and tight end – didn’t offer players who move the needle. 

(Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham? I guess. But that’s a conversation that goes beyond mere player acquisition and – as such – doesn’t fit here).

Even Humphries was a questionable target, but because of the dearth of wideout options on the market and their realization that “Holy crap, we don’t have any receivers!” the Patriots were inclined to bump their offer to trump the Titans' four-year, $36M deal.

Didn’t work. Consider that a bullet dodged.

I mean, watch these highlights of Humphries. Watch these highlights of Julian Edelman. Humphries is closer to Chris Hogan than he is to Edelman. Humphries would have fit the slot receiver suit and – for almost $10M per year – ya gotta do more than that.

Second-wave free agency? That’s something the Patriots are inclined to dive into, and they dove head-first on Thursday afternoon.

You want wide receivers? Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris, check. How about a tight end? Matt LaCosse is a Patriot. Help for the defensive line? Meet Mike Pennel. Special teams, you ask? Terrence Brooks, welcome to New England.

The player acquisition window just opened. First-wave free agency is gone. It’s the second wave now. The next one to come when this peters out is the pre-draft trade market. Then there’s the draft and even more chance to swap picks and/or veteran players.

There’s plenty of time. Which is good, because there’s plenty of need at a few prime spots. The Patriots have shifted from just having a line in the water to actively fishing.

We’ll see what they net.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Stephon Gilmore shares two items he always has when the Patriots are on the road

Stephon Gilmore shares two items he always has when the Patriots are on the road

Everybody has things they like to bring with them when they travel, and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is no different.

In an interview with Patriots.com before New England takes on the lowly Dolphins on the road, Gilmore shared the two items he always brings with him these trips: His son's toy truck and his daughter's bow. 

The All-Pro corner prefers to keep his kids in mind when he's away from home, and it's hard to argue with the results. Gilmore is easily one of the five best corners in the game, and leads a secondary that stifled the Steelers offense in Week 1. 

Miami might be the worst team in the league by a wide margin, but the Patriots have always had their fair share of issues beating the Dolphins on the road.

That probably won't make a difference on Sunday given the supreme difference in talent between these two teams, so it's a game where the Patriots can work on their execution and maybe get backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham his first pro reps if the game's completely out of hand. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Terry Bradshaw blasts Antonio Brown: 'I wouldn't throw to him'

Terry Bradshaw blasts Antonio Brown: 'I wouldn't throw to him'

Think Antonio Brown had problems with Ben Roethlisberger?

He should be thankful he wasn't around a generation earlier to play for another Steelers quarterback.

Pittsburgh Hall of Fame QB and FOX NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw didn't hold back on his disdain for Brown, who wore out his welcome after nine seasons with the Steelers and only a few weeks with the Oakland Raiders, only to wind up signing with the Patriots.

Brown broke most of the Steelers receiving records set by Bradshaw targets John Stallworth and Lynn Swann in the '70s and '80s, but in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bradshaw sounded pleased Brown wasn't around in his day.

“I wouldn’t throw to him,” Bradshaw said. 

“Let New England have him,” he said. “Maybe he becomes [the late Reverend] Billy Graham, I don’t know. I seriously doubt it, seriously doubt it.

“I’m not pulling for him, I can promise you that.

“Winning football games is all about the team and all about players caring about one another and everybody pulling together, not pulling apart,” Bradshaw said, warning that the controversy that led to Brown's exits from the Steelers and Raiders will surface in New England. “You can’t have Antonio Brown for all the greatness that they are, do you want the baggage that goes with that crap? I wouldn’t."

Two days after signing with the Patriots, Brown was hit with a civil lawsuit from a former trainer who accuses him of sexual assault and rape. He traveled with the Pats to Miami and is expected to make his debut with New England Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami. 

“I cannot emphasize how I cannot stand and have a disdain totally for players like that,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t want any part of them. I wouldn’t like them. They would hate me if they were on our team. They would hate me because I wouldn’t throw to him.

“I will not put up with that kind of behavior. You don’t win with it. Why haven’t we [the Steelers] won more Super Bowls? There is talent, [but] it’s just guys like him. Let him go and his brand and whatever it is he’s doing.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.