Patriots

Patriots roll the dice on Demaryius Thomas

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Patriots roll the dice on Demaryius Thomas

The Patriots fired a body at their gaping wide receiver hole on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with 31-year-old wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

The news was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN.

While Thomas owns a name you recognize, he also owns a damaged Achilles that was torn less than four months ago.

Don't get too excited about Thomas - Quick Slants Podcast w/ Tom Curran

So this one-year signing with “up to” a reported $6M doesn’t move the needle the way it would have four seasons ago when Thomas was still one of the best receivers in the NFL. The $6M is very incentive-laden.

This is a shot in the dark, taking a flier, hoping against hope. If it works it’s a savvy move. If it doesn’t and Thomas winds up following Eric Decker, Reggie Wayne, Torry Holt and Joey Galloway into the pantheon of great receivers who had an end of career cuppa coffee with the Patriots, then it’s no harm, no foul.  

Rest assured, the $6M is going to take a lot of production for Thomas to perform and if he begins the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and stays there for 10 games, he won’t be seeing $6M.

At this point, Thomas can join indefinitely suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon on the shelf labeled, “Maybe It’ll Work Out.”

Thomas wasn’t useless before the Achilles. After being traded from Denver to Houston at the trade deadline last season, he played in three games and had seven catches on nine targets for 99 yards and two touchdowns. In eight games with the Broncos, he had 36-402-3. In 2017, with a parade of horrific quarterbacks, Thomas had 83 catches for 949 yards.

So the skill isn’t years in the rearview. But the potential for more of it? It’s not quite looming on the horizon.

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NFL Rumors: Cam Newton's contract incentives with Patriots revealed

NFL Rumors: Cam Newton's contract incentives with Patriots revealed

We've heard a lot about why Cam Newton is motivated to play well in 2020.

Here's another obvious motivator: Money.

The 31-year-old quarterback officially signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots on Wednesday that reportedly includes a $1.05 million base salary with the opportunity to earn up to $7.5 million.

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Here are the contract incentives Newton must hit to earn that full $7.5 million in 2020, ESPN's Field Yates reported Thursday.

The bulk of Newton's incentives are tied to playing time: If he plays just 13 percent of the team's offensive snaps in 2020, he'll earn a $250,000 bonus, but if he's on the field for 90 percent or more snaps and New England makes the playoffs, he'll net a $3.75 million bonus.

Newton also can collect $700,000 if he's on the active roster for all 16 games and snag $500,000 bonuses for making the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro teams, respectively.

This is a smart deal for the Patriots, as health is Newton's biggest concern entering 2020. The nine-year veteran played just two games for the Carolina Panthers last season due to a foot injury that required offseason surgery and dealt with a shoulder injury in 2018 that also needed surgery.

Newton likely was seeking more money in free agency, but this contract also allows the QB to bet on himself. If he wins the starting QB job over Jarrett Stidham, stays healthy the entire season and leads the Patriots to the playoffs, he'll come very close to earning the maximum $7.5 million regardless of what numbers he puts up.

So, if Newton proves his doubters wrong by bouncing back with a healthy 2020 campaign, he'll also earn a good chunk of extra change.

Julian Edelman has an offer for DeSean Jackson after WR's anti-Semitic posts

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Julian Edelman has an offer for DeSean Jackson after WR's anti-Semitic posts

DeSean Jackson's recent Instagram posts have sparked an uncomfortable but necessary dialogue about anti-Semitism, and Julian Edelman is joining the conversation.

Jackson posted stories to his Instagram account last week that featured an anti-Semitic quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler and praise for political activist Louis Farrakhan, who has a history of espousing anti-Semitic beliefs.

Edelman, who is Jewish, responded to the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Thursday via Instagram.

"I know (Jackson) said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation,” the New England Patriots wide receiver said in the video. "I am proud of my Jewish heritage, and for me, it’s not just about religion, it’s about community and culture as well.

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Edelman explained that he didn't identify as Jewish until later in his life, and it was only after he joined the Jewish community "that I learned how destructive hate is."

"Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred," Edelman said. "It’s rooted in ignorance and fear. There’s no room for anti-Semitism in this world."

The Patriots wide receiver said he was called an anti-Semitic slur on the field in 2011 and made a parallel between the experiences of the Jewish and Black communities, which have both faced hate and discrimination in America.

"I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities," Edelman said. "One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful."

Edelman then extended an offer to Jackson, who since has apologized for his posts.

"DeSean, let’s do a deal. How about we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum and then you take me to the Museum of African American History and Culture," Edelman said. "Afterwards, we’ll grab some burgers and we have those uncomfortable conversations. This world needs a little more love, compassion and empathy."

Education is a powerful combatant to ignorance and hate, so here's hoping Edelman and Jackson link up to learn more about two minority groups with a long history of oppression.