Patriots

Patriots should go get Josh Rosen

Patriots should go get Josh Rosen

Consider this: If Josh Rosen had been on the board at 32 last year, would the Patriots have selected him?

Understand, this is a player who went 10th overall. A player who – despite it being common knowledge (even to him) that he vigorously rubs people the wrong way - still was right there with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold as being the best bet at quarterback.

A player who now – after a season getting pummeled playing behind a porous offensive line for the worst team in the league – is now disposable because the new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, lusts after Kyler Murray.

We’ve done our due diligence on all the Rosen-to-Patriots rumors ever since it came clear he would be on the block. Their interest has been billed as tepid. At best.

When FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt reported the Patriots were among three teams heavily interested in dealing for Rosen, I chalked that up to somebody in Arizona using the Patriots as a stalking horse.

What better way to spark a market than by making it seem if your team doesn’t jump on Rosen, the best team in the league is going to and won’t your owner be pissed.

It hasn’t worked yet. And ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed my initial suspicion this morning on WEEI when he said the Patriots haven’t talked with Arizona about trading for Rosen

It’s a ruse. A stunt. A shell game. A smoke screen, skullduggery, chicanery.

But should it be?

The Patriots aren’t going to be picking in the top 10 anytime soon. And even though they found the best quarterback of all time with the 199th pick in the draft, there’s more evidence that great quarterbacks are found in the first round than the sixth.

The Patriots have spent third-round picks on the likes of Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Mallett and Kevin O’Connell. They weren’t good. They got Jimmy Garoppolo in the second. He gave them six quarters of good and netted them a second-round pick back when they traded him.

In a draft that’s reputed to be stocked with interchangeably decent players from about the 15th to the 60th best player, the Patriots could still send No. 32 to Arizona for Rosen and have five more picks in the next two rounds. If they want to jump up, they have the artillery to do it.

And they can’t be using all 12 picks in this draft anyway, since they drafted 12 last year, only three played in games and no team needs 21 freshmen and redshirt freshmen running around their training camp.

If Rosen is a card-carrying dink, his comportment while being cuckolded by new head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been a terrific act. He’s handled it really well.

“I think Josh has done everything humanly possible to show what type of quarterback he is, what type of competitor he is,” Kingsbury said this week. “I’ve said it all along, I couldn’t be more impressed with his approach. He’s a great player. I mean, he was a top-10 pick for a reason. You see it out there how cerebral he is, how quickly he’s picked up our system.

“I just think there’s a misconception about him,” Kingsbury added. “He’s very confident in himself. He’s very smart, and I think people may mistake that as arrogance at times. But he’s a confident young man, and he asks the right questions. He’s very cerebral, and he works at it. I’ve enjoyed working with him.”

Now, Kingsbury certainly has reason this week to sidle up to the used car that is Rosen and say, “Isn’t she a beauty? Man, we hate to have to give her up but you know how it is…”

But forget about the salesmanship. The Patriots right now have Brady in his never-ending prime, Brian Hoyer (whose diminishing arm strength was clear last preseason) and seventh-rounder Danny Etling. This is their best chance to bring aboard a player talented enough to approximate Tom Brady that doesn’t have something radically wrong with him.

Last offseason, I banged the drum for the team to go after Teddy Bridgewater before he landed with the Jets. They didn’t do it and now Bridgewater is caddying for Drew Brees, providing that Super Bowl aspirant with insurance.

The Patriots have spent their late first-round picks on the likes of Dominique Easley (29th in 2014) and Malcom Brown (32nd in 2015). Last year, it was Sony Michel, a player who’s not destined to have a long career because of knee issues.

Unless there’s some absolute game-changer sitting there at 32 or an occasion for the Patriots to go up and grab said game-changer, I am fully on board with them dealing for Rosen.

For what that’s worth.

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Patriots sign wide receiver Gunner Olszewski

Patriots sign wide receiver Gunner Olszewski

The Patriots added another wide receiver to their depth chart on Thursday signing Gunner Olszewski, an undrafted free agent out of Bemidji State.

Olszewski was a defensive back in college and a 2018 AFCA DII First-Team All-American. He also has experience as a punt returner.

The 6-foot, 170-pounder was present at Patriots OTAs on Thursday wearing No. 72.

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Jamie Collins isn't looking back at why Patriots traded him to Browns

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File photo

Jamie Collins isn't looking back at why Patriots traded him to Browns

FOXBORO – Jamie Collins was never a guy who was going to lay his soul bare during his first go-round with the Patriots. So it wasn’t surprising that, in our first chance to speak with him since rejoining the team, he was nice enough but all about business.

“Another day on the job,” Collins said when asked about being back in familiar surroundings. “Just get out here and do what I get paid to do and that’s play football and do it to the best of my ability.”

Wearing a navy blue practice jersey No. 8 with a red hoodie underneath, Collins is back with the team that traded him away in October of 2016.

The main reason he was dealt was the team and Collins weren’t heading toward a contract extension. The Patriots got something back for him before he left in free agency. But in the short-term, Collins also hadn’t been playing well.

Asked if there was any strained feeling with the team as he returns, Collins batted the notion aside.

“I mean, it was just a change of destination, man,” he said. “I’m a professional and just have to be professional about the business. Business is business. You can’t get upset or do this or do that. I just tried to pick up where I left and move on. Take it to the next space no matter where it’s at.”

Was it an easy choice?

“It’s not just about me, man,” he replied. “I’ve got a family. I’ve got a wife and kids. I’ve always got to think about them as well. I can’t just make decisions based on myself."

There’s not much to be gleaned from an OTA practice even when the offense and defense are scrimmaging 11-on-11. There’s no forceful contact on blocks, there’s no touching the running backs and the defensive backs normally yield and don’t challenge receivers too actively. What you can gauge are things like speed and interactions.

Collins’ ability to cover massive amounts of land in a short period of time remains intact. There was one “blitz” situation when the Patriots sent probably six rushers in 11-on-11. Collins, coming from the second level, ducked through the offensive line and just materialized next to Brian Hoyer. It was confirmation of the explosiveness.

Reunited with Dont’a Hightower and now playing under inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Collins brightened when asked about both men.

“It’s cool. It’s pretty cool. That’s like my big bro,” Collins said of Hightower. “It’s bigger than football.”

As for Mayo?

“It’s even more fun with that guy being our coach,” he said. “Like I said, it’s all business. You still got to do your job. You still got to handle your business and do it to the best of your ability. You can’t just be out here, ‘oh, it’s my boy, it’s my boy.’ We still got a job. Each and everyone has a job, so we all got to be professional and then we can handle our business later.”

Collins spent more than two months as a free agent after the Browns released him on March 6 to dodge his large salary cap hit. He re-signed with the Patriots for a $1.05M salary and just $250K guaranteed. He can make as much as $5M if hits every incentive.

“I started here,” he said when asked if familiarity played a role. “I had the opportunity to come out and start my career here. Obviously yes, that played a big factor. Like I said, whatever the opportunity is, presents itself, it’s not just me. I’ve got other people to think about. It’s a team thing.”

Collins wasn’t delving deep into his Cleveland experience except to say that what he learned was, “To do my job. Never put my head down. Don’t stop. Just keep going. It’s a business, man. I can’t fold. I can’t give up. It’s not just about me. I can’t give up. I’ve got to keep pushing no matter what.”

As for looking back at Halloween, 2016?

“No, man. It happened. I don’t live in the past. I keep pushing to do my thing and keep going.”

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