Patriots

Report: Patriots signing ex-Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson to add depth

Report: Patriots signing ex-Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson to add depth

The New England Patriots continue to search for solutions at tight end.

The Patriots are signing free-agent tight end and former New York Jet Eric Tomlinson, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday morning.

Tomlinson will join Ryan Izzo and Ben Watson, who reportedly is re-signing with New England after his release last week, as New England's three active tight ends.

Matt LaCosse reportedly sprained his MCL against the New York Giants and is expected to miss several weeks.

Tomlinson went undrafted out of UTEP in 2015 and played on the Philadelphia Eagles' and Houston Texans' practice squads before latching on with the Jets in 2016.

He spent three seasons in New York, totaling 16 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown over 36 games played before his release in August. The New York Giants claimed Tomlinson off waivers on Sept. 1 but released him later in the month.

Tomlinson is the latest of several tight ends to come through New England following Rob Gronkowski's retirement, including Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Lance Kendricks, Michael Roberts, Eric Saubert and Stephen Anderson.

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

These stats sum up impressive improvement Patriots' pass rush has made in 2019

These stats sum up impressive improvement Patriots' pass rush has made in 2019

The New England Patriots didn't have much of a pass rush last season, but 2019 has been a far different (and better) story.

The improvement in the Patriots' pass rush was evident Sunday in the team's 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, where New England tallied five sacks. The pressure the Pats put on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz swung the momentum in their favor as they shutout Philly over the final three quarters.

The defending Super Bowl champs have dominated opposing offensive lines throughout the season with 37 sacks in 10 games -- the second-highest total in the NFL and two behind the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers for the league lead. The Patriots tallied only 30 sacks in all of 2018, which tied for the second-fewest.

It's been a long time, as ESPN's Mike Reiss notes, since the Patriots had 37 sacks at this point in a season:

The Patriots have done a good job slowing down the opponent's pass rush, too. Sacks aren't the only stat to factor when grading offensive linemen, but New England's pass protection has allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the league. The Patriots, as a result, are tied with the 49ers for the best net sack total:

Sunday's test against the Dallas Cowboys should be a tough one for the Patriots. The Cowboys have one of the most talented offensive lines in the league. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has been sacked a league-low 12 times, and based on the fact he's playing at an MVP-level right now, pressuring him in the pocket will be of the utmost importance in Week 12.

Pats' D must beat Prescott in this specific area of the field>>>

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.

Will Antonio Brown play again in 2019? Ex-Patriot reportedly is optimistic

Will Antonio Brown play again in 2019? Ex-Patriot reportedly is optimistic

Remember when Antonio Brown insisted he was "done" with the NFL? Well, he's already had a change of heart.

The former New England Patriots wide receiver not only wants to play again, but remains "hopeful" the NFL will make a decision regarding his playing status "very soon," ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported Tuesday.

"There’s a sense of optimism from Brown’s perspective that he will be cleared to return to the NFL before the 2019 regular season ends," Florio wrote.

Brown met with the NFL last Thursday to discuss allegations of rape and sexual assault made against him. The league is still conducting an investigation into those allegations, but if that investigation is completed, the free-agent wide receiver can sign with any club, although he could be subject to further discipline upon his return.

Brown's optimism may explain why he issued a public apology to Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday via social media. Quarterback Tom Brady and wideout Julian Edelman were among several Patriots to "like" Brown's post on Instagram, fueling speculation he may re-sign with New England after playing one game for the team earlier this season.

Florio also noted the Seattle Seahawks reportedly have "flirted" with signing Brown, which would team him up with fellow Patriots cast-off Josh Gordon.

That's all speculation at the moment, though, as Brown remains in a holding pattern until the NFL makes a decision about his allegations. Brown seemingly hopes that holding pattern ends with six weeks left in the regular season.

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.