Patriots

Rob Gronkowski might retire after the season if he does not receive a new contract

Rob Gronkowski might retire after the season if he does not receive a new contract

Retirement rumors floated after Super Bowl 52 that Rob Gronkowski was considering walking away from football for contract reasons. 

Mike Florio was the one to speculate those rumors last winter. According to Florio, before Sunday's matchup in Tennessee, Gronkowski may retire after this season if he does not get a new contract offer from the Patriots. 

Gronkowski restructured his contract for this season with incentive-based rewards. It is hard to see the All-Pro tight end reach those statistical marks this season after missing multiple games already this year. 

I think if the Patriots had won the Super Bowl he would have retired. And I think after this season, which has been very disappointing for him and it is his second straight year with a significant incentive package that we’re probably close to saying he’s not going to hit any of the four markers which each make him $1.1 million and he can make a maximum of $3.3 million that way.

Gronkowski also reportedly threatened retirement to stop a trade to the Detroit Lions, pledging loyalty to Tom Brady. 

As one of the best and most important offensive players the Patriots have had over the past few years, Gronkowski will force the franchise to make a decision on him sooner rather than later. 

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Will Tua Tagovailoa start at QB for Dolphins in Week 1 vs. Patriots?

Will Tua Tagovailoa start at QB for Dolphins in Week 1 vs. Patriots?

Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins offense and beat the New England Patriots in Week 17 of the 2019 season, but will he still be the starting quarterback when Miami makes its next trip to Gillette Stadium?

The Patriots and Dolphins will open their 2020 schedule with a Week 1 matchup in Foxboro.

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Fitzpatrick did well to lead the Dolphins to a 5-4 record over their final nine games of last season following the team's abysmal 0-7 start. There's no guarantee he'll be the starter next season, though, because the Dolphins selected Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tagovailoa, if healthy, has a chance to be Miami's first franchise quarterback since Dan Marino, who retired in 2000. The debate isn't whether Tagovailoa is the quarterback of the future in Miami, it's when should he get his chance to shine.

It's possible that opportunity could come right off the bat against the Patriots in the 2020 season opener. Here's what Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman wrote in his 10-Point Stance column Wednesday:

The more compelling question isn't whether Tagovailoa starts at some point this year; it's whether he will start at the beginning of it. And according to every coach I've spoken to, it's a forgone conclusion that he will beat out veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and start Week 1 against the Patriots on Sept. 13.

Tagovailoa has incredible talent and would pose some challenges for the Patriots defense with his dual-threat skill set, but in terms of leaving Gillette Stadium with a win, history is not on his side.

Bill Belichick is 20-5 overall and 13-0 at home versus rookie quarterbacks in his career as Patriots head coach. The most recent rookie QB to lose to the Patriots was Daniel Jones of the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium in Week 6 of last season.

The Dolphins, however, will be confident in Week 1 against the Patriots regardless of who starts at quarterback. They upset the Patriots in Foxboro in their last meeting, and Miami then spent the summer upgrading its roster in a major way through free agency and the draft.

Tagovailoa should get a chance to shine in 2020, and there would be no better way for him to kick off his NFL career than beating the Patriots in their own backyard.

Patriots players should relate to Bucs lineman's Tom Brady observation

Patriots players should relate to Bucs lineman's Tom Brady observation

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting the greatest quarterback of all time -- and the media circus that comes with him.

Tom Brady's offseason move from the New England Patriots to the Bucs has heightened the seemingly constant attention he attracts.

Brady's new teammates also are feeling that attention, as Tampa Bay went from mediocre obscurity to an exciting franchise with lofty expectations.

Just ask Bucs offensive guard Ali Marpet, who's been with the Bucs since 2015 and has never seen this much hullabaloo.

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"There’s certainly more media coverage than there ever has been since I’ve been on the team," Marpet told reporters Wednesday, via PewterReport.com. "There’s certainly a lot of media coverage so there’s expectations, those you see on NFL Network or whatever and then there’s also our own internal expectations and those, for me, have always been the same.

"It’s always, are we going to the Super Bowl? That’s been the same conversation I’ve had with guys since being here."

Marpet's observation should sound familiar to Brady's ex-Patriots teammates: If No. 12 is on your team, expect to be in the news every day, and expect talking heads to debate your Super Bowl chances on a daily basis.

The Bucs aren't exactly shying away from the hype, though. Linebacker Shaquil Barrett said he believes Brady makes Tampa Bay an "automatic" Super Bowl contender, while Marpet also is excited to block for the six-time Super Bowl champion.

The team's starting left guard doesn't plan on changing his approach with Brady under center, however.

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"I’m fired up to be able to play with someone who’s had so much success in the NFL,” Marpet said. "But I think with how I approach each game and blocking for him, it’s not like whether you’re blocking for Jameis [Winston] or blocking for Brady it makes that much of a difference.

"For me, I’m always doing the best job that I can, and that’s what I’ll continue to do whether it’s Jameis or Brady or [Ryan Griffin] or Blaine [Gabbert]."

Bill Belichick's Patriots expertly managed expectations under Brady by downplaying hype and emphasizing the "Do Your Job" mantra.

Can the Bucs do the same in 2020, or will the hype machine work against them as some predict?