Patriots

Rob Gronkowski replacement with Hall of Fame bloodlines? LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, Randy’s son, declares for NFL Draft

Rob Gronkowski replacement with Hall of Fame bloodlines? LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss, Randy’s son, declares for NFL Draft

The Patriots never really filled the void left behind by Rob Gronkowski’s retirement last offseason. But by the time the draft rolls around in April, they’ll have an opportunity to replace one Hall of Famer with the son of another.

Fresh off two touchdowns for LSU in the National Championship Game earlier this week, tight end Thaddeus Moss — Randy’s son — has declared for the NFL Draft. 

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“I have loved being a part of something as legendary as this 2019-2020 football team,” Moss said in a statement. “I believe that God is presenting me with an alternative path.”

Moss, a junior, caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns this season. He scored three times — catching nine passes for 135 yards — in the LSU’s semifinal and final games en route to a national title.

The Patriots have two tight ends under contract for 2020, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, and addressing the position figures to be one of the team’s priorities this offseason. 

Moss, 6-foot-3, 249 pounds, isn’t considered one of the top options at the position in this year’s draft class, but that could change as the pre-draft process plays out. He only has two seasons of college football under his belt, having played sparingly at North Carolina State in 2016. Transferring to LSU the following year, he had to sit out due to NCAA rules. He was then red-shirted by the Tigers, making the 2019 action he saw his first in three years. 

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The Patriots might have some more in-depth scouting information on Moss than other teams as his father played for Bill Belichick from 2007-10. Moss was traded in the middle of the 2010 season, but he and Belichick seem to have maintained a good relationship given their interactions when they appeared together on-set for the NFL Network’s All-Time Team special that aired this season. Belichick has called Moss one of the smartest players he’s ever coached. 

Experts have pegged Notre Dame underclassman Cole Kmet, who recently announced he was going pro, as the draft’s top tight end and a first-round possibility for New England. 

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

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On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

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As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.

David Ortiz says leaving Patriots wouldn't impact Tom Brady's legacy

David Ortiz says leaving Patriots wouldn't impact Tom Brady's legacy

Over the past 20 years, Tom Brady has established himself as one of the greatest and most beloved athletes in Boston sports history.

But if Brady leaves New England for a new team in free agency this offseason, would that leave a stain on his Patriots legacy? Fellow Boston sports legend David Ortiz doesn't believe so.

The former Red Sox slugger recently spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com about Brady's impending free agency. According to Ortiz, leaving Foxboro behind ahead of his age-43 season won't take away from anything Brady has accomplished with the Pats in the past two decades.

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"His legacy has already been built. It’s always there," Ortiz told Bradford. "That’s not the problem. His problem is not going to be legacy. He could go and play somewhere else for the next 10 years when he returns to New England his legacy is going to be there.

"It’s a good thing to do but you also have to look at your options. I hope he stays with the Patriots, but it’s not up to what I say. It’s his decision. Sometimes an offer at home might be a couple of million less than what you could get on the road. It’s up to you whether you think it’s worth it."

Brady will officially become an unrestricted free agent if he and Patriots don't agree to a contract extension by March 18. Several teams are expected to be in the mix to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion, with the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders as two of the most likely destinations.

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