Patriots

Should Patriots target any of these best available 2020 NFL free agents?

Should Patriots target any of these best available 2020 NFL free agents?

A case could be made that no team has been impacted more by NFL free agency than the New England Patriots.

Not only did the Patriots lose their legendary quarterback, Tom Brady, they've also lost several important defensive players in free agency. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's roster has plenty of weaknesses to address, and even though owning 12 picks in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft will help that process, some of these holes will need to be plugged in free agency.

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Which of the best remaining players still on the free agent market should the Patriots pursue?

Before we answer that question, here's a list of the top 15 available players (as of Friday, March 27 at 2:30 p.m. ET).

1. Cam Newton, QB
2. Jadeveon Clowney, DE
3. Logan Ryan, CB
4. Jameis Winston, QB
5. Mike Daniels, DT
6. Everson Griffen, DE
7. Jason Peters, LT
8. Prince Amukamara, CB
9. Markus Golden, LB
10. Shelby Harris, DT
11. Cameron Wake, DE
12. Damarious Randall, S
13. Eric Reid, S
14. Delanie Walker, TE
15. Demarcus Robinson, WR

Adding a veteran quarterback normally makes sense for a team in the Patriots' situation, but given New England's limited salary cap space, making a run at signing Cam Newton or Jameis Winston doesn't seem realistic. Giving second-year QB Jarrett Stidham a chance to win the starting job is the best path for the Patriots to take at that position.

The Patriots lost some quality pass rushers in free agency, including their two sack leaders from 2019 in linebackers Jamie Collins (seven sacks) and Kyle Van Noy (6.5 sacks). Therefore, pursuing an edge rusher such as Everson Griffen or Cameron Wake wouldn't be a bad idea, depending on the price. Griffen, in particular, had a solid 2019 season with eight sacks and 41 total tackles in 15 games for the Minnesota Vikings.

New England still hasn't found a solution at tight end following Rob Gronkowski's retirement in March of 2019. Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo failed to make much of an offensive impact last season, and the Patriots have not upgraded their depth or talent at tight end in free agency. Making matters worse for the Patriots is the class of tight ends in the 2020 NFL Draft has not drawn rave reviews, unlike last year. Delanie Walker is the best veteran tight end available, but injuries have limited him to just eight games played over the last two seasons. That said, Walker is still worth signing if he's healthy.

This point in free agency is where teams look for bargains, and Belichick has found plenty of them during his tenure as Patriots coach. That said, he has his work cut out for him if the Patriots are going to remain a contender in the AFC entering the 2020 season.

Perry: Is it time to reload at LB through the draft?

Dolphins' Kyle Van Noy bristles at Patriots comparisons: 'We're our own team'

Dolphins' Kyle Van Noy bristles at Patriots comparisons: 'We're our own team'

You could call the Miami Dolphins "Foxboro South." Just don't call them that in front of Kyle Van Noy.

The veteran linebacker is one of four former New England Patriots who signed with the Dolphins this offseason, joining fellow linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kamu Grugier-Hill and center Ted Karras.

Miami is also led by an ex-Patriot in head coach Brian Flores, who has loaded his staff with New England alums in defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, tight ends coach George Godsey and quality control coach Mike Judge.

But Van Noy apparently is growing tired of those who believe the Dolphins are trying to replicate the Patriots' model of success.

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“I don’t now how many New England guys there are, but we’re going to get away from that,” Van Noy told the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley in a recent interview. “We’re our own team, this is not the New England Patriots. This is the Miami Dolphins. It’s totally different, and I’m excited for that. New beginnings.

The Dolphins began to forge their own identity late in the 2019 season, going 5-4 down the stretch after losing their first seven games. While Van Noy and his fellow Patriots cast-offs weren't there for that turnaround, the 29-year-old can already sense the team's new attitude.

"We’re the Miami Dolphins. We’re here to represent the people of Miami," Van Noy said. "They want it bad. I can sense that. Miami’s a football town."

The Dolphins fired ex-Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea as their offensive coordinator late in the 2019 season and used their No. 5 overall pick on Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, so perhaps they are intent on moving past those Patriots comparisons.

We'll find out immediately if that new approach pays off, as New England hosts Miami in its 2020 season opener.

Devin McCourty, wife share heartbreaking news of daughter's death

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USA TODAY Sports

Devin McCourty, wife share heartbreaking news of daughter's death

Devin McCourty and his wife, Michelle, endured every parent's worst nightmare last weekend.

The New England Patriots safety shared his wife's announcement Saturday that they lost their third child, Mia, last Sunday as the result of a stillbirth.

"I cry as I type this," Michelle wrote in an Instagram post. "My pregnancy had resulted in a stillbirth at almost 8 months of being pregnant — at exactly 31 weeks 2 days, when we found out that the baby girl growing inside me no longer had a heartbeat after being completely fine the week prior at my last doctor’s appointment.

"We are so heartbroken. We are devastated. We are speechless. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are numb."

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The couple has two other young children: a 3-year-old girl named Londyn and a 2-year-old boy named Brayden.

The McCourtys received an outpouring of support from Devin's current and former teammates after he shared the news on Instagram.

Here's ex-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: "Love you my brother. So sad for you loss! You are in our thoughts and prayers always ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼"

And here's Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo: "My prayers and love to your family bro."

Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry -- "My prayers are definitely going out to y’all. Love you bro💙" -- Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers -- "Prayers for you and your family! 💪🏾 be strong brother" -- and ex-Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib -- "Praying for ya family brotha!" -- were among many other NFL players offering their support to the McCourtys.

Michelle added in her message that she and Devin "appreciate the love and support we’ve already gotten, and just ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time, since we have no answers to give anyway."

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