Patriots

Should Patriots trade for bubble quarterback Tom Savage?

Should Patriots trade for bubble quarterback Tom Savage?

Bill Belichick wasn't hiding it. The Patriots are examining all 31 opposing rosters in the NFL to try to track who will become available on cutdown day, and who might only be available via trade.

Sometimes the line separating those two categories is blurred. It's a guessing game to try to figure out which players will garner interest on waivers and which won't, which teams will be aggressive enough to make a trade and which won't. 

And while the Patriots are surely on the lookout for help at receiver, that won't be the only place they're looking. What about quarterback? 

NFL Media reported on Wednesday that there could be a handful of signal-callers available, and one of them has some experience in a Patriots-like system. 

Savage, 28, is the name that sticks out. A fourth-round pick of the Texans in 2014 (taken 73 picks after Jimmy Garoppolo), he signed a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with the Saints. 

The Patriots have seen their share of Savage, having practiced against him in joint sessions with the Texans last summer. Savage then looked good in their preseason matchup, completing eight of nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. 

Coming from the Texans system under former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, Savage would have some familiarity with Patriots concepts. Now in New Orleans, he's with an organization that has shown in the past it's willing to deal with the Patriots. 

This preseason, Savage has completed 23 of 31 passes for 222 yards (7.2 yards per attempt), no touchdowns and no picks. Last regular season, in seven games as a starter, Savage completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,412 yards (6.3 yards per attempt), five touchdowns, six picks and 21 sacks. 

For his career in the regular season, Savage has completed 57.5 percent of his throws for exactly 2,000 yards (6.35 yards per attempt), five touchdowns and seven picks. He's started nine games total.

When it comes to any potential interest the Patriots might have in Savage, there are a number of questions that would need answering. 

Is he viewed as a starting-caliber player? Would he be a better option than 32-year-old Brian Hoyer (21-for-32, 268 yards, 8.4 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, one pick this preseason), now or in the near future? Would he be able to function relatively quickly in the Patriots offense? What do the Patriots think of Danny Etling's long-term potential?

While the Patriots don't have a glaring need for another passer, they should have enough information on Savage to have an idea of whether or not he has the ability to start someday. 

And they may very well feel he doesn't. But the Patriots exist in a league where capable quarterbacks rarely become available in free agency, and they deal with a draft that is consistently a crapshoot. 

Maybe Savage, if he can be had for a reasonable price, is worth a look for a team that doesn't yet appear to have its next in line. If he's truly on the bubble, he may be available for a song.

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Why Kyle Van Noy expects Patriots' success to continue despite offseason losses

Why Kyle Van Noy expects Patriots' success to continue despite offseason losses

The New England Patriots have sustained incredible success in recent years despite losing some pretty big names to free agency or trades.

But this offseason seems worse than others ... right? Don't tell that to Kyle Van Noy.

In an interview Tuesday with NFL Network's Willie McGinest, the Patriots linebacker explained why he expects the Patriots to continue that success despite an exodus of notable players and coaches, among them all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski and de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

"(Head coach) Bill (Belichick) does a really good job of the culture being set with the players that have been there for their tenures," Van Noy said, pointing to veteran leaders like Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower and, of course, Tom Brady.

"When that culture is set, it doesn't matter, we all have the same goal in mind and that's just to win."

Van Noy is well aware of the roster turnover -- he let out a "Wow, look at that list" -- when shown the lengthy list of ex-Patriots that includes several assistant coaches.

But much like Gregg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs, Brady, Belichick and the Patriots have created a culture of winning that allows them to not only compete but win championships despite significant roster turnover.

It sounds like Van Noy, who's won two Super Bowls since coming to New England in 2016, is fully bought in.

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One study shows Patriots have second-best fans in the NFL

One study shows Patriots have second-best fans in the NFL

Patriots fans aren't tired of winning, and it shows. 

According to one study, the Patriots have the second-best fan base in the NFL. Emory University business professor Michael Lewis conducts the report annually, and has listed the Patriots as No. 2 for the past two years. Lewis's model takes into account fan equity — home box office revenue — social equity and road equity. The study measures social media engagement and revenue as well as home and road attendance. 

In the top tier with the Dallas Cowboys (1) and Patriots are the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. 

Notably, the Pats have some recent history with two of the bottom-feeder fan bases. New England beat the Kansas City Chiefs — the 31st-best fan base — in the AFC Championship. This might be surprising because of Arrowhead Stadium's reputation for being raucous, and Lewis predicts the Chiefs are in a solid position to improve in the rankings: 

"The problem is that the Chiefs lack pricing power and do not have much of a social following (I use Twitter)," the study said. "However, the Chiefs and Browns are probably the best positioned teams to make moves up the charts the next few years."

Also, the Los Angeles Rams — whom the Patriots bested in last year's Super Bowl — rank dead last among fan bases. The recent move from St. Louis and abundance of teams in the area certainly plays a part in the poor following, but Jared Goff and the Rams certainly could've used a few more cheers last February. 

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