Tom Brady, Patriots show Ben Watson love as TE announces retirement

Tom Brady, Patriots show Ben Watson love as TE announces retirement

We don't know where Tom Brady will play in 2020, but we know he still keeps tabs on his now-former teammates.

Ben Watson announced his retirement Monday on social media, ending any speculation he'd return in 2020 after coming out of a first retirement in 2019 to play for the New England Patriots.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you.

A post shared by benjaminswatson (@benjaminswatson) on

The 39-year-old also paid homage to all five teams he played for during his 15-year career, starting with the Patriots, who selected the tight end in the first round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by benjaminswatson (@benjaminswatson) on

Watson's tribute to the Patriots earned him shout-outs from the team's Instagram account ("Thank you, Ben"), as well as Brady, who dropped three heart emojis in the comment section of Watson's post.

Patriots running back Brandon Bolden, offensive lineman David Andrews and safety Duron Harmon also gave Watson props, with Harmon writing on Watson's retirement Instagram post:

"Appreciate you setting the example on and off the field my brother! Enjoy retirement because you deserve it 💪🏿"

But Brady's Instagram activity is most notable considering the NFL's legal tampering window opened Monday, allowing teams to contact the pending free-agent quarterback.

Brady was on vacation in Costa Rica with his family but has returned stateside ahead of his big decision, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

Brady and Watson share a very tight bond, but the latter didn't contribute much on the field in his final NFL season, with 17 catches for 173 yards and no touchdowns in 10 games played.

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

The New England Patriots added even more depth to an elite group of cornerbacks Sunday by acquiring Michael Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Detroit Lions signed him off the Cowboys practice squad last season and he played in one game for the NFC North team.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Here's an updated look at the Patriots' cornerback depth chart with Jackson in the fold:

--Stephon Gilmore
--Jason McCourty
--J.C. Jackson
--Jonathan Jones
--Joejuan Williams
--Michael Jackson
--Myles Bryant
--D’Angelo Ross

It should be noted that Justin Bethel is listed at cornerback, but most of his snaps come on special teams. 

A strong case could be made that cornerback is the deepest position on the Patriots roster. The group is led by Stephon Gilmore, who became the first Patriot ever to win the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. Gilmore is the league's best cornerback and has earned first team All-Pro selections in back-to-back seasons. 

He's not the only talented cornerback in the Patriots secondary, though. 

J.C. Jackson excelled in coverage last season, too, especially on passes beyond 20 yards. In fact, Jackson had the lowest passer rating allowed when targeted of all cornerbacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of the most intriguing players in the Patriots secondary is second-year cornerback Joejuan Williams. He was a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019 but saw limited playing time as a rookie.

The depth of the Patriots defense has been hit hard in recent months due to free agent departures and veterans opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. One position that has remained largely intact is cornerback, and barring any significant injuries, it could be the team's most productive position this coming season.

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

The New England Patriots have added another cornerback to their depth chart.

On Sunday, they announced they've acquired Michael Jackson from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft (158th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. He started his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before being signed by Detroit.

The 23-year-old played in only one game last season for the Lions.

Jackson joins a Patriots cornerback group that currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, D'Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel, and Myles Bryant.