Patriots

Tom Brady pays Ben Watson incredible compliment in heartfelt Instagram reply

Tom Brady pays Ben Watson incredible compliment in heartfelt Instagram reply

New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson hasn't officially announced his retirement, but he hinted that it's a possibility after the defending Super Bowl champs suffered a season-ending loss to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.

Watson posted an emotional Instagram on Monday that touched on quite a few subjects. In a lengthy caption, the 38-year-old veteran expressed his disappointment in how the season ended, wished the remaining playoff teams good luck, and noted how thankful he was for the opportunity, among other things.

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Saturday’s game was tough for a number of reasons. This season, this calendar year, had many expected and unexpected challenges professionally and personally. The emotional investment rivals the physical in this sport, and after months of competition, adversity, and perseverance the bonds between brothers run deep and expectations remain high as we pursued the coveted return. Through it all I’m thankful for another season to play this great game. It has been a joy to share the locker room with these men and truly special to reunite with so many familiar faces. I wish it would have ended in Miami. There’s nothing I wanted more for my family and myself especially at this point in my career. Life is about perspective and disappointment has a special way of challenging that conviction. Thank you for supporting my family and this team this year. We could feel the love. We are truly blessed. Best of luck to Tennessee and the other teams still in the race. #Sweet16

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady liked the post, and he also replied with a heartfelt message for Watson.

There's a great amount of mutual respect between Brady and Watson, who have spent a total of seven seasons as teammates.

When the veteran tight end was released by the Patriots in October, Brady said it was "tough" hearing that news and called Watson a "great player" and a man of the "highest integrity." Watson was very appreciative of the remarks and told WEEI at the time, "I love that guy," in reference to Brady.

The Patriots brought Watson back a few weeks later, and it's unclear if Saturday's game will end up being the final one of his 15-year career. He is among several Patriots players who will hit the free agent market this offseason.

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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.

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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.


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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.