Patriots

As Trent Brown departs for Oakland, remember: Patriots wanted Isaiah Wynn at tackle last year

As Trent Brown departs for Oakland, remember: Patriots wanted Isaiah Wynn at tackle last year

Less than a year later after acquiring Trent Brown on the cheap — New England got its starting left tackle in 2018 by moving from pick No. 95 to No. 143 in a deal with San Francisco last year — they're looking at facing life after Brown, who will be the highest-paid tackle in free agency this offseason.

Brown has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $66 million deal with $36.75M guaranteed with the Raiders, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Things weren't always easy for Brown as a member of the Patriots, but he parlayed his one season with the team to a big-time contract. 

So what's next for the Patriots at that spot? The most logical answer would be for Bill Belichick, Dante Scarnecchia and Josh McDaniels to lean on their first first-round pick from last spring.

When Isaiah Wynn was drafted with the No. 23 overall selection last year, many figured he projected as a guard at the NFL level because he stands at 6-foot-3 with 33.5-inch arms.

But not long after Wynn was drafted, Scarnecchia scoffed at the notion that Wynn couldn't play tackle because of his length.

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"That [expletive] is way overrated," he told reporters back in May.

The 71-year-old offensive line coach added: "He's played left tackle in the best conference in America. Played it pretty good. We're going to take a look at it, and see how it goes."

Wynn saw snaps at left and right tackle in training camp practices, and he played nine snaps at right tackle in a preseason game against the Eagles before tearing his Achilles. And therein lies the source of some uncertainty if the Patriots want to make Wynn the next in line to protect Tom Brady's blind side. 

Can the team trust a red-shirted rookie with one of the most valuable positions on the field? And can they trust a player whose effectiveness is largely dependent on his agility when that player is a year removed from a torn Achilles?

Unless they want to spend another top-end pick on a tackle in this year's draft — and there are several expected to go in the first round — their options are relatively limited.

If they went that route in the draft, then they could be effectively blocking Wynn from contributing through his first two years as a pro. The guard spots — manned by the well-compensated Shaq Mason and the incredibly durable Joe Thuney — are spoken for, as is Marcus Cannon's gig at right tackle.

Depth on the offensive line is critical, of course, and no one knows that better than the Patriots. So there's value in having the type of super-sub Wynn could be, thanks to his experience at the University of Georgia playing both guard and tackle. But that's something the Patriots typically try to find in players like Cole Croston (who has practiced at guard and tackle), Ted Karras (who plays all three spots on the interior) or LaAdrian Waddle (a free agent who has experience at right and left tackle). Not a first-rounder. 

Will Wynn definitely work out at left tackle? Impossible to say. Just as it was impossible to say last year when Brown — who played primarily right tackle in San Francisco — ended up being the choice a year ago. But the Patriots owe it to themselves to trust their initial assessment and try out Wynn on the edge. 

He's far from a sure thing. But right now — given the cost of keeping Brown, what little is available in free agency and the state of the offensive line as currently constituted — he's looking like their best bet.

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On Instagram, Martellus Bennett writes he won't be coming back to Patriots

On Instagram, Martellus Bennett writes he won't be coming back to Patriots

They'll be no Bennett brother reunion, or a third stint with the Patriots for Martellus Bennett, according to his Instagram post.

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Swipe. This is why I can’t come out of retirement. I would love to play ball with my brother it would truly be a dream come true. But my biggest dream is to change lives with my creativity and that is what I am currently doing @theimaginationagency these kids don’t need another athlete to look up to or to aspire to be there’s plenty of inspiration out there for that. I want to inspire the next wave of creatives. The storytellers. The engineers. The designers. The doctors. The filmmakers. The composers. Tech moguls. And maybe a few athletes who like me never felt like they belonged in a locker room. I was never one of the guys guys most of my teammates would tell that. I’ve always been a creative who enjoyed competing. I’m playing the game that I was made to play and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. Scoring touchdowns winning a super bowl has never made me feel the way seeing kids/families/people enjoying things I have created. I’m doing my life’s work fulfilling what I believe to be my life’s purpose. I hope everyone finds something that makes them as happy and as fulfilled as I have with my work @theimaginationagency I appreciate all of the love but this is waaaaayyy bigger than the game of football. Get your copy today. Link in my bio

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Bennett's brother Michael, 33, a defensive end, was traded from from the Eagles to the Patriots on March 8, leading to plenty of speculation that Martellus, 32, a tight end, who played a full season for the Pats in 2016 and last played in the NFL in two games for the Pats in 2017, would come out of retirement to join him in New England.

Marty B even got a pitch to return from his old quarterback in New England. 

Martellus Bennett has forged a new career with his Imagination Agency and he recently released his book "Dear Black Boy" which seeks to inspire African-American kids in outlets beyond athletics.

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Patriots QB Tom Brady is highest-ranked NFL player on ESPN's 'World Fame 100' list

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USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Tom Brady is highest-ranked NFL player on ESPN's 'World Fame 100' list

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is among the most recognizable and popular athletes in sports, but where does he rank when compared to other famous athletes?

ESPN's recently unveiled its 2019 "World Fame 100" ranking that uses social media followers, endorsement dollars and search score to compile a list of the world's most popular athletes.

Brady is the highest ranked NFL player on the list at No. 31, good for a seven-spot increase from 2018.

You might be a bit surprised that a legendary player like Brady, who just won his sixth Super Bowl championship last month, wouldn't even crack the top 25. One thing holding him back is the popularity of football outside of the United States. The sport doesn't have the same global appeal as basketball or soccer do.

One area Brady doesn't rank among the highest is social media following. He doesn't have an official Twitter account, just Instagram and Facebook pages. Many athletes have verified Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Just four of the 30 athletes ranked ahead of Brady have a smaller social media following.

The No. 1 ranked athlete on the list is Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer players make up five of the top 15 spots.

Other Boston athletes joining Brady on ESPN's list include his Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski (No. 97) and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving (No. 47).

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