Patriots

Will Tom Brady lose his mind if the Patriots pay Deshaun Watson?

Will Tom Brady lose his mind if the Patriots pay Deshaun Watson?

Tom Brady is gone, off to the Bucs after they were one of two (2) teams to try to sign him in free agency.

It's probably not a leap to think that between the lack of negotiations and the general wear and tear on a relationship that 20 years takes, Brady and the Pats aren't feeling super lovey-dovey about each other right now. The wound is still fresh, but it will undoubtedly heal down the road.

Know what probably wouldn't help, though? The Patriots getting Deshaun Watson.

If you didn't see over the weekend, Watson was listed as the betting favorite to be the Week 1 starter for the Patriots in the 2021 season. Watson, one of the best QBs in the league, realistically has two years left on his deal, considering his contract holds a fifth-year team option.

The Texans, however, are idiots. After they traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for a song, it's not far-fetched to imagine Watson will either want out or the team will be too stupid to do everything to keep him.

Here's what's particularly interesting, though. If Watson finds his way to New England, it would likely mean the Patriots did something with him they wouldn't with Brady for so many years: Pay through the nose for him. Imagine being Brady, experiencing years and years of taking less, then seeing Kraft and Belichick race to pay another guy top QB money?

Ooh, he'd lose it.

The Patriots should do it if they can, of course. Watson is 24 and is already one of the best players in the league. It might be tough for Brady to hear, but it's far more logical to throw money at a less accomplished quarterback in his mid-20s than it is to pay the most decorated quarterback at the end of his career.

When Watson and Patrick Mahomes sign new contracts (they are both entering the fourth year of their likely five-year contracts), they will be the two highest-paid players in the league. And if the Patriots are lucky enough to be the team paying Watson top-two money, they should jump at it.

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That's about as big an "if" as it gets, though, as it's accompanied by a "how." How could the Patriots get Watson? After all, the Texans traded an extra first-round pick to move up to take Watson in 2017. They then traded two first-round picks, a second and more to get him a left tackle in Laremy Tunsil. So would they really pull the plug with so much invested in Watson?

Well, look at it this way: Maybe if and when the Texans ever get a proper GM, he'll want draft picks, which the Texans don't currently have. The Patriots could throw picks in the early rounds at Houston (and there'd need to be a lot of them) to get Watson out of there, then extend him for a ton of money.

This would be a far cry from how they got their last great quarterback, but then again, drafting the best quarterback of all time in the sixth round and get him to play at a discount for most of his career is kind of a pipe dream. Life without prime Brady is a "welcome to being the rest of the league" experience. And the rest of the league generally gets their star quarterbacks at the top of the draft or by paying dearly for them.

So play it out this season with Jarrett Stidham. See what you've got with him and whoever you have on offense (hopefully a good, young receiver is added in the draft; perhaps Brady being gone will help receivers adjust in New England). If Stidham doesn't look promising, call the Texans. Swing for the fences, back up the Brinks truck. Do what you can to get him, even if it's the exact opposite of what you've had to do the last 20 years.

Patriots' Devin McCourty: It's 'an absolute joke' NFL is changing opt-out deadline

Patriots' Devin McCourty: It's 'an absolute joke' NFL is changing opt-out deadline

Devin McCourty didn’t hold back on a Sunday afternoon video conference with New England media.

The Patriots veteran safety took no questions during a six-minute session, choosing instead to make an impassioned statement about his belief that people need to stay attuned to the equality problems in the United States.

McCourty pledged his support for the cause of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police when a shootout began after authorities burst into her home with a “no-knock warrant.”

McCourty also spoke about healthcare inequities, the “digital divide” underprivileged students face because some don’t have access to technology and the internet for remote learning, efforts to reach out and listen to minorities involved in law enforcement and the need for the NFL to have more diversity in coaching and personnel.

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McCourty then took aim at the league for reportedly trying to move up an agreed-upon deadline for players to “opt out” prior to the 2020 season.

A source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, “Teams are concerned that some players who think they won’t make the team are choosing to opt out and to take the six-figure stipend." While players apparently would owe the money back to the teams if they fail to make the roster in 2021, no team wants to have to chase a former player around next year in an effort to retrieve $150,000 or $350,000.

“Another concern comes from an issue we’ve previously flagged: Some agents, per the source, are using the threat of an opt out as leverage to get their clients new contracts.”

“It’s an absolute joke that the NFL is changing the opt-out period, mainly because they don’t want to continue to see guys opt out,” McCourty said. “I’m sure they’re shocked about how many guys have opted out. But it’s the same thing when we sign the CBA, sometimes some of those things that we think are good, sometimes backfire. You know, we have rookies who are locked in long-term contracts and tagged and tagged. You guys don’t think we would love to change that about the CBA? But we can’t. That’s the point of signing an agreement.

“So I think it’s terrible. I think it’s BS that the league [wants to change] that date.”

So far, eight Patriots have opted out. The latest was tight end Matt Lacosse who reportedly opted out Sunday. Wide receiver Marqise Lee also opted out this weekend.

McCourty seemed to indicate he was still mulling his ultimate decision. Separately, he explained to me that – if he did want to opt out for family reasons at any time – the passing of an opt-out deadline wouldn’t prevent him from doing so.

McCourty encouraged players to understand the power they have right now.

"Monday will be our first day in the building, so to try to act like guys are trying to make a decision about something other than virtual meetings is a joke," he said. "When players understand how much power we have, we've seen things change for us; primarily even with this deal, with the COVID-19 and trying to get everything back. We saw some of that strength. Hopefully we'll see how everything turns out come Wednesday, if it ends up being the deadline.

"I support guys no matter what they decide, but I'm still out here having fun and figuring things out. So we'll see how we go."

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a host of changes to the CBA to get through the 2020 season but those changes have not been finalized. The opt-out deadline was supposed to be a week after the deal was done. Because of the delay getting it done, the opt-out deadline keeps moving further down the road.

And the concern from some teams seems to be that a player who’s destined for the bubble may see the writing on the wall and opt-out. It’s a cynical concern but it’s also not beyond the realm for a player who was already on the fence about playing and then realizes he’s a longshot.

The other concern according to Florio is players threatening to opt out if they’re not given a new deal. Florio pointed out he hadn’t heard of that happening but he noted, “For plenty of players, a significant bump in compensation could be the difference between opting out and opting in.”

Objectively speaking, players and coaches are the ones taking the personal medical risk. Owners aren’t. For a key player to say, “What will you do to make it worth my while? What’s the additional hazard pay?” is not that absurd.

NFL players don’t often use their leverage. McCourty, it seems, is hoping they start to.

NFL rumors: Patriots place Sony Michel, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon King on PUP list

NFL rumors: Patriots place Sony Michel, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon King on PUP list

The New England Patriots will begin training camp with three players on the physical unable to perform, or PUP, list. 

Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, running back Sony Michel and special teams standout Brandon King all have been placed on the PUP list, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

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Sanu had offseason ankle surgery in March. He suffered the ankle injury in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles, and it prevented him from playing at a high level for the remainder of the 2019 season. Michel had foot surgery in May. The 2018 first-round pick had a disappointing sophomore season in which he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. King missed all of the 2019 campaign because of a torn quad. Therefore, it's not too surprising that these players have landed on the PUP list.

In Sanu's case, he's been working pretty hard over the offseason to get back into optimal shape. He's posted several workout videos on Instagram, including some sessions that included newly signed quarterback Cam Newton.