Ian Rapoport

Ian Rapoport: Patriots not counting on Josh Gordon but 'would certainly welcome him back'

Ian Rapoport: Patriots not counting on Josh Gordon but 'would certainly welcome him back'

Josh Gordon is still a member of the New England Patriots, but he is currently suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy. And per usual, few know exactly if and when he'll have a chance to return to the field.

In a recent appearance on WEEI's Dale & Keefe Show, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport was asked about the potential return of Gordon to the Patriots. Rapoport indicated that he wasn't sure about Gordon being reinstated but said that while the talented but troubled receiver is not a guy the Patriots are counting on, they "would certainly welcome him back" if reinstated.

Josh Gordon, I don't know. I know that for the Patriots, it's not something that they're talking about every day. It's not a guy who's in their plans right now. I think that they would certainly welcome him back if he showed that he's going to be a better version -- as a person, I'm talking about -- a better version of the one they got last year. I just don't know that he's actually going to get reinstated, prove to the Patriots that he has turned the corner, that he's a different person, show that he's in the right frame of mind.

As always with Josh Gordon, the talent is incredible. We've seen probably one-tenth of it, honestly. But there's always so much that goes into it. I think the Patriots know better than to say this is a guy we're counting on for next season.

Rapoport is right that the Patriots aren't counting on Gordon, but they could certainly use him to add talent to their receiving corps.

At the moment, the Patriots are a bit thinner than usual in terms of receiving weapons. Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman and first-round pick N'Keal Harry should be the two of the top pass catchers, but aside from that, the team has a handful of veterans fighting for spots in the pecking order. And at tight end, the team is missing Rob Gronkowski and doesn't have a suitable replacement for him.

If Gordon could somehow get reinstated, he would help the team out and give them a true No. 1 receiver. After all, he did have 40 catches for 720 yards and three scores in just 11 games with the Patriots in 2018. And with more time to build chemistry with Tom Brady, he could be even better.

Gordon's status may become a hot-button issue in the next week, especially in the wake of the NFL's decision not to suspended Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill at all despite allegations of child abuse. But for the time being, Gordon will remain suspended and it's unclear exactly what his chances of being reinstated are.

Will Harry's contested catch prowess translate to the NFL?>>>

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Report: Patriots had interest in re-signing Malcolm Butler last offseason

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Report: Patriots had interest in re-signing Malcolm Butler last offseason

Malcolm Butler's star, which shined so brightly in New England after Super Bowl 49, began to dim -- or so it seemed -- when he went through several contract squabbles with them in subsequent years. It was widely assumed last season that Butler was a lame duck who would bolt via free agency as soon as he became ineligible, and his to-this-day unexplained benching in Super Bowl 52 merely confirmed that both sides clearly believed they had no future together.

But maybe not.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Patriots were in fact interesting in re-signing Butler "at the right price" last offseason. Rapoport, citing sources, says the Pats . . . 

informed Butler's agent Derek Simpson to reach out to them if he didn't get an offer to his liking. Already paying top corner Stephon Gilmore, the Pats perhaps could have paid Butler around $10 million a year.

Butler, in fact, did get an offer to his liking: Five years, $61.25 million from the Titans, after also drawing interest from the Texans and Bears. His play, up-and-down in his final go-round in New England, has been more down than up so far this year, leading to widespread relief that Butler turned down a nearly identical contract from the Patriots after the 2016 season (six years, $66 million). 

But just because they him go appearently doesn't mean they wouldn't have taken him back.

At the right price, at least.

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Report: Patriots bringing Kenny Britt back for Monday workout

Report: Patriots bringing Kenny Britt back for Monday workout

A familiar face may soon be spotted in the Patriots' revolving door at wide receiver:

Britt suffered a hamstring injury during OTA workouts in the spring and never was able to fully participate in training camp. Still, his release in late August was a surprise, given how thin the Pats are at the position.

The Patriots have been loading up on wideouts since releasing Britt, even bringing in two new ones earlier in the week. But one of them -- Bennie Fowler -- has already been cut loose, so obviously they're still looking for answers at the position. Now they'll see if Britt can come back and provide some.

Can Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell be far behind?

UPDATE: Maybe that last line wasn't such a joke: