…because a) everyone else is doing it and b) we are really scraping together things to actually write about in the sports world…
No need for further introduction, except for again, no one is “Way Out” at this time of year, so we are skipping that usual category. Oh, and since we have no idea on who most of the undrafted free agents are at this point, we won’t really comment much about them…not until we get to see a little of them in the preseason anyway. If there is a preseason, that is.
Locks: Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer
Out: Brian Lewerke, J’Mar Smith
Comments: If not taking a quarterback, even late, in the draft doesn’t tell the world that the Pats are going with Stidham, I don’t know what else will do it. There is a groundswell of support for starting Hoyer and giving the kid extra games to “be ready”, but why bother? Just give the kid the job and let him run with it. And if he sucks, STILL let him run with it. Because then they may be able to play “Tank for Trevor (Lawrence)” or “Fail for (Justin) Fields”. I doubt it will ever get to that point actually. But we know what Brian Hoyer is. And it ain’t an NFL starting QB. So leave him with the headset and clipboard and let the kid sink or swim. If the Patriot brain trust is apparently that confident in Stidham, shouldn’t the rest of us be also?
Locks: Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris
In: Rex Burkhead, Dan Vitale (FB)
Out: Jakob Johnson (FB), J.J. Taylor
Comments: Rex is a popular potential salary cap casualty, as previously noted. But we think he sticks around as the Pats will presumably lean on the ground game more. We gave three options for James Develin in the pre-draft projection, he could be released, put on Injured Reserve or the Physically Unable to Perform list. Didn’t even think of “retire”. Stupid. That one should have been kind of obvious. But that doesn’t lock in Vitale I don’t think. Not yet anyway. And it has nothing to do with Jakob potentially beating him out either.
Locks: Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu
In: Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers
Out: Marqise Lee, Gunner Olszewski, Quincy Adeboyejo, Devin Ross, Will Hastings, Sean Riley, Isaiah Zuber, Jeff Thomas
Comments: No way the Pats let Sanu go as a cap casualty after they dealt a second rounder for him and he was useless last season. Byrd is the frontrunner to return kicks, so he probably sticks. Meyers had a good rapport with Stidham last preseason and showed some promise during the year. Hard to believe the Pats give up on him now. Lee seems like a flyer to see if he has anything left. Thomas would have supposedly been drafted if he didn’t have off-field issues. Sounds like a solid practice squad candidate to me. Hastings is interesting because he changed positions in college to receiver from…kicker? How does that happen? Sorry Gunner. Nice story last year. But there are too many waaaaay better options this time around.
Locks: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene
In: Matt LaCosse
Out: Ryan Izzo, Rashod Berry, Jake Burt
Comments: Think they keep the veteran LaCosse around to help bring the two draftees along. Maybe Matty has shaken the injuries and actually has something to show. They could keep Izzo for cheaper. But since he has been largely hurt for his two seasons here and not necessarily good when out on the field, my guess is he can slide to the practice squad for the time being.
Locks: Isaiah Wynn (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG),
In: Marcus Cannon (RT), Korey Cunningham (T), Jermaine Eluemunor (G), Yodny Cajuste (T), Hjalte Froholdt (G/C)
Out: Michael Onwenu (G), Najee Toran (G), Justin Herron (T), Dustin Woodard (C)
Comments: Could be some moving pieces here before the start of the year. If the Pats and Thuney can’t hammer out an extension for some cap relief, he could be dangled. Also, did you know that Cannon has the FIFTH highest cap charge on the books for 2020? The team has about 2 million of cap room left and still need to sign all of their draft picks. Sure, other guys could get released or they could restructure. But if most of his 9.6 mil comes off in a cut, this may be an easy one. Remember how bad he sucked last year?
It’s doubtful the Pats go this route, but I suppose you never know. The four dudes that are “in” aren’t necessarily so. But hard to believe that Cunningham and Eleumunor get axed, despite playing sparingly last season. The team gave up picks to get them. Then again, neither could play over the immortal (and royally horrific) Marshall Newhouse last season, so there is that. They also gave Jermaine a 2.1 mil tender. So maybe they have some hopes for him, in particular. Cajuste and Froholdt were 2019 draftees that spent all year on injured lists. Hard to see them not getting another chance. Though I’d love to find a way to get Onwenu on the roster. Because I think he ends up on it when the real season starts. Just can’t find the space for him on this right now.
Next: Defense and specialists.
Continuing on with the offense, as promised (threatened?!):
Locks: Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris
In: Rex Burkhead, Dan Vitale (FB)
Out: James Develin (FB), Jakob Johnson (FB)
Comments: Much less interesting than the quarterback position. Michel was not very good last year. But neither was the offensive line. Hopefully, they both improve. Because he will likely get most of the touches again.
Not to mention that I believe that with Stidham at QB, the Pats will try to run the ball even more. Rely more on that and the defense to win games. I believe Belichick has wanted to do that since drafting Michel. To protect against Brady getting old at first. Now to lessen the burden on a young QB.
Harris is primed for a bigger role this year after he spent his rookie season redshirting. Not unusual for a young back to go this route, just ask White.
Rex is a popular potential salary cap casualty pick by a lot of people. But, like a lot of guys on this roster (White included), I think the team sticks with them in the final year of their contracts. Again, I don’t expect this roster to look much different once training camps open in July (presumably). Other than new, cheap faces. So I don’t think any of the popular “they can cut him to create cap space” guys are going anywhere. Plus Rex is pretty good when healthy. I know, good health is kind of a problem for him. But still…
Don’t be surprised if Harris was groomed to take White’s role. Similar to White being groomed to take Shane Vereen’s role. Could White be traded to open up that door as soon as this season? Possible. But I don’t see it. They will probably just let him walk after the year. Like what they did with Vereen. Plus, no one knows how capable Harris is yet anyway. And Bill LOVES those compensatory picks.
Develin is a coaches favorite. But the way I see it, Vitale’s signing means that Dev is not ready. Neck injuries are kind of serious folks. Maybe he starts on PUP. Maybe he goes on IR for another year. Maybe he gets released. Maybe the Pats carry two fullbacks? Maybe Vitale is just here until Develin is deemed fully healthy so that Michel has his security blanket back?
I can’t believe I just wrote this much on the fullback position…
Locks: Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu
In: Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers
Out: Gunner Olszewski, Quincy Adeboyejo, Devin Ross
Comments: Many people all of a sudden want to trade Jules to Tampa to be with his buddy. But the Bucs have Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. I think Tom will be ok. And then I hear during this writing about rumors of Jules to…Detroit??!
Jules should be good for Stidham. And maybe Jarrett won’t feel the need to target him 400 times, so that can keep Edelman healthy…for a while anyway. I get it, Julian was the most reliable receiver for Brady last year. By far. So Tom kept looking for him. And it worked for a long time. But man, did Jules take a beating last season. Let’s keep him around to help the kid. But let’s also develop a couple of other guys so that Edelman is able to stay on the field.
This is where Harry and Meyers, in particular, come in. They need to develop a rapport with Jarrett. Meyers had one in the preseason last season. But that was the preseason. I do think that’s what keeps him on this years’ roster, however.
Harry HAS to work. And since he won’t have a QB that hates him now (presumably), maybe N’Keal can take the next step.
Gunner seemed to be a desperation roster add last year during final cuts, in order to mainly return punts…but now that Sanu is here, it’s not necessary to keep him. Sanu can return pun…oh wait, that’s how he got hurt last season when he got here and then was useless after. Nevermind. But although Gunner was game, he took his own beating. And while he may be a nice practice squad guy, the Pats should do better.
That’s where Byrd comes in. Maybe he can return all kicks. And add some speed. And be more useful than Phillip Dorsett. Is that too much to ask?
As for Sanu, people want to cut him as well for salary cap purposes. As bad as he was down the stretch last year, I am going to give him somewhat of a pass because of the injury. He IS a proven receiver in this league. If healthy, he should be a good receiver for this team. Especially if Harry can establish himself and put Sanu in the #3 role at best.
In: Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo
Comments: A draft pick or three here would seem to be in order. Gronk ain’t walking through that door, my friends. Best of luck in professional wrestling (sigh…). Aaron Hernandez ain’t walking through that door either, and thank the Lord for that. No Ben Coates, Russ Francis or even Marv Cook. Sorry.
Funny thing is, these two dudes may stick. LaCosse was never healthy last year. Maybe he is halfway decent. Izzo was supposedly hurt last season as well. And we know he was hurt the year before. So the team has invested 2 years in him already.
And…they are cheap.
People want the team to bring in a big name here. That won’t happen. It’ll be these two and a mid-round pick. I can almost smell it.
For better or for worse…and I don’t really have anything better to say here.
Locks: Isaiah Wynn (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Marcus Cannon (RT)
In: Korey Cunningham (T), Jermaine Eluemunor (G), Yodny Cajuste (T), Hjalte Froholdt (G/C)
Out: Najee Toran (G)
Comments: That line looks pretty good on paper. But will they all be there on Opening Day?
Thuney was surprisingly franchise tagged. Some say he could be moved if there is no progress on an extension to lower the cap hit. Andrews claims he is 100% but is he? Cannon is one of those popular salary cap cuts. And why not keep Thuney and try to trade Mason?
My guess? They will all be here at their current cap numbers.
Thuney will pocket his almost 15 mil…did you see how long it took him to sign the tender? The Pats won’t trade him, as they need the O-Line to be strong for the first year of the Stidham era. And Thuney won’t sign an extension. He will want his first huge long-term contract. Especially since he has already has two Super Bowl rings. The Pats won’t give him one…not yet anyway. And Joe may want to see how that first year of the new era actually goes before committing long term to the franchise.
Andrews hopefully is healthy, Wynn hopefully stays healthy, as will Cannon…and even Mason, as there were indications he was bad last season because he was hurt.
No Dante Scarnecchia? Might be a problem. But he didn’t matter last season. So maybe he won’t matter this year. Hate to say that. But could be true.
The 4 “In” dudes were drafted last season or acquired for picks right before the season. I feel like they all will get another year to see if they are useful. Eluemunor for sure, since they actually tendered him at 2.133 million as a restricted free agent (what?!). The other 3 are still making 6 figures.
Maybe not though, as they all could get pushed by this years’ draft picks. No harm in throwing some more bodies into the mix and see who is left standing in the end.
Next: Defense and specialists.
…some random thoughts on recent events, once again, in no particular order:
*Do we even need to talk about the actual New England Patriot win over the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday night?
Not really. But I will say a few things.
A little surprising on how easy the win was. Isn’t Pittsburgh supposed to be a prime contender in the AFC this season?
The defense looked pretty damn good, and that was even playing without linebacker Kyle Van Noy. There seems to be a lot of bodies out there that can contribute, that’s for sure.
The offense could have been crisper. I mean, four field goals from Stephen Gostkowski is probably at least two too many. Though I will take the fact that he made all of them. He has been shaky at times recently. And the new holder, punter Jake Bailey, hasn’t always inspired confidence thus far.
Sony Michel supposedly looked very good in training camp. He did look very good in the very little he played in the preseason. He did not look so hot in this game, however. Let’s hope this changes.
But all of a sudden I am not worried about this receiving corps. And that’s not because of the guy we will talk more about later. I feel pretty good about Julian Edelman, of course. I have this gut feeling that Josh Gordon will stay out of trouble this season. If the team keeps Phillip Dorsett active, I actually feel ok about him. I mean, I don’t think Dorsett is going for almost 100 yards and 2 TDs every game…let’s not be ridiculous. But I think if the team doesn’t bury him now, he is trusted by Tom Brady and can be useful. And Antoni…ok, let’s get back to him in a bit.
I think the team will miss Rob Gronkowski, don’t get me wrong. But I am not as concerned about the tight end position as most. There will just be a whole lot more blocking out of that group. But I think Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse can make at least a few grabs in the passing game.
I would worry more about the offensive line. But in reality, the Pats have such a soft schedule the first half of the season, I think by Game 7 or 8, Dante Scarnecchia and the boys will have something decent figured out. Even if that means bringing in more bodies still.
Ok, that was more than a few things. In the end, it was a good win. But I am actually not going too crazy about it. Pittsburgh may not actually be as good as we think. Plus, I think we all thought that the Pats would be like 7-1 or 8-1 to start out the season…certainly no worse than 6-2.
It may not even be worth commenting more until we actually get some real games…especially the 19-0 talk. It’s waaaaaaay too early for that nonsense.
*Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski got fired late Sunday night.
Questionable timing? Perhaps.
But I think that is something else we all saw coming. There has been some talk that maybe Dombrowski “asked for it” because he knew it too and wanted to get a jump on other opportunities that may be available in a few weeks.
I’m guessing the Sox just wanted to bury it, especially after ownership subsequently has refused to talk about it. That last part is kind of bizarre.
Either way, is it the right move? Most likely. There are some moves to be made this offseason and Dombrowski may not be the right dude to be in charge of those. Primarily because one of the moves COULD be trading Mookie Betts. And a move of that nature will involve most likely getting a package of prospects…not exactly DD’s strong suit. He’s better known for stripping down a farm system for major league talent.
And, by the way, I am not advocating trading Mookie. So pipe down. But the reality is that if he doesn’t want to sign an extension this upcoming offseason, you can’t lose a guy like that for nothing the following offseason. So you HAVE to investigate trading him. I’ve been pretty clear about this for quite some time now. I’m not looking to run the guy out of town. I hope he re-signs…even if it is for a gazillion dollars. John Henry has the dough, after all.
In any event, how much blame does Dombrowski get for this year? A piece for sure. But I don’t think it is as much as people want to lay on him.
Not getting a closer has been beaten to death when pointing fingers at DD. And that’s valid, for sure. He didn’t have to re-sign Craig Kimbrel for a jillion dollars. But getting SOMEONE that had ninth inning experience would have been nice.
But what else?
People like to point to re-signing Nathan Eovaldi to 17 mil per (4 years) and Steve Pearce for 6 mil this year. And that hurt them acquiring more bullpen help.
I say that’s bogus. Pearce was short money and he SHOULD have formed a nice platoon at first base with Mitch Moreland for this year. Then they both go elsewhere next season. It is a lot of money for Nate, who never stays healthy and doesn’t have a tremendous track record (other than the playoffs last year). But someone was going to give him some dough. And having some starting rotation depth is never a bad thing.
To top it all off, you hear more about those contracts now that both of those guys barely played this year. Only a few naysayers on them when they were handed out.
The Chris Sale extension? Stupid. But I think most of us would have given him good money over 3 years (instead of the 5 he got) though, no? And that extension starts next year, so it has nothing to do with his performance this season. Plus…I think ownership may have had quite a bit of say in handing that one out. My opinion.
The bullpen? Kind of in shambles. But doesn’t that describe the bullpen for many major league teams? And isn’t that why these guys are in the bullpen in the first place? They can’t start, they can’t close and they are inconsistent from year to year.
Matt Barnes is no closer, but he should be a capable bullpen arm. So should be guys like Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree and maybe even Steven Wright. But Wright got hurt again and Hembree missed a chunk of time as well. Relying on Ryan Brasier was probably foolish, but then you had guys like Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez pitch pretty well instead. Typical of the year to year inconsistencies of most bullpen arms.
The point is, Dombrowski could have gotten more bullpen arms for sure. But would they have even worked?
I suppose the fact that he did nothing at the trade deadline may have been one final straw. I think he should have sold. Others think he should have bought. But in the end, he sat on his hands. The consensus is probably that he should have picked one way or the other and made something happen.
But I don’t believe he should have the lions share of the blame. Manager Alex Cora then? Some to him as well. He hasn’t been as good as last year, but how could he top that? We need to realize that he is just a second year manager and will make some mistakes. I think he has acknowledged a great deal of the mistakes he has made. He will presumably get better the more experience he gets. I’m not blaming him a ton either.
This all lies on the players. Some of them are putting up gaudy numbers. But SOMETHING has been missing all year. There is plenty of talent on this team and it should have made the playoffs. Injuries to Sale, Eovaldi and David Price, of course, did not help. But this roster should still be a lot better.
And Dombrowski put together that roster. So I guess it’s all his fault…
*So the Red Sox are 9 games out of the wild card with 17 games to go.
It’s over. We know that. We have known that for a while.
But you still have to compete until you are officially eliminated. Use all your best players…even if you have to use 8-10 bullpen arms because that’s all you have.
Not sure why Xander Bogaerts wasn’t in the lineup last night, but whatever…
That being said, once the team is officially eliminated from the playoff race, since the team dumped Dombrowski early, maybe they can dump a few more dudes early too?
I mean, why are we bothering with guys like Gorkys Hernandez, Chris Owings and Josh A. Smith for? They can also let Moreland and Rick Porcello walk soon for all I care.
Let guys like Darwinzon and Marco Hernandez, Travis Lakins, Sam Travis, Trevor Kelley, Mike Shawaryn and Bobby Poyner play more. Call up some dudes that they have to add to the 40-man roster this offseason and give them a taste. They may not even be overwhelmed since there are plenty of minor leaguers in the majors at this time of year.
And why no Rusney Castillo? Gorkys, Rusney, what’s the difference? Rusney’s salary won’t hurt the luxury tax at this time of year. May as well see if you can get SOMETHING in return for that investment.
Even if it’s a couple of late September hits.
And…I’m fairly certain I am the only one thinking about this…
*Last, but certainly not least? Antonio Brown!!
If I still have you after 1,500 plus words, thanks for being here! If not, well then I guess I successfully “buried the lead”. Or is it “buried the lede”? Either way, I’m not sure “successfully” is the proper word either. Let’s move on…
I’m actually not going to talk much about him here. I mean, everyone else has been talking about him non-stop. How much more can I really add?
In a football sense, I have decided that I am ALL IN with this dude.
Make no mistake, the guy is an arseclown. The stuff he was pulling this summer up to and including this past weekend has certainly been juvenile. You know the list of stuff he pulled in Oakland, so we don’t need to rehash it here. He apparently has been doing that kind of stuff his whole career. Including the videotaping stuff in the locker room. And how last year ended in Pittsburgh…etc., etc., etc.
I don’t THINK he will get away with that stuff here. I mean, one never knows, but I would think before any kind of nonsense would get to Bill Belichick, guys like Brady, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, Dont’a Hightower, etc. would squash most things.
The Pats paid Brown a lot of money, so he will get more than one chance. It’s not a risk free move, as some have been saying, but for one year it is worth the gamble. As fans, we just have to hope he keeps in line for this one year.
Listen, I’m never going to hold any athlete as a role model. Most of these guys are total jackwagons. Even Brady can act bizarre at times…you know, the concussion water, avocado ice cream, etc.
I make no apologies for adding great players. None. Just like I make no apologies for the Patriots winning ways the past couple of decades. People forget (or don’t even know) the doormats they were their entire existence before then.
People also compare Brown to past Patriot “headaches” such as Randy Moss, Corey Dillion, Adalius Thomas, et al. They forget that there is one dude on the roster right now that has the potential to be a loose cannon…Michael Bennett. There’s probably more in that locker room as well. They just aren’t a superstar like Brown. And as good a player as Bennett is, he’s not at Brown’s level either…I don’t think anyway.
You’re gonna have some crazies in any locker room, no matter what team you are.
What’s one more?
UNLESS…the story that broke last night about Brown being accused of rape is true.
Sadly and unfortunately, I am skeptical of a lot of those stories, especially when they come out of the blue like this one did. And I am hoping that the story is not true of course.
But what if it is?
Now we are talking Tyreek Hill territory. And that’s not somewhere you want to be.
As I said above, Brown has done some juvenile things over the years that kind of makes him look like a jackass. So he’s kind of an idiot. But is any of the stuff that has gone public really all that harmful? Probably not. He’s just kind of immature and pretty much a tool.
But if these new allegations are true, that changes EVERYTHING. And Brown should be in jail, not ever on the field at Gillette Stadium.
Also, unfortunately, we may not know the truth until Brown has already played his year in New England. So at this point maybe the only thing we can do is accept him as a player on the field. Or at least try to. Until that truth comes out.
Won’t be the first time this is the case for an athlete. Which is another sad state of affairs…