…well, let’s get these thoughts out there quickly, as the draft is almost here.
First on Gronk.
Similar to former QB (wow, that still seems weird to say!) Tom Brady, the Blowhard really wasn’t losing a whole lot of sleep on Rob Gronkowski’s status.
I mean, this is not even considering the nonsense Gronk has been into since he “retired”. Wrestling, “acting”, pimping CBD oil, disastrous Fox pregame appearances…ugh…off the field, I’ve been wanting him to go away for quite some time.
None of that matters at all at this point, now that he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
How do we feel about him returning to the field now? And not back in a Patriot uniform?
Glad you asked!!
I don’t care.
I really don’t.
Listen, I LOVED Gronk when he was playing here. Didn’t necessarily love some of his antics off the field when he was playing, similar to what he has done during his year off. But while he was laying his body on the line, making huge plays and helping the Pats win games and ultimately Super Bowls, I just dealt with the silliness like everyone else.
Could he have helped presumptive new QB Jarrett Stidham this upcoming season? Absolutely. No question about it.
But let’s also face some facts. He will be 31. Seemingly not that old. But he has taken an absolute beating over the years. Amazing he has lasted this long, what with his back problems that started when he was in college and then the surgeries he has had as a pro. Not to mention the other injuries he had, including the ones we probably never even knew about.
On a team that is retooling on the fly, with only one definitive other viable receiving option right now (a 34 year old, similarly banged up Julian Edelman), with Gronk once again facing double and triple teams (perhaps based on reputation as well), how enticing would a return to New England be for him? And how effective would he be as a result?
In Tampa, he may be the third or fourth option. More enticing for him for sure. He also may be asked to not work as hard, as they have other capable tight ends on the roster. Two for now, but at least one will be there in September. The Pats have no other capable tight ends. Hard to believe they will add anyone else there either. A draft pick maybe. But how reliable will that guy be this current season?
The beatings would continue if he came back here.
Let’s also face this: Gronk was done with playing in New England. And that’s ok.
Rumors have it that he was indeed dealt to Detroit for a first round pick before the 2018 season. But threatened to retire. So the deal never happened.
He only wanted to play with Brady. So now he is unretiring to play with Brady.
And I am ok with that too.
I do wish, for the betterment of the team, that if Bill Belichick felt that trading Gronk for a first rounder was the best way to go, that it was allowed to happen. But it wouldn’t have been the first time a higher up squashed something an underling wanted to do. So be it.
I also don’t believe that Gronk is that unstoppable force anymore that he was throughout his career. Injuries have taken their toll for sure. Looked like throughout during the 2018 season anyway. He will be an asset to the Bucs, no question. And maybe win a game for them next season. He will also most assuredly be better than any Patriot tight ends this year as well. But it is hard to believe he will be an All-Pro again. Time will tell.
Jason Witten took a year off and came back. No great shakes in his return. Yes, he is also much older than Gronk. But I think we can draw some parallels.
I would have liked to have gotten more than a fourth round pick for him (while also trading a seventh rounder). But he wasn’t playing for the Pats anyway. Under any scenario. And he could have unretired first, had his remaining salary go up against the cap to cause the Pats to have to frantically cut someone, trade someone or restructure one or more deals.
So there were a couple of sides to that story.
It seems to me that the end result made everyone happy. We will just have to see how it plays out. But I am not fretting the departure of Gronk. Things will be ok.
Though I guess Bill would have taken that first rounder a couple of years ago over the fourth rounder now…
As for the draft, what will the Patriots do?
WHO THE HELL KNOWS?!
Haha…seriously though, what do I think?
Again, glad you asked!!
You’ve heard all the rumors: Trade up for Tua, trade down for picks, trade picks into next year because the coronavirus will limit the offseason programs and perhaps even training camp itself, trade Joe Thuney, trade for O.J. Howard, take a quarterback high to compete for the job…etc.
Oh and “Bill never takes a running back in the first round”, then he takes Sony Michel in 2018. And “Bill never takes a wide receiver in the first round”, then he takes N’Keal Harry in 2019.
We could go on all day. The only thing that is certain is that Bill will take a guy that will really only be able to play special teams in the NFL in the 5th-6th round. That doesn’t include the kicker that will likely be drafted in the middle rounds.
Nothing would surprise me. Nothing.
Another hot take is that “releasing Cody Kessler is a real sign the Pats will definitely take a QB in the draft”.
They have like 24 open roster spots. They could go sign a Cam Newton or Jameis Winston eventually if they wanted to. Or trade for Andy Dalton. Or…gasp…re-sign Kessler eventually if nothing else materializes. They could re-sign Kessler as a fourth arm, even if they do sign, trade or draft another dude.
But I don’t see them taking a QB as automatic.
If they take someone high, it may be an admission that the team does not believe that Stidham is the long term guy. And what would that do for his confidence?
I could see them taking a QB late, a Danny Etling type. Practice squad type guy to roll the dice on. But I don’t see them trading up for anyone. Or taking a guy relatively high. Jake Fromm? Perhaps. But what is that, 4th-5th round? Unlikely a threat to Stidham.
I really do think they are rolling with Stidham and Hoyer this season. For better or for worse.
As for the actual picks, my opinion? As it stands, the Patriots have 12 draft picks. They will wheel and deal like they normally do. Even with everyone drafting from home, fantasy football style. Might not be as easy. But I bet a lot of the legwork has been done already (e.g. the deal will likely happen only if a player is still available in that certain spot).
It will be fascinating to watch. Mainly because it is the first “post-Tom Brady” draft. Also because, well, there is nothing else going on in sports.
Specifics? Best I can do is:
They WILL draft a kicker.
They MAY draft a QB, but mid to late rounds.
They WILL draft a lot of fat guys on the line, on both sides of it.
They MAY trade a pick or two into next years’ draft.
They WILL not trade up in the first round.
They MAY stand pat in the first round (instead of trading down) and take a non-skill position player.
They WILL entertain offers for G Joe Thuney, but won’t give him away.
They MAY make a real player deal or two (Howard? Another veteran on the outs with another organization?)
That about sums it up. About as an expert analysis as you will get East of Mel Kiper Jr.!
One last thing, there WILL be some technical difficulties during the draft. May be minor, as the NFL did a trial run the other day to work out the kinks.
But seeing that this event is going to break television records apparently, would anyone be surprised if the hackers were heavily involved? People are talking about coaches or team reps losing internet access, blue screens, miscommunications with Roger Goodell and issues along those lines.
Wouldn’t shock me to see a little porn being thrown up on the screen at some point during the telecast.
Looks like the “fireworks” had already happened, well before the NBA draft last night. The Boston Celtics made all their draft picks, so no wild trades occurred. Well, they kind of made all of their draft picks. They moved around a bit. No big whoop…they still took 4 players.
Doesn’t mean “Trader Danny” won’t pull something a little more major off in the coming days, but it doesn’t guarantee he will either.
So what are we looking at? Who the hell knows really?
The big news really happened over the last several days. Kyrie Irving opted out of his contract, which we knew was coming. Al Horford then opted out of his contract…which we didn’t necessarily see coming. I mean, who is passing up 30 mil plus when they are a 33-year-old “big man” who had to be managed because of a bad knee (or two?). Welp, apparently Big Al is.
There were rumors the C’s were trying to turn that 1 year, 30 mil deal for Al into something along the lines of 3 for, I don’t know, 15-20 per. But apparently, it will turn out some other team will give him 4 years for 25ish per. Seems surprising. But I guess that’s what is happening.
Marcus Morris is also an unrestricted free agent, as are the 2 “G-League” guys if that matters. Not to mention that there are 4 restricted free agents on the roster, led by backup point guard Terry Rozier. If they all leave, that leaves 12 guys on the current roster, if you include the 4 draft picks from last evening. Which I am not sure I want to be doing now. But I will for the purposes of this exercise.
What is “this exercise”? Well, since I have no idea who Danny Ainge may be targeting in free agency when that opens up within a couple of weeks, nor do I know who he may go after in trades, I think the best thing we can do here is take the 17 bodies from last years’ roster and the 4 draft picks and talk about what we think the plan is with each. Plus perhaps what I would do, for whatever that’s worth.
I mean, Wyc Grousbeck, the “Lead Owner” of the Boston Celtics, said a couple of weeks ago on local talk radio something like “we are going to look at all the players on the roster and see who stays and who goes…”
So let’s do that right now…since…I’m just as smart as Wyc, right? RIGHT??!!
Haha…let’s move on, starting with the bottom of the roster. Why? Because of the off chance someone will read about them. If we start with the stars, will anyone read until the end? Wait, is anyone reading anyway?
Draft picks–Romeo Langford (#14), Grant Williams (#22), Carsen Edwards (#33), Tremont Waters (#51)–A shooting guard that shot a mere 27% from three-point land (going to a team that shoots too many threes already); a “small” power forward whose selection elicited a notable ‘wow’ type of response from one of the analysts (that probably wasn’t meant to be picked up by the microphones); a big-time scorer, but one that is undersized and a “small” point guard (“small” was emphasized three times right after the pick). Consider me underwhelmed.
PJ Dozier/R.J. Hunter (Unrestricted Free Agents)– Here are your two G-League free agents. Do you care? Probably not. I really don’t. But you all should know that Hunter averaged 17 points a game for the Celtics last year. Betcha didn’t know that! Ok, he played one game that didn’t mean anything and scored that 17. But still, “PPG” says “17.0” on the stat sheet. No one can ever take that away from him. So there’s that.
Jonathan Gibson (Restricted Free Agent)–This dude will be 32 in November. And has played 21 career games in the NBA. 17 for the Dallas Mavericks in 2016-17 and 4 for the C’s in 2017-18. Signed again with the Celts in mid-April 2019 and was on the roster for the playoffs, but didn’t play. All of that is so you know who this guy is. That being said, I’ve seen some of his garbage time minutes. This cat can really shoot! Could do worse for a 15th man. But I’d be surprised to see him back…until April anyway.
Robert Williams–Yup, the Celtics first-round draft pick from last year was actually the 14th man on the roster and a regular inactive when everyone was healthy last season. Seemed odd, when he had at least one skill (shot blocking) that would have been useful in certain game situations, whereas some other players that suited up seemingly had none. Whatever. Unless he gets traded this summer, hopefully, there will be some minutes available for him in 2019-20. I’d like to see more.
Brad Wanamaker (Restricted Free Agent)–A third point guard is nice. And the Cs will have one next year. Will it be Brad? I don’t know. Maybe Shane Larkin will come back. Or the second rounder from above. Does it matter?
Guerschon Yabusele–The Dancing Bear!! The 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Yabu has given the Cs 74 games at 6.6 minutes per game for 2.3 points per game in 2 years. Seems solid for that draft slot…sigh… Now he’s on the books for over 3 million next year, does he somehow earn more minutes this season? Let’s hope not. And also hope Danny can include his salary in a trade for something more useful.
Semi Ojeleye–I’ve never understood the “Shemi” infatuation. Coach Brad Stevens always seems to shoehorn him in every night. “Cuz he always guards Giannis well”, they will say. Ok. But what about everyone else? I do see his minutes per game went down from 16 his rookie year to 11 in his second. Didn’t realize that. Only on the books for 1.6 next year, so I imagine he will be on the squad. Let’s just hope his minutes don’t spike into the 20s based on the lack of other bodies available.
Daniel Theis (Restricted Free Agent)–I love this guy. Is it rational? Probably not. He plays less than 15 minutes per game. And probably is a 20 minute per guy max. And shoots more threes than I like (although that’s what this team does…and he did actually hit 39% on them last year, surprisingly enough). But he’s always flying around, rebounds well (which you know I love, or maybe you don’t know…but I love rebounders) and there is just something about him. Hard to say what will happen to him. He may get an offer sheet that the Celtics don’t match. His rights may have to get renounced because the Cs go after a bigger fish. No idea. Would love to see him back, I think that goes without saying.
Aron Baynes–As opposed to Theis, I cannot stand this guy. Is THIS rational? Probably not. Why do I hate him? Loves to rebound with one arm for one. Seems silly…along with that stupid hairdo. He opted in last week, but now reports are they have shipped him to Phoenix. For his well over 5 million dollar salary let’s hope that is accurate. Along with many other reasons. Williams should be able to do what he does for a fraction of the cost. I just never understood this infatuation either.
Terry Rozier (Restricted Free Agent)–Since the starter at point guard appears to be gone (more on that later of course), many people think that the team should re-sign “Scary Terry” to a significant deal. I am not sure I am one of those people. Actually, I am not. This guy is a borderline Hall of Famer, just ask him. Rozier is a decent player, but nothing more. I will ALWAYS maintain that. Sure he has played well in some starts. But he has also been putrid in some starts. Then he goes off on the team after last season ended. I say he should take his attitude elsewhere. Let some other team overpay for this headache. Even if that leaves the Celtics without their top 2 point guards next year.
Marcus Morris (Unrestricted Free Agent)–I give this guy a lot of credit. He’s a notorious hothead. With the complete dysfunction in the Celtics locker room last year, one would figure he would be right in the middle of it. Amazingly enough, we rarely heard a peep from him. Seems surprising. And, for good measure, he may have been their best player in the first half of the season. Second half…not so much. I’d take him back actually. But not at the dollars he will likely command. I’m not talking a max contract guy, mind you. But he will want to be paid. I wouldn’t do that here.
Gordon Hayward–Time to sh&t or get off the pot Gordo. In all fairness, yeah, a season lost to a gruesome injury then another season pretty much trying to work his way back. Much to the chagrin of it would seem to all of his teammates, who did not like Coach Brad taking their minutes and force-feeding them to Hayward to try and get him back on course. Nah, no selfishness there (Terry?). In any event, he ain’t going anywhere, so let’s hope the second year back from that injury does the trick.
Marcus Smart–I like this guy. His overall game anyway. His defense. His hustle. He seems to care. Do I love him at 13 million per? Not particularly. But that’s the price these days I guess. He really, really, REALLY needs to stop shooting as much as he does. Though sometimes those shots do drop in key moments. Unless his salary needs to be included in a trade, it would seem he is here for the long haul. That’s not entirely a bad thing. But let’s hope he isn’t one of the top players on the roster come the onset of next season.
Al Horford (Unrestricted Free Agent)–As referenced earlier, really surprised that Al is going to be gone. He was never a max contract player, though the Cs gave him one. That being said, we think this helped attract players during the teams latest incarnation. A very good, solid, if unspectacular, player and we should appreciate his contributions to the team over his tenure here. That also being said, if those numbers on proposed contracts are accurate, let’s also make sure we wish him well at his next stop.
Jaylen Brown–Recent reports are out and are trying to make Brown out to be one of the huge problems in the Celtic locker room. It’s entirely possible, as we know there was a problem between the young guys and the veterans. Wouldn’t shock me anyway. Brown is another one of the kids that thinks he’s better than he is. But he’s way better than Rozier. And he’s worth keeping around to see if he can take that next step while presumably getting more than 30 minutes per game. The skills appear to be there. He will be entering his 4th NBA season. Let’s see if that huge jump comes next season.
Jayson Tatum–Seemed to me that Tatum didn’t make much of a step up this year for whatever reason. But then I looked at his numbers and they were up all across the board…other than shooting percentage. Must have been the ho-hum season of the team that made me think that there was no growth. Tatum will be entering his 3rd NBA season and it seems at this point the best move is to build around him and Brown and maybe another third young guy…if they can actually attract one. Ainge may alter that plan with some moves come July. But that’s the way I’m leaning for sure.
Kyrie Irving (Unrestricted Free Agent)–I don’t even feel like talking about this guy. A great, great, great player. But undeniably not a leader. It is assumed he is leaving, possibly (probably?) to Brooklyn, but don’t rule out a number of other teams. There have even been whispers of him coming back to Boston. I don’t believe that, but with this dude, you simply never know. The Celtics may not be a better team on paper with him gone. But could they be a better team on the court? Perhaps. People like to point to the previous season when Irving (and Hayward) were out and the team came within a hair of the NBA Finals. I can’t say I expect that to happen next season while being led by Tatum and Brown. But I can say I have no personal interest in bringing Kyrie back…under any circumstances. That’s too bad because he’s a fantastic player.
This was a long one. But hell, we haven’t written in a while so there was a lot to say. My apologies. In any event, long way to go to shape the 2019-2020 Boston Celtics. This summer should be an interesting one.