Mike Florio and Tom Curan take a look at the New England Patriots and speak about how they will fare now that Rob Gronkowski is out for the rest of the playoffs. Curan also discusses whether or not Gronkowski was healthy enough to play against the Texans in the first place. Will Wes Welker be on the Patriots next season? What will another Super Bowl loss do to Tom Brady’s legacy?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Can Patriots survive without Gronkowski?
But it might be more evitable than many are willing to consider.
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, several Jets sources, including players, now think Fitzpatrick would be willing to take less somewhere else on principle rather than sign the Jets’ low-ball offer.
Considering some of the other deals quarterbacks have signed this offseason, it’s obvious the three-year, $24 million offer the Jets have on the table is sub-par. But they’ve made it because the other inescapable conclusion is that there’s not exactly a land rush for the 33-year-old Fitzpatrick.
Until another team suffers a quarterback injury, or gets to camp and realizes all their guys stink, there might not be a market for Fitzpatrick, despite a 31-touchdown, 10-win season.
Sure, the Buccaneers gave running back Doug Martin a giant pile of money to keep him on the team. That doesn’t mean they won’t be trying to help him improve his overall performance.
One area where performance is being addressed: Fumbles.
“We have talked about it. And we’ve studied it,” Tampa Bay running backs coach Tim Spencer recently said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “So we know what the issue is, what the problem is. We just gotta work on them. I’m not going to dwell on it. We do work on it consistently. He’s well aware of [the fumbles]. Trust me.”
After having a total of three fumbles in the first three years of his career, Martin fumbled five times in 2015 alone. On average, he lost the football once every 64.2 touches. As a rookie in 2012, he fumbled only once in 368 touches.
It’s not clear what the Bucs are doing, but it is clear that Martin’s struggles are recent. Which means that they definitely can be fixed.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets haven’t come to an agreement on a deal that would end their offseason-long standoff, so Fitzpatrick continues to be absent from the team as they kick off this week’s OTAs on Tuesday.
His top two receivers are at the team’s facility, however.
Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall didn’t attend the team’s practices last week amid reports that they were not happy with the fact that Fitzpatrick hasn’t been re-signed yet. According to multiple reports from beat reporters, however, both wideouts are returning to work out with the rest of the team.
Jets players will speak to the media after Wednesday’s session, so we may get some further details from the wideouts about their decision to stay away last week.
As for Fitzpatrick, the deal currently on the table from the Jets would pay him $12 million in the first year of a three-year deal with a base salary of $24 million. There’s no sign that Fitzpatrick is in a rush to accept that deal, which means the status quo will likely remain in place around the Jets a little while longer.
No NFL owners have publicly said they’ll oppose a potential move of the Raiders to Las Vegas due to gambling. While that could be part of a broader effort to keep maximum pressure on Oakland by not ruling out any and all alternative destinations, owners who have strong feelings on certain topics have a hard time not expressing them, on or off the record.
As it relates to this specific issue, the current thinking in league circles is that there aren’t and won’t be enough “no” votes to keep the Raiders out of Las Vegas for gambling reasons. Other factors, such as Oakland waking up with a viable offer or Las Vegas not coming up with enough free money to get the deal done, could complicate the situation. Based solely on gambling, however, the ayes apparently will have it — even though it would take only nine nays to kill it.
One source with knowledge of ownership dynamics recently predicted that Giants co-owner John Mara, Bears chairman George McCaskey, and Bengals owner Mike Brown would vote no on a Las Vegas move, due to gambling. It’s also possible that Steelers owner Art Rooney would do the same, despite the fact that the Rooney family has had extensive gambling interests over the years.
Still, folks who are in position to count votes are having a hard time coming up with nine that would oppose Las Vegas based solely on gambling. That’s a far cry from just a few years ago, when the NFL refused to even consider the possibility of playing a preseason game in Sin City.
But with free money for stadiums harder and harder to come by, the league has no choice but to “evolve” on a topic that became full evolved in the American consciousness years ago.
Earlier this month, offensive lineman David Quessenberry said that he felt strong as he worked to make it back on the field after his football career was halted by a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in June 2014.
Quessenberry’s comeback effort has now been put on hold, however. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Texans are waiving Quessenberry with a non-football injury designation on Tuesday.
If Quessenberry, a 2013 sixth-round pick who has never played in a regular season game, clears waivers, he would revert to the Texans’ non-football injury list or could reach an injury settlement with the team that makes him a free agent. Those are not the only options, however.
Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com reports that the Texans would like Quessenberry back in “some capacity” that could include a job in the organization that doesn’t include playing for the team.
The Bills announced the signing of linebacker Jamari Lattimore on Tuesday.
Lattimore, 27, has played in 64 career games. He spent four seasons with the Packers before playing last season with the Jets, where he played in 15 games as a backup and special teams player.
A former undrafted free agent, Lattimore has made nine career starts. He has two career interceptions and one sack.
The Bills have been one of the league’s busiest teams in terms of adding veteran players over the second and third waves of free agency. Lattimore should compete for a backup linebacker job and special teams snaps during training camp.
Brandon Browner spent a year with the Saints last season, didn’t play particularly well, and was cut this year. His total take from the Saints will be $7.75 million for that one bad season.
Now back with the Seahawks, Browner is having some fun with Saints fans who weren’t happy with his performance.
According to Nola.com, Browner responded to a critical comment from a Saints fan on Instagram by posting a response calling the Saints “weak.” Browner also wrote that he “took that few millions [and] ran with it.”
With the Seahawks, Browner’s base salary is $760,000, which is the league minimum for a player of his level of experience, and he gets nothing guaranteed. In decline at age 31, Browner can’t command a big contract anymore. But at least he got one last big payday from the Saints.
Rookies across the NFL are learning new things this summer.
But the ones in Tennessee won’t be getting much information about Delanie Walker, at least not yet.
The veteran tight end told Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean that it’s not time to make friends with newcomers until they prove their value.
“I don’t get to know anybody until they make the team,” Walker said. “I talk to them, but they might not be here. There ain’t too much I need to learn from them till they make the team. That’s everybody. Anyone that’s a rookie.
“You’ve got to earn the right. These rookies come in nowadays, stuff’s given to them. I’m not going to be your friend until you make the team.”
Of course, Walker came up the hard way, making the 49ers as a sixth-round pick and forging a long and productive (and lucrative) career. And his words might sound a little harsher than they were probably meant. He’s just trying to make sure there’s nothing taken for granted on a roster which will include plenty of rookies, including running back Derrick Henry.
“I’ve been sizing up Henry, man, and he’s a big dude,” Walker said. “I have to put him in his place early. But he’s a good dude. I’m just messing with him, giving him a hard time because I feel like he’s going to be a monster for this team. I usually don’t talk to the rookies until they make the team. But he’s one of the guys that I think can help this team out.”
With a fresh contract extension signed this offseason, Walker knows he’s going to be around for the foreseeable future, and it sounds like he’s going to spend part of it sizing up the new class, as one of the few elders on the Titans roster with the right.
The Lions brought in veteran tackle Lamar Holmes as a reserve possibility early in the offseason, but saw enough of him by the middle of the May to know that they were comfortable moving in a different direction.
That direction will still require depth up front on offense and may include former Panthers tackle Nate Chandler. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that Chandler is slated to visit with the team on Wednesday.
Chandler was released in March after missing the entire 2015 season because of a knee injury. He started 11 games at right tackle in 2014 and eight games in 2013 while shuffling between guard and tackle.
The Lions drafted Taylor Decker in the first round this year and have been looking at him on the left side during recent offseason work. Riley Reiff has been on the right in that alignment and the two are expected to form the starting tandem even if they wind up swapping sides for the regular season.
Of the three quarterbacks on the Broncos roster, Trevor Siemian is the only one with prior experience in the team’s offense.
Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch both arrived this offseason while Siemian spent last year as the third man on the depth chart in Denver’s offense, something that may help him in the competition for a starting job that’s playing out in Denver. That competition was described as wide open by the team last week and coach Gary Kubiak said he “wouldn’t sleep” on Siemian winding up with the job.
One of the things that Kubiak cited in his discussion of Siemian’s positive attributes was a high level of confidence in himself, something that Siemian also mentioned while speaking to the media last week.
“I feel great,” Siemian said, via the Denver Post. “I feel really confident at this point. Last year at this time, I had the knee [injury] and was swimming a little bit in the playbook. I’m light years ahead of where I was last year. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel pretty confident.”
Mark Sanchez didn’t do team drills last week after left thumb surgery, offering Siemian more time working with the first team. That may change this week if Sanchez is cleared to do everything in this week’s workouts while a continued diet of work with starters would seem to hint at Siemian remaining well positioned in the competition as spring work winds down.
Bills defenders expect to be part of a better unit this season.
Memorial Day is a special one for former Dolphins LB Derrick Rodgers.
Jets special teams coach Blaine Boyer likes his units to run at 500 miles per hour.
The Ravens have an unexpected week off from work.
The Chargers’ stadium plan wasn’t accepted with open arms.
An early projection of the Cowboys’ offensive roster.
The Giants may have more continuity on the offensive line than some would like.
What’s on tap for the Eagles this week?
A learning curve awaits the Bears offensive line.
General Manager Rick Spielman has been with the Vikings for 10 years.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi’s return to the Saints has been an easy transition.
Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin is getting a bigger taste of playcalling.
What grade do the 49ers get for their offseason work?
A look at the competition for a fullback job with the Seahawks.
Packers defensive back Damarious Randall had a good rookie season last year, but it did not end well.
The Packers’ season ended with an overtime loss to the Cardinals, and the game-changing play in that loss was a 75-yard reception by Larry Fitzgerald. Randall has now acknowledged that he was responsible for the coverage breakdown that allowed Fitzgerald to get open.
“I put that play on myself,” Randall said, via USA Today. “I take 100 percent blame for it.”
Randall said that four months later, he can’t dwell on it.
“It was just a mistake that was made,” Randall said. “That’s football. . . . I just know that I’m going to make a lot more plays than I give up for the Green Bay Packers.”
Randall’s rookie season showed that he’s a talented young player who surely will make more plays than he gives up in his career. Even if that season will be remembered largely for one play he didn’t make.
Former Duke quarterback Anthony Boone is finally out of the hospital, but Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson isn’t out of the woods yet.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Boone was released from Carolinas Medical Center over the weekend, after needing hip and hand surgeries following the May 22 car wreck with Thompson.
“He’s got a serious road ahead of him,” Boone’s agent Adam Sattler said. “But we’re happy he’s home.”
The Panthers linebacker was cited for driving left of center for his role in the head-on crash which happened early on a Sunday morning. Police said there was alcohol in his system but he was below North Carolina’s legal limit. Thompson said his cell phone fell into the floorboard of his SUV, causing him to lose control.
Now he has to wait to see if that’s the extent of the losses.
Boone, who played for the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL last year, now has to recover from the broken hip and tendon and ligament damage to his hand suffered in the accident.
His agent said he’s considering a lawsuit against Thompson, but wants to wait to see how his rehab progresses before discussing those options.
The Rams are the last team in the league to start their OTAs, so it’s time to see the first pick in the draft.
So while it’s effectively the first day of class, it’s still an important test for quarterback Jared Goff, as he leads the entire team onto the field today.
“Just kind of stay low and gain their respect,” Goff said of his goal this week, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.
Of course, keeping a low profile is harder when your team makes such a dramatic move to get you, as the Rams did trading up to the No. 1 overall pick this year.
Goff has been through some degree of positional work and has a rookie minicamp under his belt, but today will be the first real glimpse of him with the team, and there’s a natural curiosity among them, to see if he can be the quarterback they need to become something other than 7-9.
“I’m excited for him,” cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. “He’s going to go out there and make plays — and he’s going to make mistakes. That’s what a rookie quarterback does.
“But we drafted him for a reason, to come in here and win games. And I feel like we can win games with him.”
Of course, the Rams may trot Case Keenum out there first in the quarterback line for show, but the team is obviously in Goff’s hands, and he gets a chance to show what he can do with it today.
But for his part, he’s going back to school with coach Pete Carroll, who wants to make him an even better quarterback.
Carroll said he wants to get deeper into the intricacies of professional defenses with Wilson, such that offseason limits allow them to.
“We’ve visited a number of times,” Carroll said, via Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times. “We’ve really started now football-wise. We’re just having fun with it and developing. . . .
“We’re just trying to bring him around to understand things that he hasn’t had to pay attention to in the past. Just to broaden his outlook on football.”
Wilson’s play last season suggests that he’s moving in the right direction, but the demands are even greater this year. Not only does he have to go into a season knowing there’s not a safety net such as Lynch beneath him, but they’re overhauling their offensive line (which they needed to), putting more of a burden on Wilson to identify pressure before it happens.
“He’s the best he’s been,” Carroll said. “He’s the most versed he’s been. He can command the calls more so than ever, so he can correct things that might not get seen by a guy or might not get communicated properly. He’ll catch it.”
The Seahawks’ success this year depends on it, and Carroll seems confident in Wilson’s ability to do so.