Player News - Patriots

Date: Team: Pos:

CSN New England's Mike Giardi reports the "parameters of [a] deal" between restricted free agent Malcolm Butler and the Saints are "mostly in place."

Giardi adds the two sides are still "quibbling" over guaranteed money, but it sounds like the Saints and Butler will be able to work out a deal. The problem is Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots will not discuss a potential trade until Butler signs his first-round tender, and the Saints are not going to sign him to an offer sheet which would cost them the No. 11 overall pick. While it remains likely Butler ends up in New Orleans, there are still several hurdles to clear.
Mar 20 - 9:15 PM

The Cleveland Plain Dealer considers the Browns unlikely to trade the No. 1 overall pick for Jimmy Garoppolo.

We would certainly hope so. A "league source" speculates New England is still seeking at least two first-rounders. Even with their nearly unprecedented draft resources, we're guessing the Browns would pass on that, as well. Garoppolo is a former second-rounder who simply hasn't put enough on film to command that kind of draft haul. He's also no spring chicken, turning 26 in November.
Mar 20 - 2:53 PM

According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, "the door is still open" for Danny Amendola in New England.

There's one caveat, though: Amendola would have to take a pay cut and role reduction for the third year in a row. In New England, Amendola would be competing with Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, and Dwayne Allen for targets. Catching passes from Tom Brady is always a plus, but Amendola's target share would be greater elsewhere.
Source: ESPN.com
Mar 19 - 8:27 AM

According to MMQB's Albert Breer, the Jets pulled their offer to Dont'a Hightower due to concerns over his physical.

Per ESPN's Rich Cimini, the Jets offered Hightower five years at $55 million with a max value of $62.5 million. The annual salary is similar to what the Patriots gave him, but the Jets offered one more year. Despite injury concerns, the 27-year-old has emerged as one of the most complete linebackers in football.
Mar 17 - 11:32 AM

Profootballtalk reports there's a "persistent belief within league circles" that the Patriots "truly" want to keep Jimmy Garoppolo.

The idea being, despite Tom Brady's continued elite play, he turns 40 in August, and could have his Peyton Manning decline at any given moment. It's a valid concern for the Patriots, but by keeping Garoppolo for 2017, they would be forced to give him the franchise tag if they wanted him for 2018. That would be untenable if Brady remains under contract, as he's insisted he will.
Mar 16 - 6:08 PM

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the Saints and Patriots restricted free agent CB Malcolm Butler have mutual interest in working out a trade and extension following Thursday's visit.

Per Rapsheet, the visit "went well." CSN New England reported two days ago that Butler had "warmed up" to the idea of playing in New Orleans. If the sides can agree to the parameters of a long-term deal, the Pats and Saints should be able to work out trade compensation.
Mar 16 - 4:39 PM

Patriots re-signed ILB Dont'a Hightower to a four-year, $43.5 million contract with $19 million guaranteed.

The Jets' birthday cupcakes to Hightower weren't enough to convince him to sign with their AFC-worst franchise, while the Steelers never seemed to be a serious contender. All roads led back to Foxboro. Hightower's market didn't develop like he hoped, and the Patriots were able to keep their 27-year-old inside thumper after trading away ILB Jamie Collins to the Browns last season. Hightower was Pro Football Focus' No. 5 inside linebacker out of 59 qualifiers in 2016, receiving plus marks across the board for his pass rush, coverage, and run defense. Everything seems to be going right for the Patriots this offseason.
Mar 15 - 1:35 PM

NFL Network's Mike Silver reports the Jets are "out" on free agent ILB Dont'a Hightower.

Silver says the Jets pulled out of the mix once Hightower left their facility. It's also what the Steelers have threatened with Hightower, who visited them on Tuesday. Expected to make a decision on Wednesday, the Patriots may be the only club left in the mix for Hightower. He's said to be seeking $12 million per year, but it doesn't sound like he's going to get it.
Mar 15 - 1:04 PM

Rex Burkhead's one-year, $3.15 million deal makes him the highest-paid Patriots running back since Fred Taylor in 2010.

The Patriots haven't paid a running back $2-plus million in over a half-decade. Some Patriots fans apparently assumed Burkhead would be a special teams-only replacement for Brandon Bolden. According to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, Burkhead is "viewed as a key cog, both offensively and on special teams" by the Patriots, while the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels believes Burkhead "is coming to the Patriots with a chance to be their starting running back."
Mar 15 - 11:43 AM

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports free agent ILB Dont'a Hightower is expected to decide between the Patriots, Jets, and Steelers on Wednesday.

The Jets are said to be offering the most money, but according to RapSheet, many expect Hightower to return to New England. It sounds like the Steelers are out of the picture for the most part. Pittsburgh felt like it was being used as leverage. Hightower is expected to land $10-11 million per year.
Mar 15 - 9:43 AM

According to CSN New England's Michael Giardi, restricted free agent Malcolm Butler has "very much warmed up to the idea" of playing for the Saints.

Butler is open to playing closer to home. He grew up in Vicksburg, Miss. and played his college ball at West Alabama. In addition to the default hometown Saints, the Texans have also reportedly shown interest in Butler, possibly as an A.J. Bouye replacement. Neither team is likely open to giving up their first-round pick for Butler, though it's possible the Saints could be willing to flip back the Patriots' original first-rounder (No. 32) they got for Brandin Cooks.
Mar 14 - 11:14 PM

ESPN New York reports the Jets are making an "all-out blitz" for free agent LB Dont'a Hightower.

It jibes with CBS' Jason La Canfora's reporting. Per reporter Rich Cimini, the Jets are willing to make a "blockbuster" offer to a player who had been seeking $12 million per season. Both La Canfora and Cimini report the Jets are offering the most money, but that Hightower still seems inclined to return to New England.
Mar 14 - 7:24 PM

CBS' Jason La Canfora is "convinced" the Jets are offering free agent LB Dont'a Hightower "far and away" the most money.

The Jets mostly seem like a leverage play on Hightower's behalf, but La Canfora has been adamant their interest is real. Hightower seems to want to re-sign with the Patriots, but is taking visits as he waits for a better offer. Hightower would be a rather pointless signing for a team that's going nowhere in 2017.
Mar 14 - 5:35 PM

Patriots signed RB Rex Burkhead, formerly of the Bengals.

It's a surprising signing in that Burkhead seems a redundant talent to Dion Lewis and James White, but advanced metrics love the former Bengal, and suggest he's an underrated all-purpose back. Burkhead is a mismatch as a pass catcher with slot receiver experience, and aggressive and elusive as a runner. He's also a special teams standout. It's possible the Pats give Burkhead an opportunity on early downs. He rushed 27 times for 119 yards in a Week 17 spot start against the Ravens' league-best run defense. 26-year-old Burkhead will be a fascinating fantasy case for 2017.
Mar 14 - 4:43 PM

Free agent LB Dont'a Hightower left his Steelers visit without a contract.

Hightower was never expected to sign with the Steelers. Beat writer Ed Bouchette considered the visit a "dog and pony show" to increase Hightower's leverage with the Patriots. The Jets supposedly have serious interest, but a return to New England seems most likely.
Mar 14 - 4:41 PM


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