INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Scouting Combine is best known for draft prospect workouts, but this also is a week when league decision-makers and player agents all are congregated in the same city.
That means there are ongoing conversations between teams and players prior to the start of the league year, March 13.
It sounds like the New England Patriots will have some competition if they want to bring back wide receiver Chris Hogan, who is garnering interest from teams prior to free agency. Free-agent wide receivers broke the bank last season, and it sounds like teams around the NFL are not turned off by a season in which Hogan didn’t live up to outside expectations.
Cornerback Jonathan Jones is a restricted free agent, and he signed a new agent this week. The Patriots must decide whether to place a first-, second- or original-round tender on Jones before March 13 at 4 p.m. ET. While there’s no traction on a tender just yet, it would make the most sense to tender Jones as a second-rounder since he came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent. If another team signs Jones to an offer sheet, and the Patriots decide not to match it, New England would receive that a pick that matches the round’s tender.
Patriots rookie tight end Ryan Izzo will be all set for the offseason workout program. He was placed on injured reserve last season with a minor ankle injury.
It could be difficult to rework safety Devin McCourty’s contract. The easiest way to lower his cap figure is to extend his contract, but no one knows how long McCourty intends to keep playing, so that might be a risky proposition for both parties. McCourty had a solid 2018 season, so it’s unlikely he would accept a pay cut. The Patriots might be best off just paying him the $9 million he’s owed in 2019.