If the NFL wants to bury the New England Patriots’ punishment, or lack thereof, for taping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline, this would be the week to do it.
Given what’s going on in MLB and with the conference championship games Sunday, any Patriots punishment, or, once again, lack thereof, would be a minor blip on the radar of national sports stories.
I’d say it’s probably good news for the Patriots that nothing nefarious has come out in recent weeks. The NFL isn’t very good at avoiding leaks when it comes to news about Patriots controversies.
Is a Friday news dump coming? We’ll find out by 5 p.m. It has to be coming soon, right?
Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.
Are Hunter Henry and/or AJ Green realistic options?
I’d say they’re both fairly realistic. Green is probably more realistic than Henry because he should come cheaper. We’ll see if he actually does.
I’d be wary of Green, however. Let’s do a little experiment here. These are stats since 2015:
Player A: 373 catches, 4,446 yards, 22 touchdowns
Player B: 273 catches, 4,033 yards, 28 touchdowns
Both players will be 32 years old at the start of the 2020 season.
Player A is Demaryius Thomas. Player B is Green. Thomas had 36 catches for 433 yards with a touchdown in 2019. So, since Green didn’t play last season, take those numbers out. Thomas still had 64 more catches, 20 fewer yards and seven fewer touchdowns than Green from 2015 to 2018.
Thomas signed a one-year deal worth $2.9 million with the Patriots last offseason when he was coming off of a torn Achilles. If Green, who missed 2019 with ankle injuries, gets significantly more money than that, he’s being overpaid.
With all this stuff going on with OBJ at the moment, do you think the chances of him becoming a Patriot increased? #MailDoug
Probably. The Browns might tire of Odell Beckham Jr.’s antics as more incidents pile up. And it would then, in turn, lower his trade value. So, if the Browns want to get rid of him, and if his price lowers, then maybe the Patriots take a chance on reeling him in.
I think Beckham would “behave” better in New England. I’m not sure how long he would “behave” in New England, but I do think the Patriots could control him a little better.
The Pats desperately need an upgrade at TE. Who in the draft and FA do you think could be on their radar? #MailDoug
I haven’t paid enough attention to the draft yet to know who’s a realistic option. Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet, Vanderbilt’s Jared Pinkney and Oregon’s Jacob Breeland appear to be the right size. I’m not sure about their playing style.
As far as free agents go, Henry and Austin Hooper are the top options. I think Tyler Eifert could be a more affordable pick. I’m interested to see what tender Blake Jarwin gets as a restricted free agent, as well. He’s a legit blocking tight end with some athleticism.
Which players currently signed to futures contracts have the best chance to make the 2020 53-man roster?
I’ll be watching defensive end Tashawn Bower and linebacker Terez Hall during training camp. Defensive tackle Nick Thurman had some flashes last summer, as well.
I’ll do another series on “hidden” Patriots this offseason, but among young players who finished the 2019 season on injured reserve, wide receiver Gunner Olszewski and cornerback D’Angelo Ross are guys to watch this summer.
With Thuney lined up for a big payday, who do you see filling that void at LG? Wynn has some LG experience, Cajuste and Froholdt were higher(ish) capital picks that got the Foxboro Flu last season, and Karras proved competent enough to play (assuming Andrews is healthy) #MailDoug
This is one of the reasons why I think bringing back Ted Karras would be smart. He could pencil right into that left guard spot. He would be competing with Hjalte Froholdt at the position. I think Yodny Cajuste is more of an option at offensive tackle. I could see him eventually replacing Marcus Cannon at right tackle.
Isaiah Wynn played well to finish off the season at left tackle. I don’t think you want to move him.
If Karras doesn’t return, then Froholdt is probably the best bet on the current roster. The Patriots would need to bring in some competition.
Let’s go rapid fire.
Would you rather fight 1 trent brown sized dion lewis or 5 dion lewis sized trent browns?
One Trent Brown-sized Dion Lewis, please.
Do you think the Patriots should move on from Tom this coming season or ride out into the sunset with him win or lose?
I wouldn’t necessarily say ride it out, win or lose, but I wouldn’t move on yet.
Thoughts on spending on Anthony Harris given the safety situation? Plays more of the Chung role more so than FS, but maybe time to re-invest in safety position?
I’d bring back Devin McCourty rather than signing a free agent.
Thoughts on Mariota as a backup with a Brady return?
Waste of money. Keep letting Jarrett Stidham be the backup if Tom Brady returns.
If Brady walks are you hearing anything about a free agent visit by Teddy Bridgewater #MailDoug
Free agency starts in two months. There’s nothing to hear about free-agent visits at this point.
If pats could trade cannon and play cajuste at rt would that free up enough for thuney?
It would not. It’s highly unlikely that Thuney returns.
Could Tee Higgins, who is projected 18th overall pick, fall to the Pats?
The draft is over three months away. I have no idea what’s possible and what’s not.
Which team do you consider the most legit threat to sign @TomBrady ? The only team I see as a risk is Minnesota. Don’t really see any other team that close to a title run.
I’d say the most legit threat is the Los Angeles Chargers.
Given Harry’s frame and willingness to block, could he be converted to a Hernández type player?
No, I don’t think N’Keal Harry is being moved to tight end.
How was breakfast?
Pretty good. I had bacon and eggs, and then I later took my daughter Olivia out for donuts.
Do you think they’ll cut Burkhead to save $3m of cap, with Damien Harris waiting in the wings? If not, what do you see Harris’s role being next year? #MailDoug
I don’t. I think Rex Burkhead is a valuable, versatile player to the Patriots. I think if all goes as planned and barring injuries, Damien Harris won’t have much of a role next season.
Do the Pats own Gronkowskis rights, if he decides he wants to play again, but for another franchise? Or is he a free agent now?
The Patriots own Rob Gronkowski’s rights. If he wanted to play for another team, the Patriots would need to trade him.
Please tell me Danny Amendola will be a Patriot next season.
I realize now that that’s not a question… who’s your favorite Star Wars character?
He might! He’s a free agent again.
And here’s my completely ridiculous list of favorite Star Wars characters:
1. R-3X, Star Tours captain turned DJ
2. Han Solo
3. Din Djarin
6. G2-9T, the droid in the Star Tours queue
7. Poe Dameron
8. The Child
9. Luke Skywalker
11. Princess Leia
11. Dash Rendar
14. Darth Vader
16. Nien Nunb
17. Mace Windu
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images