A couple of big-name wide receivers are on the move, and it affects two of the Patriots’ rivals.

According to multiple reports, the Bears have agreed to trade Brandon Marshall to the Jets. ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that the deal will become official when free agency opens Tuesday afternoon.

A five-time Pro Bowler, Marshall struggled with injuries last season, his ninth in the league, and finished with just 721 receiving yards. Heading into 2014, he had surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in seven consecutive seasons.

Marshall, 30, has had his share of off-field problems, including last season when he allegedly went on a rant in the locker room after a loss to the Dolphins. In New York he would be reunited with new Jets coach Todd Bowles, who was an assistant in Miami when Marshall played there.

Meanwhile, the Colts announced Friday that they will not re-sign Reggie Wayne, making him an unrestricted free agent next week. Wayne has not said if he plans to return in 2015.

Wayne has spent all 14 of his NFL seasons with Indianapolis and is the franchise leader in regular-season games (211) and second in receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,345), receiving touchdowns (80) and consecutive games with a reception (134).

“Reggie is one of the greatest men to ever wear the horseshoe, and we have been blessed to watch him play for the past 14 years,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement. “When he first took the field with us in 2001, we knew this day would eventually arrive. That reality is one of the things that makes pro football such a tough business. We feel this decision is in the best interests of the team and for Reggie as it will allow him to seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere if he so chooses.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Join Chris Price of WEEI.com to break down all things Patriots and the NFL, Friday at noon. Price will answer all your questions about the offseason, as well as the landscape of the league as some key dates draw closer.

Live Blog Chris Price Live Patriots Chat
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

With the Patriots not picking up the option on Vince Wilfork‘s contract for next year, the team now has some decisions to make in their secondary with Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty.

Appearing on Mad Dog Sports Radio with Adam Schein on Thursday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter shared what he knows and believes regarding the two members of the Patriots defense.

Revis has a team option for 2015 worth $20 million, with a cap hit of $25 million. It is believed the Patriots will not pay that and release him prior to Monday’s new league year making him a free agent. Once that happens Schefter believes it will then come down to the Patriots and the Jets for his services.

“I believe that it will come down to the Patriots and the Jets,” said Schefter. “I think the Jets are going to pay him short of whatever he wants to bring him back there because not only could they use him, it would be a huge moral, emotional victory for that franchise to bring him back there, get him to finish his career there.

“I don’t know what New England is going to offer him, I really don’t. Say it’s $10 million, $11 million a year, $12 million and you’re the Jets and offer $15-16 million a year. Worth it to go back to New York to finish your career for a few million dollars more where you would be saluted as a king? I don’t know. It’s a question of what you find most important, what you value most in your life and what you want to do with your career.”

Ultimately, since Revis has made a lot of money over the course of his career, and won a Super Bowl title this past season, it will be what the cornerback values most.

“He’s in a situation where he’s made how ever millions over the course of his career — $70, $80, $90, $100 million dollars. He now has a Super Bowl ring. He’s played on a highly successful winning team in an organization or he has struggled in certain seasons with other teams,” Schefter said. “Now what do you want to do? Do you want to go get one last big deal from a team that is out there, and there will be a team like the Jets that is willing to give it to him, or do you want to go back to New England for less money and finish out your career knowing that as long as Tom Brady is there in that place, you’re going to be competitive every year?

“What would you decide? That is a decision he gets to make now and he has a lot of leverage here because he’s got the ring, he’s got the money, so really it comes down to what is most important to him and I don’t know what that is right now.”

As for McCourty, Schefter said he was “surprised” the Patriots franchised kicker Stephen Gostkowski and not McCourty. With McCourty now set to hit the open market, he believes he will get some strong offers, some that might compel him to leave New England, a place he loves.

“It was a little surprising to me that McCourty wasn’t tagged and they went with Gostkowski,” Schefter said. “I think once McCourty gets to market he’s going to get a lot of interest from a lot of different teams — Philadelphia, both New York teams. Look, what team in the league doesn’t need a safety? If you’re in that position, I think he is going to command big dollars.

“I think it is going to be a big enough offer that compels him to leave New England, a place he’d like to stay. He wants to be there. He’d like to stay there. This is going to be a business decision and I think there are going to be some teams out there that make it a hard enough business decision for him to leave.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Brian Hartline could be on the Patriots' radar in free agency. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brian Hartline could be on the Patriots’ radar in free agency. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Patriots are considering all of their options when it comes to their wide receivers, and one of them may be veteran Brian Hartline.

According to Cleveland.com, the Patriots are among a group of four teams seriously considering making a bid for the 28-year-old veteran of five NFL seasons and may have already made a preliminary offer. Hartline hit the market after playing just two of the five seasons in his contract he signed with the Dolphins in March 2013. Miami signed him for five years and $30 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed and a $7 million signing bonus.

Amendola, 29, signed a similar contract at the same time, inking for five years and $28.5 million with $10 million guaranteed and a $6 million signing bonus.

Cleveland.com reports that the Patriots could be willing to cut Amendola and replace him with Hartline if it clears cap space and gives them more flexibility.

The Patriots are reportedly in the mix with the Texans, Browns (Hartline went to Ohio State and is from nearby Canton, OH), Bears and possibly the Colts. The Dolphins have already not ruled out making a run again at the receiver, who was a fourth-round pick of Miami in 2009 and has played his entire six-year career in South Florida. Hartline caught 298 passes for 4,243 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2012 and 2013, he became just the fifth receiver in Dolphins history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Last season, Hartline was relegated to a back-up, grabbing only 39 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns.

If he chose his hometown Browns, he could help fill the void left by Josh Gordon, who’s serving a minimum one-year ban for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

A few days after he showed up at Auburn for their Pro Day, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted at Clemson Thursday morning. (Just as we predicted here. We’ll be Tweeting out lottery numbers soon, so stay tuned.)

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Vince Wilfork, Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia celebrate at the end of Super Bowl XLIX.</p>
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With the league year set to get underway next week, the Patriots needed to find ways to get under the salary cap. The first domino has fallen, as Vince Wilfork announced on Twitter Thursday morning the Patriots won’t pick up his option for 2015.

With the league year set to get underway next week, the Patriots needed to find ways to get under the salary cap. The first domino has fallen, as Vince Wilfork announced on Twitter Thursday morning the Patriots won’t pick up his option for 2015.

The move frees up $8.1 million for the Patriots.

Wifork said, “I am in a good place and have a great relationship with the Patriots organization.” He also added: “I will take some time think things through taking into consideration many things but mainly my family and see where life goes from there.”

The defensive tackle is now a free agent, having played all 12 seasons in the NFL with the Patriots.

More coming…

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tyler Gaffney rushed for XX yards as a senior at Stanford, but missed all of his rookie season with a knee injury. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tyler Gaffney rushed for 1,709 yards as a senior at Stanford, but missed all of his rookie season with a knee injury. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With NFL free agency kicking off next week, and the Patriots likely looking to add at the running back position for potential Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen replacements (if either departs via free agency), a player currently on the Patriots roster may be getting overlooked — Tyler Gaffney.

The Patriots claimed the rookie running back off waivers last July when the Panthers tried to sneak Gaffney through after he suffered a season-ending torn lateral meniscus in his left knee during training camp. The Stanford product was placed on injured reserve by the Patriots, but the sixth round pick has a lot of talent and could be a player ready to take over for either Ridley or Vereen if either were to sign with another team this offseason.

His former coaches have no doubt Gaffney will succeed with whatever the Patriots ask him to do.

“He’s excited,” Tavita Pritchard, Gaffney’s running back coach at Stanford, said over the phone this week. “Definitely coming off a Super Bowl year he wants to make a name for himself in that league and like I said, I think whatever fit the Patriots give him he is going to take with and run, and continue to go from there.”

Gaffney rehabbed with the Patriots all season and is now back on the Stanford campus working out. Pritchard said Gaffney’s recovery is on schedule and he’s excited for the 2015 season.

A gifted athlete, Gaffney was actually drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 24th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft. He played with the State College Spikes, the Pirates’ short-season affiliate, that summer and had a batting line of .297/.483/.441. The running back gave up baseball after that though, returning to Stanford in the spring of 2013 for his senior season.

He started in 14 games finishing with 330 rushing attempts, 1,709 rushing yards, and 21 rushing touchdowns in 2013. His best game came against Oregon at home when the Cardinal upset the Ducks, 26-20. Gaffney carried the ball a school-record 45 times for 157, not one carry going for more than nine yards, according to Pritchard. He said that game was the best example of the one word to describe Gaffney — tough.

“First of all, the first word to describe him is, tough,” Pritchard said. “He’s one of the toughest individuals I’ve ever been around. Mentally tough. Physically tough. You can tell by his college film just his ability to run through contact, carry the ball multiple times in a game and I think that will be his calling card with just his physicality. I know with the Patriots that is something they hang their hat on as well. Just the toughness about him from a schematic standpoint, but everyone in that organization fits that persona. I think Tyler fits right along with that.

“With him being a Patriot I think that is what you can expect — more of the same. A guy who is absolutely just tough minded, but with him he’s a pretty smart individual too. Played multiple sports obviously. He just has a good feel for athletics in general.”

When asked what type of back Pritchard is, he said he can be an every down back — carrying the ball on first and second down and the catching the ball out of the backfield on third down. Because of the backs ahead of Gaffney in his early years at Stanford, catching passes on third down was a way to get on the field.

“He catches the ball extremely well,” Pritchard said. “Early in his time at Stanford he was actually more of a third-down back, mostly because we had other backs, obviously Toby Gerhart when he first got here and then Stepfan Taylor in those later couple years. He was more used as a third down back. We were able to split him out. He has some route running ability. He catches the ball extremely well, so he did that for awhile and then obviously when he got back he was our every down back. He got it on first and second down and then he stayed in on third down, unless he needed the blow. I see him having the ability in having all those things.”

Gaffney was drafted in the sixth round by Carolina, but then he suffered the injury and before he knew it he was on a new team, in a new conference. It was a difficult time for the 23-year-old.

“He was bummed just because it happened right around the injury,” said Pritchard. “That was the overriding emotion. The injury was tough, he was going to have to sit out. The Patriots thing came as a surprise and it all happened at once and before he knew it he was in Boston, getting surgery and rehabbing. It all happened very, very quickly. The thing about Tyler is he loves to play ball. Wherever he gets an opportunity to do that he is going to play his heart out that’s for sure.”

As for what his role might be with the Patriots, Pritchard knows the Patriots like versatile players, and Gaffney has the ability to do a lot of different things. He’s expecting his former running back to quickly gain the trust of the Patriots coaching staff and eventually make a name for himself in the NFL.

“It will be interesting because the reputation of the Patriots they use their personnel in such of way that they are creative of them — splitting [Rob] Gronkowski out and splitting backs out and bringing those guys back in the back field,” said Pritchard. “They have a history of using guys in unique ways. I am interested to see how they use Gaffney because they aren’t traditional in that sense. Whatever he ends up doing I know he will excel at and I am sure he will start out with something small and continue to build trust there.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Winter of Gronk has been in full swing, but the Patriots tight end took some time to join ESPN Radio’s “SVP and Russillo” show on Wednesday to promote the ESPN Madden Ultimate Team vote.

Gronkowski picked his own Madden team, and his first choice was not much of a surprise in Tom Brady.

“It was pretty cool to pick these teams,” said Gronkowski on the show. “There are so many legendary players out there, it was kind of hard. Sometimes you went with your favorite player who was on your team growing up that you like to watch, but obviously I had to pick my first choice, which is the best QB ever, Tom [Brady].”

The Patriots tight end also reflected on what life has been like since winning the Super Bowl, 28-24 over the Seahawks.

“When you win the Super Bowl, it changes lives,” Gronkowski said. “It’s been very cool, but I was also [part of] a Super Bowl loss, when we lost three years ago. I can tell you this, winning it is a lot, lot different than losing it. It’s been a great time. Pretty awesome.”

The All-Pro said he will always remember the parade through the streets of Boston the following Wednesday after the game.

“I didn’t really know what it was going to be like, what I was really getting myself into. I didn’t know duck boat rides were four miles with thousands and thousands of people [cheering],” Gronkowski said.

He finished the regular season with 82 receptions for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, which was his second-best statistical season of his career. Gronkowski and Brady had a strong connection all season long, with Gronkowski being Brady’s go-to target. He said he and Brady still keep in touch during the offseason, but knows whenever the two meet up it’s all work.

“It’s like a work atmosphere. Call him up, see where he’s at and see if he wants to throw the ball around a little bit,” he said. “Whenever you meet up with Tom, you always know you’re going to be working — at least for an hour or two on the field. You know you can always count on that.”

Over the past month Gronkowski has been enjoying himself — appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, taking a vacation to Florida and most recently a weekend in Vegas.

“It’s been a little crazy, a lot of fun,” said Gronkowski of his time since the Super Bowl. “I’m just enjoying the time, celebrating with my teammates, my family and friends. Basically just enjoying the time off because you go through the grind for seven months straight, so you kind of sit back, relax, have some free time to yourself, so it’s been cool.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable