What could the Patriots potentially get for Jimmy Garoppolo? (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

What could the Patriots potentially get for Jimmy Garoppolo? (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

With all the NFL teams in Indianapolis this week for the NFL combine, there is likely to be some buzz on a potential trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Teams that are most interested in the quarterback are likely the Browns, Bears, 49ers and Texans.

It will likely take at least a first-round pick and then some to get the Patriots to deal away Garoppolo, and with each passing day the more and more likely it seems this will happen.

The Browns have two first-round picks (No. 1 and No. 12) in addition to having a total of five picks in the first three rounds, so they seem the most logical trading partner. The biggest question is how much can the Patriots actually get for Garoppolo? While it remains unlikely, it is possible the Browns could trade the No. 1 overall pick for him and the 49ers could trade the No. 2 overall pick for him.

It seems crazy, but there reasons behind it.

The quarterback class coming out in the draft isn’t good at all. Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer just don’t seem like franchise quarterbacks. Garoppolo certainly has a better chance to be one than any rookie does, so if a team is set on finding a franchise quarterback, Garoppolo is better than any player they could get at No. 1 or No. 2 overall.

Furthermore, there have been indications the Browns and 49ers would be willing to deal their top picks (not necessarily for Garoppolo, but in general).

In her mailbag posted Sunday, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (who is very connected to the Browns franchise) speculated the Browns could actually trade the No. 1 overall pick to the Patriots for Garoppolo. She wrote ideally the team would trade the No. 12 overall pick, but “if it turns into a bidding war and they have to go that high, why not?”

Again, it comes down to Garoppolo being better than any other quarterback in the draft — and by a good margin — so it wouldn’t make the worst sense in the world.

San Fransisco seems open to dealing its No. 2 pick and knows selecting a quarterback with that top pick just for the sake of it isn’t a good way of doing business.

“We could stay pat right there and find a fabulous player, a game-changing player,” general manager John Lynch said via the San Fransisco Chronicle. “It gives us a lot of flexibility to do some other things if we chose to be bold. There are going to be people that covet the pick we have, so there’s going to be some people that want to move up.”

“The worst mistakes you can make is you take a guy who isn’t that good of a player, or worthy of that,” head coach Kyle Shanahan added. “The expectations change. You put a guy in a position that is really unfair to him and you set your organization back. And then you’re trying to commit to a guy who … shouldn’t have been put in that position.”

From this viewpoint, the bidding for Garoppolo will never get to be this high, especially considering he’s a backup and has only started two NFL games, but with how valuable good quarterbacks are in the league, never say never.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Bill Belichick has a number of offseason decisions to make.</p>
<div class=



It wasn’t all fun and games for Rob Gronkowski at the Daytona 500 this weekend.

Rob Gronkowski hopes to see Martellus Bennett get a big contract in free agency. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Rob Gronkowski hopes to see Martellus Bennett get a big contract in free agency. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

It wasn’t all fun and games for Rob Gronkowski at the Daytona 500 this weekend.

Gronkowski was asked for his thoughts on Martellus Bennett as the tight end enters free agency.

“I’m hoping that he breaks the bank,” Gronkowski said, via ESPN. “Whenever you see a tight end break the bank, it’s good for the industry, it’s good for the position. You want to see the position grow.”

If Bennett does indeed break the bank this offseason, it likely won’t be with the Patriots.

“I want to see him do whatever he’s got to do,” Gronkowski said. “I don’t make the calls.”

Gronkowski and Bennett played just eight games together in 2016 as the Arizona product dealt with hamstring and back injuries this year. Bennett battled through injuries himself, but was able to play in all 16 games. He caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns.

As it relates to his next contract, Bennett made just over $5 million this past season and coming off the season he had will likely want to make more per year with his next contract. Being 30 years old, it likely won’t be a megadeal, but he should be able to cash in.

Gronkowski currently is signed through the end of 2019 with cap hits of $6.75 million in 2017, $11 million in 2018 and $12 million in 2019.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

It looks like the Summer of Gronk has started early.

It looks like the Summer of Gronk has started early.

Rob Gronkowski attended the Daytona 500 for Monster Energy, a new sponsor of the NASCAR Cup Series, this weekend. The Patriots tight end was asked about the Monster Energy Girls, who drew a lot of attention this week.

He was asked if he likes the girls or the drink more?

“I’m a fan of both of them,” Gronkowski said to USA Today’s For The Win. “I got my own drink, too. I make the girls make my own drink so I get the benefit of both.”

Gronkowski has enjoyed the experience of being at the race track.

“Being part of the monster crew, them bringing me around, meeting all the drivers and meeting all the people here, it’s just a blast,” he said. “It’s my first time at Daytona and it’s awesome.”

The tight end also joined the Fox broadcast of the race where he interviewed one of the Monster Energy Girls in typical Gronk fashion. See below for the video.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Jimmy Garoppolo's name could be coming up some this week at the NFL combine. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s name could be coming up some this week at the NFL combine. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

1. The last few weeks have featured a lot of hypotheticals when it comes to a potential trade of Jimmy Garoppolo, but this could be the week where interested teams actually emerge and there’s a better idea of who is truly interested. For the first time this offseason, the entire NFL will be in the same place at the NFL combine, which begins Wednesday. This is a place where often times the foundation of trades starts. The majority of front office personnel across the league will be in Indianapolis, so it would not be a surprise to learn of a team or two speaking with the Patriots on a potential trade for Garoppolo. Also, teams will get a chance to meet with the quarterbacks coming out in the draft and after meeting with them, some teams may come away realizing trading for Garoppolo may be the way to go instead of drafting one. While there almost certainly won’t be an actual trade this week, for the first time there might actually be some buzz in terms of teams speaking to the Patriots on what it might take to acquire the quarterback.

2. While many coaches and general mangers are scheduled to speak to the media at the NFL combine this week, no one from the Patriots is on the list. This isn’t out of the norm by any means, as it is very rare for Bill Belichick to step to a podium in Indianapolis. In year’s past, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio has done an exclusive interview with Patriots.com. Most coaches and GM’s will speak on Wednesday. Some notables from a Patriots perspective are: new Bills coach Sean McDermott, Falcons coach Dan Quinn, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, Jets coach Todd Bowles and Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. Dolphins coach Adam Gase will speak on Thursday.

3. For those interested in watching the NFL combine on the NFL Network this week, here are the days each position will be on the field for drills (40-yard dash, throws by quarterbacks, catching passes by receivers, etc.) Friday: punters, kickers, long-snappers, offensive linemen and running backs; Saturday: quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends; Sunday: defensive linemen and linebackers; Monday: cornerbacks.

4. Want to know what Belichick was up to this weekend? The coach was in Maryland taking in some Johns Hopkins lacrosse. Belichick attended the team’s practice Friday before it took on North Carolina on Saturday. He’s very close with coach Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala. Belichick and girlfriend Linda Holliday also had some BBQ while in the area at Mission BBQ where the coach seemed extremely relaxed and the most happy he’s been since winning Super Bowl LI.

5. Less than a week after winning Super Bowl LI, Stephen Gostkowski had another big event in his life: He was inducted into the University of Memphis’ athletic Hall of Fame. The Saturday after winning the big game, Gostkowski was back at his alma mater for the ceremony. The Patriots kicker left Memphis with school records in both points scored (369) and field goals made (70). “It’s very humbling to be back here and to be honored by the M Club,” Gostkowski told USA Today Network. “The four best years of my life were spent in this place. … I bleed blue. I love being a Tiger and love being back here in Memphis.”

6. Patriots linebacker Joe Cardona is staying busy this offseason. He performed two Navy reenlistment ceremonies at The Hall at Patriot Place recently. Senior Chief Master at Arms (MACS) Chris Downing and Staff Sargeant Nathaniel Heyward asked Cardona to perform at their ceremonies. “It really just means a lot to me because these are requests coming from service members,” Cardona said to Angelique Fiske of Patriots.com. “It just happens that a couple of these personnel have had decorated careers with years of experience, and they’re asking me to come out and do this for them. It means a lot to me.”

7. One of the most underrated free agents the Patriots have is defensive tackle Alan Branch. The 32-year-old was their best defensive tackle this past season, and with a number of young players at the position, it might be a good idea for the Patriots to make a concerted effort to have him back in 2017. He made roughly $2.5 million in 2016 and likely will want to make about the same next year. Branch might even take a little less money to stay with the team, as long as it is a respectable offer. “I love the Patriots,” Branch said on SiriusXM on Friday. “They gave me a second chance at my career. They gave me two years, but at the same time it’s a business. It’s business on their end, and it’s business on mine. I gotta do what’s best for my family. I got four kids. I got a lot of mouths to feed, [a lot of] weddings — I got three girls. I got a lot of schools to pay for. It’s a business at the end of the day. It just kind of depends on what’s laid out on the table. If it’s smart to stay on the team that I’ve been productive on and the money is not too much different, then who knows. But if it’s a significant difference, I mean, sometimes it’s hard to say no, you know?”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

It’s been three weeks since Super Bowl LI and many are still trying to figure out how the Falcons blew a 25-point lead against the Patriots.

Atlanta led 21-3 at halftime and then scored early in the third quarter to make it 28-3, but then everything fell apart.

Mohamed Sanu talked about the Super Bowl loss on Friday. (Eric Seals/USA Today Sports)

Mohamed Sanu talked about the Super Bowl loss on Friday. (Eric Seals/USA Today Sports)

It’s been three weeks since Super Bowl LI and many are still trying to figure out how the Falcons blew a 25-point lead against the Patriots.

Atlanta led 21-3 at halftime and then scored early in the third quarter to make it 28-3, but then everything fell apart.

How did things go so poorly in the second half for the Falcons? Atlanta wide receiver Mohamed Sanu noted the long halftime, which was a Lady Gaga performance.

“It definitely [affected us] because usually halftime is only like 15 minutes so when you’re not on the field for an hour, it’s like going to work out, having a great workout, sitting on the couch for an hour and then trying to work out again,” Sanu said Friday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”

When the Falcons went up 28-3, Sanu felt the game was over.

“Most definitely,” he said. “You’re thinking ‘OK we got this, let’s keep doing what we’re doing and trust the process.’ Just go out there and do what we do. I just felt like momentum shifted and we weren’t playing as aggressively as we usually do. It’s just unfortunate.”

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan got a lot of criticism afterwards for not running the ball late in the game, but Sanu didn’t totally blame him.

“I mean, the thought [why aren’t we running the ball?] crosses your mind, but as a player you do what the coach tells you to do,” Sanu said. “He’s called plays like that throughout the season all the time. He’s been aggressive, we’re an aggressive team, so we go out there and we do what we do.”

Sanu finished the contest with two catches for 25 yards.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Bill Belichick and the Patriots are in good shape heading into the offseason. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots are in good shape heading into the offseason. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

After winning Super Bowl LI, the Patriots are actually in a position to get even better this offseason.

As it stands now, the Patriots have four picks in the first three rounds of the NFL draft and have roughly $63 million in cap space available. It’s also worth noting they could get even more draft picks in the first three rounds if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, which is a good possibility.

When it comes to the rest of the AFC East, the Patriots are by far in the best position heading into the start of the offseason.

Their four picks in the first three rounds are tied with the Jets for the most in the division, as the Dolphins and Bills have three, but then compared to the Jets, the Patriots have much more money to spend this offseason. The Jets have only $8 million in cap space.

The Bills and Dolphins have more money to spend than the Jets do, but it doesn’t come close to the Patriots. Buffalo has roughly $20 million in cap space, while the Dolphins have roughly $40 million.

With all the draft picks the Patriots have, in addition to all the money they have to spend, it’s not a stretch to already say the Patriots will win the offseason in the AFC East.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable