Don't expect Malcolm Butler to be going anywhere. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Don’t expect Malcolm Butler to be going anywhere. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots will likely have one of the best cornerback duos in the league next season.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Saints and Butler have agreed on a long-term contract that would make him among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the game, but all sides believe a trade is improbable at this point. The Patriots are said to be wanting more than the Saints are willing to give up.

Butler will now likely team up with Stephon Gilmore as the two corners in the Patriots secondary.

The 27-year-old visited the Saints as a restricted free agent, but the Patriots control his rights since he signed his tender and thus control where he goes.

Of course it’s still possible a deal happens if the Patriots lower their demands or the Saints change what they are offering, but at this point it doesn’t seem like a deal will be happening.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Aaron Hernandez's death was ruled a suicide last week. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez’s death was ruled a suicide last week. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

When following the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial, it was impossible to not consider the life sentence the disgraced ex-NFL star was already serving for the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd. But multiple members of the jury were unaware of his violent past.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, jury forewoman Lindsey Stringer said she only learned about the Lloyd conviction in an informal post-trial conversation with Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. LockeA technology director in her mid-30s who relocated to Boston four years ago, she was “vaguely aware” of Hernandez, but couldn’t place him. Jurors are prohibited from reading media coverage about their case or talking about their work.

“Jurors are basically living two different lives,” Stringer told the Globe. “There’s your life at the courthouse, where you’re under intense scrutiny from everyone all the time while you’re there, and then you go home to your regular life and you can’t talk about anything. ‘How was your day?’ ‘Umm . . . fine.’ ”

When the trial ended, Stringer found out several of her peers didn’t know about Hernandez’s first-degree murder conviction, either. It’s likely Hernandez’s attorneys didn’t want those with strong feelings against their client to serve on the jury, which would explain why many jurors were ignorant of his criminal record. The selection process to sit on the jury consisted of a 52-question survey, which asked respondents what they thought of people with tattoos or folks who frequent night clubs.

The prosecution’s case largely rested on Alexander Bradley, a flawed witness who’s serving a prison sentence for shooting up a club in Hartford. Bradley claims Hernandez shot him in the eye during an altercation in February 2013 –– seven months after Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were murdered in Boston.

Stringer, who stresses the jury didn’t declare Hernandez was “innocent,” said it was difficult to believe Bradley’s version of events. The prosecution offered him immunity to testify against Hernandez, and there were several inconsistencies in his story.

“Then and now, it’s very difficult to sort through what the actual truth is of the matter,” she said. “I’m a person who might be really naive, but I really wanted to believe that every person coming through that courtroom as a witness was telling the truth. … And I don’t think that was the case for several witnesses. But I’ll never know.”

The defense repeatedly attacked Bradley’s character, saying he was the one who pulled the trigger in the drive-by shooting. The case appeared to resonate with members of the jury, who couldn’t agree on Hernandez’s level of involvement.

After the trial concluded, Stringer started to sift through the press coverage she was ordered to avoid. She hoped Hernandez would become a steady presence in his four-year-old daughter’s life, even if he remained behind bars. But those wishes were halted last week when she read about Hernandez’s suicide at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

“It’s just very sad and tragic, and I really just pray for the Furtado and de Abreu families and for Aaron’s daughter,” she said.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Good morning! Here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, pictured in 2012, has donated tons of time to Best Buddies through the years. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)Tom Brady's time doesn't come cheap.



With the NFL draft coming later this week, certainly rumors are bound to surface, but Adam Schefter continues to dig in — Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded.

Adam Schefter continues to stand by his report that Jimmy Garoppolo will not be dealt. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Adam Schefter continues to stand by his report that Jimmy Garoppolo will not be dealt. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

With the NFL draft coming later this week, certainly rumors are bound to surface, but Adam Schefter continues to dig in — Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded.

On Sunday night Schefter tweeted: Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t going anywhere. His name continues to surface in trade rumors and speculation – not happening.

The week of the NFL combine in late February Schefter said Garoppolo will not be traded and has stood by it ever since. While it is nothing new, the timing is somewhat interesting. In all likelihood, the Patriots have received a number of offers as the draft approaches and this is Schefter’s way of telling everyone it simply will not happen.

While it seems unlikely the Patriots will not pick in the first or second round, as they don’t have a first or second-round pick, it seems almost certain they will not move up because of a Garoppolo trade.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Bill Belichick and the Patriots have been connected to a number of projected high draft picks. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots have been connected to a number of projected high draft picks. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

1. Ever since the NFL combine, the Patriots have been connected to a number of top players in the NFL draft. Whether it’s been meetings at the combine, pro days, and even private visits, the Patriots have been around a number of potential first and second-round picks. This is noteworthy considering the team doesn’t have a selection until No. 72 overall. As we wrote about last week, this could be the team is planning on trading into the first or second round, most likely because of a trade of Malcolm Butler, but what if they don’t? There could be another reason for these connections — future knowledge. Look at two players the Patriots traded for this offseason — Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy. While the Patriots didn’t draft them, their pre-draft meetings with them helped with the decision to trade for them years after they were drafted by other teams. “It’s a great resource,” director of player personnel Nick Caserio said at his pre-draft press conference last week. “We rely a lot on that information which is why even though the college process you may be going through and thinking ‘It’s not really integral to this particular player,’ well at some point it’s going to be when we build our database. We have a database of just about every player that’s in the league. So as soon as they go from college to pro all that information transfers over from the college system. So we have all the interviews, all the workouts, all of our grades, all of our background information that we have. So we kind of go back and say ‘OK, let’s look at that information. What did we say coming out? What was the information like?’” Perhaps, all these meetings are just for future knowledge and not this year’s draft. We’ll find out this week.

2. Speaking of Butler, it appears the Patriots are still making efforts to trade him. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Patriots and Saints are expected to continue exploring a deal, but might not be able to agree on compensation. This appears to be a case of the Patriots wanting more in return than the Saints are willing to give. The Saints have picks No. 11 and No. 32 (New England’s which they got for Cooks), which the Patriots are said to be after. One scenario is the Patriots want pick No. 32 and another pick(s), and the Saints just want to part ways with the one pick, or maybe don’t want to part ways with the first-round pick at all. It really is hard to predict what is going to happen considering all the chatter there was last month and now silence, but it would be a big surprise to see the Patriots not pick in the first or second round.

3. The biggest takeaway from Caserio’s pre-draft press conference was the Patriots only have 50-75 players on their draft board. “I’d say it varies year to year,” he said. “I would say our draft board is smaller than most. We are trying to find players that we feel comfortable with on all levels that we would actually draft; not that they aren’t going to get drafted. Look, 300 players or whatever it is are going to get drafted. It’s players that we would draft that actually we would feel comfortable with in our program in some capacity.” Some teams, like the Ravens for example, have said they have closer to 150. This is good insight when it comes to how the Patriots approach the draft. It shows they are very specific in what they want in their draft picks and know not every player is the right fit for their system.

4. Unlike the Bills did with Chris Hogan last year when they didn’t match the Patriots’ offer right away, they are taking their time this year with Mike Gillislee. The Bills have until Monday to match the Patriots’ offer and appears they will take right up until the 4 p.m. deadline, but there are hints they will not match the offer. Veteran Bills writer Vic Carucci predicts the team will not match the deal, and then it’s worth considering the Bills have just six draft picks and not matching the deal would give the team a seventh — in the fifth round. Another incentive not to match the deal. From this viewpoint, ultimately the Bills will not match and Gillislee will be a member of the Patriots.

6. It was a bit unusual to see the Patriots go at the New York Times on Twitter following their White House visit over the pictures they surfaced of the number of Patriots in attendance this year compared to 2015. The Patriots very rarely engage in such matters, especially in public on social media. This one feels like it came from the top and the top being Robert Kraft. The tweet obviously makes President Trump look bad, and Kraft is very close to the president and could have been his way of sticking up for his close friend. Given the normal day-to-day operations of the Patriots it was very out of character, which indicates it came from someone outside the PR department.

7. With the NFL draft being at the end of the week, here are a few draft nuggets related to the Patriots. In Bill Belichick’s 17 years with the franchise, he’s made at least one draft day trade each year except for one (2004). In total, he has made 57 draft day trades — 18 to move up, 19 to move down and 20 involving players and future considerations.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The funeral for Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in prison on Wednesday morning, will be held Monday in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.

It will be a private ceremony.

Aaron Hernandez's funeral will be held Monday. ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez’s funeral will be held Monday. ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The funeral for Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in prison on Wednesday morning, will be held Monday in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut.

It will be a private ceremony.

Hernandez’s family released a statement on Saturday. It read: The family of Aaron Hernandez wishes to thank all of you for the thoughtful expressions of condolences. We wish to say goodbye to Aaron in a private ceremony and thank everyone in advance for affording us a measure of privacy during this difficult time.

Hernandez’s suicide came just five days after he was acquitted of a double murder, but was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

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

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Aaron Hernandez and the Patriots settled a grievance over his lost earnings in 2014. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

Aaron Hernandez and the Patriots settled a grievance over his lost earnings in 2014. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe)

The Patriots may be forced to pay Aaron Hernandez’s estate millions of dollars, thanks to an obscure legal principle that says a defendant’s convictions are void if he didn’t exhaust all of his legal appeals upon his passing. Since Hernandez was in the process of appealing his first-degree murder conviction for the 2013 Odin Lloyd shooting, he’s now technically an innocent man in the eyes of the law.

The attorney for Odin Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, said in a press conference Friday they expect to make a claim for up to the $6 million the Patriots could be obligated to hand over to Hernandez’s estate. Douglas Sheff also said he issued a friendly challenge towards the Patriots, asking them to voluntarily make payments to the family.

“We urge the New England Patriots to work with the player’s association to voluntarily make these payments of little consequence to the team, of tremendous assistance to these struggling, deserving families who are hurting, like Ursula’s,” he said, via WMUR. “That would be the best thing to do. That would be the right thing to do. And that would make the Patriots Ursula Ward’s champion.”

When speaking to reporters, Lloyd’s mother said she wants to use the lawsuit as a means to garner support for the families of homicide victims.

“I lost my best friend. I lost my son. I lost a lot of my life,’’ she said, via the Boston Globe. “I am not going to lie to you, it will help. … But even if there’s not a penny, it has nothing to do with my justice for Odin Lloyd. I’m going to use my voice.’’

The families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado are also filing wrongful-death suits against Hernandez. The disgraced ex-NFL star was acquitted last week for the 2012 double murder that took their lives.

Five days later, Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell early Wednesday morning. Officials say he committed suicide.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer