The Patriots are the second-most valuable NFL team at $3.2 billion, trailing only the Cowboys, according to Forbes.

Overall, New England is ranked as the sixth-most valuable professional sports franchise. Dallas is first at $4 billion, while Real Madrid ($3.65 billion), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), the New York Yankees ($3.4 billion) and Manchester United ($3.32 billion) round out the top 5.

This year, NFL franchises comprise 27 of the top 50, and with the Cowboys on top, it’s the first time a non-soccer club has been ranked No. 1 since 2011.

Per Forbes, this marks the third straight year the Patriots have been second in the NFL list to the Cowboys. Last year, Forbes listed New England as the third-most valuable sports franchise on the planet behind Dallas and Real Madrid.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were among the top five best-selling NFL jerseys over the last three months.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were among the top five best-selling NFL jerseys over the last three months.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Brady was second, trailing only rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys. Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton were third and fourth, while Gronkowski finished fifth overall.

The totals are based on sales from April 1-June 30 on NFLShop.com, the league’s official online site.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady took to Facebook Wednesday morning to wish his wife Gisele Bundchen a Happy Birthday as she turned 36 years old.

The quarterback wrote: Happy Birthday to the love of my life. May this year be your best and brightest and most fulfilling. We love you!

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Julian Edelman enjoyed the celebration around the Patriots' most recent Super Bowl title. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman enjoyed the celebration around the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl title. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

As the countdown to training camp begins later this month, we’re looking at the 20 most important members of the Patriots heading into 2016.

3. Wide receiver Julian Edelman

Height: 6-foot
Weight: 198 pounds
Age: 30 (will turn 31 on May 22)

Resume: A seventh-round pick out of Kent State in 2009, the former college quarterback has become one of the most trusted receivers Tom Brady has ever had. He impressed as a rookie with 37 catches, but it truly took him a few years to evolve as a receiver. He eventually found his footing in 2013, following the departure of Wes Welker — with the loss of Welker in free agency, the door was open, and Edelman kicked it down. In the last three years, he’s caught 258 passes and 17 touchdowns, one of just nine pass catchers who has topped at least 250 receptions in that stretch. (His career year came in 2013, when he finished with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.) He’s also managed to carve out an impressive career as a punt returner — Edelman has a 12.0 career punt return average, third in the NFL since the 1970 merger. (Only Rick Upchurch and Devin Hester at 12.1 yards per return are better.) In addition, he has four punt returns for touchdowns, most in franchise history.

Why we ranked him here: When it comes to the Patriots, “Minitron” is the latest in a long line of slightly undersized pass catchers who have distinguished themselves as Brady’s favorites for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they usually have an outstanding catch rate, quality yards after the catch and make guys miss on a consistent basis. No one moves the chains quite like Edelman, who has an astounding chemistry with the quarterback that allows him to make plays that no one else on the roster can make. His status will bear watching this summer because he was in and out of a walking boot this offseason, and wasn’t on the field for spring workouts (at least the sessions that were open to the media). From this viewpoint, you can make an argument about Edelman or Rob Gronkowski when it comes to No. 2 vs. No. 3 on this list. But when it comes to overall importance, particularly as it relates to the success of Brady and the New England passing game, Edelman is clearly worthy of a spot in the top 3.

Quote: “He’s always been one of the hardest workers, one of the hardest workers I’ve ever played with [and] one of the most determined young men that’s on this team. And he’s got as much heart as anybody.” — Brady on Edelman, 1/16/16

Random Note: In the last three seasons, Edelman has more regular-season catches than Larry Fitzgerald (254), Calvin Johnson (243) and Jimmy Graham (219).

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Rob Gronkowski threw out the first pitch prior to Tuesday’s Red Sox-Giants game at Fenway Park and while he didn’t spike it, he did throw a strike to the Red Sox designated hitter.

Rob Gronkowski threw a strike to David Ortiz pic.twitter.com/0xJSiiLNOi

Rob Gronkowski threw out the first pitch prior to Tuesday’s Red Sox-Giants game at Fenway Park and while he didn’t spike it, he did throw a strike to the Red Sox designated hitter.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Tom Brady almost got Kevin Durant to wear green. Almost.

On Monday, Durant reiterated how close the Patriots’ quarterback got to convincing him to come to Boston.

Tom Brady almost got Kevin Durant to wear green. Almost.

On Monday, Durant reiterated how close the Patriots’ quarterback got to convincing him to come to Boston.

“I was ready to just say, ‘OK, let’s go,'” Durant told reporters he recalled after hearing Brady’s sales pitch. “Just seeing someone so successful at his craft. He’s a great ambassador for the game of football and the city of Boston. It’s great to be in the presence of such greatness. But at the same time, I knew I couldn’t let that distract me.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patrots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady had an eventful offseason. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)As training camp looms at the end of the month, here’s a quick look back at the 10 biggest offseason headlines involving the Patriots.