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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Football

Dez Bryant boasts about workout with Dak Prescott

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant has made it no secret that he would love to return to the Dallas Cowboys, and he has apparently been working out with the quarterback who would be throwing passes to him if his wish came true.

On Thursday, Bryant proudly revealed on Twitter that he completed a workout session with Dak Prescott. The free agent wide receiver said the two “picked up where we left off.”

Bryant and Prescott played two full seasons together before the Cowboys released Bryant. The two weren’t nearly as productive together as Bryant and Tony Romo were for several seasons earlier in Dez’s career, but the numbers weren’t terrible. Bryant caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 2017. Prescott has improved his game since that time, but Bryant is two years removed from playing and coming off a torn Achilles.

While there have been some indications that the Cowboys could be interested in bringing Bryant back, the odds are still stacked against the 31-year-old. Dallas recently signed Amari Cooper to a huge five-year extension, so Bryant would likely have to take a veteran minimum salary to join the team. First, he needs the Cowboys to believe he could actually help them win games.

Report: Patriots have zero intention of trading Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman beard

The New England Patriots are obviously rebuilding on offense after parting ways with Tom Brady, and there has been some speculation that Julian Edelman could be the next veteran player they decide to move forward without. According to one report, that is not going to happen.

Tom E. Curran says he has been told by an NFL source that there is “not a chance in hell” the Patriots will trade or release Edelman this offseason. While the receiver carries a salary cap hit of more than $9 million next season, the cap savings would not be nearly that much if they trade Edelman.

Miguel Benzan of Boston Sports Journal has arguably a better understanding of the Patriots’ salary cap situation than any person outside the organization, and he says the team would gain less than $4 million in cap space by trading Edelman. Curran says there could be some sort of workout bonus in Edelman’s contract that would push the savings slightly higher, but what would New England actually gain by trading Edelman?

While Edelman was extremely productive with 100 catches, over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns last season, he’ll be turning 34 in May. He has also battled injuries in recent seasons, so it’s highly unlikely a team would give up a high draft pick for him.

An April Fool’s rumor on Wednesday led to some speculation that Edelman was on his way out of New England, but there has been no trade. Unless the Patriots are blowing up their entire offense, Edelman should have value to them as a role model for second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham and the new leader of the offense with Brady gone.

Of course, things could change if Edelman asks the Patriots to trade or release him. He may have already hinted that he wants to team up with Brady in Tampa Bay, but he has also said in the past that he would not want to play for a coach other than Bill Belichick. There wouldn’t be much in it for the Patriots if they trade Edelman.

Blaine Gabbert re-signs with Bucs, will likely back up Tom Brady

Blaine Gabbert

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured their starting quarterback for 2020 and potentially beyond when they signed Tom Brady last month, and they are sticking with Blaine Gabbert to help fill out their depth chart at the position.

Gabbert has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Bucs, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

Gabbert signed with Tampa Bay last offseason, but he suffered a shoulder injury during the preseason and was placed on injured reserve in September. The former No. 10 overall pick was expected to serve as the primary backup behind Jameis Winston before he got hurt, and he has a good chance to secure that role heading into 2020.

Gabbert was drafted in the first round by the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2011. He spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans after that before landing with the Bucs. He should be familiar with Bruce Arians’ system from his time with the team last year, though that system could very well change going forward.

Report: Aldon Smith has been sober for nine months

Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith is awaiting reinstatement from the NFL after he agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, and the former first-round pick has reportedly kept his substance abuse issues under control for several months now.

A source told Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News that Smith has been clean for nine months. The 30-year-old’s biggest challenge with sobriety has been staying away from alcohol.

Smith has not played in the NFL since 2015 due to a suspension. He applied for reinstatement in 2016 but was turned down, but the Cowboys are reportedly confident he is going to be reinstated in the near future. If and when that happens, Smith will almost certainly be on a strict program and have to meet several conditions.

Smith’s most recent arrest was in June of 2019, when he was booked for suspicion of driving while under the influence. If he has been clean for nine months, that means he has stayed away from alcohol since that incident.

Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, played for the Oakland Raiders in addition to the 49ers. The sky was the limit for him from a talent standpoint, but he has been in trouble with the law numerous times. He racked up 33.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons before things went south.

Tom Brady renting Derek Jeter’s mansion in Tampa

Tom Brady probably is not going to make any permanent moves to the Tampa area after signing a two-year contract with the Buccaneers, but the four-time Super Bowl MVP appears to have found himself the perfect property to occupy while playing for his new team.

Tampa radio host JP Peterson shared a photo on Wednesday that claimed to show Brady standing in the driveway of the mansion he has rented, which is the famous Tampa pad that Derek Jeter had built back in 2011. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed that Brady will be residing at the Davis Islands estate.

Peterson said he spoke with local real estate agents who estimated Brady is likely paying between $75-100K per month for the home. Most of us would consider that a sizable down payment, but it’s monthly rent for a quarterback making $25 million per year plus endorsements with a supermodel wife who probably earns more.

Jeter always went to great lengths to ensure privacy while hosting people at the Tampa mansion, and we know the MLB legend beefed up security at one point a few years back. Brady and his family should find the 30,000-square-foot space plenty comfortable.

Patriots flying 1 million masks to Massachusetts from China in team plane

Robert Kraft

The coronavirus outbreak is getting closer to reaching its peak in Massachusetts and many other parts of the United States, and the New England Patriots are doing what they can to help fight the pandemic.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has made the team’s private plane available to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and the plane is being used to fly 1 million N95 protective masks from China to Boston on Thursday afternoon.

Kraft also bought an additional 300,000 masks with his own money for hospitals in New York.

Not having enough masks and protective equipment for healthcare workers is one of the most significant issues states have faced during the coronavirus outbreak, and Baker has expressed frustration recently that Massachusetts was being outbid by the federal government for supplies. The governor hinted on Wednesday that an announcement would be coming regarding protective equipment.

“We’ve been working on a variety of processes and opportunities to make sure that we have the gear that we need to serve our medical community and our first responders,” Baker said, via Stephanie Murray of Politico. “I’ve also said that I expected to have more information on this later this week, and I do.”

It’s unclear if the Patriots are covering the cost of the masks or if the state of Massachusetts is paying, but either way Kraft and the Patriots are playing an integral role in the process.

This is not the first time the Patriots have generously loaned out their team plane, but it may be the most important use of the aircraft that we have seen to date.

JJ Watt roasts himself over hilarious high school picture

JJ Watt

JJ Watt used to look like the “before” picture in fitness infomercials, but he can look back with some humor now that he is in the “after” stage.

On Wednesday, Houston Texans defensive end came across an old picture of himself in high school looking as scrawny as a pencil and put his roasting cap on. Watt tweeted a plea for someone to introduce him to a bicep curl or a squat and joked that the jumbo shoulder pads weren’t fooling anyone.

The five-time Pro Bowler graduated from high school in 2007, seeing time at tight end and defensive end for the football team and playing center for the varsity basketball team as well. Interestingly enough, Watt was listed at 230 pounds in high school, compared to his current playing weight of 288 pounds.

When you consider some of the amazing feats Watt has pulled off in the gym since, it is pretty amazing to see how far the now 31-year-old star has come.