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#pounditWednesday, August 12, 2020

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Patriots stripped of third-round draft pick, fined $1.1 million for filming Bengals sideline

Robert Kraft

The NFL has found that the New England Patriots’ television crew acted inappropriately in filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline last December.

The league announced Sunday that the Patriots have been fined $1.1 million and stripped of a 2021 third-round draft pick after a videographer was caught taping the Bengals’ sideline a week before the two teams were set to play each other. In addition, New England’s in-house TV crews will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season.

David Mondillo, the videographer responsible, was fired by the Patriots and banned from NFL facilities indefinitely.

Notably absent from the punishments are coach Bill Belichick and the team’s football staff. That would seem to indicate that they were not implicated in any wrongdoing.

Mondillo was leading a video crew that was supposed to be profiling one of the team’s advance scouts for a team “Do Your Job” documentary. When caught by Bengals security, Mondillo could not explain why he was filming a specific part of Cincinnati’s sideline, and offered to delete the footage. Mondillo later claimed that he was trying to get the same vantage point the scout would have had through binoculars. The NFL clearly didn’t buy these explanations, nor did the league believe this was an innocent mistake.

The punishment is similar to what the league hands down for significant tampering violations, except with a more severe fine.

This won’t come as a shock to the Patriots, who reportedly expected to be punished. The real damage may come to their reputation, as many fans will likely see this as further evidence that the organization consistently cheats, even though it’s hard to see what advantage would have been gained by what the TV crew was up to.

Cam Newton agrees to one-year contract with Patriots

Cam Newton and the New England Patriots have been frequently linked, but it appeared that no signing was likely. Things have clearly changed.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Newton agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots to compete for the team’s starting quarterback job.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Newton can earn up to $7.5 million in 2020.

This is a surprise. The Patriots had been the odds-on favorites to sign Newton for much of the offseason, but reporting consistently indicated that the organization simply was not targeting him. Part of that was down to the team’s limited cap space, and it seemed unlikely that the Patriots could meet his asking price. That said, as one former New England executive warned, Bill Belichick is always eyeing talent at a discount, and grabbing a former MVP quarterback for less than $10 million qualifies. It makes even more sense considering how untested the Patriots’ quarterback room is.

Because of the cap situation, the Patriots will likely have to make some roster moves in order to fit Newton’s contract on the books.

Newton missed all but two games of the 2019 season due to a foot injury. He was most recently fully healthy in 2018, when he threw for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns. The 31-year-old will definitely expect to win the starting role in camp ahead of Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.

Patrick Chung agrees to two-year extension with Patriots

Patrick Chung

The New England Patriots may have to heavily rely on their defense for the next few years with Tom Brady gone, and they will now have a key member of that unit under contract for at least four more seasons.

The Patriots have agreed to a two-year extension with safety Patrick Chung, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Chung’s base salary was scheduled to be $2.9 million this season and $1.9 million in 2021, so the Patriots gave him a raise while likely freeing up some salary cap space.

The Patriots drafted Chung with the 34th overall pick in 2009. He spent the first four years of his career in New England before playing for the Philadelphia Eagles for one season in 2013, and he has been back with the Patriots since. The safety has been a Bill Belichick favorite despite some recent off-field issues he had.

Tom Brady checked out of Patriots’ offense after 2018 loss to Steelers?

Tom Brady

There are a number of reasons why Tom Brady ended up leaving New England this offseason, and both sides are to blame for different issues. Brady probably wanted more love and respect shown by the Patriots and didn’t get the contract offer he sought. The Patriots always gave Brady less than his market value in order to win, didn’t give him great weapons, and probably low-balled him to start their contract negotiations.

Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard wrote a recent article on Brady’s departure from the Patriots, comparing it to how many other great quarterbacks left their teams.

In the article, Bedard says Brady was intent on making sure he orchestrated his separation from the Patriots rather than letting Bill Belichick dictate it. Bedard also said that Brady “largely checked out in 2018 after the loss to Pittsburgh and hated how the offense pivoted to a more run-based attack.”

That infamous loss to the Steelers came after a loss to the Dolphins on a miracle play the previous week. The game effectively ended after Brady threw four straight incompletions in Steelers territory down 17-10. Three of the incompletions were intended for Rob Gronkowski.

The Patriots ended up winning the Super Bowl, but Brady was hearing it from the doubters then. He only threw for two touchdowns and three interceptions in the three playoff wins.

There has also been some recent talk that Brady had issues with Josh McDaniels, though Brady disputed that.

Brady probably had been thinking about his exit as he got later and later in his Patriots career. His camp even made it public last year that the quarterback wasn’t set on returning to New England.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

H/T Barstool Sports

Former Patriots executive does not rule out team signing Cam Newton

Cam Newton tie

The New England Patriots have repeatedly been linked to Cam Newton since he was released by the Carolina Panthers, and one Bill Belichick confidant is not ready to rule out the possibility of the Pats signing the former NFL MVP.

Michael Lombardi, who served as an assistant to the coaching staff with New England from 2014-2016, told WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Show” on Thursday that he still believes there is a possibility the Patriots will sign Newton. While Lombardi thinks the Patriots like what they have in Jarrett Stidham, he said Belichick is always looking to acquire talent at a discount.

“I think if there has been one player hurt by the coronavirus in terms of being able to get in front of people — to be able to take a comprehensive physical not only on his shoulder, but on his foot to really understand where he is medically — it’s been Cam Newton,” Lombardi said. “If you just understand Coach Belichick … he loves to play the market like Warren Buffett does, ‘I am going to buy low and sell high.’ This is a blue-chip, MVP player who is out there at a position that there is a degree of uncertainty.”

The Patriots have barely any salary cap space, which is something Lombardi alluded to. However, $14.7 million of the cap is currently dedicated to offensive lineman Joe Thuney, whom the Patriots franchise tagged earlier this offseason. If New England signs Thuney to an extension or trades him, that could open up a significant chunk of money.

“You’re talking about a team that has always, always, and this has been Belichick’s mantra forever, is always looking for ways to improve the team, not necessarily on draft day, but 365 days a year,” Lombardi said. “Until they can get a medical, until they can get an understanding of where he is, I don’t think you can rule him out.”

Lombardi is obviously a lot more familiar with Belichick’s thinking than the average person. Not only did he work with Belichick for several years, but Lombardi’s son Mick is also currently a wide receivers coach with the Patriots.

The Patriots seem content to move forward with second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham as their starter, though that may have more to do with finances and a shortened offseason than anything. Belichick hinted recently that the team could add another quarterback, and there is reason to believe Newton’s expectations for the 2020 season are changing. He’d surely welcome the opportunity to play for the Pats and prove the doubters wrong.

Report: Tom Brady’s relationship with Josh McDaniels was factor in Patriots divorce

Josh McDaniels

Tom Brady decided to leave the Patriots to sign with the Buccaneers for a number of different reasons, but the most popular theory is that he could no longer coexist with Bill Belichick. While that may have been true, there was apparently another prominent member of New England’s coaching staff that Brady grew tired of.

Brady’s relationship with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also deteriorated through the years, according to NFL reporter Gary Myers. Myers cites an “excellent source” who says Brady had become worn out by McDaniels and wanted more input into the game plan.

Brady never had anything but positive thoughts to share about McDaniels publicly. The two had some ugly sideline confrontations over the years, but they always laughed it off afterword and said it was simply their competitive personalities showing through. Perhaps there was more to it than that.

Brady has tried to set the record straight on his perceived relationship with Belichick, and he would likely say the same about working with McDaniels. In reality, there was no one thing that led to Brady’s departure from New England. After 20 years together, it may simply have been the best thing for both sides.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

NFL says Tom Brady-Buccaneers schedule quirk is ‘coincidence’

Some were quick to notice an unusual quirk in the 2020 NFL schedule. Tom Brady’s new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, don’t play at the same time as his old team, the New England Patriots, until Week 15. Conspiracy theorists wondered if that was a subtle move from the NFL that would allow Patriots fans to follow their former quarterback without missing any of their team’s games.

Not so, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. The scheduling quirk is a total coincidence.

“Putting together the 256-game schedule is very complex — it’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” McCarthy said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “The minimal conflicts here are coincidental.”

McCarthy is probably right. A big reason why this is the case is that both teams have five primetime games. That’s ten weeks in which it is impossible for both teams to play at the same time.

Even if this was intentional, there are reasons that Patriots fans should probably be more concerned about their own team than anything Brady is up to in 2020.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.