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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Patrick Chung announces retirement from NFL

The New England Patriots were expected to get a boost from several veteran defenders returning next season after they opted out in 2020, but safety Patrick Chung is not coming back.

Chung announced on Thursday that he is retiring from the NFL. He issued a statement on Instagram thanking Bill Belichick, the Kraft family and the Patriots organziation.

Chung opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he was concerned about the health of members of his family for a variety of reasons.

Chung, 33 was drafted by the Patriots 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 had been back with the Patriots since. The safety has been a Belichick favorite despite having some off-field issues.

The Patriots have made some key signings on defense this offseason with pass-rusher Matt Judon and nose tackle Davon Godchaux, but Chung will certainly be missed.

Could this surprise team emerge in Deshaun Watson sweepstakes?

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson seems likely to be traded before the start of the 2021 season despite what the Houston Texans say, and the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets have been mentioned as two possible suitors. Perhaps there is another AFC East team that could swoop in and make things interesting.

Michael Silver of NFL Network has maintained for months that he believes Watson will be traded. He reiterated that on Wednesday and mentioned the Dolphins, Jets and Carolina Panthers before throwing the — wait for it — New England Patriots into the mix.

“As bad as the relationship between Jack Easterby and the Kraft family is, Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick could probably get on the phone and have some creative conversations,” Silver said.

Easterby works as the executive vice president of football operations for the Texans. He was a character coach for the Patriots for several years before taking the job in Houston. When the Pats filed tampering charges against the Texans over their pursuit of Caserio two years ago, Easterby was at the center of the disagreement between the two clubs.

Belichick has since offered a brutally honest take on Easterby’s role with the Texans. However, as Silver mentioned, it would stand to reason that Belichick and Caserio still have a good relationship.

Watson has a no-trade clause, and it’s unclear if he would even want to play for the Patriots. He seems to be spending a lot of time in one specific city this offseason, but New England’s free agent spending spree over the past few days may impact his mindset.

LeBron James tweets funny reaction to Patriots’ free agent signings

LeBron James

The New England Patriots have been the talk of free agency since the legal tampering period began on Monday, and even LeBron James is shocked by the moves Bill Belichick has made.

After the Patriots added Hunter Henry to their star-studded free agent class on Tuesday, LeBron tweeted a funny reaction. The Los Angeles Lakers star said he’s bugging out over the spending spree just like everyone else.

LeBron is a big NFL fan, but he mostly supports the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. Though, he did once run into Bill Belichick (literally) during a game. You can see that video here.

The Patriots have signed Henry and Jonnu Smith to give themselves two legitimate pass-catching tight ends. They also added star pass-rusher Matt Judon, defensive back Jalen Mills and nose tackle Davon Godchaux.

If you want to know just how aggressive Belichick has been this offseason compared to years past, this wild stat should give you an idea. It makes sense that LeBron is just as surprised as the rest of us.

Cam Newton seemingly reacts to Patriots’ huge free agent signings

Cam Newton

The New England Patriots have been by far the most aggressive team since the legal tampering period of free agency began on Monday, and Cam Newton likes what he has seen.

Newton, who recently re-signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal, shared an Instagram post on Tuesday morning that appeared to be related to the team’s big free agent moves. He shared a simple message in his token font, which we did our best to translate.

“WHEN YOU REALIZE THINGS ARE ALREADY DIFFERENT…… the second go around!!” Newton wrote.

The Patriots could draft a quarterback early or acquire a veteran, which would likely mean Newton has to compete for the starting job. The fact that Bill Belichick chose to re-sign him is a good indication that the coach believes Newton was not given a fair shot last year because of his poor supporting cast. Now that the Patriots have signed the top two tight ends on the free agent market and added a couple of receivers, Newton is in more of a position to succeed.

Any quarterback in Newton’s situation would be excited about the moves the Patriots have made. If you want to know how unusual the spending spree is for them, this stat should give you an idea. Newton knows he has a much better chance to prove himself this offseason than he did a year ago.

Cam Newton is back with the Patriots! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Cam Newton Patriots shirt. You can buy it here.

Hunter Henry agrees to three-year deal with Patriots

Hunter Henry

The New England Patriots entered the offseason in desperate need of a pass-catching option at the tight end position, so they have decided to sign the two best available on the free agent market.

One day after inking Jonnu Smith to a four-year deal, the Patriots have agreed to a three-year contract with Hunter Henry. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the deal is worth $37.5 million with $25 million guaranteed.

Henry was one of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers the last several years. He had a career-high 60 catches for 613 yards and four touchdowns last season.

The Patriots had more than $60 million in salary cap space at the start of the offseason, and they have gone on an unprecedented spending spree over the past two days. In addition to Smith and Henry, they also signed star pass-rusher Matt Judon, defensive back Jalen Mills and nose tackle Davon Godchaux.

If you want to see how unusual the big spending has been for Bill Belichick, look no further than this wild stat.

It will be interesting to see if the Patriots make a move at quarterback in the coming days or weeks. They have already re-signed Cam Newton, but he was horrible last season. It’s hard for fans in New England to get excited about all the big moves if the plan is to start Newton again.

Crazy stat puts Patriots’ free agent spending spree in perspective

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots came into the offseason with more salary cap space than almost every team in the NFL, and they have wasted no time using that to their advantage. Bill Belichick has already made several major splashes in free agency, which is something that has rarely happened in his two decades with the team.

The Patriots made four big signings at the start of what is known as the “legal tampering period” on Monday. They agreed to deals with pass-rusher Matt Judon (4 years, $56 million), tight end Jonnu Smith (4 years, $50 million), defensive back Jalen Mills (4 years, $24 million) and nose tackle Davon Godchaux (2 years, $16 million). As of Monday afternoon, New England had spent $146 million on free agent contracts this offseason.

While not all of that money is guaranteed, it is still remarkable when you compare it to the approach Belichick has taken over the last decade. The $146 million is nearly half of all the money the Patriots have spent on free agents combined in the past 10 years.

By the time the day ended, the Patriots did even more damage. They added receivers Nelson Agholor (2 years, $26 million) and Kendrick Bourne (3 years, $22.5 million) and defensive lineman Deatrich Wise (4 years, $30 million).

There are several reasons why the Patriots are spending more this offseason than usual. For starters, Tom Brady’s money is now off the books. While Brady consistently took less than market value, he still earned significantly more than what New England is paying Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham.

Of course, the Patriots also have more holes to fill than usual this offseason. It makes sense that Belichick is trying to use free agency to re-tool after a 7-9 season. In the past, his rosters have been so good that he could focus more on re-signing his own players than scouring free agency.

Time will tell if the aggressive and unfamiliar approach pays off. All we know is most Patriots fans are pleased with it, and the team even sent a hilarious tweet about the big splashes.

Matt Judon agrees to deal with Patriots

Matthew Judon

The New England Patriots have already made multiple key signings in free agency, and pass-rusher Matt Judon is the latest.

Judon and the Patriots have agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Judon made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. The 28-year-old had six sacks last season and 9.5 the year before. He is considered one of the top free agents and pass-rushers on the market.

There was a report last month that Judon turned down a long-term deal with the Ravens that was worth more than $16.5 million per year. Judon denied it and threatened to retaliate against the reporter.

The Patriots had more than $60 million in salary cap space entering the offseason, and they have wasted no time spending it. They signed star tight end Jonnu Smith and nose tackle Davo Godchaux on Monday. The team sent a funny tweet about the big moves.

Patriots send great tweet amid free agent spending spree

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots have begun their offseason spending spree, and the best reaction to Monday’s big moves may have come from the team’s official Twitter account.

Bill Belichick made a pair of big free agent signings on Monday when the Patriots agreed to deals with star tight end Jonnu Smith and nose tackle Davon Godchaux. Shortly after the news became public, the team’s official Twitter account shard a photo with no caption.

You may recognize the photo from last year’s virtual NFL Draft. ESPN had live cameras set up to capture the setups from every team’s head coach and general manager, and Belichick’s dog may as well have made one of the Patriots’ picks. You can see what happened here.

If Belichick’s dog is the one who decided to address the team’s need for a pass-catching tight end and interior lineman, he’s going to be even more endeared to fans in New England.

Jonnu Smith agrees to four-year deal with Patriots

The New England Patriots had arguably the worst collection of skill players in the NFL last season, and they are trying to address that heading into 2021. They felt signing star tight end Jonnu Smith was a good place to start.

Smith and the Patriots have agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract. Smith’s agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the deal includes just north of $31 million guaranteed.

Smith was the best tight end on the free agent market and one of the best players overall. The 25-year-old posted career highs across the board with the Tennessee Titans last season, including 41 catches, 448 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Patriots desperately lacked both a receiving tight end and red zone option in 2020, so Smith should help address both of those needs.

Bill Belichick will likely look to add another skill player or two in the coming days, as the Patriots have plenty of salary cap space.

Ex-Patriots executive shares great story about Tom Brady contract negotiation

Tom Brady Bucs

Tom Brady agreed to a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week that lowered his salary cap hit and will pay him much less than some of his peers. To those who have followed Brady’s Hall of Fame career, that was the expected outcome. Former New England Patriots executive Scott Pioli certainly was not surprised.

Pioli, who worked in player personnel with the Patriots from 2000-2008, was one of the people who negotiated Brady’s first ever NFL contract extension. He shared a great story about that process on CBS this week.

According to Pioli, Brady at one point stepped in between his agent Don Yee and Pioli when the two were negotiating Brady’s deal. Pioli says Brady asked, “When is enough, enough?”

“Does he like to get paid like everybody else? Sure he does,” Pioli said. “But he doesn’t worry about being a pig. Winning championships is just as important as getting paid. … He told Bill (Belichick) and myself, ‘Listen guys, I will take less as long as you promise to take that extra money and continue to build a good team around me.'”

Brady took less than market value on his contracts throughout his entire two-decade tenure with the Patriots. It is a common misconception that he did that to help the team. Brady has always cared more about his legacy than being the highest-paid player in the NFL, and taking less money allowed New England to stay out of salary cap jail. The arrangement benefitted both sides.

Even when Brady chose to leave New England last year, it wasn’t about the money. He wanted a better supporting case, and the tweet he sent after signing his Bucs extension was a reminder of that.

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