FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Fast-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. He is again and “excited it labored out.” Kicker Stephen Gostkowski returned final Sunday from a NFL-USO tour to South Korea, through which he visited U.S. troops and their households at army bases, and he referred to as it an unforgettable and humbling expertise.
I’ve an extended piece on Gostkowski’s journey coming quickly. As a part of our interview on the NFL-USO tour, I requested him about returning to the Patriots after an prolonged time as an unrestricted free agent, with a two-year deal finalized over the past couple of days.
“I am extraordinarily grateful and excited for the chance to maintain enjoying, particularly for this crew. Having needed to wait 13 years to be a free agent form of put a unique spin on issues for me, as a result of I am in an entire totally different place in my life and profession than lots of people once they first have a shot at free company. The issues I had to consider and undergo, and choices I needed to make of whether or not I’d keep or depart, are fully totally different from what I’d have had 10 years in the past after I may have had an opportunity at free company,” mentioned the 35-year-old Gostkowski, who together with his spouse, Hallie, has three kids.
“However having the additional time, and ready and taking my time, actually made me know that I used to be 100 % eager to be right here. I am so blessed to have an opportunity to play 15 years in a single spot. I do know my place is totally different than most. However even in my place, guys which have performed it this lengthy, have in all probability already been with two or three totally different groups. We adore it right here. My household loves it right here. It could have been quite a bit to depart.
“You need to make choices primarily based on a large number of things, and each time I considered what it could be like some other place, I all the time got here again to how a lot I adore it right here. It is a bizarre enterprise, and you must discover each possibility, but it surely was actually robust for me to suppose I used to be ever going to depart. I am excited it labored out and simply grateful for one more alternative to have a crack at enjoying for the Patriots.”
2. The bond that ties Solder and McDaniels. There could be extremely sturdy bonds fashioned between gamers and coaches in soccer, and I discovered of 1 between former Patriots left deal with Nate Solder and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels this past week. Solder was back in Boston with his wife, Lexi, as they were the headline guests for a Boston Children’s Hospital function in which they shared the story of their son, Hudson, who was diagnosed with cancer. Solder was discussing how McDaniels’ emotional support was so meaningful to him at the time of Hudson’s diagnosis, and part of what made the remarks especially poignant was that McDaniels was in the room to hear them. Even though they are now on different teams, the bond remains as strong as ever.
3. TB12’s challenge for 2019. The Patriots begin their voluntary offseason program on Monday, which sparked a recollection of something quarterback Tom Brady said at opening-night festivities for Super Bowl LIII. Brady didn’t attend the voluntary offseason program last year, and he was asked how much he felt that approach contributed to the team’s success.
“I don’t think there’s a strong correlation,” Brady said at the time. “Had I been a part of the offseason, this team would have fought just as hard. We have great leaders. Even when I wasn’t there, I was totally confident the team was doing everything that they needed to do.”
Not long before Brady had shared those thoughts, he had relayed how this offseason was already on his mind before Super Bowl LIII.
“My greatest challenge in 2019 is going to be continuing to prepare the way I want with my body, my mind. It always has its unique challenges. I’ve already got my offseason mapped out,” he said on opening night. “It’s nice when you figure out the Super Bowl is your last game, and you can start penciling in all the dates for your family and so forth. It will be a lot of time with my family and try to get ready for another year.”
4. Did You Know? Receiver Julian Edelman has the richest financial bonus for taking part in the Patriots’ offseason program, at $500,000. That easily outdistances the second player on the list, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, who gets a $200,000 workout bonus. The only other players with six-figure bonuses are outside linebacker John Simon ($150,000), safety Patrick Chung ($100,000), receiver Phillip Dorsett ($100,000) and defensive tackle Mike Pennel ($100,000).
5a. Addition of a new tight end. The Patriots’ signing of Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a one-year, $895,000 minimum deal falls into the it-can’t-hurt-to-give-it-a-look class. That is a low value for a participant who had landed a two-year, $10 million pact final offseason, and, after all, the Patriots have a notable void to fill after Rob Gronkowski’s retirement. The 6-foot-5, 262-pound Seferian-Jenkins runs and catches the ball effectively, and although he has by no means been a mauling blocker, he had a number of snaps tight to the formation within the Jaguars’ win towards the Patriots in Week 2 final season towards Keionta Davis, Kyle Van Noy and Deatrich Clever Jr. On one in all them early within the second quarter, he helped spring T.J. Yeldon for a 15-yard run to the left edge. The Patriots are all the time in search of a mix tight finish and Seferian-Jenkins’ blocking, from my view, would be the key to see if he can turn out to be that within the Patriots’ scheme.
5b. In 2017, when Seferian-Jenkins had his most efficient professional season with the Jets (50 catches), present Patriots assistant coach Mick Lombardi was on the Jets offensive workers. It is sensible to suppose that hyperlink offered the Patriots some strong intelligence on what Seferian-Jenkins was like each day.
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6. Hogan’s departure. Though not a carbon copy, I see some similarities between the free-agent departures of receivers Chris Hogan in 2019 and Wes Welker in 2013. In each instances, my perception is the Patriots had explored extensions effectively earlier than every participant turned a free agent, however the preliminary monetary hole was so extensive in every case that it finally resulted in an excessive amount of floor to make up. Particular to Hogan, by the point free company started, I sensed that each participant and crew considered a contemporary begin as the most effective strategy. I haven’t seen the specifics of Hogan’s one-year deal in Carolina, but it surely was relayed to me that he obtained only a $300,000 signing bonus and has an opportunity to earn a most of $2 million, which stood out as extraordinarily modest primarily based on what his expectations have been at the moment final 12 months.
7. Crystal ball into 2019 schedule. If the previous holds true to kind, the NFL ought to be releasing its 2019 schedule this week, which for a lot of is without doubt one of the most anticipated days of the 12 months as a result of it means autumn and winter plans could be made for journeys with family and friends. The NFL has already confirmed the Patriots will open at house on Sunday evening, Sept. eight, and a part of the enjoyable is contemplating what opponent would possibly match greatest from a scheduling standpoint. My rankings:
Jets: Whereas some would possibly view it as too regional of a matchup, I feel Le’Veon Bell’s return and the rising star of quarterback Sam Darnold makes it a strong match.
Steelers: Plenty of intrigue across the Steelers with out Antonio Brown and Bell, and this sport hasn’t been in prime time lately.
Cowboys: One would suppose this sport would do huge scores later within the season, and is an enormous asset to Fox on one in all its restricted visits to Foxborough, so why waste it on opening evening?
Browns: My former No. 1 alternative, I bumped it down after the Odell Beckham Jr. commerce, pondering the league would not need to waste it in a spot that figures to attract huge scores regardless.
Chiefs: A rematch of the AFC Championship Recreation appears to be too good of a matchup to placed on opening evening.
Payments: A crew that appears to be on the upswing, however my query can be if there may be sufficient nationwide enchantment to present them the Sunday prime-time opener.
Giants: It would not make a lot sense for the groups to fulfill within the fourth preseason sport at Gillette Stadium, after which flip round every week or so later and play a sport that counts in the identical venue.
Dolphins: With Miami in transition, this falls into the uncommon class of not having sufficient enchantment to be on the opening-week nationwide tv schedule.
eight. One thing else to placed on the schedule this week. Finalists for the Patriots Corridor of Fame are anticipated to be introduced by the membership. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour and linebacker Mike Vrabel have been finalists final 12 months, and it is sensible to suppose they will be there once more. So the intrigue comes with the third and remaining spot, with security Rodney Harrison my hunch for filling that place on the poll.
9. From the set-your-clock division. Final 12 months’s first spherical of the NFL draft lasted three hours, 25 minutes, which suggests if the tempo stays true to kind, the Patriots can be on the clock with the 32nd general choose at about 11:15 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 25. That’s, after all, if they do not commerce up with their NFL-high 12 general picks as chips in hand.
10. Add a seventh-rounder for Patriots in 2020. The Patriots and Falcons tied up one unfastened finish from final September by confirming that situations have been met of their September commerce of security Jordan Richards, which suggests the membership will obtain Atlanta’s 2020 seventh-round choose within the change. The situations of the commerce have been tied to what number of occasions Richards was on the 46-man game-day roster. Projected as a core particular groups participant, Richards ended up assuming a bigger function than that, enjoying in 15 video games general, with 12 begins on protection. That heavier-than-expected workload was principally a results of Keanu Neal struggling a season-ending knee harm in Week 1. From a Patriots perspective, Richards seemed to be in jeopardy of not making the 2018 roster, so the power to recoup an asset — albeit a modest one — was sound enterprise.