February 2, 2018
After leading the league with 18 touchdowns last season, Blount can hardly be blamed for expecting a significant raise. As a committee back used to salt away big leads, though, he often finds himself on the bench when Tom Brady is in comeback mode.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed around the league that an ineffectual Blount has averaged 35.5 yards with a lost fumble in Super Bowl action. Passing-down specialists Shane Vereen and James White, on the other hand, have combined for 216 yards and three touchdowns on 35 touches in a pair of Super Bowl victories.
This isn’t the first time that New England has brought the younger Gronk in house. The Pats signed the fullback to the practice squad in October before releasing and re-signing him three more times throughout the season. Gronkowski finished 2016 on New England’s practice squad after playing one game in Buffalo earlier in the year.
New England employed one fullback, James Develin, on the active roster in 2016, but he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, giving Gronkowski a legitimate chance to earn a roster spot and line up alongside his big brother.
In 10 years with the Jets, Harris compiled 1,087 tackles, 35 sacks, 31 passes defensed and six interceptions. While his play has fallen off with age, Harris remains a tackling stalwart in the middle. He missed his first game in seven years last season.
Harris joins a Patriots linebacking corps that could use depth up the gut. He’s the latest veteran Bill Belichick has pillaged from division rivals, joining corner Stephon Gilmore, running back Mike Gillislee this year and Chris Hogan last offseason.
The Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl title and Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP after the team’s spectacular comeback from a 25-point deficit in the second half against the Falcons — the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
In the wake of everything that’s happened since the Patriots’ last Super Bowl win two years ago, Tuesday’s victory parade probably will be a very memorable event for New England fans and the City of Boston.
Hightower is a three-down ‘backer who can do it all. The 26-year-old turned in a dominant campaign this past season, finishing as the league’s second-rated pass rusher from the inside linebacker position, per Pro Football Focus.
After an early season knee injury, Hightower roared back to anchor New England’s defense from wire to wire. When it mattered most, his strip-sack of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl helped spark New England’s epic comeback against Atlanta. Two years prior, in Super Bowl XLIX, it was Hightower who also made the goal-line stuff of Marshawn Lynch to set the table for Malcolm Butler’s game-clinching pick for the Patriots.
If Butler felt destined to wind up with the Saints, New Orleans put that concept to bed when they selected rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State with the No. 11 pick in last week’s draft.
As for the Patriots, their refusal to deal Butler or backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is just another reminder that New England — instead of taking its foot off the gas — is gearing up for another bona fide push at the Lombardi Trophy.
March 15, 2018
January 11, 2018