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Kony Ealy didn’t expect to be traded, but is looking forward to time with Patriots

03.16.17 at 3:02 pm ET
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Kony Ealy didn't expect to be traded by the Panthers. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Kony Ealy didn’t expect to be traded by the Panthers. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

With a number of defensive ends in Carolina, the Panthers felt they could not keep all of them and ended up by trading defensive end Kony Ealy to the Patriots along with a third-round pick in exchange for the Patriots’ second-round pick last Friday.

The trade caught Ealy off guard, but he understands the NFL is a business.

“No, but this is a business so you have to prepare for anything,” he said on a conference call Thursday when asked if he expected to be traded. “I’ve been preparing my whole life for different outcomes and obstacles so I try not to get up or down. It’s just another thing and another part of life. Just have to take your opportunities and make the most of them.”

Ealy, 25, was a second-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Missouri. He’s most known for his performance in Super Bowl 50 when he became the only player in Super Bowl history to record multiple sacks and record an interception in the game.

In his three seasons with the Panthers, he’s totaled 76 tackles and 14 sacks. The one knock on him his is inconsistency rushing the passer, which he will be asked to do as part of the Patriots’ rotation at defensive end. He’s had five sacks each of the last two seasons.

He’s looking forward to the opportunity of now playing for the Patriots.

“First of all, I would just like to thank the New England front office for choosing me, or allowing me to come and learn from the greats,” Ealy said. “Learning how to take my game to the next level. I am going to come in and try and contribute to another winning season.”

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New DL Lawrence Guy: ‘You can’t really pass up an opportunity to play for the Patriots’

03.16.17 at 2:36 pm ET
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Lawrence Guy was already talking like a Patriot on Thursday. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Lawrence Guy was already talking like a Patriot on Thursday. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Being a 26-year-old free agent, defensive lineman Lawrence Guy had a few opportunities with different teams, but in the end he chose to sign with the Patriots.

Guy, who has played for the Colts, Chargers and Ravens in his six seasons in the league, said it wasn’t a tough choice.

“It’s a really good team,” he said on a conference call Thursday. “They have a great owner, Mr. Kraft and a great coach in Bill Belichick. It’s one of those opportunities that I got put in front of me and you can’t really pass up an opportunity to play for the Patriots. Great organization and I would like to continue my career here in New England.”

The defensive tackle has spent the last three years with the Ravens. Last season he had 28 tackles and a sack and in 2015 he had 4.5 sacks, but he’s most known for being a run-stopper.

Less than a week after signing, he was already speaking like a Patriot.

“My strength as a player [is] I am a hard worker,” Guy said. “That is one thing I pride myself on, is doing everything I can for the team and my fellow teammates. I am accountable. I want the person playing next to me, behind me, to count on me because they know if I need to be there I am going to be there. They can trust that I am understanding the game. I am understanding how everybody plays.

“It’s one of those things that I pride myself in — I am going to go out there and every single play I am going to give it my best and every single play no doubt that you’re going to look at me like, ‘OK, he’s a good player and he wants to go out there and play some football.'”

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Bill Belichick attends Vanderbilt pro day

03.16.17 at 1:23 pm ET
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A day after agreeing to re-sign Dont’a Hightower, Bill Belichick is back on the scouting trail.

The coach was spotted at Vanderbilt’s pro day on Thursday. This comes after he was at Alabama’s last week. Belichick likes to be hands on in scouting players for the draft, so he will be seen at more and more of these as the weeks go on.

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Patriots far and away Super Bowl 52 favorites

03.16.17 at 1:01 pm ET
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Bill Belichick and the Patriots are Super Bowl 52 favorites. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots are Super Bowl 52 favorites. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

A week after free agency started, Bovada has put out its Super Bowl 52 odds and the Patriots are far and away the favorites.

The Patriots currently have 4/1 odds to win Super Bowl 52, which is better than the 5/1 odds it had before free agency opened. The next closest teams are the Cowboys, Steelers and Packers at 10/1 odds.

Bovada also put out Brandin Cooks over/under’s for next year. They have over/under 6.5 touchdowns and over/under 900 receiving yards.

The Patriots have been very active in free agency by adding Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, Kony Ealy and Lawrence Guy, while only losing Martellus Bennett, Logan Ryan and potentially Malcolm Butler.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

If Malcolm Butler were to leave, Patriots have internal options at cornerback

03.16.17 at 11:15 am ET
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Some people forget the Patriots still have Cyrus Jones. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Some people forget the Patriots still have Cyrus Jones. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler is in New Orleans meeting with the Saints and it appears it’s more and more likely Butler will not be playing in New England next season given how far things have gone to this point.

The 27-year-old could have another team sign him to an offer sheet and the Patriots could refuse to match and they would get a first-round pick in return, or he simply could be traded

The Patriots gained Stephon Gilmore, but lost Logan Ryan so from the 2016 defense, Gilmore would replace Butler, but they would still be without a No. 2 cornerback. It’s too late in the game to add a quality player via free agency and the Patriots likely won’t be able to land a NFL-ready cornerback in the draft, so they may need to rely on players already in their system.

And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

New England had a few cornerbacks show flashes last season, and just look at Butler himself after Revis left. He went from an undrafted rookie to a No. 1 corner. While no one will likely make that jump, the Patriots have players capable of developing into quality No. 2 cornerbacks to play opposite Gilmore.

Cyrus Jones — People forget Jones was a second-round pick out of Alabama. While he had a disappointing rookie season, he’s a talented player. There’s a reason he was a second-round pick. He himself admitted he needs to be better and seems like a player determined to prove to people his rookie season was not how his entire NFL career will go. If Jones puts the time in, and doesn’t let his rookie season get to him, there’s a good chance he could be a solid No. 2 cornerback in New England next season.

Eric Rowe — This is proving to be a great trade for the Patriots, as they acquired the corner for a conditional fourth-round pick early last season from the Eagles. At 6-foot-1, he’s a relatively bigger cornerback and proved he can go against some of the best big receivers in the league. He shut down A.J. Green in the second half of the Bengals game last season. Rowe even was ahead of Ryan on the depth chart in the middle of last season. There is a talented player there and seems to be poised for a big role in 2017.

Jonathan Jones — The undrafted rookie mostly played special teams last year, but when Cyrus Jones struggled, Jonathan Jones stepped in and played pretty well in the slot. While he certainly cannot be counted on in a big role, if he continues to develop, the Patriots could use him a good amount next season in sub-packages.

Justin Coleman — Coleman had a tough 2016 season, but he’s been in the Patriots’ system for a few seasons and who knows, maybe he steps up and can be a contributor. Stranger things have happened in Foxboro.

Read More: Cyrus Jones, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones, Justin Coleman

Brandin Cooks: ‘One thing you can’t measure is heart and I feel like I’ve got one of the biggest hearts out there’

03.16.17 at 6:00 am ET
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Brandin Cooks isn't bothered by being so small.  (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandin Cooks isn’t bothered by being so small. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Standing 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Brandin Cooks isn’t a big receiver by any means, and has been reminded of that going back to his days at Oregon State.

Speaking on a conference call with the New England media Wednesday, Cooks said being small has never bothered, or affected him.

“I mean quote-unquote ‘always being the small guy’ has been fun for me because it’s a challenge and I love challenges,” Cooks said. “But having three older brothers, being in the household, you’ve got to fight them all the time to get what you want. I think that helped a lot as far as the toughness, but as you all know and as has been said plenty of times from guys like me, one thing you can’t measure is heart and I feel like I’ve got one of the biggest hearts out there. Physical wise, I’m not too worried about it. It’s just playing ball and doing what I have to do.”

Cooks will likely line up all over the field with the Patriots — both wide and in the slot.  The 23-year-old doesn’t have a preference where.

“As far as going into detail on what I would like to do, I’d rather not go into detail,” Cooks said. “But as far as playing in the slot, I definitely think I can do that at a high level. It’ll be all about what coach [Bill] Belichick and the offense think I can fit well at and just doing my job the best that I can.”

Last season with the Saints, Cooks totaled 78 receptions for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns.

Read More: Brandin Cooks,

Malcolm Butler reportedly met with Saints ahead of schedule

03.15.17 at 8:12 pm ET
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Malcolm Butler reportedly met with the Saints on Wednesday. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler reportedly met with the Saints on Wednesday. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

It appears Malcolm Butler was very anxious to meet with the Saints.

According to Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate, Butler was at the Saints’ facility on Wednesday to meet with the team. The 27-year-old was scheduled to meet with the team on Thursday.

Butler is a restricted free agent meaning if the Saints put in an offer sheet, the Patriots would have the right to match. If not, the Saints would have to give up their own first-round pick. This means it would be the No. 11 overall pick, not the No. 32 pick the Patriots traded them for Brandin Cooks last week.

Butler was placed with a first-round tender meaning he’s on the books in 2017 for $3.91 million.

Another possibility is a trade, which has been rumored over the past few days. The Patriots could do the Saints a favor and not get their No. 11 overall pick in return, but their own first-round pick back (No. 32) and potentially other picks from the Saints. This could happen given Bill Belichick and Sean Payton’s relationship.

With how far this has gone, it would appear Butler’s days as a member of the Patriots are limited.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Malcolm Butler,
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