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Patriots reportedly expecting to bring back S Duron Harmon

03.09.17 at 12:25 pm ET
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Duron Harmon reportedly is expected to return to the Patriots. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Duron Harmon reportedly is expected to return to the Patriots. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

The 2017 Patriots secondary is starting to take form.

After reportedly signing cornerback Stephon Gilmore earlier this morning, the Patriots are expected to re-sign safety Duron Harmon, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

Harmon has worked well with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, giving the team many different looks in the secondary. The Rutgers product was drafted by the Patriots in the third-round of the 2013 draft.

Prior to Super Bowl LI, Harmon told WEEI.com he would love to return to New England.

“Definitely. I love it here. I definitely love it here,” he said. “I like playing for this organization. I love this organization. They do things the right way and I know they play the game the right way. I’ve learned so much being here. I’ve become a good player here and I wanted to continue to grow here.”

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Duron Harmon,

Dont’a Hightower reportedly getting interest from Titans, LB seeking $10-13 million

03.09.17 at 11:08 am ET
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Dont'a Hightower reportedly is getting interest from the Titans. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

Dont’a Hightower reportedly is getting interest from the Titans. (Dan Powers/USA Today Sports)

There’s at least one team interested in linebacker Dont’a Hightower besides the Patriots — the Titans.

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Titans have interest in the linebacker and he’s said to be seeking a deal in the $10-13 million range.

Hightower comes from Tennessee and has recently built a house in Nashville. Former Patriots executive Jon Robinson is the Titans’ general manager, so there are certainly some ways to connect him to Tennessee.

If Hightower is actually seeking $10-13 million, that could be a sign he has a good chance of returning to New England. It would seem likely a deal with the Patriots would be on the lower end given the familiarity and chance to win a Super Bowl meaning something to Hightower.

It seems like the Patriots are allowing Hightower to test the market and see what he’s worth before he returns to the team with his offers and Bill Belichick and Co. decide how to proceed.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Dont'a Hightower,

Mike Florio on Kirk & Callahan: Bill Belichick may be using Adam Schefter to increase Jimmy Garoppolo’s value

03.09.17 at 11:01 am ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo's future in New England promises to be a hot topic all offseason long. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s future in New England promises to be a hot topic all offseason long. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter sent shockwaves through the football world when he said the Patriots aren’t expected to trade Jimmy Garoppolo this year. In an interview with WEEI’s OM&F, Schefter doubled down on his report, saying he guaranteed Garoppolo would be with New England next season.

On Kirk & Callahan Thursday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said he doesn’t share Schefter’s certainty. While he thinks it’s possible Garoppolo could stay with the Patriots, he’s not ready to dismiss the possibility of a trade.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘I guarantee you that Garoppolo will be on the Patriots.’ It’s another thing to say they’re not expected to trade him,” Florio said. “When you say ‘not expected to trade,’ that very well may be true at the time, but a message that is being sent by Bill Belichick through Adam Schefter to the rest of the league that ‘I am not going to enter into any negotiations from a position of weakness. I am going to enter into those talks from a position of strength.'”

When informed about Schefter’s guarantee, Florio brushed it aside.

“I think that it’s a safe guess to make. What’s going to happen? Are they going to fire him if he’s wrong about that?,” he asked.

Later in the interview, Florio floated out his own Garoppolo theory. He says he can envision the 2014 second-round pick signing a contract extension with the Patriots and waiting to take over for Tom Brady –– even if it takes several more years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adam schefter, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Florio, New England Patriots

Reported signing of CB Stephon Gilmore has big impact on Malcolm Butler

03.09.17 at 10:55 am ET
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Malcolm Butler reportedly could be traded to the Saints. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler reportedly could be traded to the Saints. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots made a huge move Thursday morning by reportedly agreeing to sign cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year deal, which will be worth at least $14 million per season.

A huge deal by Patriots standards.

This deal has major impacts on restricted free agent Malcolm Butler, who reportedly got a first-round tender and will be paid $3.91 million next season before being an unrestricted free agent after this year.

First off, Butler is likely not thrilled with the Patriots signing Gilmore given his own situation. He already wasn’t happy having to play last year for $600,000, and now the team essentially prioritizing Gilmore over him could be taken as a slap in the face. This could also be seen that the Patriots will not be able to sign Butler long-term.

Butler likely won’t sign for a penny less than $14 million per year and the Patriots are not a team to pay two cornerbacks that much money. Keep in mind the team still has second-round pick Cyrus Jones and Eric Rowe on the roster. Jones has a ton of talent despite his disappointing rookie year, and Rowe showed signs of potential as well.

As a restricted free agent, Butler can get offers from other teams, but the Patriots would have the right to match the offer and if he does sign with another team the Patriots would get a first-round pick in return. From a Patriots perspective, they would want this to happen and a team offer Butler less than $14 million, which the Patriots would in all likelihood match.

Another scenario is Butler gets traded, which has been reported.

The reported trade has Butler going to the Saints in exchange for receiver Brandin Cooks, who the Patriots have shown and interest in since last weekend. If the Patriots have no plans on signing Butler long-term and he’s going to be upset, why not part ways with him and get a good player in return, especially one in Cooks that is under contract for two more years (team option for 2018)?

A straight up trade could happen, but it is likely draft picks will be involved, as the Saints have wanted at least a first-round pick for Cooks as of last weekend.

As is always the case with the Patriots, moves are made for a reason and the Gilmore signing could have been an indication of a bigger plan for Butler.

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Brandin Cooks, Malcolm Butler,

Patriots reportedly considering trading Malcolm Butler to Saints for WR Brandin Cooks

03.09.17 at 10:27 am ET
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The Patriots could trade Malcolm Butler to the Saints for Brandin Cooks. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots could trade Malcolm Butler to the Saints for Brandin Cooks. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Maybe there is a second move to be made following the Patriots’ reportedly signing Stephon Gilmore.

According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Patriots are considering trading Malcolm Butler to the Saints for Brandin Cooks.

This makes sense on a lot of levels. The Saints are desperate for help on defense, and the Patriots need a long-term solution at wide receiver.

The two teams reportedly discussed a trade last weekend for Cooks, but an offer of the Patriots’ first-round pick was turned down.

A potential deal could have the Patriots sending Butler and their No. 32 overall pick to the Saints for Cooks and their second-round pick (No. 42 overall) — a difference of 10 spots. New Orleans likely would then try and sign Butler to a long-term deal.

With Gilmore reportedly getting $14 million per year over five years, the Patriots will likely not be able to pay Butler long-term. Also, Butler likely is not too thrilled with the Patriots signing a cornerback for that amount of money given his situation of only making $3.91 million in 2017.

The Patriots have Eric Rowe and Cyrus Jones also at cornerback, which is worth keeping in mind. Given the Gilmore signing, Logan Ryan is likely headed elsewhere.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Brandin Cooks, Malcolm Butler,

Patriots reportedly will sign CB Stephon Gilmore to pretty big contract

03.09.17 at 9:15 am ET
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The Patriots reportedly will sign CB Stephon Gilmore. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots reportedly will sign CB Stephon Gilmore. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Maybe the Patriots will make a free agent splash after all.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots will sign free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year deal. He’s played his first five years in the league with the Bills after being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of South Carolina.

Bill Belichick has faced him twice a year since 2012, so has a good idea of what he is as a player, and clearly likes what he’s seen.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport adds the deal is expected to exceed $14 million per year. Over his five-year career, Gillmore has 14 interceptions.

This signing also likely means cornerback Logan Ryan will not be returning to New England, as it doesn’t make much sense to pay two cornerbacks top money when it also has Malcolm Butler. As a comparison, Ryan has 13 interceptions in 64 games, while Gilmore has 13 interceptions in 52 games.

It is worth noting the one knock on Gillmore is his inconsistent play.

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

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Stephon Gillmore,

Martellus Bennett says bye to New England on Twitter

03.08.17 at 11:26 pm ET
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After the Patriots traded for tight end Dwayne Allen it became a formality Martellus Bennett would not be signing a contract with the team.

Late Thursday night, Bennett essentially confirmed that with a few tweets thanking the fans. It was a win-win situation for both Bennett and the team in 2016, as the Patriots won the Super Bowl and because of that and a productive year, Bennett likely has earned himself more money this offseason.

Here’s what Bennett had to say.

Read More: 2017 NFL free agency, Martellus Bennett,
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