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Adam Schefter on D&C: Trent Richardson trade not about money 09.23.13 at 10:33 am ET
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ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss a number of NFL news stories from the past week.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

On Wednesday, the Browns shocked the NFL world by trading running back Trent Richardson, whom they took with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, to the Colts for a 2014 first-round pick. Some speculated that Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam traded Richardson as a way to alleviate some of the potential financial cost for a pending lawsuit against his truck stop company, Pilot Flying J. Schefter vehemently denied that speculation.

“I don’t think money had anything to do with it,” said Schefter. “They gave Trent Richardson a $13 million signing bonus right after he was drafted. … So, that makes no sense to me at all.

“I was in Cleveland this summer and I’m taking to [the Browns] and Trent Richardson’s name came up and they say, ‘Yeah, he’s pretty good,’ and I’m like, ‘pretty good? That’s it? The No. 3 pick in the draft?’ And I could tell then that this team does not feel enamored with this guy right now.”

Then, on Friday, San Francisco’s star third-year defensive end Aldon Smith was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession. The 49ers took heat when they decided to play Smith in their 27-7 loss to the Colts before giving him a leave of absence. Schefter had no problem with the 49ers’ decision.

“Aldon Smith has an issue, and he knows he needs treatment, and he’s taken an excused leave of absence, starting today to go seek help. They were concerned that if you take some young 23-year-old kid, who’s got an issue, and you take him away from the football field on Sunday, that it would not be the best decision for him and it would not be safe,” Schefter said.

Smith’s treatment will force him to miss at least the team’s Thursday night game against the Rams, and perhaps even more time.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tom Brady reportedly reaching out to Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd to gauge interest in Pats 09.22.13 at 11:34 am ET
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Tom Brady has reportedly reached out to Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd about a return to New England. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tom Brady has reportedly reached out to Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd about a return to New England. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Apparently Tom Brady really wants help at the wide receiver position.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Michael Silver are reporting that the star quarterback has reached out via text and old-fashioned phone calls to see if either Deion Branch or Brandon Lloyd might be interested in coming back to New England and contribute to the passing game. Rapoport reports that Branch, 34, is in Kentucky and willing to come back while Lloyd’s interest is unknown.

After a first stint in New England that included a Super Bowl XXXIX MVP, Branch came back to the Patriots on Oct. 11, 2010 in a trade for a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He took over for Randy Moss, who was dealt to the Vikings.

In his first game back with the Patriots, Branch had 9 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown in an overtime win over the Ravens. On Thanksgiving, against the Detroit Lions, Branch had a career long 79-yard touchdown catch from Brady in the third quarter, and added a 22-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter in a Patriots win. Two weeks later, against the Chicago Bears, Branch caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from Brady at the end of the first half of a Patriots victory.

In 11 games (nine starts) with the Patriots in 2010, Branch had 48 receptions for 706 yards and five touchdowns. In 2011, Branch had five touchdown receptions and 702 receiving yards. He became a free agent after the season and re-signed on March 22, 2012. Branch was released by the Patriots on Aug. 31, 2012 during final cuts. On Sept. 18, 2012, the Patriots re-signed Branch. On Nov. 17, 2012, The Patriots waived Branch to make room for practice squad receiver Greg Salas. On Dec. 11, 2012 the Patriots re-signed Branch due to injuries to Julian Edelman and Donte Stallworth.

On March 17, 2012, Lloyd, 32, signed a three-year deal with the Patriots for $20 million with incentives to escalate it to $26.5 million. This deal reunited Lloyd with Josh McDaniels, his coach in Denver and offensive coordinator with the Rams. Lloyd finished his only season in New England with 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns. He was released by the Patriots on March 16.

 

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Former Patriots receiver Brandon Lloyd will make acting debut in straight-to-DVD zombie movie 09.17.13 at 9:30 am ET
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Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd is ready for his closeup.

The former Patriots receiver is set to make his acting debut in a straight-to-DVD vehicle about zombies — along with Daniel Baldwin — entitled “After Effect.” The movie, which is set to be released on Oct. 8, will feature Lloyd as Sgt. Chuck Lloyd.

According to the movie’s IMDB page, “When college students sign up for what seems a simple paid research study, they soon realize their lives are in danger. Unfortunately they’ve unknowingly volunteered their bodies as human collateral in an ongoing U.S. Military experiment.”

After he was released this past spring, Lloyd reportedly turned down an offer to return to the Patriots. In his one season with New England, the receiver had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns.

Here’s a clip from the film:

(H/T Nick Underhill)

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Report: Patriots have reached out to WR Brandon Lloyd 09.11.13 at 2:37 pm ET
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Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd

The Patriots have made overtures to wide receiver Brandon Lloyd regarding a possible return to Foxboro, according to Pro Football Talk.

New England is one of six teams that have reportedly reached out to Lloyd about returning for the 2013 season, but the receiver — who was cut by the Patriots this past spring after one year in Foxboro — has rejected all offers, and is apparently considering whether or not he wants to retire.

The 32-year-old Lloyd had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns last season with the Patriots, his only one in New England. Overall, the Illinois product has spent 10 years in the NFL, and has 385 catches for 5,695 yards and 35 touchdowns.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Another reset of Patriots depth chart at wide receiver 04.10.13 at 4:49 pm ET
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Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman

After a busy morning that included the extension of an offer sheet to Emmanuel Sanders and the apparent agreement on a one-year deal between the Patriots and Julian Edelman, it’s time once again to reset the depth chart at wide receiver for New England.

As was the case when we did this last month, it’s important to remember that there is still time in the team-building process (between the end of free agency and the draft), so things can change between now and the start of the 2013 season. But as it stands right now, here’s a thumbnail look at each one of the receivers who are currently on the roster, as well as some possible additions for New England at the position between now and the start of the season.

Julian Edelman: Right now, Edelman is the only receiver on the roster who caught a pass from Tom Brady in 2012. The former college quarterback, who was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2009, has spent the last four seasons with New England, and has 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns as a pro. It will be interesting to see what sort of role he has in the 2013 passing game — he had a terrific offseason last year, and as a result, got off to an impressive start (10 catches in first two-plus games) before a late September injury. Right now, he likely figures as a backup to Amendola, but if he stays healthy, the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder should have an important role in the offense and on special teams.

Donald Jones: Right now, Jones figures to be in the mix for the No. 3 receiver spot, but as always, that situation remains fluid based on other possible free-agent additions as well as what the Patriots might do in the draft. The 6-foot, 208-pound Jones is a Youngstown State product who spent three seasons in the league, all with the Bills, and has 82 career receptions. His best year came in 2012 when he caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Jones has some experience in the slot, as well as outside.

Danny Amendola: The big offseason addition at receiver, Amendola will likely be the closest thing the Patriots have to a traditional wide receiver in 2013. Amendola has worked in the slot and outside, and will likely be asked to do both in the New England offense. The 27-year-old, who had a career-high 85 catches for St. Louis in 2010, has followed an eerily similar career arc as Welker, who blossomed when he first arrived in New England in 2007. The Patriots hope that the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder can continue on the same path that saw Welker — who was a little-used part of the Miami offense before he arrived in Foxboro — catch 100 passes in five of his six seasons with the Patriots.

Mike Jenkins: The addition of Jenkins looks to be a case of the Patriots kicking the tires on a veteran to see if he has anything left in the tank. The 30-year-old, who has had knee issues the last few years, caught 40 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Vikings. He’s a 6-foot-4, 214-pounder out of Ohio State who has been in the league for nine seasons — seven with the Falcons and the last two with Minnesota. His best seasons came in 2007 and 2008, when he caught a combined 103 passes for 1,309 yards and seven touchdowns. If he does stick, it will be for depth purposes.

Not currently on the roster, but possible additions.

Emmanuel Sanders: While Sanders isn’t technically a Patriot just yet, we will include him here for purposes of this exercise. Like Amendola (and, to a lesser extent, Jones and Edelman), Sanders does have some position experience in that he’s played both in the slot and outside. The 26-year-old, a third-round pick out of SMU in 2010 by the Steelers, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012, starting seven games. In his three-year career, Sanders has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five touchdowns. For more on Sanders and his potential impact here in New England, click here.

Brandon Lloyd: With each passing day — and with each subsequent addition the team makes to its receiving corps — the chances of Lloyd’s return seem to grow faint. He was released last month, just prior to the date the team was contractually obligated to deliver a $3 million roster bonus. In his one season with the Patriots, Lloyd had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns. While he had some terrific moments — including eight catches against Arizona, nine against Baltimore and 10 against the Niners — he was underwhelming at times.

Deion Branch: Branch, who will be 34 before the start of the 2013 season, has to be considered a long shot to return, but it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 5-foot-9, 195-pounder back on an emergency basis if needed. He ended the 2012 season with 16 catches for 145 yards in 10 games for New England.

(In addition, the Patriots depth chart also includes Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Ebert and Andre Holmes. Ebert was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots last season who spent some time on the practice squad, while Aiken ended the season on the practice squad and Holmes was added to the roster in January after spending part of the 2012 season with the Cowboys. And while Matthew Slater is technically listed as a wide receiver, he’s more of a special teamer.)

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Resetting Patriots depth chart at wide receiver 03.26.13 at 2:10 pm ET
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Donald Jones

Donald Jones

For the Patriots, the personnel changes at wide receiver this offseason are nothing new. Since he assumed the starting job in 2001, Tom Brady has gone through several different groups of receivers, and as the Patriots’ passing game continues to evolve, the 2013 incarnation will be the fifth different group that Brady will work with.

While other ancillary wide receivers came and went — and with the understanding that the Patriots have bolstered the depth at the tight end position as the depth at receiver has diminished — here’s the overall nucleus of the wide receiver position since Brady assumed the starting job in 2001.

2001-2004: Troy Brown, David Patten, David Givens, Deion Branch.
2005-2006: Branch, Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney.
2007-2009: Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte’ Stallworth.
2010-2012: Wes Welker, Branch, Brandon Lloyd.

With the understanding that there’s still a lot of time in the team-building process between now and the start of training camp (between the end of free agency and the draft) here’s a look at depth chart at receiver for the Patriots, as well as some possibilities for New England at the receiver position between now and the start of the season.

Donald Jones: The 6-foot, 208-pound Jones is a Youngstown State product who spent three seasons in the league, all with the Bills, and has 82 career receptions. His best year came in 2012 when the 25-year-old caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns.

Danny Amendola: The 27-year-old, who had a career-high 85 catches for St. Louis in 2010, has followed an eerily similar career arc as Welker, who blossomed when he first arrived in New England in 2007. The Patriots hope that the 5-foot-11, 188-pounder can continue on the same path that saw Welker — who was a little-used part of the Miami offense before he arrived in Foxboro — catch 100 passes in five of his six seasons with the Patriots.

(In addition, the Patriots depth chart also includes Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Ebert and Andre Holmes. Ebert was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots last season who spent some time on the practice squad, while Aiken ended the season on the practice squad and Holmes was added to the roster in January after spending part of the 2012 season with the Cowboys. And while Matthew Slater is technically listed as a wide receiver, he’s more of a special teamer.)

There remains a handful of free-agent possibilities for the Patriots, including four guys who have suited up for New England in the past and could be called upon once again:

Julian Edelman: A seventh-round pick out of Kent State in 2009, Edelman has shown flashes over his first four seasons in a New England uniform, including 37 catches as a rookie, and 21 receptions at the start of the 2012 season when he saw an uptick in playing time, mostly at the expense of Welker. Presuming he does return, the 5-foot-10, 200-pounder could pick up some of the targets that went to Welker over the last few seasons.

Brandon Lloyd: Lloyd was released earlier this month before the team was set to deliver a $3 million roster bonus. In his one season with the Patriots, Lloyd had 74 catches for 911 yards and four touchdowns. While he had some terrific moments — including eight catches against Arizona, nine against Baltimore and 10 against the Niners — he was underwhelming at times. However, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him ultimately return.

Deion Branch: Branch was able to give the Patriots some snaps last season, but was mostly around to help provide some depth at the position. He ended the season with 16 catches for 145 yards in 10 games for New England. Branch, who will be 34 before the start of the 2013 season, has to be considered a longshot to return, but it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 5-foot-9, 195-pounder back on an emergency basis if he was needed.

Donte’ Stallworth: Stallworth, who has had two different stints with the Patriots (including last year, which consisted of one catch, which ended up going 63 yards for a touchdown against the Texans before he went on season-ending IR), was involved in a hot-air balloon accident earlier this month in Florida. While he has spent some time in the hospital, if the 32-year-old is still able to play come the summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise if New England at least kicked the tires on Stallworth to see if he still had anything left in the tank.

And when it comes to free agent possibilities, it’s fair to include restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders, who would cost the Patriots a third-round pick but still interests the New England brain trust for all the reasons we listed here. The 26-year-old Sanders, a third-round pick out of SMU in 2010 by the Steelers, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012, starting seven games. In his three-year career, Sanders has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five touchdowns.

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Four final Saturday thoughts on Patriots and free agency 03.17.13 at 12:36 am ET
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Turns out the Patriots were interested in wide receiver Greg Jennings. (AP)

It turns out the Patriots were interested in wide receiver Greg Jennings. (AP)

Four Patriots-related thoughts as business comes to a close on Saturday:

Brandon Lloyd: There’s extreme makeover, and then, there’s what the Patriots are doing at wide receiver. As it stands right now, the Patriots don’t have a single receiver on the roster that caught a pass for them last season. That doesn’t mean that they won’t bring back Lloyd (who was cut Saturday afternoon) or re-sign Julian Edelman (who is still an available free agent). But right now, New England is looking at a depth chart at wide receiver that includes newcomers Donald Jones and Danny Amendola. Strange days, indeed.

Two more notes on the wide receiver position: First, as of this moment, there’s no offer sheet for Emmanuel Sanders. The receiver, who will turn 26 on Sunday, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012 for Pittsburgh, starting seven games. In his three-year career, Sanders has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five TDs. And two, this little nugget showed up late Saturday night: the Patriots were initially interested in Greg Jennings. According to Bob McGinn, “According to an NFL source, the New England Patriots offered Jennings a deal averaging $6 million but didn’t get very far. Then the Patriots turned to St. Louis’ Danny Amendola as the replacement for Wes Welker.” Jennings ended up signing with the Vikings, a five-year deal valued at $47.5 million with $18 million guaranteed.

Sebastian Vollmer: The right tackle is playing the waiting game at this point — along with most of the other elite free agent offensive linemen like Jake Long and Andre Smith — as the market continues to shake itself out. The first domino that is expected to fall is Long, who is still picking and choosing after a ridiculously long visit with the Rams. After Long’s deal sets the marketplace, Vollmer should follow soon after that. If he did come back to New England (and right now, it’s my guess that he does return, eventually), the Patriots might build some playtime incentives into his deal like they apparently did with Amendola. The new receiver has incentives for staying healthy — if he plays all 16 games all five years of his contract, he’ll make an extra $500,000 a year. Vollmer, who has also struggled with injuries over the last couple of years, has been an elite tackle when healthy, but injuries have slowed him in the past (particularly in 2011). But considering the market, the Patriots were wise not to use the franchise tag (it would have been $9.7 million) on him this year.

Aqib Talib: You rarely see two sides display such astounding common sense when it comes to negotiations, but the Patriots and the veteran corner handled this situation about as well as could be expected. New England read the market perfectly in this case — it’s a depressed year for corners — and instead of panicking and slapping the franchise tag on him (particularly in the wake of Alfonzo Dennard‘s murky legal future) which would have cost them $10.7 million, they waited it out and let the market set. As for Talib, he’s betting on himself to have a top-level year, and test the market again in 2014. The Patriots get a motivated player, while Talib gets a market-value deal and one more chance to prove to the rest of the league he deserves a big payday. Both sides get a big thumbs up for this one.

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