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No asking price is too high for Jimmy Garoppolo –– and teams should be willing to pay it 03.13.17 at 1:47 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo's future with the Patriots will likely be a story all year long. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the Patriots could be a story all offseason. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

If the Patriots are going to deal Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s apparent they want multiple first-round picks in return. Recent history suggests that’s a more than appropriate demand. Teams would be crazy to turn it down.

Despite Adam Schefter’s insistence that Garoppolo will stay in New England, trade rumors involving him will likely persist throughout the offseason –– and possibly into training camp. The Browns, due to their abundance of draft picks and pressing need for a quarterback, are often cited as the most sensible landing spot for Garoppolo. But apparently, they’re not willing to pay the necessary price.

According to Mary Cay Kabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns refuse to part with two first-round picks in order to bring Garoppolo aboard. She reports Cleveland insists on hanging onto the No. 1 overall selection, which it will likely use to draft defensive standout Myles Garrett.

While surrendering at least a couple of high draft picks to acquire somebody who’s played just five and a half impressive quarters in the NFL may seem outlandish, it’s the market rate for Garoppolo. Teams give up that kind of draft capital to bring in quarterbacks who haven’t even stepped onto a professional field.

Five years ago, the Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder to the Rams for the chance to draft Robert Griffin III. Following his Heisman trophy win as a senior with Baylor in 2011, Griffin looked like he was ready to dominate in the NFL. Washington gave up a lot to get him, of course, but a franchise quarterback is priceless. RGIII took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, but then injuries derailed his career. The Browns released him earlier this month.

The Rams and Eagles followed in the Redskins’ footsteps last year, when they each traded two first-round picks for the opportunity to draft Jared Goff (No. 1) and Carson Wentz (No. 2), respectively. Though Wentz showed some flashes of brilliance, neither quarterback impressed in his rookie campaign. Goff didn’t even start until Week 10.

There’s no guarantee Garoppolo, 25, will be a perennial Pro Bowler, but he has a better chance than rookies like Wentz and Goff. Garoppolo played spectacularly well during last year’s season-opener, posting a 106.1 rating in the Patriots’ 23-21 win at Arizona. His first half against the Dolphins the following week, in which he threw for three touchdown passes before leaving with a shoulder injury, was even better. It’s a small sample size, but Garoppolo has shown he can dissect NFL defenses. Oh, and he’s been learning behind Tom Brady for three years as well. That must be worth something.

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots,
Browns could still be suitors for Jimmy Garoppolo after Brock Osweiler trade 03.09.17 at 4:24 pm ET
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Brock Osweiler signed a $72 million contract with the Texans last year. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Brock Osweiler signed a $72 million contract with the Texans last year. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Browns have traded for a quarterback, but it might not take them out of the running for Jimmy Garoppolo.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns have acquired Brock Osweiler, a 2018 second-round pick and 2017 sixth-round selection from the Texans in exchange for a fourth-rounder this year. Cleveland, which had over $100 million in cap space entering free agency, will take on the entirety of Osweiler’s contract.

Osweiler, 26, was abysmal in Houston last season, completing only 59 percent of his passes and posting a QB rating of 72.2.

With those numbers in mind, it’s apparent the Browns aren’t counting on him to be their next franchise quarterback –– or even start next season. Schefter reports Cleveland will likely try to trade Osweiler, though it remains uncertain how many suitors they’ll be for his services. With the Bears signing Mike Glennon and the 49ers bringing Brian Hoyer aboard, it looks like Osweiler’s market will be limited.

Given the Browns’ plethora of cap space, they could be willing to pay Osweiler his full $16 million salary this season and then cut bait with him next year, or cut him now.

Essentially, they’ve bought Houston’s 2018 second-round pick, which is a strategy teams often employ in the NBA.

Throughout the last several months, the Browns have been viewed as a likely destination for Garoppolo. That still doesn’t change, despite Osweiler’s presence. It seems like he was acquired just so Cleveland could secure another draft pick. The Browns are still apparently looking for a quarterback, and Garoppolo remains one of the most enticing options out there. That is, if the Patriots make him available.

Read More: Brock Osweiler, Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots
Patriots Stephon Gilmore signing is one of most bizarre in recent franchise history at 4:00 pm ET
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Stephon Gilmore is now the highest-paid cornerback in Patriots history. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Stephon Gilmore is now the highest-paid cornerback in Patriots history. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Contrary to popular opinion, the Patriots pay top dollar for players. They’re just selective about who they hand their money to.

Two years ago, the Patriots signed Devin McCourty to a five-year, $47.5 million contract with $28.5 million guaranteed, more than any other safety in the league at the time. They also once made Logan Mankins the highest-paid guard in the NFL and Vince Wilfork the highest-paid nose tackle. All three of those players were drafted and developed by New England, earning their paydays after years of work with the organization. So it’s not unusual to see the Patriots shell out big bucks to sign elite talent. But it’s peculiar to see them do it on the first day of free agency, especially to acquire somebody who’s never played under Bill Belichick.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots have inked former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million guaranteed. That’s the most guaranteed money the Patriots have ever given a defensive player by more than $11 million. With a $13 million yearly salary, Gilmore is now in the same financial neighborhood as Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, Trumaine Johnson, Josh Norman and Joe Haden –– all of whom make more than $12 million annually.

On paper, Gilmore’s resume is exemplary. As the No. 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, he came into the league with high expectations. Gilmore grew into a No. 1 corner with the Bills, snatching five interceptions last season to earn his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. At 26 years old, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back appears ready to break out.

But there are concerning signs if you look deeper into the numbers. Gilmore played an abysmal first half of the season in 2016, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 82nd among cornerbacks. Perhaps his low point came in Week 8 against the Patriots, when the Bills’ secondary allowed Tom Brady to throw for 315 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-25 whooping.

The last time the Patriots plucked a big-ticket cornerback off the open market was Darrelle Revis in 2014, but he was signed to a glorified one-year deal. New England failed to exercise his exorbitant $20 million option in 2015, letting him return to the Jets. Coming off an injury-riddled season with the Buccaneers, Revis was a value signing. The same can’t be said for Gilmore, who’s now getting paid like a perennial Pro Bowler. It seems as if the Patriots have decided to hitch the future of their secondary on him.

With Gilmore signed for the next five years, Malcolm Butler’s future is now in question. He was recently slapped with a first-round tender, which means if he can’t work out a long-term deal with the Patriots, he’ll make $3.91 million next season. It’s a substantial raise from his $600,000 salary in 2016, but far below Gilmore’s value.

Butler, 27, profiles as the perfect Patriot. The undrafted rookie out of West Alabama was the hero in Super Bowl XLIX, snatching the game-winning interception on the goal line. Since then, he’s developed into a legitimate No. 1 corner. Last season, Butler broke up 12 passes and had nine games in which he allowed two or fewer completions. He also surrendered fewer than 20 receiving yards seven times.

With that kind of progression, Butler seemed to be a prime candidate for a long-term extension this offseason. But with Gilmore now on board, he’ll probably seek a similar contract. It’s difficult to see the Patriots allocating that kind of money to one position.

Since no NFL team has surrendered a first-round pick for a restricted free agent since 2003, it’s possible Butler will be back with the team next season. The Patriots are reportedly considering sending him to the Saints for wideout Brandin Cooks, but it’s rare to see trades of that magnitude come to fruition.

If Butler sticks around next season, the Patriots could have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. But it seems as if his time in New England is coming to an end. The Gilmore acquisition is a bizarre move for a franchise that traditionally prefers to give big contracts to its own guys.

Read More: Malcolm Butler, New England Patriots, Stephon Gilmore,
Mike Florio on Kirk & Callahan: Bill Belichick may be using Adam Schefter to increase Jimmy Garoppolo’s value 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.

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Read More: adam schefter, Jimmy Garoppolo, Mike Florio, New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski’s workout routine is as wild as you imagined 03.08.17 at 4:17 pm ET
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If you want to work out like Rob Gronkowski, you need a lot of intensity –– and an apparent endless supply of electronic dance music (EDM).

In a video posted to his Instagram, Gronkowski gave everybody a peek into his rehab routine. The 27-year-old tight end is recovering from back surgery, at least his ninth operation since 2009.

Though he was sidelined for the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl LI, Gronkowski has been front-and-center this offseason. He was the star of the Patriots’ parade and made a highly publicized appearance at the Daytona 500. This week, Gronkowski stopped by an elementary school, where he unleashed a special Gronk spike.

Read More: New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski,
Bill Polian says he had a first-round grade on Tom Brady. He’s almost certainly lying 03.07.17 at 3:55 pm ET
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It's safe to say Tom Brady is the best sixth-round pick in NFL history. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

It’s safe to say Tom Brady is the best sixth-round pick in NFL history. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Maybe former Colts general manager Bill Polian did have a first-round grade on Tom Brady before the 2000 NFL Draft. But all discernible evidence says otherwise.

In an interview this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, Polian said he was “really high on Brady.” This statement correlates with comments he made to Sports Illustrated in 2015, when he was asked about which quarterbacks he would’ve drafted if Peyton Manning weren’t on the Colts.

“Well, Roethlisberger later on [in 2004]—we were really high on him. Aaron Rodgers the year after,” Polian said, via For The Win. “That’s the only name that comes to mind right away. And I don’t think there was a guy in between, but Tom Brady would have been a guy, and we were very high on him. Our guys really loved him, but we weren’t in the quarterback market, obviously. Those would be the guys I remember us giving solid, first-round, can-lead-you-to-a-championship grades.”

While it’s true the Colts weren’t looking for a quarterback in 2000, they still could’ve drafted one –– especially if they were so fond of Brady. Indianapolis’ final three picks in the 2000 NFL Draft –– center Matt Johnson, defensive tackle Rob Renes and cornerback Rodregis Brooks –– played a combined five games in the NFL. The Colts had a need for a backup QB in 2000 as well. According to the Football Database, the two pass-throwers behind Manning that season were Billy Joe Hobert and Kelly Holcomb. Indianapolis’ second-stringer quarterback in 2001, Brady’s first year as a starter, was 39-year-old Mark Rypien.

As the Patriots have shown over the last 15 years, it’s possible to draft a quarterback even if the No. 1  job isn’t open. They’ve selected eight QB’s since Brady took over under center, including Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round.

Considering Brady lasted until the Patriots took him with the No. 199 overall pick, it’s fair to surmise nobody was particularly high on him coming out of college. It’s laughable for Polian to say otherwise.

Read More: Bill Polian, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,
Want to understand how Tom Brady thinks? Read his favorite book 03.06.17 at 1:58 pm ET
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"The Four Agreements" provides the ultimate insight into Tom Brady's mindset. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

“The Four Agreements” provides the ultimate insight into Tom Brady’s mindset. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

At the height of the Deflategate saga, Tom Brady turned to the work of a Mexican shaman. don Miguel Ruiz, who published “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” in 1997, is one of the guiding voices in the quarterback’s life. After one reads the book, it’s easy to see how Miguel Ruiz’s teachings influence Brady’s behavior.

Brady first mentioned his affinity for the self-help book in an interview with Dennis & Callahan in September 2015. He said it kept him grounded throughout that turbulent time.

“I read a pretty cool book about nine years ago that is kind of a mantra for my life,” Brady said. “One of the mantras in the book was ‘Don’t take things personally.’ Because a lot of times it’s not about you. It’s about how others may feel about themselves and not necessarily about me personally, Tom Brady.”

Shortly after the interview, “The Four Agreements” shot up the charts on Amazon. In it, Miguel Ruiz outlines four practices meant to help his readers achieve inner-peace and personal freedom. Throughout the 2016 season, whether he was faced Deflategate fallout or controversy over his friendship with President Donald Trump, Brady adhered to those cardinal rules. This is how he did it (quotes are taken from the book’s excerpted version, titled “Wisdom from The Four Agreements”):

Rule No. 1: Be impeccable with your word 

Key teaching: “Being impeccable with your word means using your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself. If I see you in the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I’m using the word against you. But really I’m using my word against myself, because you’re going to hate me, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word send that emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself.”

How it applies to Brady: While Tom Brady Sr. publicly condemned Roger Goodell in the lead up to Super Bowl LI, Brady largely kept his feelings about the commissioner to himself. According to Miguel Ruiz, nothing can be gained from speaking ill of others. All it does is fuel animosity, subtracting from our personal peace.

In this section, Miguel Ruiz also rails against spreading gossip. He relates the practice to a computer virus, saying misinformation can “break down communicating with people, causing every person it touches to become infected and contagious to others.” Perhaps this is the reason why Brady refused to criticize Trump, even when asked about the President’s salacious leaked “Access Hollywood” tape. He probably didn’t see any advantage to contributing to the conjecture about his friend.

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Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

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