That said, Allen was outplayed by the undrafted Doyle as both a blocker and a receiver last season. He has also missed extensive action due to hip, back and ankle injuries over the past four years.
On the bright side, he’s an excellent scheme fit in New England, provides insurance for the oft-injured Gronkowski and allows Josh McDaniels the liberty of running two-tight end sets as the situation demands.
In the wake of last week’s report from CSN New England that Blount has “an offer on the table” to return to the Patriots, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said on Good Morning Football that the Pats haven’t budged from their original proposal to the 30-year-old running back.
“It doesn’t sound like the Patriots have moved at all from their original offer, given a little less than a month ago when free agency started,” Rapoport said. “They like LeGarrette Blount. They have strong feelings for him. He actually wants to return as well.”
While preseason sensation A.J. Derby is playing meaningful snaps for the Broncos, the Patriots are bemoaning their lack of quality tight-end depth. A month after drawing praise from Tony Gonzalez as the greatest tight-end duo in NFL history, Gronkowski and cheap jerseys and Martellus Bennett were too injured to do much damage Sunday. Gronkowski never returned after exiting with a back issue late in the first quarter. Bennett appeared to aggravate an ankle injury that has been dogging him since Week 5. If the dynamic tight-end duo isn’t healthy, Brady’s offense devolves into a methodical, dink-and-dunk horizontal attack with little margin for error.
This game displayed the yin and the yang of Ryan Fitzpatrick as Todd Bowles’ chosen quarterback. Fitzpatrick kept the score competitive against the AFC’s dominant superpower, making a handful of big throws to Quincy Enunwa and Brandon Marshall. He was also stripped by Chris Long with the game on the line, symbolic of a Jets two-minute offense that has yet to produce a point this season. Even with the spate of untimely miscues the past two months, there’s no question Fitzpatrick runs a smoother, more variable offense than raw second-year signal-caller Bryce Petty. Can Bowles sell Petty to his veteran locker room before mid-December in a lost season?
This was likely just Caserio’s attempt at being entirely non-controversial. The Bill Belichick line has always been we’ll do what’s best for our football team and only now does it sound remotely evasive. While it makes too much sense for Cleveland to swing a deal and immediately acquire the most professional-ready quarterback available to be their starter for next season, New England seems too invested in its series of backstops to ensure their success even if father time eventually catches up with their soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback.
Of course, if there was one team that was able to slip through smokescreen season completely undetected, having worked out this year’s crop of quarterbacks in anticipation of a Garoppolo deal without tipping off the rest of the NFL, it would be the New England Patriots. In that way, even with Caserio’s most serious effort to not sound suspicious, New England sounds just the slightest bit so.
The 31-year-old receiver is coming off his second 1,000-plus yard season in nine years with the Patriots, and a legendary catch in the Super Bowl against the Falcons. Edelman landed the No. 71 spot in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2017.
New England on Saturday exercised Cooks’ fifth-year option, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The 2014 first-round pick was traded to New England from the Saints back in early March. The Patriots made the obvious one-year extension just a few days ahead of the May 3 deadline.
For those who have turned their attention fully toward the draft, the Patriots are building a scary-good team for the next two seasons at an incredibly fair price. Cooks, who has logged 162 catches for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons, is now on the books for a $1.56 million salary-cap hit this year and an affordable option year in 2018.
At that point, the Pats would decide whether to match the offer or simply accept the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — the mandated level of compensation for poaching a restricted free agent assigned the first-round tender.
If New Orleans’ decision-makers were to balk at that first-round price tag, they would have to come up with a different package of picks to meet New England’s demands.