The New England Patriots’ quarterback room nears the summer break with two locks. One of those locks is coming off his sixth Super Bowl victory and is scheduled to carry a cap number of $27 million into the final year of his contract with a base salary of $14 million. As for the other lock? That’d be the 11th QB New England has selected since Bill Belichick returned to the war room as head coach in 2000. Tom Brady and Jarrett Stidham are eras apart. Now they find themselves in the same one. Both will celebrate birthdays this August, with the former turning 42 and the latter turning 23. Both will be on the active roster this September, with Brady entering his 20th NFL season and Stidham entering his first. But for every commonality there is a contrast. Be it pre-star or five-star recruit. Be it Michigan or Auburn product. Be it No. 199 or No. 133 overall draft pick. Time will tell whether there is company. New England has entrusted a rookie as Brady’s lone understudy twice over the past decade. In 2009, Michigan State undrafted free agent Brian Hoyer found himself the second and final quarterback on the roster. And in 2014, Eastern Illinois second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo became the next following Ryan Mallett’s trade to the Houston Texans on cutdown day. It’s possible such a scenario...Read More
The Patriots will kick off their mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday, giving us our first extended look at the 2019 version of the team. It should provide an opportunity to see Tom Brady for the first time this spring, as well as newcomer Michael Bennett and perhaps some others who have yet to make an appearance. While the only difference between minicamp and the OTA session the media was invited to watch two weeks ago is the mandatory element, the non-padded practices do provide an opportunity to start assessing the potential depth chart and to watch the younger players operate in the Patriots system. With no contact it’s difficult to judge performance – and Bill Belichick often cautions against doing that anyway as he views these workouts as instructional and not for evaluations. But three days of work, plus an additional OTA practice open to the media next week, will provide a glimpse of what we’ll see come the opening of training camp in late July. Until then, here are five things we’ll be focusing on this week. Brady’s presence – Assuming Brady will be back in the fold, it’s always news when the quarterback is involved. For the second straight spring he’s chosen to do his prep work on his own, which is unfortunate because it would be great to watch Brady work with rookie first-round pick N’Keal...Read More
NBA Mock Draft 2019: Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and what might happen if the Boston Celtics traded up?
With the 2019 NBA Draft approaching quickly (seriously, somehow it’s already June), it’s time to take a shot at a second mock draft. The first one came immediately after the lottery, without the benefit of a couple of weeks of draft workouts and the subsequent rumors. This one has the benefit of … more rumors, which somehow create more uncertainty. So as we guess our way through the first round, we added another element to the lottery: What if the Boston Celtics traded up for each pick? The Celtics have three first-round selections, with which they could go in almost limitless directions. If they packaged them together, they might be able to chase better talent, or even shore up a selection they really want. But as you will see, there might not be much reason to move up only a few slots if their top targets look like they will slide anyway, and moving up higher than that in a top-heavy draft could be tricky. The first six or seven draft selections are essentially just thought exercises — the Grizzlies, for example, are obviously not dealing the No. 2 pick to the Celtics. In any case, we gave it our best shot. Here’s our 2019 Mock Draft 2.0. 1. New Orleans: Zion Williamson, Duke. This is the least mysterious part of the night. If the Celtics had this pick:...Read More
Bill Belichick doesn’t do flashy when it comes to free agency, although there are exceptions likethe signing of Darrelle Revis back in 2014, expressly intended to bring a lockdown cornerback tothe defense who eventually helped New England win a Super Bowl. However, Belichick is allabout filling square holes with square pegs. There is never a thought to wooing a big-moneyfree agent into the fold just to put fans in the seats and hype the upcoming season. This isTitletown, and there is more than enough rapt attention surrounding this team each and everyyear. Belichick crafts each iteration of the Patriots with the express design of being able tomorph his team each week into whatever it is that will present their adversaries with the mostdaunting lineup to confuse, and ultimately defeat them.Unless the Patriots decide to make a bid for the services of former Buccaneers defensivelineman, and six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, the die is cast and the Patriots will go into thisseason with their usual collection of plug-n-play role players. They are all more than willing toserve the specific purpose for which the Dark Master has uniquely conjured for each and everymember of his squad. A quick check of the NFL odds found over at Sportsbook Review, tells usthat all of the best online sportsbooks are again unfazed at the Patriots’ lack of star powerbeing culled from this year’s free...Read More
The lasting image of the 1970 Stanley Cup was the iconic photo of Bobby Orr flying through theair after scoring the winning overtime goal that clinched the series and brought the Cup back toBoston. Bobby Orr was, and remains, the greatest hockey player ever to grace the ice in Bostonand arguably the best ever to don a pair of skates. All Orr needed was a cape to complete thepicture now known simply as, The Goal. The betting odds on the Bruins back then werecertainly higher than the -150 the best online sportsbooks, found over at Sportsbook Review,are dealing on the 2019 Boston edition.An interesting footnote to that series sweep is that the Blues used three goalies, due to JacquePlante taking a screaming drive off the stick of Freddie Stanfield, which was subsequentlydeflected, and split Plante’s mask down the middle. Plante was knocked out of the game andnever seen again in the series, being replaced by the overwhelmed Ernie Wakely. It wouldn’ttake long for St. Louis coach Scotty Bowman to give Shaky Wakely the hook and replace him inGames 3 and 4 with Glenn Hall, who was in the sunset of his brilliant career.But now here we are again, and the Big Bad Bruins of 1970 are now in their golden years whilesome are, unfortunately, on the other side of the grass. This 2019 iteration is favored to winthis rematch...Read More
Rob Gronkowski won’t be walking through that door this season due to his somewhat surprising announcement he would retire, effective immediately. With no legitimate backup waiting in the wings, the conventional wisdom had the Patriots moving up from their No. 32 overall pick to jockey into a slot that would allow them to snatch Iowa’s talented tight end T.J. Hockenson. However, with the eighth overall pick, the Detroit Lions selected Hockenson in what many draft pundits considered a bit of a reach – just a bit. Most of the mock drafts and some of the best online betting sites found over at Sportsbook Review, had the 6’5” John Mackey Award winner landing somewhere between the mid-teens and early 20’s, a spot where Bill Belichick could reasonably swap first-round picks plus a bit more without too much collateral damage to the many picks he had acquired in preparation of the 2019 draft. Besides, there was always Hockenson’s teammate, Noah Fant, the Robin to his Batman in the Hawkeyes’ battery of twin tight end terrors. But Belichick likes a tight end who can block and catch, however, Fant was more adept at the latter rather than the former, and that limitation wouldn’t warrant Belichick trading up to nab Gronkowski’s heir apparent. Fant would vanish from the draft board at No. 20 when Denver decided to make him a Bronco but there...Read More