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April 15, 2021

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Julian Edelman’s evolution: From training camp boos to Patriots icon

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In one of Julian Edelman‘s first training camp practices with the New England Patriots in 2009, he was struggling so badly to field punts that fans serenaded him with boos. Welcome to New England, kid. No one could have predicted that day how stunningly successful Edelman’s transition......

As Patriots’ Bill Belichick turns 69, Marv Levy says there’s no reason to stop now

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts/notes around the New England Patriots and NFL: 1. Belichick at 69: Coach Bill Belichick will celebrate his 69th birthday on April 16, which highlights his place among a group of the oldest to serve as a head coach in the NFL. Romeo Crennel (73) became......

Jets GM Joe Douglas takes legacy-defining risk by dealing Sam Darnold

ESPN
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — After months of intense speculation and polarizing debate among fans and pundits, the New York Jets have arrived at The Decision — Part I, anyway. General manager Joe Douglas has decided to move on from quarterback Sam Darnold, who was traded Monday to the Carolina Panthers......

Patriots hit pause at QB with Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham … for now

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts/notes around the New England Patriots and NFL: 1. QB checkpoints: Timing and leverage are often two of the most important factors for striking deals, and they are at the heart of the Patriots’ current quarterback decision-making approach. Coach Bill Belichick is sometimes fond of saying......

Jets QB drama: Sam Darnold would ’embrace’ competition from rookie

ESPN
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets: 1. Darnold vs. Wilson? Former Jets quarterback Josh McCown couldn’t help but laugh at how the narrative surrounding Sam Darnold has changed. Noting the fickle nature of the NFL, McCown told ESPN this week, “Three years......

‘Culture guy’ Robert Saleh brings new energy to New York Jets

ESPN
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets: 1. Video star: Defensive end Carl Lawson researched coach Robert Saleh on YouTube. Wide receiver Corey Davis did something similar, going online to watch Saleh’s media interviews. Welcome to 2021 NFL free agency. To paraphrase sportscaster......

Bill Belichick had the cash, and cachet, to execute Patriots’ free-agency plan

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL: 1. Cash and cachet: Coach Bill Belichick had the cold, hard cash necessary for the Patriots to be a major player in free agency. He also had the cachet, which was an important tiebreaker in competitive......

Dolphins’ deals make Giants look silly for standing pat in 2018 NFL draft

ESPN
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman needed a reminder of his past indiscretions, Friday’s action around the NFL should have done the trick. Let’s begin with this disclaimer (one that I’ve repeated countless times over the past three years): This has almost nothing to......

Pit-bull lover Bud Dupree wants Titans to have ’11 lead dogs on defense’

ESPN
6:00 AM ET Turron DavenportESPN Close Covered Eagles for USA Today Covered the Ravens for Baltimore Times Played college football at Cheyney University NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s been four seasons since the Tennessee Titans last had a player register double-digit sack numbers. Lacking a game-changing pass-rusher hampered the Titans’ defense......

Patriots’ incredible spending almost matches price to buy team in 1994

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL: 1. Spending in context: When Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994, he paid $172 million, the highest price for a professional football team at the time. This came to mind when looking for the best......

New York Jets spend $75M in NFL free agency, but they still need a big draft

ESPN
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets: 1. Joe draft: An early takeaway on Joe Douglas’ free-agent class: This is a general manager planning to crush the 2021 NFL draft, which he believes is the most prudent way to upgrade his talent-starved roster.......

How a steak dinner turned a recruiting trip into a celebration for Bengals

ESPN
CINCINNATI — Around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night, several new and current members of the Cincinnati Bengals sat down for dinner hoping to seal the next key piece of the franchise’s future. They were split among three tables — one downstairs, two upstairs — inside Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct, a......

With Andy Dalton gone, which way will Dallas Cowboys turn for backup QB?

ESPN
FRISCO, Texas — When quarterback Andy Dalton signed with the Dallas Cowboys last year, it was with the idea of resetting his career and finding a starting spot in 2021. Last season, Dalton went 4-5 in nine starts as Dak Prescott‘s replacement and will sign a one-year deal worth up......

Resetting the New England Patriots’ roster after spending spree

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — After a dizzying stretch of negotiating during the NFL free-agency period, the New England Patriots‘ roster has undergone a significant transformation. Even more change is expected. For now, here’s the new-look position-by-position breakdown: Quarterback: Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Jake Dolegala The Patriots could still add another signal-caller,......

Aaron Jones gave Packers plenty of reasons to play running back roulette

ESPN
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The examples of Aaron Jones‘ game-breaking ability over the past two years for the Green Bay Packers are just as numerous as there are running backs who turned out to be bad signings. The Packers banked on Jones over recent league-wide trends. All they can do......

Plenty of potential suitors if (when?) Jets opt to trade Sam Darnold

ESPN
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets: 1. Days numbered? Sam Darnold‘s chances of returning in 2021 seemed to improve with the hiring of coach Robert Saleh, who spoke of the quarterback in glowing terms (privately to friends as well). Now, 46 days......

Cam Newton’s contract shows Patriots are not promising him starting job

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes around the New England Patriots and NFL: Cam fallout: Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the Patriots’ one-year agreement with Cam Newton on Friday: Follow the money — The specifics of the contract speak volumes about the Patriots’ thinking. As ESPN......

Cam Newton’s return gives Patriots options, could help lure free agents

ESPN
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Timing and flexibility. These are at the heart of the New England Patriots‘ decision to bring quarterback Cam Newton back on a one-year deal that could be worth up to $14 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The timing is critical with NFL free agency set to......

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