Posts Tagged ‘new england patriots’

Rob Gronkowski is hanging up his cleats – again.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots tight end is retiring after 11 combined seasons in the NFL, he announced Tuesday.

“I want to thank the whole entire first-class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team,” Gronkowski wrote on Instagram.

“I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field. The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well.

“From retirement, back to football and winning another championship, and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”

The future of the veteran tight end had been a topic of discussion throughout the offseason after Gronkowski said he’d take time to evaluate his options at the end of last year. He recorded 802 yards in 2021 but could only suit up for 12 games due to injuries.

Gronkowski missed the 2019 season after riding into the sunset following the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl LIII. However, he returned the following year to team up with longtime quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

The 33-year-old served a familiar role as one of Brady’s top targets in his two seasons with the Buccaneers. He helped the club win Super Bowl LV – the fourth championship of his career – by catching two touchdowns in the 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said.

“While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”

Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he was unsure if the tight end’s retirement is final.

“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “This is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Gronk built one of the most decorated playoff resumes in NFL history alongside Brady, who was his quarterback in each of his 11 seasons. The duo connected for an NFL-record 15 touchdowns in the postseason.

Gronkowski’s era of dominance began as a second-round pick by the Patriots in 2010. He earned five Pro Bowls and eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on four occasions during his nine-year tenure in New England.

His 92 career touchdowns trail only Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111) for most all time among tight ends.

Quarterback Mac Jones‘ emergence as a leader is being noticed by his teammates on the New England Patriots.

“It’s just at another level now,” wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “He’s more comfortable, more confident. He knows what’s going on, and the muscle memory is there (from having gone through it) – OTAs, then camp, and the season.

“Going into his second year after having a year like that, it’s going to be a challenge, but he’s a guy that likes challenges, like all of us in that Patriot building.”

The 2021 Pro Bowl passer is in the running to be named a captain next season – a rarity for second-year players under head coach Bill Belichick.

Jones was named the Patriots’ starter to begin the year and led the club to a 10-7 record. He threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions while owning a 67.6% completion rate.

The 2021 first-round pick led New England to a postseason berth, but his club was dispatched by AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card game.

The Alabama product has undergone a transformation since the conclusion of his rookie campaign, focusing on his diet and getting in the weight room ahead of his 2022 season.

“He’s a young guy but he’s developed as a leader. That’s what this team needs,” said wideout DeVante Parker.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear who will be calling plays on offense following the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and Belichick have rotated the play-calling duties during OTAs.

Gino Cappelletti, a former AFL Most Valuable Player and original member of the Boston Patriots who was part of the franchise for five decades as a player, coach and broadcaster, has died. He was 89.

Cappelletti died Thursday at his home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His death was announced by the New England Patriots on Thursday. No cause of death was given.

“My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti’s passing this morning. For the first 51 years of this franchise’s history, Gino contributed as an all-star player, assistant coach and broadcaster. You couldn’t be a Patriots fan during that era and not be a fan of Gino’s,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller.”

Known as “The Duke,” Cappelletti played receiver and kicker and scored the first regular-season points in AFL history, a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter of the Patriots’ 13-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9, 1960.

He went on to be the league’s MVP in 1964 and was one of three players to play in every game in the AFL’s 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda.

Cappelletti spent his entire career in Boston from 1960-70, ending it as the AFL’s all-time leader in points (1,100) and field goals (170). He was honored as the second Patriots player inducted into the team’s hall of fame in 1992, joining guard John Hannah.

Following his playing days Cappelletti spent seven seasons in the radio booth (1972-78) before joining Patriots coach Ron Erhardt’s staff in 1979, serving as the team’s special teams coach until 1981. He returned to broadcasting for the Patriots in 1988 as a radio analyst and remained in that job through the 2011 season.

He is survived by his wife, Sandy, daughters Gina, Cara and Christina, and 10 grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Miami Dolphins are sending wide receiver DeVante Parker and a 2022 fifth-round selection to the New England Patriots for a third-round pick in 2023, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Parker will bolster a Patriots receiving group that features the likes of Nelson AgholorKendrick Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers. He comes to New England with two years remaining on his contract.

Parker was left as the odd man out in Miami after the club overhauled its receiving unit this offseason. The Dolphins acquired All-Pro wideout Tyreek Hill in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and handed him a four-year, $120-million extension. They also signed Cedrick Wilson earlier in free agency and have 2021 top-10 pick Jaylen Waddle entering his second season.

A first-round selection in 2015, Parker recorded 338 receptions for 4,727 yards and 24 touchdowns over his seven-year tenure with the Dolphins. His best season came in 2019 when he set career highs in catches (72), yards (1,202), and touchdowns (9).

Parker was limited to just 10 games last season due to injury. He put up 515 yards and two scores.

The rare in-division deal is the fifth trade between Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the Dolphins, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. Two of those swaps also included receivers, with Wes Welker heading to New England in 2007 and Isaiah Ford joining the Patriots in 2020.

New England has long been impressed with Parker, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He’s played well in 12 meetings against his new club, recording 597 yards.

The New England Patriots are signing former New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers to a one-year deal, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Mike Reiss.

Peppers suffered a torn ACL last October, but he’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp, Schefter notes.

He’ll earn up to $5 million in 2022, a source told Field Yates of ESPN.

The 26-year-old, who played the last three seasons for the Giants, racked up only 29 tackles and one sack through six appearances last season. He previously set career highs with 91 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and 2.5 sacks across 15 games in 2020.

The Cleveland Browns selected Peppers 25th overall in 2017, and he spent two campaigns in Cleveland before joining New York as part of the trade that sent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns in 2019.

Peppers entered the NFL as one of the most versatile defenders of his class after an impressive collegiate career at Michigan.

He’ll now join a dynamic secondary that features safeties Devin McCourtyKyle Dugger, and Adrian Phillips. In New England, Peppers will also reunite with assistant Joe Judge, who coached the Giants from 2020-21.

Free-agent cornerback Malcolm Butler is returning to the New England Patriots on a two-year contract worth up to $9 million, Butler’s agent, Derek Simpson, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Butler – who spent his first four NFL seasons with New England – signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2021 but opted to retire during the preseason. He announced his intention to resume his NFL career in February.

The 32-year-old sealed his place in Patriots history by intercepting Russell Wilson on the goal line at the end of Super Bowl XLIX to preserve the victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He was also part of New England’s title-winning team two years later.

Butler made a big-money free-agent move to the Tennessee Titans in 2018 and played three seasons for the AFC South club.

The Patriots need reinforcements for their secondary after losing cornerback J.C. Jackson to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency.

The New England Patriots agreed to terms on a two-year deal with offensive tackle Trent Brown, his agents told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 28-year-old started nine games last season for New England at right tackle.

Brown remains with the Patriots after leaving the AFC East club in 2019 to sign a lucrative deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite earning a Pro Bowl nod in his first year with the Silver and Black, he was traded back to New England alongside a 2022 seventh-round pick in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round selection.

The return of the 6-foot-8, 380-pound offensive lineman provides a steady presence after multiple departures – Ted Karras signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency, and the team recently traded guard Shaq Mason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brown will protect quarterback Mac Jones alongside an offensive front that will likely feature Isaiah WynnMichael Onwenu, and David Andrews next season.

The New England Patriots are trading pass-rusher Chase Winovich to the Cleveland Browns for linebacker Mack Wilson, sources told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

A third-round pick in 2019, Winovich showed promise early in his NFL career by registering 5.5 sacks in each of his first two campaigns. However, he fell out of favor last season as he failed to earn a start or register a sack across 13 games.

Winovich’s playing time on defense also decreased from 58% in 2020 to just 14% in 2021, though he was still a frequent special teams contributor.

Wilson’s arc with the Browns follows a similar pattern. The 2019 fifth-round linebacker started 14 games as a rookie but hasn’t seen the field as much in recent years. His snap count dropped to a career-low 21% last season as he fell behind Jeremiah Owusu-KoramoahSione Takitaki, and Anthony Walker.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are acquiring guard Shaq Mason in a trade with the New England Patriots, sources told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.

Tampa Bay will send New England a fifth-round pick, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic. The Buccaneers reportedly will take on all of Mason’s remaining salary, totaling $16 million over two seasons.

New England will gain just over $7 million in cap space by moving the veteran, according to Over The Cap.

The Buccaneers needed to bolster Tom Brady‘s protection after losing both starting guards from last season. Alex Cappa reportedly signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, while Ali Marpet retired in February.

Mason and Brady were teammates with the Patriots from 2015-19. The guard was a staple of New England’s offensive line during the team’s two Super Bowls over that period and made 98 starts across seven seasons.

New England is left with major question marks on the offensive line after also losing Ted Karras, its other starting guard, to the Bengals in free agency.

The New England Patriots released linebacker Kyle Van Noy, the team announced on Monday.

New England creates $5 million in salary-cap space by cutting the veteran, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

The 30-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with another team immediately ahead of the start of free agency later this month.

Van Noy tallied 66 tackles, five sacks, and five tackles for loss while starting eight games in 2021. It marked his return to New England after spending the 2020 season with AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins. Prior to his one-year hiatus, Van Noy was a productive member of the Patriots’ defense from 2016-19.

The Detroit Lions initially selected the BYU product in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, where he spent his first two seasons.

Van Noy leaves New England with 287 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and 21.5 sacks over five seasons with the club.

Meanwhile, with the Patriots clearing cap space, they could turn their focus toward re-signing pending free agents. J.C. JacksonDont’a Hightower, and Devin McCourty highlight a group set to hit the open market later this month.