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It still hasn’t been two weeks since free agency opened, and the Patriots already look like a drastically different football team.

It’s not just Tom Brady’s exodus — though it is the most significant.

Bill Belichick’s team has seen significant turnover on both sides of the ball. With under $1 million in cap space at the moment, they’ll either need to trade somebody like Joe Thuney, or restructure Dont’a Hightower’s deal to create any more wiggle room.

So what does the roster look like at the moment? Here’s a free agency reset:

Quarterback

Added: Brian Hoyer

Departed: Tom Brady

Under contract: Jarrett Stidham, Cody Kessler

Apparently Hoyer wasn’t brought back to given Stidham a veteran presence to lean on. His agent, Joe Linta, informed NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport there will be a quarterback competition in Foxborough.

“If someone offered him $5 million or $6 million to be backup, Brian still would’ve wanted to be back in New England,” Linta told Rapoport. “They gave him a chance to compete for the starting job and that’s all he asked for.”

For what it’s worth, Stidham beat Hoyer out for Brady’s backup job last August.

Running back/Fullback

Added: Danny Vitale

Departed: None

Under contract: James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, James Develin, Jakob Johnson

With everybody under contract, this stable remains the same. Vitale adds fullback insurance in the event James Develin’s neck keeps him sidelined.

Tight end

Added: None

Retired: Ben Watson

Under contract: Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse

With a weak tight end draft class, it’s a surprise the Patriots haven’t yet made a move to fortify the position that was an Achilles heel in 2019. If they do decide to deal Thuney, perhaps a tight end will be Foxborough bound.

Wide receiver

Added: Damiere Byrd

Departed: Phillip Dorsett

Under contract: Julian Edelman, Authentic N’Keal Harry Jersey, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski

Byrd had a fine season for the Cardinals last fall, catching 32 passes for 359 yards. He’s returned punts and kickoffs, so he could fill that void. Seeing Dorsett depart wasn’t terribly surprising, as he fell down the depth chart for the second season in a row.

Offensive line

Added: None

Departed: Ted Karras

Franchise tagged: Joe Thuney

Under contract: Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Korey Cunningham, James Ferentz, Hijalte Froholdt, Yodny Cajuste.

Still in free agent limbo: Marshall Newhouse, Jermaine Eluemunor (restricted)

On the books for $14.78 million this season, it’ll be a surprise if Thuney is still wearing that cap hit when Week 1 rolls around. The team has said they want to work on an extension, and if one can’t be reached, the remarkably durable guard will be an attractive piece of trade bait.

Linebackers

Added: Brandon Copeland

Departed: Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts

Re-signed: Shilique Calhoun

Under contract: Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon King

With the mini-exodus of Patriots linebackers, there is going to be plenty of competition at the position whenever training camp rolls around.

It wasn’t surprising to see Collins and Van Noy cash in with huge deals, as it pays to play on the best statistical defense in the NFL

Cornerbacks

Added: None

Departed: None

Under contract: Authentic Stephon Gilmore Jersey, Authentic D’Angelo Ross Jersey , Authentic J.C. Jackson Jersey, Authentic Jason McCourty Jersey, Authentic Jonathan Jones Jersey, Authentic Joejuan Williams Jersey, Authentic Justin Bethel Jersey.

The deepest position on the Patriots roster should stay that way in 2020.

Belichick picked up Jason McCourty’s option — perhaps further enticing his brother to return, too — so this group looks exactly the same.

Safeties

Added: Adrian Phillips, Cody Davis

Departed: Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner

Re-signed: Devin McCourty

Under contract: Patrick Chung, Terrence Brooks, Malik Grant

The significant turnover in the Patriots’ secondary comes at the safety position.

The Duron Harmon trade came as a surprise, as did Nate Ebner’s defection to the Giants. The special teams standout actually made more money in each of his last two Patriots seasons than he will in New York.

Phillips, who got a two-year deal slots in as Ebner’s replacement, while Davis is likely to compete on special teams, too.

Defensive line

Added: Beau Allen

Departed: Danny Shelton

Under contract: Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise Jr., Byron Cowart, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Derek Rivers

Still sitting in free agent limbo: Keionta Davis, Adam Butler (restricted)

This one is pretty straightforward: Shelton out, Allen in.

The Patriots needed to replace their run-stuffing tackle, and Allen can earn up to $8 million on a two-year deal. If Allen’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was on the Eagles team that upset the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Also could be because Beau Allen is just a simple sounding name.

Specialists

Added: None

Departed: Stephen Gostkowski

Re-signed: Matthew Slater

Unwilling to gamble on a 36-year-old kicker coming off hip surgery, the Patriots cut Gostkowski and saved almost $3.6 million against the cap. They could look to the draft to replenish the position that had seen remarkable continuity through Bill Belichick’s first 20 years in New England.

Keeping Slater in the fold ensures the locker room retains a respected, veteran voice amidst so much roster turnover.

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According to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots are bringing back special teams ace and locker room leader Authentic Matthew Slater Jersey on a two-year deal. Slater was set to hit free agency at the start of the new league year but will return to the only team he’s played for.

Field Yates

@FieldYates
The Patriots & special teamer/WR Matthew Slater have agreed to a two-year extension, per sources. The deal is similar to his last, which averaged $2.6M/year.

Slater, a longtime team captain, is one of the team’s most respected players & arguably the top ST player in the league.

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The 12-year veteran is a critical part of the Patriots leadership, known for his emotional post-game speeches, breaking down the locker room with the traditional “How do we feel?” chant that was originally started by Tedy Bruschi. But Slater’s on-field presence is a welcome one as well and he’ll combine with Authentic Justin Bethel Jersey to form the most formidable pair of gunners in the NFL. Slater recovered a blocked punt for the first touchdown of his career in 2019. He’ll turn 35 in September but remains one of the best special teamers in the NFL.

It’s an important first move of free agency for the Patriots in an offseason that has a collection of team leaders, including Tom Brady and Authentic Devin McCourty Jersey, poised to hit the open market. Slater is a critical piece who will help ensure some continuity of leadership and culture.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — After a 2019 season in which the New England Patriots finished last in the NFL in tight end receptions and targets, according to research by ESPN’s Stats & Information, what has the club done to address the position this offseason?

[Insert sound of crickets].

There has been no movement, other than subtraction (the retirement of veteran Benjamin Watson).

In one sense, it is understandable. The free-agent market was thin, especially once the Los Angeles Chargers placed the franchise tag on Hunter Henry. The Cleveland Browns moved fast to lock up Austin Hooper, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, but at a hefty price tag (four years, $44 million, with $23 million guaranteed) that was likely out of the Patriots’ consideration.

Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse will be working with second-year QB Jarrett Stidham this season. Billie Weiss/Getty Images
Likewise, veteran Jimmy Graham’s two-year, $16 million deal with the Chicago Bears, which included $9 million guaranteed, was viewed by Football Outsiders as overspending. And it’s hard to imagine Graham being a fit in New England, regardless.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ two-year, $12 million deal with Eric Ebron was more reasonable, yet the Patriots’ lack of interest spoke volumes of how they didn’t view Ebron as a fit.

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Clearly, the supply didn’t meet the demand for the Patriots, who return 2019 free-agent signing Authentic Matt LaCosse Jersey and 2018 seventh-round draft choice Authentic Ryan Izzo Jersey on the depth chart. Improvement from LaCosse and Izzo would be part of upgrading the position, and perhaps working with second-year quarterback Authentic Jarrett Stidham Jersey — a player on a similar development track/knowledge base in the system — helps spark that progress.

But the Patriots still need help, whether it’s via trade, the draft or the waiver wire. That’s why, when assessing the team’s needs, it starts at tight end — even more than quarterback, with one caveat: Only if the Patriots felt like a franchise QB option was available would they pounce (and that seems unlikely with their first pick at No. 23 and a trade up doubtful).

The following is one view of the Patriots’ top needs, paired with a realistic, early-round prospect from ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay’s new tiers piece:

  1. Tight end
    With 12 draft picks, the Patriots have some capital to trade that might interest teams with an excess at the position. One suggestion: See if the Chicago Bears might be willing to move disappointing 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen for a late-rounder.

This year’s draft isn’t considered deep at the position, but then again, analysts were saying something similar in 2013 when Tyler Eifert was viewed by many as the only first-round-caliber option. But how many teams would now covet a player such as Zach Ertz (second round) or Travis Kelce (third round)?

Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet could be a good fit for New England. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
McShay’s match: Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet (No. 42 overall draft prospect). At 6-foot-5¾ and 262 pounds, Kmet has huge mitts and enters the draft after his junior season (43 catches, 515 yards, 6 TDs). He fits the mold of the combination tight end that is highly valued in New England — equally as effective as a blocker and pass-catcher.

  1. Off-the-line linebacker
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Losing Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts in free agency has thinned the depth chart, leaving captain Authentic Dont’a Hightower Jersey, 2018 fifth-round pick Authentic Ja’Whaun Bentley Jersey and practice-squad player Authentic Terez Hall Jersey as the top options. Safety Adrian Phillips is also a projected factor at this spot in certain sub packages.

Ideal characteristics: Speed, take-on ability in the run game and a presence on special teams.

Veteran Nigel Bradham is one of the top available free agents, and if the Patriots wanted to take a flier on a highly touted prospect who hasn’t panned out, 2016 Jets first-round pick Darron Lee could be worth a look.

McShay’s match: Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray (No. 27 overall prospect). If the Patriots are going to select a linebacker early, the key is that he can play all four downs. The 6-foot-2, 241-pound Murray fits that mold, and might be the closest thing to Collins in terms of playmaking ability in this year’s draft.

  1. Offensive line
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Top interior backup Ted Karras signed with the Dolphins in free agency, and starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is in the latter stages of his career with a high salary-cap charge, so any position up front could be targeted to help solidify the ranks. Offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, the 2019 third-round pick from West Virginia who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, is a wild card who could be viewed as a “new” draft pick himself.

Former Patriots, Titans and Vikings center/guard Josh Kline (30) is a free agent who could fit, assuming he was amenable to a projected role as a top backup.

McShay’s match: Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz (No. 36 overall prospect). With center/guard flexibility, the 6-foot-2, 307-pound Ruiz would represent a safer choice in an altered offseason in which scouting has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. He would initially project as a top backup at all three interior spots. If any of the top offensive tackles slide — a group headlined by Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas — the Patriots should pounce.

  1. Wide receiver

Penn State receiver K.J. Hamler has the kind of speed and versatility the Patriots could use. Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire
A Damiere Byrd-for-Phillip Dorsett swap in free agency could ultimately be an upgrade when considering the speedy Byrd as a factor as a return man. But even more speed and playmaking ability is needed to pair with Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu and Byrd atop the depth chart.

The draft is widely viewed as deep at the position, making that the more likely avenue for the Patriots to pursue than free agency. A duplicate to what the Chiefs added last year with Mecole Hardman would be ideal.

McShay’s match: Penn State’s K.J. Hamler (No. 75 overall prospect). With Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III projected to be off the board early, Hamler is one of the receivers next in line in terms of speed and explosiveness. He was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player, as he projects as a factor in the return game, as well.

  1. Defensive end/outside linebacker
    Kyle Van Noy was one of the Patriots’ top defenders, and now that he signed with the Dolphins as a free agent, it opens a spot for 2019 third-round pick Chase Winovich to possibly emerge opposite John Simon. Derek Rivers, the 2017 third-round pick who has spent two of his three seasons on injured reserve, is in the mix alongside Keionta Davis, Shilique Calhoun and practice-squad player Authentic Tashawn Bower Jersey.

If the Patriots are looking to build more depth, former Giants and Bengals edge player Kerry Wynn might be of interest. The club had explored him as a fit in its scheme when Wynn was a restricted free agent two years ago. Old friend Jabaal Sheard is on the market, while Clay Matthews would fall more into the Chris Long situational-pass-rusher category.

McShay’s match: Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa (No. 26 overall prospect). The scheme versatility of the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Epenesa could be appealing, as he potentially fits as a 4-3 end or as a 3-4 end.

  1. Kicker
    The often-overlooked position figures to be a target for the Patriots this year, similar to 2006, when they selected Stephen Gostkowski in the fourth round to replace Adam Vinatieri. Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia Southern’s Tyler Bass and Stanford’s Jet Toner are among those viewed as possible draft picks.

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The New England Patriots undeniably have talent at wide receiver this season, but that talent still has a fair share of question marks attached to it.
With the loss of All-World tight end Rob Gronkowski in the passing game, things certainly become a little more challenging for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this season on offense.

The wide receiver breakdown is still a little uncertain for the Pats, but based off the initial 53-man roster and injured reserve list, we can assume it is going to include Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski (probably as a returner), N’Keal Harry (IR), and of course Matthew Slater (on special teams as a gunner).

Julian Edelman is going to be the leader of this wide receiver unit. Edelman has carved his way into being one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. Last season, he caught 74 passes for 850 yards, bringing in six touchdowns along the way as well.

Without a doubt, Edelman is the best playmaker on the Patriots. If the reigning Super Bowl MVP can catch 100 passes this season, it’s wholly possible and probable he will surpass 1,000 receiving yards.

Josh Gordon still has a huge question mark lingering over his head. No one knows how long he will last this season, but we’re all hoping he is moving in the right direction in dealing with his addiction and bettering his life. Gordon was taken off the NFL’s suspended list and is now eligible to play in Week 1 for the Pats.

In a short sample size last season, we saw what Gordon and Brady are capable of when both are together on the field. In just 11 games, Gordon produced 720 receiving yards on 40 catches, which included three touchdown receptions. It’s not hard to believe that Gordon is still capable of producing big numbers, and if he is able to play a full season, it certainly feels like the sky’s the limit for what he and Brady can accomplish.

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N’Keal Harry was expected to be a big element for the New England offense this season. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been too much to see from Harry, as the first-round pick is dealing with an unspecified leg/knee injury suffered during the week of the preseason matchup against the Detroit Lions. The Patriots are inarguably going to be a better team with Harry when he’s back to 100% health and functionality, but who’s to say when that will be?

If Harry is expected to be the other starting wide receiver alongside Edelman and Gordon, then he has a chance to produce anywhere from 750 -1,000+ yards. Harry is also known to be an excellent run blocker from his college days, and as such, he could provide extra support in the running game when he returns from IR later on this season.
Ben Volin

@BenVolin
Now that the initial 53-man roster is set, I’m expecting one or two Patriots to land on IR today, with the possibility of returning at midseason. N’Keal Harry is one to watch

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Phillip Dorsett has proved himself to be somewhat reliable and durable during his time with the New England Patriots. In Dorsett’s two seasons with the team, he has been targeted 60 times and has caught 44 passes. He is fast and elusive, and will have an important role within this wide receiver group now that he’s solidified his spot on the roster. With Harry set to miss significant time with his injury, there could be more opportunity for Dorsett to get in the game this year.

Jakobi Meyers made a huge, unexpected bang during the Patriots preseason. He joins a growing list of undrafted free agents who have made a name for themselves in New England, as Coach Belichick loves finding “diamonds in the rough” when it comes to incoming college talent. Meyers displayed great chemistry with backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham pretty early on during the preseason; he seemed a bit less in-sync with Brady at times.
Obviously it is going to take time for any and all rookie receivers to know what their quarterback is expecting of them on any given play, especially with a seasoned signal-caller as experienced and intelligent as Brady. Meyers and Brady might also have to get on the same page rather quickly, seeing as he is another potential candidate for increased playing time with Harry going on IR.

Gunner Olszewski is another undrafted rookie free agent, only he came out of a Division II school: Bemidji State. While in college, Gunner was an exceptional defender, as he won defensive player of the year last season while playing cornerback.

Belichick has worked all offseason in converting Olszewski to a receiver; more importantly, the Pats have found someone they think can become their next return-man in Olszewski as well, especially with other players like Edelman and Patrick Chung getting older. During the preseason, fans were able to see the versatility and durability of Olszewski on a number of plays, which may have been what ultimately convinced coaches to keep him on the final roster.

Demaryius Thomas was surprisingly part of the Patriots’ initial roster cutdowns, just a couple days after posting a brilliant two-touchdown, 87-yard performance in New England’s final preseason game against the New York Giants. At the time, many wondered if Belichick perhaps had something up his sleeve in releasing a player who had seemingly shown enough to convince he was all the way back from his Achilles injury last December.

Sure enough, Belichick (and Thomas) had a plan in place. N’Keal Harry took Thomas’ spot on the initial 53-man roster so that he could then be stashed on injured reserve to start the season. In turn, the Patriots re-signed Thomas with Harry’s vacated spot, reinserting him into their receiver depth chart just in time for the final week of practice before New England’s regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
NEXT: The Patriots shouldn’t be under fire for Dawson transaction
All in all, this New England wide receiver depth chart is pretty impressive from top-to-bottom. And while uncertainty remains in several key areas (Harry’s and Thomas’ health, Gordon’s behavior, Olszewski’s and Meyers’ youth, etc), the Patriots’ pass-catchers still have plenty of talent, ability, and explosiveness to contribute to the offense this season.

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New England is adding reinforcements to the offensive line to make up for David Andrews’ absence.

The Patriots acquired backup offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor from the Baltimore Ravens for an undisclosed draft pick, Baltimore announced Wednesday.

Eluemunor should provide depth for an offensive line that is shuffling backup guard Ted Karras into the starting center role, as Andrews recovers from a blood clot in his lungs. The starting center was hospitalized earlier this week. It’s unclear how long Andrews will be out.

A Ravens fifth-round pick in 2017, Eluemunor has started three games and played in 17 over the last two seasons. He was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team in 2017.

Eluemenor signed a one-year, $645,000 deal with the Ravens in March and is a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

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Eric Saubert, a reserve tight end who spent his first two NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, has been traded from Atlanta to New England for a 2020 seventh-round conditional pick, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has reported.

A fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-5, 253-pound tight end has caught just five passes (all coming during the 2018 season) in 30 NFL regular-season games. He received one start in two seasons in Atlanta before being traded to New England, who continues to try to solidify their tight end position following Rob Gronkowski’s retirement.

Matt LaCosse, a 2019 offseason signee who was slated to win the job as New England’s starting tight end coming into training camp, sustained a lower-body injury during the Patriots’ preseason-opening victory over the Detriot Lions and was not present during the team’s practice on Monday. Lance Kendricks, a nine-year veteran who spent the past two seasons in Green Bay, did return to practice on Monday after missing New England’s previous six sessions with an undisclosed injury. Kendricks was joined at practice by fellow tight ends Ryan Izzo and Stephen Anderson.

Ben Watson, a 38-year-old and 16-year NFL veteran who was part of New England’s Super Bowl XXXIX championship team, is back in New England after being talked out of retirement this offseason. Watson will have to serve a four-game suspension to start the season after failing a league-issued drug test in March.

Watson, who recently spent time catching passes from future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees in New Orleans, is excited to be back in New England catching passes from future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

“It is amazing how tremendously you can grow as a player when you have the right coach, the right system, the right offensive coordinator, but also the right quarterback,” Watson said, per the Boston Herald.

“There is a certain gene in a lot of quarterbacks that makes them compete and perfect their craft with other players. With Tom and Drew, it was staying after practice and running extra routes, it was in the meeting room and watching on films.

“Them vocalizing helps you grow as a player.”

Watson is the favorite to see the most snaps at tight end on a per-game basis once he returns from his suspension, but the Patriots are likely to use multiple players at the position — a committee approach — in 2019. In the back half of the 2018 regular season, the Patriots shifted to a run-first offense behind 2018 first-round running back Sony Michel. This change in offensive style led to an increase in the usage of multiple tight end personnel packages. This style of offense is projected to carry over into the 2019 season Brady enters his age-42 season.

The Patriots are surely hoping to get some production out of Saubert, who caught 190 passes for 2,253 yards and 21 touchdowns in four seasons at Drake. Despite his production at Drake, Saubert received an extremely negative review from an AFC team regional scout in his pre-draft bio on NFL.com.

“He’s body [is] beautiful but he can’t catch,” the scout wrote of Saubert, an All-American during his last two college seasons. “I don’t think it’s correctable either. I just think he doesn’t see the ball well and doesn’t have good hand-eye. You are drafting an athlete and not a tight end if you take him.”

If anyone can correct Saubert’s mechanical issues, it’s Bill Belichick, who will look to do just that during Saubert’s time in Foxboro.

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For the first time in the Belichick era, the Patriots drafted a wide receiver in the first round when the team selected N’Keal Harry with the 32nd pick on Thursday night. The wide receiver out of Arizona State is the focus of Patriots Nation, and while Patriots.com has you covered for stats and performance (like the epic one-handed catch below), we are making sure Patriots Nation gets to know their newest member off the field too.

Good [email protected] | #PatsDraft

wr N’Keal Harry New England Patriots
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— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 26, 2019
Family is first for the Patriots draft pick. Not only was N’Keal surrounded by his extended family when he got the call from the Patriots, it was the first time he had seen much of his family in two years. His family hails from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a southern Caribbean nation, and some of his family members just recently received their U.S. visas, he said in his post-draft conference call.

The moment your dream comes true. @NkealHarry15 gets the call from Coach Belichick. #PatsDraft | NFLN/ESPN/ABC | April 25-27 pic.twitter.com/Oy2ITM9e8V

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 26, 2019
According to That Football Girl’s Melissa Jacobs, his family had applied for visas multiple times and had been denied, but “this time when they gave their reason for entry into the United States – to be with Harry when he’s drafted – their 10-year Visas were approved. Finally, the family will get to spend time with Harry, be there for one of the top moments of his life, and see him play football live for the first time.”

And being able to share this moment with his mom, grandmother and the rest of his family was priceless.

“A lot of my friends were here – you know, people that have just been by my side since Day 1. So, it was an extremely special moment for all of us,” N’Keal said.

Though he had 50 or 60 family and friends with him, it had previously been just him and his grandmother living in Arizona. But coming to the States wasn’t an easy decision.
When N’Keal was four, his mother, Naudine, and his grandmother, Felna, decided it was best for Felna to take him to the United States. For years, Felna raised N’Keal, working hard to support him and give him a life of love and opportunity. As he grew up and excelled in sports, his grandmother took on job after job to care for him, even if it meant coming out of retirement to do so.

It is a special bond, and he told ESPN before the Combine that his first paycheck was going to his grandmother to thank her for everything she did for him to succeed. He went to Arizona State to stay close to Felna, and she never missed a home game.

“I really do believe that it was for the best for my grandma raising me. That woman taught me so much, everything from having very good manners to how to speak to people, how to speak well, how to speak fluently. I’m just thankful,” he told ESPN.
View this post on Instagram
The day is finally here. The part that makes it so special is the fact that my family is able to be with me. Still missing some of my brothers, sisters, aunties & uncles, but it’s a blessing nonetheless to be able to get the amount of family members we did over from the island to share this moment with me. No matter what happens or where I go in the draft, I get to fulfill a lifelong dream. I’m going to the big leagues✨#Vincy #NFLDraft2019

A post shared by N’Keal Harry (@nkealharry) on Apr 25, 2019 at 10:27am PDT

N’Keal being drafted surely will make his family proud, but he is also making history as the first person from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to play in the NFL. He will also reunite with former ASU teammate Christian Sam in New England, and Tom Brady even tweeted his excitement about the newest Patriot.

Glad to have you N’Keal. Big things ahead, excited to work with you. https://t.co/5npgwhRDS5

— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 26, 2019
Football wasn’t the only sport in which he excelled. His AAU basketball coach, T.J. Howard, told ESPN N’Keal could play in the NBA. As a high school senior, he went up for a shot and shattered the backboard, so Howard isn’t exaggerating.
But the athletic talent doesn’t stop with N’Keal. N’Keal and his girlfriend, Kianna Ibis, are something of a power couple. Kianna was a star player for Arizona State’s basketball team, which made its first Sweet 16 this year.
Though he has yet to step on an NFL field and compete, N’Keal is already considering how he will use his platform to give back. He told “That Football Girl” that he wants to start a sports academy on St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help kids there hone their skills, so they don’t have to move elsewhere to seek out opportunities.

Though he is new to the Patriots, N’Keal showed he has the New England mindset when talking with media after he was selected.

“Whatever Coach wants me to do – if he wants me to do one or the other or both – I wouldn’t hesitate to jump at it,” he said.

Welcome to New England, N’Keal.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Shortly after news broke Monday afternoon that free-agent offensive tackle Trent Brown intended to sign a four-year, $66 million contract with the Oakland Raiders that includes $36.75 million in guarantees, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was on SportsCenter making the point that New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is worthy of some commission.

The humble Scarnecchia might disagree, but the results are indeed impressive.

Scarnecchia enters his 36th season in the NFL in 2019, and it will be his 34th in New England. Since being named offensive line coach under Bill Belichick in 2000, consider the “Scarnecchia Effect” and how many offensive linemen have had their value increased by playing under him (list compiled by ESPN’s Stats & Information):

Grey Ruegamer: Signed off the Steelers practice squad in November 2000, he signed a multiyear deal with the Packers in free agency worth more than $1.3 million in 2003.

Damien Woody: First-round pick by the Patriots in 1999, he signed a six-year, $31 million contract with the Lions.

Joe Andruzzi: Signed as a free agent in 2000 — he made less than $4 million over his entire New England tenure — he signed a four-year, $9 million contract with the Browns.

Tom Ashworth: Signed after he was cut by the 49ers in 2001, he inked a five-year deal with the Seahawks in 2006 worth $13 million.

Brandon Gorin: Signed to the Patriots practice squad in 2002, he was traded to the Cardinals for a sixth-round pick in 2006.

Donald Thomas: Signed 11 days after his release by the Lions in September 2011, he landed a four-year, $14 million deal with the Colts in 2013.

Nate Solder: A first-round pick by the Patriots in 2009, he signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the Giants in 2018.

Trent Brown: Acquired with a fifth-round pick in exchange for a third-round pick from the 49ers at the 2018 NFL draft, he reportedly will sign a four-year, $66 million deal with the Raiders.

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The aforementioned deals don’t include those for offensive linemen who signed extensions with the Patriots over the years, a group that most recently includes right tackle Marcus Cannon (five years, $32.5 million), center David Andrews (three years, maximum value of $11.715 million) and right guard Shaq Mason (five years, maximum value of $50 million).

Mason had played in a run-based, option offense at Georgia Tech, with little background as a pass-blocker. So his emergence as one of the best guards in the NFL is also reflective of how Scarnecchia has helped players reach their potential.

For longtime Patriots followers, Scarnecchia’s personnel impact has extended beyond the offensive line. In 1991, when Scarnecchia was the tight ends coach, he scouted Ben Coates out of little-known Livingstone College. Coates, of course, went on to become a Patriots Hall of Famer after being selected in the fifth round that year.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Veteran wide receiver Eric Decker, who had signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots on Aug. 3, announced his retirement on Instagram Sunday afternoon.

A post shared by Eric Decker (@ericdecker) on Aug 26, 2018 at 12:09pm PDT

Decker appeared to be on the roster bubble despite the Patriots’ needs at receiver; he didn’t play in the first half of Friday’s preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers, which was the only time quarterback Tom Brady was in the game.

On Saturday, coach Bill Belichick had been asked about Decker’s acclimation to the Patriots’ system and said, “I think Eric’s learned everything well. Again, he had a background in this system in Denver with Josh [McDaniels] and he’s played multiple positions in the offense since he’s been here. We used a couple new formations [Friday], so I don’t think learning is really a problem for him, and he has a lot of experience of some of the more sophisticated routes, option routes and things like that are all things that he’s done and it’s just really a question of getting the timing and exactly how you want to do it and seeing enough looks on it so that you and the quarterback know exactly what it is.”

The Patriots had signed Decker after releasing Jordan Matthews, as the receiver spot has had some volatility in training camp. In addition to Matthews, the club has also released receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Kenny Britt since training camp started.

Julian Edelman tops the team’s depth chart, followed by Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. Edelman will miss the first four games of the season as he serves a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

After trading Brandin Cooks (Rams) in the offseason, and with Danny Amendola (Dolphins) departing in free agency, the club was prepared for significant changes at the position.

Decker had struggled at times in training camp with dropped passes and went through a tennis-ball drill before Friday’s game on the field to work on his hands.

He played for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans during his eight-season career, catching 439 receptions for 5,816 yards with 53 touchdowns.