The first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period was one of inactivity for the New England Patriots: while the club had to watch starting left tackle Trent Brown and standout defensive lineman Trey Flowers agree to contracts with the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions, respectively, the reigning world champions did not make any moves — something that changed on early Tuesday morning.
According to reports by the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, New England has tendered its two restricted free agents: while cornerback Jonathan Jones will receive the second-round tender worth $3.095 million, wide receiver Josh Gordon will get the original-round tender — Gordon entered the league as a second-round supplemental draft pick — worth $2.025 million. The tenders are one-year contracts and will keep both from the open market.
In case another team signs either of the two players to an offer sheet now, the Patriots would have five days to match or receive the draft pick appropriate for the tender as compensation — a second-round draft choice in Jones’ case, a third in Gordon’s. This scenario appears to be more likely in Jones’ case considering that Gordon is still indefinitely suspended and will reportedly be able to start the reinstatement process by May at the earliest. The Patriots tendering both players does not come as a surprise, though.
Coming off a season that ended on an ankle injury during the divisional playoff round, Jones rebounded well in 2018. While he saw inconsistent playing time during the regular season — he did remain a core special teams presence, though — the 25-year-old bounced back strong in the playoffs and played a key role in New England limiting All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the AFC title game, before a tremendous performance as a deep zone safety in the Super Bowl.
Gordon, meanwhile, appeared in 11 games for the team before getting indefinitely suspended for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the NFL’s drug policy. Before leaving the club in December, however, Gordon established himself as one of the team’s top-two at the wide receiver position: he played 71.2% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps and caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns. Seeing him get tagged is a good sign for the team’s confidence in his return — and him still being in New England’s plans for 2019.