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New England Patriots links 2/24/21 - Franchise tag window opens; Joe Thuney not likely to get tagged

Daily news and links for Wednesday

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Joe Thuney
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports


Paul Perillo’s NFL Notes: Quarterback musical chairs continues.


  • David Latham (LastWordOnSports) Fast tracking the Patriots rebuild: How New England can rebuild the roster in one offseason.
  • CBS Boston reports the Patriots are ‘very optimistic’ that fans will be in attendance at full capacity for 2021 season.
  • Hayden Bird notes NFL expert Louis Riddick predicts Bill Belichick will be back in 2021 ‘with a vengeance.’ “He’s not going to take this past year sitting down and just go, ‘You know what? I had my time.’ The guy’s coming back with a vengeance, and I can’t wait to see it unfold.”
  • Zack Cox analyzes the Patriots deep and talented cornerback group, with the Stephon Gilmore question headlining an uncertain offseason.
  • Doug Kyed continues his ‘Hidden Patriots’ series with RB J.J. Taylor, a big back trapped in an undersized frame.
  • Henry Mckenna (PatriotsWire) Cam Newton defends N’Keal Harry amid struggles: ‘He was battered’
  • Alex Barth looks at which pending Patriots free agents are the best candidates for the franchise tag.
  • Michael Hurley suggests some potential candidates for the franchise tag in 2021.
  • Matt Dolloff reports there is mutual interest between the Patriots and DT Adam Butler.
  • Alex Barth suggests five potential pre-free agency trades for the Patriots.
  • Mike Reiss believes New England has been patient in its search for a QB, but having a veteran in place could be crucial if it hopes to lure pass-catchers in free agency.
  • Matt Dolloff talks about ESPN insider Field Yates’ prediction of Marcus Mariota as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.
  • Matt Dolloff thumbnails 11 weapons for the 2021 Patriots in free agency.
  • David Latham (LastWordOnSports) Patriots free agents to target: The big names and honorable mentions.
  • David Latham (LastWordOnSports) Free agent team fits: LB Lavonte David.
  • Ian Logue (PatsFans) NFL Rumors: A ‘third of the league’ has reached out to Seahawks about QB Wilson.
  • Ian Logue (PatsFans) Houston QB Watson approves potential trade destinations. Jets, Dolphins, Panthers.
  • Matt Dolloff notes TE Hunter Henry is on track to become an unrestricted free agent, and insists on playing with a good quarterback.
  • David Latham (LastWordOnSports) 2021 NFL draft profile: Wake Forest WR Sage Surratt.
  • Mike Luciano (MusketFire) Should New England trade up to take Penn State LB Micah Parsons?
  • Ian Logue (PatsFans) Five Patriots/NFL things to know.
  • Robert Alvarez (PatsFans) Social media recap: High school student apologizes to Cam Newton following viral “trash talk” video.
  • Alex Barth and Matt Dolloff offer up their first mock draft for 2021. Pats pick Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle at 15.
  • A Clare Perspective podcast: Clare Cooper opens her inaugural podcast with guest Mike Dussault. (27 min.)
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike D’Abate and Steve Balestrieri profile draft prospects, discuss Cam Newton’s recent I AM ATHLETE podcast appearance, and what what a potential return means for 2021. (48 min.)
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike and Murph don their ‘GM Hats’ to project which offensive linemen might be worth early-round draft capital, Cam’s melodrama, and potential Pats pursuit of FA LB Matt Milano. (47 min.)


  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Cam Newton is definitely better than plenty of starting quarterbacks.
  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Window to use franchise tags opens on Tuesday.
  • Gregg Rosenthal ( 2021 NFL franchise/transition tag primer: Who are the no-brainers? Debatable candidates?
  • Nate Davis (USA Today) Franchise tag recommendations for all 32 NFL teams. Patriots: None. “They have the cap space to tag QB Cam Newton, C David Andrews or G Joe Thuney, who was franchised last year. But ... it’s always dicey paying interior blockers what’s essentially left tackle money.”
  • NFL Nation ( NFL franchise tag candidates and 2021 predictions: Dak Prescott, Aaron Jones top list of 22 players. Prediction: The Patriots won’t use the franchise tag on Joe Thuney.
  • Adam Schein ( 2021 NFL free agency: Nine players who CANNOT hit the open market. No. 6 Joe Thuney.
  • Adam Rank ( Five NFL stars who SHOULD be traded this offseason. Stephon Gilmore included.
  • Daniel Jeremiah ( Top 50: 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings 2.0.
  • Kristopher Knox (Bleacher Report) 1 mistake every NFL team must avoid making in the 2021 NFL draft.
  • Tom Fornelli (CBS Sports) 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Texans trade Deshaun Watson to Dolphins. Pats pick Penn State LB Micah Parsons at 15.
  • Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports) 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers, 49ers, Panthers all trade up for QBs. Pats take Georgia LB Azeez Ojulari at 15.
  • Conor Orr (SI) The NFL’s era of superstar empowerment is coming. Top QBs across the league came to realize the power they hold. It threatens to upend the NFL, while potentially ushering in an era of NBA-like player movement.
  • Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham (ESPN) Inside the dual legacies of NFLPA union boss DeMaurice Smith.
  • Charean Williams (ProFootballTalk) Dez Bryant wants to play two more seasons but not with Ravens.
  • Chris Adamski (TribLive) Art Rooney II, Ben Roethlisberger in agreement that QB returns for 18th season.
  • Rick Stroud (Tampa Bay Times) Jason Licht on extending Tom Brady’s deal: ‘We’d like to keep this going’. The only surprise would be if the Bucs decide not to add a year to their quarterback’s contract.
  • Greg Bishop (SI) When it comes to leadership hires, NFL teams keep doing the same thing.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Without new CBA or last July’s deal, 2021 salary cap would have been $160 million.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) WFT to pick a new name after 2021 season.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Tennessee investigates illegal betting activity during Super Bowl LV.