February 2019 - New England Patriots Wiretap

Robert Kraft Solicited Sex On Day Of AFC Title Game

Feb 26, 2019 8:25 AM

Robert Kraft visited a Florida massage parlor for sex acts on the morning of the AFC Championship Game, according to documents released by the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office.

Kraft attended the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs later in the day.

The visit was the owner's second in a 24-hour period.

The 77-year-old Kraft was officially charged with two misdemeanor counts of first-degree solicitation.

A court date has been set for 8:30 a.m. ET on April 24. Kraft will have a "low level" arrest warrant issued in his name -- similar to a traffic ticket -- and he will not need to appear in court.

ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Misc Rumor

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Attorney's Office Discredits Adam Schefter's 'Biggest Name' Report

Feb 26, 2019 8:25 AM

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, was asked about a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter indicating he'd been “told that Robert Kraft is not the biggest name involved down there in South Florida.” Edmondson responded: “Nobody around here has any idea what [Schefter] is referring to.”

Kraft has been charged on two counts of first-degree solicitation.

Diana Moskovitz, Kelly Naqi/Deadspin

Tags: New England Patriots, Legal

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2019 NFL Draft Mock Draft 2.0: Pre-Combine Edition

Feb 24, 2019 9:55 AM

By Jeff Risdon, RealGM

This edition has quite a few changes in player and draft slot from the first edition. Spending two weeks with NFL personnel evaluators at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl gave me a better idea of how some prospects are viewed from the NFL ranks, and the changes here reflect that. Note that at this stage of the draft season, coaches are still getting their feet wet with most of the prospects. The Combine at the end of February into early March will provide even more clarity.

1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State. Instant impact pass rusher who can play in a variety of roles and schemes. At this point, the only real question is his durability. Will that be enough to convince the Cardinals to look elsewhere? Right now, I don’t think it trumps Bosa’s game-changing potential.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama. It’s hard to watch the 49ers devote yet another premium draft pick to the defensive line, but it’s also hard to ignore just how much Williams can help San Francisco where they really need it. Someone could trade up here to land Williams too.

3. New York Jets: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. I expect Oliver to show out in Indy and revive the interest in him as the potential No. 1 overall pick. His ability to create pressure up the gut and make plays behind the line is exactly what the Jets need in a division with a diverse range of opposing QBs.

4. Oakland RaidersKyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma. Does it make sense for the Raiders to scrap Derek Carr? Probably not. But it’s so easy to see Jon Gruden being infatuated with all Murray can do and how it would allow the Raiders to change the dynamics of defending them. They’re in a good position to take such a risk, too.

5. Tampa Bay BuccaneersCody Ford, OT, Oklahoma. Ford is an instant starter at one of the tackle spots, which is both a credit to his rapid rise and an indictment of how badly the Buccaneers need the powerful help he can provide. 
 
6. New York Giants: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky. What, no QB?! Not in this instance. Instead, GM Dave Gettleman opts to fortify the pass rush with the versatile Allen and buys another year with Eli Manning. His pass rushing prowess is a difference-maker. 
             
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State. This pick seems like a lock if Haskins remains on the board. The Jaguars sorely need to hit on a high-end QB, and Haskins has the pocket passing precision to pay off quickly. 
             
8. Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson. Ferrell checks the boxes the Lions want in upgrading the pass rush: he can line up in multiple spots and schemes and plays the run exceptionally well on his way to the QB. Lower ceiling than the pass rushers above him here but his ability to generate pressure on his own is underrated. 
             
9. Buffalo Bills: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida. I was surprised at the buzz around Taylor from scouts at the Senior Bowl. His athletic profile and potential is highly regarded and could easliy land him in Buffalo, where building around running QB Josh Allen and replacing free agents at both RT and RG are imperative. 
             
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. Joe Flacco handles the reins until the live-armed Lock can take over. It’s a risky pick--Lock has real warts that must be smoothed--but could result in John Elway finally getting the QB position right. 
             
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU. This is a very common projection and that’s for good reason; the Bengals are typically one of the easiest organizations to read in terms of draft intentions. To quote The Cranberries, “Everybody else is doing it so why can’t we?”
             
12. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. A do-it-all weapon who can quickly ingratiate himself to Aaron Rodgers for both his blocking and his receiving, this one should get the QB’s seal of approval. 
             
13. Miami Dolphins: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. A divisive prospect but one with a very high ceiling, Gary could help catapult the Dolphins defense with his athleticism and ability to get after the passer. 
             
14. Atlanta Falcons: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa. Atlanta appears to be a prime candidate to trade back, but “settling” for the freaky Fant should tickle Falcons fans’ fancy. Another versatile receiving weapon in an offense that is already hard to defend.

 
15. Washington: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss. Currently built more like a defensive end than a wideout, the 6-4, 230-pound Metcalf proved he can play before his neck injury. The durability question keeps him out of the top 10, methinks. Washington doesn’t mind...
 
16. Carolina Panthers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama. Williams proved himself in big games, and his ability to adapt within a play and recover if initially beaten stand out. With the questions Carolina has at both tackle spots, adding a ready-made starter is a positive.


17. Cleveland BrownsBrian Burns, EDGE, Florida State. Pairing the lanky, speedy Burns with Myles Garrett would provide the Browns defense with even more ways to attack in new DC Steve Wilks’ scheme. I had OT Andre Dillard here for a long time before changing.


18. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss. Little has loads of athletic potential but uneven results in pass protection. Vikings GM Rick Spielman bites the apple and hopes it tastes sweet in a year or two at a position where the team keeps hitting sour notes.

19. Tennessee Titans: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. Murphy offers naturally instinctive stickiness in coverage and the ability to play outside or in the slot. He’s a player who could rocket way up from this range with a good week in Indy. 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. The Steelers search for a playmaking CB leads them to Williams, who offers length and speed to help bolster an uneven secondary. 
             
21. Seattle Seahawks: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida. If Frank Clark leaves in free agency, the Seahawks almost have to use this pick to address the pass rush. If Clark returns, that opens this pick up to other options, but Seattle would still need EDGE help. Polite brings sizzle off the edge.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State. The Ravens could do a lot worse to build around Lamar Jackson than selecting the physical, reliable Harmon. Aside from having great hands and running smooth routes, he’s an incredible blocker. 
             
23. Houston Texans: Garrett Bradbury, OC/OG, North Carolina State. The quest to upgrade the long-struggling offensive line in Houston turns to one of the most physical finishers in the draft and an instant starter at any of the three IOL positions for the Texans. 
             
24. Oakland Raiders (from CHI): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State. Oakland uses the bounty from Amari Cooper to replace him with the supersized Harry, who moves quite well for a 6-6 receiver and can really help on 3rd downs and in the red zone. 
  
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State. His stiff-arm bull rush wowed in Mobile, and his game tape features more of his high football IQ and ability to bend the edge. He and Derek Barnett as the Eagles young edges would be fun to watch

26. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame. A powerful interior rusher with the ability to dominate (see the Michigan game), Tillery instantly reinforces the weakest point on the promising young Colts defense.
             
27. Oakland Raiders (from DAL): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. Bush can fly all over the field and do anything asked of an NFL LB, but his size (he’s expected to be 5-10/225) is a detraction. Give Gruden football players like this and the size doesn’t matter (much).             

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State. The Chargers depth up front is shallower than a Kardashian’s intellect. Dillard can play either tackle spot and appears undervalued at this point in the draft process. 
             
29. Kansas City Chiefs: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia. Building up the pass defense is an imperative for a team that figures to see a lot of comeback attempts against them. Baker brings a physical presence with a high football IQ; his speed in Indy is one of the biggest things I’m watching. 
             
30. Green Bay Packers (from NO): Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College. Lindstrom can play any interior line position. The Packers need his technically savvy surliness right away. 
  
31. Los Angeles Rams: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware. The first FCS-level prospect comes off the board at the back end of the first round, and Adderly instantly upgrades the back end of the Rams defense with his all-around game.

32. New England Patriots: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama. It’s convenient to call Smith a Gronk replacement, but the lithe Smith has a different style of game. The Patriots will find ways to use his elusiveness in space and his blocking chops.

Teams that lack a first-round pick...

Dallas Cowboys: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

New Orleans Saints: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Chicago Bears: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia

Jeff Risdon/RealGM

Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Draft, Draft Misc

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Steelers Rule Out Trading Antonio Brown To Pats, AFC North Rival

Feb 24, 2019 9:40 AM

The Pittsburgh Steelers would prefer to trade Antonio Brown to a team in the NFC.

The Steelers also consider the New England Patriots and their three AFC North rivals as no-trade zones.

Teams have often looked to trade players outside their own conference.

Jeremy Fowler/ESPN

Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Misc Rumor, Trade Rumor

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Patriots, Cardinals, Washington Each Get Four Compensatory Picks

Feb 23, 2019 9:51 AM

The New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Washington each will get four of the 32 compensatory draft picks the NFL awarded on Friday.

The Patriots get two picks in the third round, one in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive the picks. The compensatory picks are positioned within the third-through-seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

ESPN

Tags: Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, Draft, Draft Misc

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Robert Kraft Charged With Solicitation Of Prostitution

Feb 22, 2019 1:19 PM

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution.

Police in Jupiter, Florida said Friday that he was twice videotaped paying for and receiving sex at an illicit massage parlor.

Kraft hasn't been arrested. A warrant will be issued, and his attorneys will be notified.

The charge comes amid a widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in Palm Beach County.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Kraft said they "categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."

ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Misc Rumor

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Devin McCourty Will Return To Patriots For 10th Season

Feb 22, 2019 7:32 AM

Devin McCourty said he might retire if the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LIII, but the safety will return for a 10th season.

"Yeah, I'm gonna play," McCourty told the Sports Spectrum podcast.

"It was media night when Deion [Sanders] said that to me, and it's like, 'Yeah man, if we win a Super Bowl, I don't know what else can top that.' And I think in that moment I kind of forgot like, I don't play this game just to win Super Bowls. There's so much more that comes from me playing the game that I love. And I think once you get a chance to step away for a couple weeks, now you're like, 'Yeah man, I still want to be around these other young guys that come in ...'"

McCourty, 31, is an eight-time Patriots captain.

ESPN

Tags: New England Patriots, Misc Rumor

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Rob Gronkowski To Decide On Future In Next Few Weeks

Feb 20, 2019 10:16 AM

Rob Gronkowski said following Super Bowl LIII that he'd decide on his future in a week or two.

It's been a few weeks since the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams and the tight end hasn't made a decision.

"He's thinking it through, he's giving it a lot of thought. ... I imagine a decision will happen in the next couple of weeks," Drew Rosenhaus said.

Gronkowski is under contract for 2019 with a $9 million base salary.

Josh Alper/Pro Football Talk

Tags: New England Patriots, Misc Rumor

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Patriots Pursued Trade For Odell Beckham During 2018 Season

Feb 19, 2019 8:23 AM

There was a lot of trade speculation surrounding Odell Beckham, Jr. last offseason and the New England Patriots reportedly pursued him most aggressively during the offseason.

"This is something that I found out, you know, through the course of the season. I don't think that everybody realizes -- and I didn't realize this -- how close Odell Beckham Jr. was to being traded last year," Simms said. "I mean, it was really close ... But here's the big thing that I found out towards the end of the year, really, more than anything with Odell Beckham Jr.: The Giants were going to trade him, and I think they were really looking and listening to all offers. You know what really stopped it? And I think this is going to shock people. 

"This is from everything I know with multiple sources, the thing that stopped the trade conversation with Odell Beckham Jr. is because the team that was most aggressive in pursuing him was the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots were trying to get Odell Beckham Jr. all last offseason. And I think the Giants got cold feet and said, 'Wait ... New England wants him? Uh-oh, maybe he's better than we thought. Maybe we should just keep him on our own instead of it being thrown in our face and him going to win a Super Bowl with the Pats.'"

The Giants ended up keeping Beckham, signing him to an extension, and his relationship with the franchise appears better.

Chris Simms/NBC (via Jared Dubin/CBS Sports)

Tags: New England Patriots, New York Giants, Misc Rumor, Trade Rumor

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NFL Likely To Pick Bears-Packers For 2019 Opener

Feb 11, 2019 10:06 AM

The NFL is likely to select the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 5 as their Thursday Night kickoff game for 2019.

The game would be the first since 2006 to not feature the Super Bowl champion.

The New England Patriots will likely instead host the NFL's first Sunday Night Football game instead.

The Bears-Packers game would help the NFL kickoff its 100th season celebration as the league's oldest rivalry.

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

Tags: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots

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First Quarter Of SB Had Lower Rating Than End Of AFC Championship
The Super Bowl had its lowest rating since 2009 and many blamed the lack of scoring and the frequency of punts, but it had a low rating from the start.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Patriots Close To Adding Greg Schiano To Staff
Greg Schiano's title will be defensive coordinator.

Mike Reiss/ESPN

Tom Brady Says Win 'Doesn't Change Anything' About Retirement
Tom Brady won his sixth Super Bowl on Sunday night, but the Patriots quarterback insists the victory doesn't change his plans to continue playing.

CBS Sports

New Jersey Sportsbooks Lost $4.5M On Super Bowl LIII
The first Super Bowl with legalized sports betting in New Jersey was one for the state to forget.

David Purdum/ESPN

Dolphins Hire Brian Flores As Head Coach
Brian Flores is the Dolphins' 10th head coach (including interims) since 2004.

Cameron Wolfe/ESPN

Ratings For Super Bowl Down To Lowest Mark Since 2009
The ratings loss ran counter to the gains the NFL made up during the season.

Kevin Draper/New York Times

Sean McVay: I Got Out-Coached
The Rams managed just 260 yards of offense in Super Bowl LIII and Sean McVay wasn't happy with himself afterward.

Josh Alper/Pro Football Talk

Rob Gronkowski Will Decide Future 'In A Few Weeks'
The soon-to-be 30-year-old has dealt with a variety of injuries during his nine NFL seasons.

ESPN

Vegas Tabs Chiefs As Early Favorites To Win Super Bowl LIV
The Patriots have won two of the last three Super Bowls, but the Chiefs are the early favorites to win Super Bowl LIV.

Ben Fawkes/ESPN

Julian Edelman Named Super Bowl LIII MVP
Julian Edelman, who opened the season with a four-game suspension, was named MVP of Super Bowl LIII on Sunday night.

Jeff Legwold/ESPN

Patriots-Chiefs Or Rams-Saints Likely To Open 2019 Season
There are, however, no assurances that the Super Bowl champion will open the 2019 season at home.

Adam Schefter/ESPN