Names abound: Beckham ... Brown ... Gronk ... Kaepernick all topics of conversation.
IT’S BEEN 17 days since the Patriots made it six championships with their win over the Rams in Atlanta. There was the celebration, a parade, Julian Edelman has been everywhere (including starting the NASCAR race in Daytona the other day.)
Aside from all that, the Pats are the only one of the four local pro teams not playing. But that doesn’t mean all is quiet in and around Foxborough, Mass.
This is the time of year for speculation. As we all wonder what’s going to happen with Rob Gronkowski, the Pats pop up in the news on an almost-daily basis.
The Giants might indeed trade Odell Beckham Jr. despite his contract extension. Antonio Brown will be on the move. The thought of Tom Brady throwing to either of these guys is more than a little bit interesting.
Brown and Robert Kraft were both at the NBA All-Star Game. More speculation.
We have entered the franchise tag time of year. More speculation. We’re also heavily into mock drafts, with the NFL Combine approaching.
We told you here the other day that one draft had the Pats taking a tight end to replace Gronkowski. Now, we look at Mel Kiper’s mock and he has the Patriots, with the final pick of the first round, tabbing Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (a name we’ve seen connected to New England in more than one spot).
Wrote Kiper: “I continue to believe Bill Belichick and the Patriots will use some of their draft capital on a quarterback. It could be here, or it could be with one of their two second-round picks. There could be several QBs going in the first three rounds. Jones is an athletic 6-4 signal-caller who can be an erratic thrower at times but is already advanced in his footwork. He’d benefit from sitting and learning behind Tom Brady. The Super Bowl champs have several prominent free agents who could leave, so we’ll know much more in a month about which positions they could target.”
NFLDraftScout has the Pats taking Florida defensive end Jachai Polite, with the words, “No Patriots player had more than seven and a half sacks this past season; Polite would be a welcome addition as a disruptive edge force.”
Brown, who said “not yet” when asked if he had spoken to Kraft, said he now wants to be known as “Mr. Big Chest.” As far as his future — and heavy speculation he wants to play for the 49ers — Brown took to Instagram Live to say, ”If your team got guaranteed money, they want to get to know me and work with me, tell them to call me.”
Staying or going
Trent Brown, the hulking left tackle who had a lot to do with Brady staying so upright, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter he would love to stay in Foxborough. “That’s definitely something I would love,” he said. “But hey, we’re going to cross that bridge when we get there.”
But the seventh-round draft pick knows it’s time for him to look for his best deal, saying, “Hopefully it’s somewhere where I can build some longevity, somewhere where that would be a great place and a great fit schematically, in the locker room, on the field, and also somewhere that’s also a great fit for my family as well.”
Finally on football, we turn to Colin Kaepernick. He has dropped his collusion suit against the NFL amid talk of a big-time settlement, and his lawyer says he is ready to return to the field. To the Patriots?
“I will tell you that besides the Panthers, it would not surprise me if (Patriots owner) Bob Kraft makes a move,” said Mark Geragos, who added, “I think you’re going to see within the next two weeks that somebody is going to step up, somebody is going to do the right thing.”
Doubtful — OK, downright unlikely — that Kaepernick will up end with the Pats. But we all should know by now that New England is mentioned as a possible landing spot for EVERY guy looking for a new home.
If you stayed up very late Monday night, you got to see a very exciting hockey game, with the Bruins blowing leads of 3-0 and 4-2 before winning in overtime. It was the third win in four nights in California and gave the B’s six straight wins heading into Las Vegas (tonight) and St. Louis (Saturday) to complete the trip.
The trade deadline is next Monday at 3 p.m.
Calling the game “a soup” because of all the ingredients that went into it, Jake DeBrusk, who seems to be morphing into a star before our eyes (goals in four straight games), said, “It’s just one of those games where it seems like it’s back and forth and there’s missed calls here and there, different things that kind of go on that affect the game. Obviously really big to come out on top of that one. Big goal by Wags (Chris Wagner) late and we had some other guys produce as well. It was nice to be a part of that and keep the winning streak going.”
Wagner, robbed via replay of a goal that should have counted earlier in the game, scored a goal that SHOULDN’T have counted with 1:49 left in the game as the Bruins spoiled a night that produced Joe Thornton’s first hat trick in eight years.
As far as the trade deadline, people panicked when David Pastrnak went down with the hand injury. Even more pressure was on Don Sweeney, and don’t think for a second that rival GMs didn’t know that. The Bruins are 4-0 and have outscored the four opponents 19-10 since Pastrnak went down. They got goals from six players at San Jose. But don’t be fooled: A deal for a top-six forward would still help tremendously.
Through Monday, only the runaway Tampa Bay Lightning had more points in the standings than Boston. There appears to be a door here, folks. Now we’ll see if Sweeney helps his team walk through that door.
Saying too much
Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner talked publicly about Chris Sale Monday, saying the Sox have had “private conversations” with the left-hander about extending his stay in Boston.
Private conversations? Isn’t saying there have been private conversations the very thing that makes them public? Are there ever PUBLIC conversations? “We’ll return to the Red Sox talking to Chris Sale after these commercial messages?”
Now, we return to what the team actually does on Sale, a great pitcher who has not stayed 100 percent great throughout his career. Both he and Rick Porcello are entering the final year of their contracts.
The way things have been going with baseball owners these days, you wonder how long the Sox are willing to go on both. Owner John Henry said Monday the Sox “blew it” on Jon Lester, more than hinting he didn’t want to do that again. But there’s an awful lot of money that will have to be thrown around in the coming years to try to keep this team intact.
Where does all the money go?
The brass said again there are no plans to bring Craig Kimbrel back, as the closer continues to look for work (I still think it’s Atlanta).
More Sale. From @SoxNotes: “Chris Sale owns the highest K/9.0 IP rate (10.86) and K/BB ratio (5.31) in the Live Ball Era (min. 1,000 IP). He has finished in the top 6 in Cy Young Award voting in each of the last 7 years, tied for the longest such streak in the award’s history (also Greg Maddux & Clayton Kershaw).”
Even though the Red Sox are the “home” team for the two games with the Yankees in London, both teams will wear their home whites. Baseball wants those Yankee pinstripes on display.
The pitch clock will be used in spring training games (can’t be great news for David Price), but remember this: The clock shuts off until the next pitch if the pitcher throws to a base or steps off the rubber with a runner on base.
Big news Tuesday: Manny Machado went to the Padres via a 10-year/$300 million deal. We’ll deal with it later, but for the Red Sox, he’s out of the American League. Unless you count the slide on Dustin Pedroia, he’s never killed the Sox, hitting .277 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs in 95 career games against Boston.
The Celtics return from the All-Star break with a three-game road trip, at Milwaukee Thursday, Chicago Saturday and Toronto Tuesday. We assume Kyrie Irving, who played in the All-Star Game, will return for this important mini stretch.
Not always thrilled with Jaylen Brown’s on-court decisions? You should know Brown has moved up the chain of the players association. The NBAP posted, “Formerly acting as the alternative @celtics player representative, @jaylenbrown has just been elected as an NBPA vice president and will now serve his three-year term on the executive committee.”
The Celtics rose from seventh to fifth in The Athletic’s new NBA power rankings. They sit sixth in theScore’s rankings, with the words, “The Celtics, accustomed to dealing with injuries over the last few years, had trouble integrating all of their talent early this season. They seem to be figuring it out, as Gordon Hayward averaged 21 points on 69 percent 3-point shooting in three games before the break.”
Finally, we give you Jayson Tatum after he won the NBA Skills Competition over the weekend. “We’re going to win the finals this year,” Tatum said. “February 16th, Jayson Tatum said we’re going to win the finals this year.”
This comes days after Tim McMahon wrote on ESPN: “It’s gossip, but the gossip is Jayson Tatum wouldn’t mind if he’s shipped to New Orleans and has a chance to be the face of the franchise somewhere. Because he’s not going to get that opportunity in Boston, at least not in the immediate future.”
Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.)