Sunday, July 21, 2013, 8:25am
A lot can change between now and the end of training camp, but the under-the-radar Patriots offensive player who has arguably built more momentum than any other to this point is rookie free agent receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. Friday's release of veteran receiver Donald Jones, who was due a $200,000 reporting bonus, was tied in part to Thompkins' strong work in the spring when he was taking first-team repetitions by the end of mandatory minicamp. Thompkins (6-0, 193) played at Cincinnati in 2011 and 2012, and had modest production (44 receptions in '11, then 34 in '12), which contributed to his going undrafted (the Patriots inked him to a free-agent deal with a $2,500 signing bonus and $2,500 of the base salary guaranteed).
He had initially signed with Tennessee in 2010, but left when coach Lane Kiffin bolted for Southern Cal, and the NCAA ruled he had to sit out a year because of transfer rules. So Thompkins is a bit older than the standard rookie (he turns 25 on July 29). He also had a tougher upbringing and was arrested seven times between the ages of 15 and 18.
I spoke with one scout who felt those troubles were behind Thompkins. Still, from a football perspective, the scout didn't see much "wow" factor; Thompkins isn't particularly fast (4.54 in the 40) and there weren't necessarily any intangibles that stood out to the scout. But a strong performance at the Texas vs. Nation game, coupled with some things clicking for him in the spring with the Patriots, has him in position to be a sleeper to watch in training camp.
Friday, July 19, 2013, 7:47pm
Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 2:37pm
ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss said he thinks Julian Edelman is the Patriot's No. 2 receiver on opening day if he is healthy. Reiss added that he wouldn't undersell his athleticism and speed. He went on to say, naturally, losing part of the offseason as he rehabs his foot wasn't ideal, but one of the main things he has going for him is a trust built up with QB Tom Brady and a knowledge of the offense.
Danny Amendola is the team's WR1, which means Edelman will likely battle with WRs Aaron Dobson, Michael Jenkins, and Donald Jones to get WR2 snaps. Right now, we have Dobson as the Pats WR2 with Edelman third. Dobson is going very late in drafts with an ADP of the 14th. With potentially no TE Rob Gronkowski to start the season, the Pats could rely more on the run.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 9:50am
A Patriots free-agent signing from the Buffalo Bills, WR Donald Jones hasn’t been able to break through for first-unit repetitions, as 10-year veteran Michael Jenkins, third-year man Kamar Aiken and rookie free agent Kenbrell Thompkins served as the primary outside receivers.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 9:55am
“Oh yeah, I love it,” Graham said of the new coaching staff and fast pace. “Not that I didn’t love the old staff. I just happened to be fortunate to get a really good staff in here that can teach me and other receivers [to be better]. It’s a really good system and I like it. It’s wide open.”
If Buffalo can find someone to provide decent play at QB, Graham will be a deep sleeper heading into the 2013 season provided he starts opposite Steve Johnson.
The team on Sunday matched the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet for the restricted free-agent wide receiver, Sanders' agent, Jordan Woy, told USA TODAY Sports in an email.
This is good news for QB Ben Roethlisberger, who nearly lost three of his top four receiving options this offseason. Mike Wallace is in Miami and Heath Miller (ACL) is iffy for Week 1. Sanders will be a sleeper as the Steelers' WR2 and is likely to start in Wallace's spot. In 2012, he caught 10 passes for 187 yards during a three-game midseason stretch with Brown sidelined, so he's a threat to crack the 1,000-yard mark with Wallace gone. In New England, this is good news for Donald Jones, who could start for the Patriots.
The Patriots released Lloyd on Saturday after only one season with the team, a club source told NFL.com's Albert Breer. The team later confirmed Lloyd's release.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that it's possible Lloyd will return at a lesser salary. Lloyd was due a $3 million roster bonus after a season in which Lloyd caught 74 passes for 911 yards and four touchdowns, but it was clear he wasn't going to get that bonus.
Lloyd didn't provide the vertical threat that the Patriots were hoping for, and there were reports that his erratic behavior was not a great fit in the locker room. His potential future in New England could depend on what else the Patriots get accomplished in free agency.
Former Bills WR Donald Jones has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the New England Patriots, according to a person informed of the talks between the sides. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been finalized and signed.
Thursday, February 7, 2013, 10:57pm
That according to Bills GM Buddy Nix: "We have made the decision not to re-sign Donald,” said Nix. “We’re going in a different direction and this move today gives Donald the opportunity to catch on with another team early on in the process. We thank him for his years with our organization and wish him the best in the future.”
Friday, December 21, 2012, 7:09pm
Thursday, December 20, 2012, 7:30pm
Bills TE Scott Chandler (foot) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Chandler looks like he'll be fine for Week 16. He saw eight targets last week with Donald Jones sidelined.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 7:34pm
Bills TE Scott Chandler (foot) did not practice Wednesday. Chandler has missed a few practices of late, but with Donald Jones done for the year, he could have a bigger role if he's able to play against the Dolphins.
With two regular season games to play, the Bills made some room on their roster, placing injured players on reserve Tuesday. Buffalo moved WR Donald Jones to Non-Football/Illness and LB Arthur Moats to Injured Reserve.
Jones had been dealing with a recurring calf injury that kept him out of two of the last three games. The injury resurfaced last Friday and kept him out of the Seattle game last Sunday.
“It’s been bothering him off and on,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “It shows up and doesn’t show up.” Gailey may provide insight into Jones' latest ailment later in the week.
Buffalo’s athletic training staff likely thought with the playoffs no longer in reach that it was best to shut the receiver down for the rest of 2012. Jones finishes the season with a career-high 41 catches for 443 yards and four touchdowns.
With Jones out, rookie WR T.J. Graham should continue to see heavy snaps. He saw eight targets with Jones sidelined in Week 15.
Friday, December 14, 2012, 7:39pm
Bills WR Donald Jones (calf, questionable) was limited Friday after taking full reps earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 15. Late-week downgrades usually aren't a good sign. T.J. Graham figures to see extra snaps if Jones can't play.
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