After losing the Super Bowl to the Eagles last Sunday, the Patriots were left in an interesting situation.
Both of their coordinators, Josh McDaniels on the offensive side and Matt Patricia on the defensive end, were ready to move on to head coaching jobs elsewhere.
Patricia officially signed with the Detroit Lions on Monday and was introduced Thursday, sporting a new haircut and a trimmed beard. McDaniels, who was supposed to become the new coach of the Colts, spurned Indianapolis and decided to stick around just a while longer in Foxborough.
Following all of that drama, the Patriots were still left to look for their new defensive coordinator. Their top target, who many assumed would take the job due to his long relationship with Bill Belichick, was Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. However, Schiano told FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman Wednesday that Schiano would be staying in Columbus, leaving the Patriots back at square one.
The new favorite to land the defensive coordinator job is Brian Flores, the New England’s linebackers coach.
Flores was heavily considered by the Arizona Cardinals to be their new head coach before they hired former Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. Flores came to the Patriots the same year as Patricia, in 2004, and has had stints as the team’s special teams assistant and safeties coach.
Free agency woes may lie ahead
The Patriots have a bevy of free agents about to hit the market this offseason, including these key players:
Danny Amendola, WR
Johnson Badesmosi, CB
Brandon Bolden, RB
Rex Burkhead, RB
Malcolm Butler, CB
Nate Ebner, SS
Cameron Fleming, OT
Marquis Flowers, LB
James Harrison, LB
Dion Lewis, RB
Matthew Slater, WR
Nate Solder, OT
LaAdrian Waddle, OT
With somewhat limited cap space ($14M), the Patriots will have some tough decisions to make.
Butler is all but gone, and special teams specialists Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner should be expected to return on cheap contracts. This leaves the Patriots in a tough spot on offense, as they most likely will not be able to bring back all of Bolden, Lewis, Burkhead, and Amendola.
Amendola seems like a lock to come back after his playoff heroics and strong personal relationship with Tom Brady. The real predicament is in the backfield, as Lewis is expected to hit the open market, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Gronkowski home robbed of firearms
According to the police dispatch during the robbery of Rob Gronkowski’s home on Sunday night, there were “multiple safes and possible guns” stolen.
“This is Rob Gronkowski calling, and while I was gone my whole house got robbed,” Gronkowski said to a dispatcher in the audio of the call released Tuesday by Foxborough police. “While on the Super Bowl trip, and I just got back.”
While the Foxborough Chief of Police refused to confirm or deny what exactly was stolen, or whether or not the house was equipped with a security system and surveillance cameras. There were no other reported robberies in the area that night.