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New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger

New England Patriots news and notes from the recent and upcoming events. This includes the next two major dates on the NFL Calendar

Franchise Tags

The window to designate free agents with a franchise or transition tag begins on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Teams will have until March 5 to tag players. Those not tagged will head to free agency.

New England has three priority players among the breakdown of the Patriots pending free agents: Mike Onwenu, Hunter Henry, and Kyle Dugger.

Henry would make more than the franchise tag for tight ends if the designation is used, so there is no chance of that happening. Henry’s return is still a distinct possibility, however. Will Onwenu or Dugger receive a franchise tag?

Working out multi-year contracts, if possible, would be in the best interests of the team. Neither player has been vocal about being ready to move on, and Onwenu has indicated a desire to return. The Patriots replacing either player will prove difficult and/or costly. New England cannot afford a step backward with their personnel after a 4-13 season.

NFL Scouting Combine

A week from Monday is the start of the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. There will be a lot more coverage of the event on Patriots Football Now, both as it approaches and while it’s happening. The league has announced the 321 prospects who received invites. This includes seven prospects from New England schools:

OL Kiran Amegadjie, Yale
WR Jalen Coker, Holy Cross
OL C.J. Hanson, Holy Cross
OL Christian Haynes, Connecticut
DB Elijah Jones, Boston College
OL Christian Mahogany, Boston College
DB Eric Watts, Connecticut

New England Patriots Coaching Staff

Mike Reiss writes in his notes column for ESPN that the Patriots could be announcing their complete coaching staff sometime this week. The official team website still only lists head coach Jerod Mayo, although several additional hirings have already been announced and confirmed, including all three coordinators.

Reiss reports that strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera is not expected to return, with assistant Deron Mayo (Jerod’s brother) being promoted from assistant.

This leaves a few openings on staff still. Most notable are the vacancies for wide receivers coach and tight ends coach. Several coaching options for New England have been laid out here previously. There could also be assistants added for special teams, as well as strength and conditioning.

“The Dynasty”

Apple TV’s docuseries “The Dynasty” releases two more episodes later this week. The first two episodes received reviews here:

Episode 1: Backup Plan

Episode 2: The Snow Bowl

The series is off to a very entertaining start. However, it is already 20% over and the Patriots are still in their first season with Tom Brady playing quarterback (the latest episode ended with Brady getting injured in the AFC Championship Game with a trip to Super Bowl 36 at stake). Hopefully, the pacing does not force too many positive events to be glossed over moving forward. It is important to remember that the incredible two-decade run had a lot more ups than downs.

Patriots Roster Breakdown Series

PFN’s continued coverage of the potential players on the 2024 roster will continue this week. DeVante Parker and Jalen Mills kicked off the series last week. This week’s player profiles will be Mack Wilson Sr., Bailey Zappe, Jabrill Peppers, and Christian Gonzalez.

Fun Fact of the Day

New England Patriots legend Stanley Morgan turned 69 yesterday. When Morgan retired in 1990, his all-time NFL ranks were fifth in receiving yards (10,716) and first in yards per reception (19.2) among players with at least 500 receptions. The four players above Stanley Morgan in receiving yards are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Several of Morgan’s contemporaries with far fewer receiving yards are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Lynn Swann, Drew Pearson, Harold Carmichael, Cliff Branch, and John Stallworth. Maybe Morgan will be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2025?

Post of the Week

Post of the Week comes from the author of “The Dynasty” Jeff Benedict. Even if people watch the Apple TV docuseries before reading the book, there is still plenty of uncovered information in Benedict’s book that makes it well worth a read.

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