NFL free agency and the new league year – at which time trades and signings can actually become official – doesn't even arrive until 4 p.m. on Thursday.
But that hasn't stopped the football world from being a flurry of reported transactions in this "legal tampering" period.
For the Patriots that's included one reported trade, one reported huge free agent signing and plenty of other hot offseason rumors.
The big news late Wednesday afternoon, via the Boston Globe, is the Patriots apparently agreeing to trade for Colts tight end Dwayne Allen. The Globe *offers up seven things to know about the new Patriots tight end. The *Globe notes the reports indicating the Patriots have reached an agreement with Pro Bowl former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Globe has Martellus Bennett saying good-bye to New England on social media.
The Boston Herald passes along the Gilmore reports, with his contract expected to be $14 million per season in New England. The Herald *wonders what it would take to poach Malcolm Butler from the Patriots. The *Herald *also tries to figure out what's behind the Patriots reported interest in a variety of wide receivers. The *Herald notes Allen saying hello while Bennett says good-bye. The Herald also breaks down the new New England tight end.
The* Providence Journal* passes along word that the Patriots are reportedly considering trading Butler to the Saints in a deal for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
ESPNBoston.com looks at the effect that Gilmore's arrival could have on Logan Ryan and Butler. ESPNBoston.com also has its story on Gilmore jumping from the Bills to the Patriots in the AFC East. ESPNBoston.com breaks down the "myriad of trades" that had New England in position to deal for the tight end Allen. ESPNBoston.com points out that Bill Belichick spent Wednesday in the south – at Alabama's Pro Day.
ESPN notes that free-agent-linebacker-to-be Dont'a Hightower spent the day before free agency in his home state of Tennessee – Titans territory. ESPN gives the Patriots a B-minus for the Allen trade.
WEEI.com has Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio joining the crowd of those who believe Belichick may be using ESPN's Adam Schefter in the Jimmy Garoppolo story. WEEI.com also wonders why the Patriots are pursuing receivers. WEEI.com also notes the early splash in free agency with Gilmore. WEEI.com passes along the potential Butler-for-Cooks swap.
CSNNE.com can't decide if the Patriots are playing risky business or going with business as usual at this point in the roster-building process. CSNNE.com reports that the Patriots interest and deal with Gilmore came together quickly on Thursday morning.
NFL.com tries to come up with NFL comparisons for 33 top prospects, with Texas running back D'Onta Foreman aligned with LeGarrette Blount and Michigan's Jabrill Peppers compared to Devin McCourty.