With the NFL Draft just two-and-a-half weeks away, much of the Patriots news today is draft-centric. However, we'll begin with some veteran news. First, LeGarrette Blount.
According to CSNNE.com, the Patriots have offered the free-agent Blount a new contract to return to New England's backfield. No word yet, however, if the running back plans to sign.
And as noted in this space on Friday, it appears there's less smoke surrounding Richard Sherman and the Patriots. ESPN is the latest outlet to declare that New England isn't interested in pursuing the Seahawks cornerback any longer.
"Bill Belichick and Co. did their due diligence on Sherman leading up to free agency, when they knew they'd be active in the cornerback market," the story asserts. "So if the Patriots and Seahawks had a conversation on the topic, it would make sense. But that, if anything, would have been part of the information-gathering process as they explored all cornerback opportunities before signing free agent Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal. The Patriots aren't expected topursue Sherman."
Meanwhile, wide receiver Chris Hogan went back to his lacrosse roots over the weekend… albeit briefly. Hogan signed a pro contract with a local lacrosse team, although it was purely ceremonial in nature.
"When I am around the sport I definitely miss it," Hogan admitted in a WEEI.com story. "I have a lot of fun following Penn State, my former school. They are having a great year this year so it is fun to follow them. When I am not around it I don't miss it as much, but when I do get around here and I see these guys throwing the ball around I definitely miss it a little bit."
With respect to the draft, New England still has no picks in the first two rounds, meaning pick 72 in the third round is the first scheduled selection for the Patriots as things stand. With that in mind, at least one local news org is speculating on who might be of interest to Bill Belichick's crew. On the MassLive blog, you'll find a mock draft in which the Patriots choose a pass rusher at 72.
There are also a couple of different articles about a New England college receiver who's draft-eligible this year, and he's being compared to not one, but two current Patriots wideouts, including the aforementioned Hogan.
"I always loved football. I didn't love lacrosse," UNH star Dalton Crossan told ESPN. "Obviously, [Chris Hogan] is a guy I love to get compared to because of how well he's doing and how successful he's been, especially this season."
"I think a lot of people have been comparing me to guys like Julian Edelman," Crossan added in a NESN.com story. "I feel like I'm very similar to Julian Edelman, but I can also run the ball out of the backfield. I think I'm a little bit bigger than he is weight-wise, and obviously, I'm very comfortable doing a lot of running back stuff, whether it's picking up a blitz or running off-tackle, running outside, whatever it is. But then I also can line up in the slot and have great hands and do all that type of stuff too."
Finally, we're hearing that preseason opponents will be announced today for all 32 NFL clubs. That means the full NFL schedule is nearly ready to be released.
You can enter a patriots.com contest to guess who will visit Foxborough for New England's 2017 regular season opener. And if you need help deciding, the Boston Herald has a fun piece today analyzing which opponents have the best chance of being selected for the honor.