Sep 30, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) meet after the game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated Miami 38-7. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Report: WR Danny Amendola retiring after 13-year NFL career

Veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola has called it a career, retiring after 13 seasons in the NFL, ESPN reported Monday.

After going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2008, Amendola went on to play for the then-St. Louis Rams (2009-12), New England Patriots (2013-17), Miami Dolphins (2018), Detroit Lions (2019-20) and Houston Texans (2021).

He won two Super Bowls with the Patriots and caught Tom Brady’s 400th career touchdown pass in 2015.

In 163 career games (76 starts), Amendola hauled in 617 catches for 6,212 yards and 24 touchdowns. He added six touchdowns across 13 playoff games, including one touchdown in each of the two Super Bowl victories he was a part of (XLIX, LI). He also hauled in eight catches for 152 yards in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Amendola also served as a kick and punt returner throughout his career and tossed two touchdown passes on gadget plays.

The 36-year-old was a free agent this offseason after completing a one-year contract with the Texans. ESPN reported that multiple teams had called him, but that he is looking into entering the broadcasting ranks instead.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots helmet during the game against New Orleans Saints during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots sign USFL defensive lineman Jeremiah Pharms Jr.

The New England Patriots looked to the USFL for their latest offseason addition, signing defensive lineman Jeremiah Pharms Jr. on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pharms, 25, played for the Pittsburgh Maulers in the revived USFL’s first season, which concluded earlier this month. He made two sacks and 32 tackles for the Maulers.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, Pharms has never played in either the NFL or FBS-level college football. He began his collegiate career at Sacramento State before transferring to Friends University, an NAIA school in Wichita, Kan.

Pharms racked up 14 1/2 sacks in his senior campaign at Friends.

The Patriots open training camp July 27.

–Field Level Media

May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) catches the ball at the team's OTA at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots sign RFA WR Jakobi Meyers, two others

The New England Patriots officially signed restricted free agent wide receiver Jakobi Meyers on Thursday.

Meyers was New England’s leading wide receiver in 2021, with 83 catches and 866 yards. He signed his one-year tender worth $3.986 million, which ESPN originally reported Monday.

Meyers will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022 season unless he reaches a long-term agreement with the Patriots. Meyers, who signed as an undrafted free agent in April 2019, has 168 catches for 1,954 yards and the two TDs in 46 games (26 starts) for the Pats.

The Patriots made two other signings Thursday: free agent wideout Lil’Jordan Humphrey and fourth-round draft pick running back Pierre Strong Jr.

Humphrey spent his first three NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints. In 18 career games (six starts), he has hauled in 16 receptions for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Strong was selected out of FCS South Dakota State.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Texans acquire fifth-round selection from Pats for two late picks

The 2022 NFL Draft begins on Thursday with the first round, but the Houston Texans and New England Patriots were ready to swap some Saturday picks.

The Texans acquired the No. 170 overall pick, a fifth-rounder, from the Patriots on Monday in exchange for No. 183 (sixth round) and No. 245 (seventh round).

The 170th pick originally belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay traded it to New England last month in exchange for guard Shaq Mason.

Now the Patriots have turned that single pick into two. They raised their total haul to nine picks with Monday’s trade, while the Texans still have 10 after packaging the two late-round choices for one.

Houston selects third and 13th overall in Thursday’s first round, the latter pick acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the Deshaun Watson trade. The Patriots’ first pick is at No. 21.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots guard Shaq Mason (69) prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Bucs trade for Patriots G Shaq Mason

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquired guard Shaq Mason from the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round pick on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The Bucs had a hole at left guard following the retirement of former Pro Bowler Ali Marpet late last month.

The Patriots shed some salary while, coincidentally, sending Mason to play for former teammate Tom Brady, who nixed his retirement plans and announced his return to Tampa Bay on Sunday. The Patriots remain over the salary cap after the move.

Mason, 28, played his first seven seasons with New England after the Patriots made him a fourth-round selection in the 2015 draft. They gave Mason a five-year, $50 million extension before the 2018 season.

Mason appeared in 103 games for New England, starting 98.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32) celebrates after an interception against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots sign Devin McCourty to one-year deal

The New England Patriots are bringing back defensive back Devin McCourty on a one-year deal worth a reported $9 million.

McCourty, 34, announced his return for a 13th season via a Twitter video. NFL Network reported the terms.

McCourty is a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 12 seasons with the Pats, the only team he has played for. He tallied three interceptions in 17 starts last season. He has 31 career INTs since being selected No. 27 overall in the 2010 draft.

McCourty has been second-team All-Pro three times.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Duke Johnson (28) runs with the football against New England Patriots middle linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley (8) during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins win, sweep Patriots for first time since 2000

Jaylen Waddle broke the NFL rookie single-season record for receptions, and Xavien Howard scored on a pick-six as the host Miami Dolphins upset the New England Patriots 33-24 on Sunday afternoon.

New England (10-7), which entered the week already having clinched a playoff berth, lost a shot at winning the AFC East division title, although that became a moot point when Buffalo beat the New York Jets.

The Patriots on Sunday were led by Brandon Bolden, who scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Mac Jones completed 20 of 30 passes for 261 yards, one TD and one interception.

Miami (9-8), which had already been eliminated from playoff contention, got touchdowns from Waddle, Howard and Duke Johnson. Waddle finished the regular season with 104 catches for 1,015 yards.
He broke the NFL rookie reception record of 101 set by Anquan Boldin in 2003.

This was the first time since 2000 that Miami swept its annual two-game season series with New England.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 15 of 22 passes for 109 yards, one TD and no interceptions.

Miami took the opening kickoff and scored a touchdown on Tagovailoa’s 7-yard pass to Waddle. That drive went 77 yards on 13 plays as Miami converted three times on third down. Tagovailoa went 7 of 7 for 54 yards, including the throw to Waddle on third and inches. Waddle, uncovered, made a leaping grab.

On New England’s first possession, Howard scored on his 37-yard interception return. Howard faked man coverage and jumped a different route in his zone for his 27th interception since 2017.

The Dolphins stretched their lead to 17-0 on Jason Sanders’ 30-yard field goal with 11:09 left before halftime. That 15-play, 77-yard drive was kept alive on Bolden’s roughing penalty after a fake-punt run by punter Michael Palardy had failed.

New England cut its deficit to 17-7 on Bolden’s 15-yard run with 7:36 left in the second quarter. Bolden broke a tackle and made two moves on the third-and-1 play.

The Patriots took the second-half kickoff and cashed in on Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal.

But Miami, on its ensuing possession, stretched its lead to 24-10 on Johnson’s 1-yard run around right end.

After a 49-yard fourth-quarter field goal by Sanders, New England cut its deficit to 27-17 on Jones’ dump pass to Bolden, who turned it into an 18-yard touchdown with 6:32 left.

Damien Harris’ 1-yard TD run with just 2:53 left cut further into Miami’s lead at 27-24.

But Miami made two first downs, and the Patriots had just three seconds when they got the ball back at their own 2-yard line.

New England tried a final-play lateral, which resulted in a fumble-recovery touchdown for Miami’s Sam Eguavoen.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Pats look to shake off struggles in Miami vs. Dolphins

The New England Patriots, who have a chance to win their 18th division title since 2001 on Sunday, haven’t had a lot of success in Miami — site of their regular-season finale.

Under coach Bill Belichick, New England (10-6) is just 2-7 when visiting the Dolphins (8-8) in December and January.

“I know one thing,” said Devin McCourty, New England’s long-time safety and team captain, “It’s hard to go from (the cold weather in Boston) to 80 degrees (in Miami). It’s always a shock in pregame.”

To win the AFC East on Sunday, the Patriots would have to beat the Dolphins and need the New York Jets to beat the Buffalo Bills. Either way, though, the Patriots have already clinched a playoff berth.

The Dolphins were eliminated from playoff contention with last Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.

This is the fifth straight season that the Dolphins have failed to reach the playoffs. Miami hasn’t won a playoff game since 2000.

Miami has little to play for on Sunday, although wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (99 catches) needs just three receptions to break the NFL receptions record for rookies. The record of 101 catches was set by Anquan Boldin in 2003.

That type of consistency is something Waddle’s quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is still looking for.

The fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa has a solid 12-8 record in his 20 starts in the league. He hasn’t had a ton of success throwing deep, but he is completing 67.8 percent of his passes this season. That ranks him seventh in the NFL and third in the AFC.

However, in last week’s 34-3 loss at the Tennessee Titans, Tagovailoa completed just 18 of 38 passes for no touchdowns and one interception.

Had Miami beaten the Titans and then the Patriots this Sunday, the Dolphins would have made the playoffs regardless of other scores.

Instead, Tagovailoa’s performance left open the question of whether the Dolphins will look to acquire a more experienced quarterback in the offseason.

“I’ve heard this the entire time I’ve been here (in Miami),” Tagovailoa said of the trade rumors.

So while Sunday’s game no longer carries any playoff implications for the Dolphins, it will give Miami one last chance this season to see if Tagovailoa can make more progress as a game-changer.

New England has its own young quarterback in Mac Jones, who has started all 16 of New England’s games this season and completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has averaged 221 passing yards per game.

By comparison, Tagovailoa has 15 TD passes, 10 interceptions and an average of 212 passing yards per game.

Jones and Tagovailoa both played for the Alabama Crimson Tide, adding intrigue to their QB matchup.

In this season’s opener, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins beat Jones and the Patriots 17-16.

Now comes the rematch, with the Dolphins looking to sweep their annual two-game season series with the Patriots for the first time since 2000.

There are several other individual milestones in play on Sunday, as well. Waddle needs 12 receiving yards to reach 1,000. Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin needs 164 scrimmage yards to reach 1,000.

Two Patriots players are relatively close to reaching 1,000 scrimmage yards, as well: running back Damien Harris needs 12 and receiver Kendrick Bourne needs 107. In addition, Harris needs 108 rushing yards to get to 1,000.

Harris and Waddle — like Jones and Tagovailoa — played college football at Alabama.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates his touchdown pass with center David Andrews (60) against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots steamroll Jaguars to clinch playoff berth

Mac Jones passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns as the New England Patriots bounced back from back-to-back losses to clinch a playoff berth with a 50-10 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

Jones’ second TD pass of the game was his 20th of the season, breaking a tie with Jim Plunkett in 1971 for the most by a rookie quarterback in franchise history. Jones completed 22 of 30 passes in the victory.

Kristian Wilkerson caught his first two NFL touchdown passes and both Rhamodre Stevenson (career-high 107 rushing yards) and Damien Harris added a pair of rushing TDs for New England.

Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson recorded his eighth interception of the season and the 25th of his career, tying Lester Hayes and Everson Walls for the most in a players’ first four seasons in NFL history.

New England (10-6) clinched its 12th playoff berth in 13 seasons following Miami’s loss to Tennessee. Meanwhile, Patriots coach Bill Belichick notched his 20th career 10-win season to tie legendary coach Don Shula for the most in NFL history.

It was the Patriots’ second 50-point game of the season following a 54-13 rout of the New York Jets on Oct. 24.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence finished 17-of-27 passing for 193 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions — giving the reigning No. 1 overall pick an NFL-leading 17 picks. Jacksonville wideout Laquon Treadwell had six catches for a game-high 87 receiving yards.

Jacksonville (2-14) suffered its eighth straight defeat and dropped to 0-7 all-time in Foxborough.

The Patriots led 28-3 at halftime after scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions.

Harris’ 2-yard TD rush with 5:49 left in the first quarter put New England up 7-0. Jacksonville drove to the Patriots’ 11-yard-line on the following drive, but was forced to settle for Matthew Wright’s 29-yard field goal.

New England took control for good with three TDs in the second quarter and scored 43 unanswered points before Lawrence’s 28-yard TD pass to Dare Ogunbowale late in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) on the line of scrimmage against the Tennessee Titans in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Bills, Patriots set for Monday night battle for AFC East lead

Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills had their way against the Cam Newton-led New England Patriots one season ago en route to their first AFC East title since 1995.

Now the Patriots have a new X-factor at quarterback as rookie star Mac Jones leads New England into a Monday night matchup in Buffalo with the AFC East up for grabs.

New England (8-4) enters as the hottest team in football with six straight victories. Jones had his best statistical passing game in last Sunday’s 36-13 rout of then-AFC top seed Tennessee, throwing for a career-high 310 yards and two touchdowns.

Buffalo (7-4) won four of its first five games before alternating losses and wins in each of its next six games. Last Sunday, the Bills were 31-6 winners at New Orleans behind 260 passing yards and four touchdowns from Allen.

Entering their first of two meetings down the stretch, the Patriots hold a half-game lead over the Bills atop the AFC East standings.

“It’s two great franchises going against each other, so a lot of football history,” Jones said. “This game coming up, both teams are going to be excited.”

Much of New England’s success during its winning streak has come via the ground game, but the Patriots’ rushers were held in check against a staunch Titans’ defense. Rookie rusher Rhamondre Stevenson, who has led the team in rushing in each of the last four games, had just 46 yards on nine carries.

Defensively, New England held an opponent to 13 or fewer points for the fifth time in six games during their streak. The Patriots’ defense has allowed 316.7 total yards per game this season — good for fourth-best in the NFL — while holding teams to a league-best 15.8 points per game.

Defense has also been the calling card for the Bills. Buffalo ranks first in the league in total yards allowed (275.2 per game) and is second in points allowed (16.5), meaning the likelihood of a high-scoring Monday night shootout isn’t very high.

However, the Buffalo defense took a major hit in the form of a season-ending injury to star cornerback Tre’Davious White, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee against the Saints and was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.

“(Everyone has to step up) collectively as a team, really,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “Not just on that side of the ball, but … when a guy like that goes down it is next man up, regardless. But I think collectively as a team just overall we’ve got to take our game to another level.”

Buffalo won both meetings with New England last season, securing a narrow 24-21 home win in Week 8 before rolling to a 38-9 rout at New England on a Monday night in Week 16 behind Allen’s passing 320 yards and four TDs.

McDermott said Thursday that it was too soon to tell if left guard Jon Feliciano, tackle Spencer Brown and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will be ready to play by Monday. Feliciano (calf strain) missed the game in New Orleans while Brown and Lotulelei were recently removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

New England placed a pair of players on the COVID list in the build up to Monday’s game. Leading tackler Kyle Dugger landed on the list on Wednesday after running back J.J. Taylor was added to it on Monday.

A second-year safety, Dugger has 80 tackles and three interceptions this season. Dugger’s availability for Monday’s game remains uncertain.

–Field Level Media