Light inactive; Cannon in line of Wake's fire


Light inactive; Cannon in line of Wake's fire

FOXBORO - Matt Light won't be playing Saturday against the Dolphins. The veteran left tackle, who was not on the injury report this week went through a workout with the Patriots training staff before the game. He appeared to be trying to work through a right leg injury. The result? No go. Light is one of the Patriots' inactives today along with Patrick Chung, Brandon Spikes, Shane Vereen, Ryan Mallett, Ron Brace and Sebastian Vollmer. The absence of Light will cause the Patriots to shuffle up front against the Dolphins stingy defense. Expect rookie Nate Solder to move to left tackle and fellow rookie Marcus Cannon to start at right tackle. Miami's got 35 sacks this season. The matchups will likely often be Solder on the venerable Jason Taylor and Cannon dealing with the explosive Cameron Wake. Solder had a terrific first game against Wake when the Patriots opened in Miami. Cannon, who's been impressive enough in limited duty so far, is about to get a plateful. Cannon, who's made a brave return from battling the non-Hodgkins lymphoma he was diagnosed with prior to the draft in April, first played this season against the Chiefs a month ago. Bill Belichick discussed Cannon's progress during the week. "The biggest issue with Marcus was just his unavailability for a period of time, training camp and then the first six weeks of the season," Belichick explained. "He sat in a lot of meetings and observed things but he wasnt really able to do them. Now each week, hes getting more and more reps with our offense, with the scout team, additional individual work, things like that so hes continuing to progress but in all honesty, in real terms, this is probably like the start of the season for him."I think what hes done is probably the equivalent of a training camp roughly," Belichick pointed out. "He just hasnt had as many snaps, but that being said, I think hes coming along well. Hes out there every day, hes working hard, hes doing all the things that we do offensively and then he takes the scout team reps and is able to get work against our defense there. Hes blocking Rob Ninkovich or Mark Anderson or Shaun Ellis, whoever it is. Thats good competition. The scout team is good competition for those guys because theyre working against the best players on the other side of the ball. Hes coming along. He has a long way to go but hes making progress."

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.