Only two Patriots have officially committed to play this season

Published: 4/26/2018 3:14:38 PM
Modified: 4/26/2018 3:14:11 PM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — According to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, only two players have officially committed to play for the New England Patriots this season as the team heads into the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday.
Citing statements from Tom Brady’s agent and Rob Gronkowski’s Instagram, Schefter reported this week that the quarterback and the tight end have officially committed to play in 2018. However, Schefter has not reported any other official commitments, which means New England may have to fill 88 roster spots prior to the start of training camp, and 51 before the regular season.
The lack of official commitments is especially troubling given that the Patriots have only eight draft picks and so many holes to fill, including an entire defense and three special teams units. Draft experts have adjusted the Patriots key needs to: “Everything.” New England will almost certainly have to trade down at a never-before-seen pace to acquire the picks they’ll need to staff the team. Of course, they will then need official commitments from the players they draft, so nothing is certain.
Further complicating matters, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has not officially confirmed that he is returning for the 2018 season since January, when he told reporters that he “absolutely” planned to coach in 2018. The day after the Patriots lost Super Bowl LII, Belichick said he was not going to say the same exact thing all over again, fueling speculation that he never in fact meant that thing at all.
“I've addressed that question,” Belichick said on Feb. 5. “I'm not going to be asked the same question every day. That's ridiculous.”
Thus, the question Belichick answered remains unanswered.
In the event Belichick does not return (though most sources believe he will, but who knows what could happen, right?), that could lead to a likely passing of the torch to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels has not confirmed, officially, that he plans to return as offensive coordinator this season. However, on Feb. 7, McDaniels officially confirmed that he does not want to be head coach of the Indianapolis Colts this season.
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.

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