Fasten your seatbelts, New England Patriots fans, because the team’s training camp is shaping up to be one of the most captivating in recent franchise history.
No, that isn’t a hyperbole. For starters, Cam Newton and first-round pick Mac Jones are set to battle it out for the starting quarterback job. Given the number of conflicting reports that have emerged in terms of who has the edge, it’s really anyone’s guess who’ll come out on top.
We also have Stephon Gilmore’s contract dilemma. Though the star cornerback reported to camp, it goes without saying he won’t play under the current terms of his deal.
Will the Patriots cave and pay him his dues or will they shock the world and trade him?
Among the other intriguing storylines is N’Keal Harry’s future. The 2019 first-round selection requested a trade through his agent a few weeks ago, and it’s currently unclear if New England plans on shopping him before the season or if they want to keep him.
During his pre-camp presser on Tuesday, Bill Belichick was asked about Gilmore and Harry. In keeping up with his reputation, the head coach predictably dodged the questions.
Bill Belichick was in no mood to talk about Stephon Gilmore and N’Keal Harry.
We weren’t expecting anything less from Belichick, but it’s encouraging to know he’s in midseason form when it comes to giving tight-lipped answers to the media. In his defense, however, what more could he have said about these two distractions?
In Gilmore’s case, the fact he showed up to training camp suggests he’s motivated to reach a compromise with the franchise. The two-time All-Pro is reportedly open to receiving a raise or signing a multi-year extension.
As for Harry, well, he might be in Belichick’s doghouse after going behind the organization’s back to request a trade on social media. As ESPN insider Adam Schefter recently noted, the 23-year-old would’ve been better off keeping his frustration behind closed doors.
Since he didn’t, he might’ve hurt his chances to get traded. Even if Harry didn’t have malicious intent behind his request, not being up front with Belichick might compel the longtime de facto general manager to keep Harry around just to prove a point.
Whatever the case, it seems like Belichick is prepared to keep the internal discussions regarding Gilmore and Harry private. Let’s be honest, if you were expecting Belichick to be anything more than reticent, you haven’t been paying much attention since the turn of the century.
With the Patriots’ first training camp practice coming on Wednesday, perhaps Belichick’s mind was elsewhere. After all, he’ll be looking to rebound from his worst finish since 2013 and first losing campaign since his first year on the job in 2000.