Sunday 7: Don’t count out Chris Hogan returning to Patriots just yet

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1. A few weeks into free agency, the Patriots don’t exactly have much at the wide receiver position, and there aren’t too many big names left to potentially fill the void. At this point, the team needs some proven NFL veterans, which is why we wouldn’t count out Chris Hogan potentially returning just yet. After the way 2018 went, many assumed Hogan would not be back, but he’s still available and it makes sense for both sides. The Patriots obviously need receivers, especially ones with NFL experience, and Hogan still needs a job. A one-year deal could make sense as Hogan potentially could look to have a good year and then try and cash in for one last contract next offseason as a free agent. At 30 years old, it certainly seems possible. Hogan’s personal situation needs to be factored in when he considers his next team. Given his wife is a doctor on Long Island, he’s fairly limited with where he signs, and New England would be one of the few places to make sense. Although he only had 35 catches in 16 games this past season, he had 34 in nine games the year prior. While it didn’t show last year, he and Tom Brady have some the ability to have great chemistry and work well together. The longer the Patriots go without adding some veteran talent, and the longer Hogan goes without being signed, the more and more sense a return makes.

2. In terms of biggest needs on the roster, wide receiver and tight end have to be at the top of the list right now for the Patriots, as there really are not many pass-catchers for Brady to work with besides Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett currently on the roster. Not only do these positions need addressing with proven NFL talent, but also via the draft. Although, it needs to be pointed out Bill Belichick doesn’t have great history selecting receivers high in the draft. In the Belichick era, the Patriots haven't selected a receiver higher than No. 36 (Chad Jackson in 2006). Also, they haven't picked one in the top 100 since Aaron Dobson (No. 59 overall) in 2012.

3. Although the news of Greg Schiano stepping down from his position with the Patriots came as a big surprise, the reality is it really shouldn’t impact the team too much. The defense has already lost so many other defensive coaches this offseason, no matter what there was going to be quite a bit of change. And at this point in time, it seems likely it might fall on the hands of Belichick assuming the defensive coordinator’s role. Other options are potentially Bret Bielema, who was a consultant last year, or a last ditch effort to get Brendan Daly to return after he departed for Kansas City shortly after he Super Bowl.

4. There wasn’t really much to take away from Belichick at the NFL owners meetings last week, but if there was one thing it could be from two words he said during his 43 minutes with the media: “It’s March.” Belichick dislikes speaking in hypotheticals and that is a lot of what this time of year is, which could explain him not expanding on much on any topic. There’s still plenty of time for moves to be made to fill out the 2019 team, and that is what will be taking place over the next month or so. Until all that happens, don’t count on Belichick wanting to speak much about the upcoming season.

5. A lot was made this past week of the reports that the Patriots were interested in some of the biggest name receivers on the market. But, was that really much of a surprise, especially given the fact the organization was likely planning for its first season without Rob Gronkowski? Also, with Gronkowski off the books, the team would have had cap room to take on another big contract.

6. This week the Patriots Hall of Fame nomination committee will meet and three players will become finalists to be voted on by the fans. Here’s some players/coaches eligible: Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel, Lawyer Milloy, Randy Moss, Bill Parcells, Asante Samuel, Corey Dillon, Irving Fryar, Raymond Berry, and Chuck Fairbanks.

7. It should be a relatively quiet week for the Patriots with the NFL owners meetings being over and there not being many real big pro days left. The shift for organizations is now towards hosting NFL draft prospects on top 30 visits and several have already been reported. It other news, it is worth noting there’s a motion hearing in the Robert Kraft case scheduled for Tuesday.