Chargers sign Geno Smith

Whether it’s 2017 third-rounder Antonio Garcia, free-agent pickup Matt Tobin or somebody else holding down the left side, the Patriots will get by, even with Brady taking a few more lumps.

Although we’re still waiting on specific examples of what is and is not a penalty, suffice to say that the penalty is going to make significant changes to the sport of football. The league office tells PFT that a USA Today report that the competition committee found fewer than 10 examples of plays from last year that would have been penalties under the new rule is incorrect. Instead, the league pointed us to comments from committee chair Rich McKay, who said the new rule will make a major difference.

“It’s a substantial change,” McKay said. “Lowering their head, creating a different spine angle, and delivering a blow . . . we need to protect all players at all times and say that technique is not allowed. So if you lower your head to initiate contact and you initiate, it’s a foul. . . . It’s one of the most dangerous techniques there is, but yet we’ve allowed it to creep in and it’s now very prevalent. And we need to get it out. And we’re not going to get it out by saying, ‘We need to teach it better,’ we’re going to get it out by penalizing it.”

He visited last week, and has 42 starts in four seasons.

The Lions didn’t need him after signing former Jets starting center Wesley Johnson last week.

The Patriots, fresh off losing Super Bowl 52, have lost some luster in NFL free agency. Cornerback Malcolm Butler, running back Dion Lewis and left tackle Nate Solder all cashed in with big contracts elsewhere. Offensive tackle Cameron Fleming hasn’t been re-signed. Wide receiver Danny Amendola, a longtime fan favorite, is gone — to a division rival in Miami, no less.

But as usual, the Patriots have practiced patience, not panic. Well before the end of the offseason and with the 2018 NFL Draft still at their disposal, their retaining and gaining outweigh their losing.flames_009

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