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Should The Patriots Trade For Brandin Cooks?
- Updated: March 9, 2017
With reports still coming in days later that the Patriots are considering a trade for Brandin Cooks, I thought it would be fun to look into whether or not Cooks would be a good for New England.
Is There a Need?
Now first off, the question we need to ask is does New England need Brandin Cooks? After all, in 2017 they will likely be returning their top three WRs in Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell, and potentially their top four if they are able to come to an agreement on a pay cut for Danny Amendola –who has re-negotiated his contract the past two seasons to remain in Foxborough. So the initial need for Cooks doesn’t seem to be there right now. However, take a slightly deeper look into it and the need actually does present itself, just not necessarily for 2017.
Edelman and Amendola are both on the wrong side of 30 years old right now, and both only have one year remaining on their current deals, so the only WRs under contract for sure for 2018 are Hogan and Mitchell. Bill Belichick is known for being relatively thrifty at the WR position, so should Edelman want a significant pay bump after 2017, one he will have certainly earned himself, would Belichick be willing to play ball in that scenario? Considering what happened with Wes Welker, I don’t think so.
Is There a Fit?
So the need is somewhat there, what about the fit? New England already has a deep threat in Chris Hogan, who led the league with an average of 17.9 yards per reception in 2016. However, he was mostly schemed open down the field, as opposed to Cooks, who can get down the field in a hurry with his pure speed alone. New England hasn’t exactly had great luck in the past with speed based WRs, but as opposed to most receivers whose game is predicated on speed, Cooks is actually a very good route runner. I’m not saying that he is an elite route runner, he is not. But he is a very good route runner, and certainly good enough to succeed in New England, where precision route running is a must for their offense
What would be the Cost?
With the need and fit seemingly there for New England, what would it cost them? At the moment, there are reports that the Saints turned down the Pats’ offer of a 1st-Rounder for Cooks. However, there have recently been new reports that the Patriots are considering trading Malcolm Butler for Cooks, a trade that makes some sense for both parties. The Saints desperately need talented players on defense to make the most of Drew Brees’ twilight years after essentially wasting away the last three seasons going 7-9; and with reports coming in that the Patriots are expected to sign former Bills’ CB Stephon Gilmore, that might just make Butler expendable. I do not know if the Saints would want a 2017 Draft pick as well on top of Butler, but if the Saints are fine with trading Cooks for Butler outright, I’d be fine with that deal.
Now let’s get this straight, I firmly believe that Butler is a top 15 CB in this league and is definitely a true CB1. However, Gilmore’s deal is expected to be in excess of $14 million per season, a figure Butler would likely be looking to top come his unrestricted free agency after 2017. As talented as a secondary led by Devin McCourty, Butler, and Gilmore would be, do you really want to spend what would likely be around $40 million per season on that trio? I think the Patriots would be better served trading Butler now and finding his replacement in the 2017 draft, which is rich in CB talent.
If the Patriots can acquire Cooks for Butler and a low round pick, I think they should take it. Tom Brady is clearly not a normal human being, but even he will continue to need more help as he enters his age 40 season. It has also become quite clear that Malcolm Butler is holding out on a deal as long as he can, likely trying to squeeze out what he can from the Patriots in a contract offer. But with the likely acquisition of Gilmore, Butler does become a bit more expendable. The Patriots also need to think in terms of beyond 2017, when they will need to make a decision on the futures of Edelman and Amendola, and what happens if they decide to move on from them. So I think the Patriots would be best off trading for Cooks if they can.
Love the NFL, mainly the Pats, but Titans are slowly coming up
Also part-time Fantasy Football Expert on the side
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