New England Patriots acquire Brandin Cooks from New Orleans Saints

Beth Cruz
March 13, 2017

The Patriots also will trade a third-round pick (No. 103) to New Orleans and receive the Saints' fourth-round pick (No. 118), sources tell Russini.

The 23-year-old Cooks is one of only three receivers who has 75 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks will no longer be seen on the field for the Saints.

The addition of Gilmore may mean Butler's best fit might be at slot cornerback or New England can swap him for a wide receiver. But this offseason they have been very active in free agency and the trade market. The previous season Cooks caught 84 passes for 1,138 and nine touchdowns.

Butler is now a restricted free agent and New England placed a first-round tender on him before the start of the free-agency period on Thursday.

The Patriots now don't have draft picks in the first or second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Cleveland owns two picks in the first round (the first and 12th), and although Belichick has sent out signals that he would prefer to keep Garoppolo, you know the coach has a price in mind.

There was speculation that he would deal Butler to the Saints for speedy receiver Brandin Cooks, a former first-round pick. (The wideouts appeared to be involved in a passive-aggressive tweet-off this past week.) By moving Cooks now, New Orleans picks up an extra first-round pick (plus a third), giving the team plenty of ammunition to address glaring holes on the defensive side of the ball.

Now thrust into one of the best offenses in the NFL, Cooks will have an opportunity to be the big-play, downfield receiving threat that the Patriots have desired for many years despite their unparalleled success.

On Thursday, when the NFL started a new league year and its free-agency period opened, the Patriots traded for Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, tacitly letting Martellus Bennett go in the process.

Acquiring Cooks was not a steal, but he does make the Patriots' offense much better in the short term, and it's worth noting the Patriots didn't need to give up Malcolm Butler in the trade, though they reportedly could still move their cornerback.

Cooks is under contract for the 2017 season, with an option for about $8.5 million in 2018. Therefore, he isn't technically under contract right now, making him ineligible to trade. He's also a good route runner and has solid hands, dropping just four balls on 113 targets a year ago.

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