Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots added yet another weapon for Tom Brady this past weekend in a trade with the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The Saints received New England’s first and third-round picks in this year’s draft, but also had to give a fourth-round pick to the Patriots. With this latest acquisition, New England is once again the favorite to win the Super Bowl, and the genius of that organization’s front office is to thank for that.
With the addition of Cooks, Tom Brady now has a number one receiving talent that he hasn’t had since Randy Moss back in 2007. Cooks has totaled at least 1,100 receiving yards his past two seasons in New Orleans, and had 78 catches for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. Combine that kind of talent and his speed with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and a healthy Rob Gronkowski, and all I can say is good luck to any opposing secondary who tries to cover them.
One of the things that is being overlooked with this trade, something that truly puts into perspective the value of having a quality front office, is the fact that the Patriots didn’t really give up too much. Sure they gave up the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft and a few picks later on, but they also received a fourth-round pick, and if any team has the ability to pick out late round talent that fits their system, it’s the Patriots. Reports were surfacing throughout the first 24 hours of free agency that the only way Cooks would go to New England was if the Patriots traded Malcolm Butler for him. Obviously, that didn’t happen, so now the Patriots have Cooks, Butler and Stephon Gilmore at the other corner spot to create a lock-down secondary. All they did was give up a few draft picks that have a 50/50 shot of actually making the team and becoming solid NFL players.
The Patriots continue to dominate the NFL both on the field and in the front office. They seem to have developed an unflawed system for acquiring talent, usually by picking up players who appear to be at the tail end of their careers and returning them to old form. Now that they have a player who’s just entering his prime instead of one who’s almost out of it, there’s no reason to believe that Tom Brady can’t get his sixth ring next February.