Patriots Linked to Former Packers, Cowboys Free Agent WR

Randall Cobb

Getty Images After eight seasons in Green Bay, WR Randall Cobb is set to become a free agent after one season in Dallas in 2019.

While Tom Brady’s free agent decision highlights the NFL offseason, the 42-year-old passer is only one of a handful of sought-after free agents the New England Patriots must sort through in the coming weeks. With approximately $29 million in salary cap space at the current time, the Patriots front office is at risk of losing at least a couple of key contributors including linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts, interior offensive linemen Joe Thuney and Ted Karras, and veteran safety Devin McCourty.

On the flip side, New England will need to reinfuse more talent at the receiver positions this offseason if the team hopes to avoid a repeat of 2019. The incoming 2020 NFL Draft class offers many strong options, but even in a shallow free agent class, the AFC East champions could still find themselves a bargain.

On Tuesday, the Boston Globe’s Karen Guregian highlighted Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb in a series of “10 potential Patriots free-agent targets.” The New England beat columnist called the Patriots an “attractive” landing spot for the veteran wideout if Brady returns behind center in 2020.

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Why he’s a fit: Ever since Danny Amendola’s departure, the Patriots have been looking for a slot receiver to help take the pressure off Julian Edelman, and give him a break from going over the middle so often.

The Patriots brought in a host of slot-type receivers at the outset last year, but none of them lasted. Cobb, a Pro Bowl receiver in 2014, is a reliable slot presence. After spending the first eight years of his NFL career in Green Bay, and establishing himself as a go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers, he moved on to Dallas, signing a one-year deal for $5 million. He performed well with the Cowboys last season.

He was one of Dak Prescott’s favorite targets, setting a career high with 15.1 yards per catch. His 828 receiving yards was his most since 2015.

Cobb, who turns 30 in August, figures to be a relatively inexpensive, dependable option who could ride shotgun with the 34-year-old Edelman. Cobb hooked on with the Cowboys last year largely because he wanted to continue playing for a contender. So the Patriots would be attractive, especially if Tom Brady remains the quarterback.

The 29-year-old Cobb finds himself in a unique situation as Mike McCarthy, his head coach in Green Bay for the first eight seasons of his NFL career, now holds the same title in Dallas. In late February, McCarthy reiterated his goal to bring both Cobb and fellow free agent WR Amari Cooper back into the fold in 2020.

“I was very impressed with Randall last year,” McCarthy told the Cowboys official website. “He was banged up a couple of years prior to that, but I thought he had a heck of a season last year in Dallas. I was very impressed with his video.”

While Over The Cap projects a three-year deal in the range of $20 million for the Pro Bowl receiver, Spotrac’s market value is calling for a slight uptick in annual value at two years, $14.2 million. With WR Phillip Dorsett set to hit the open market, an aging Julian Edelman and banged up Mohamed Sanu, Cobb makes some sense as a veteran addition to help bring along 2019 pickups N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Myers.


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For more NFL updates, follow Chris Licata on Twitter: @Chris__Licata

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