Insider Believes Patriots Can Still Make 2 Splash Signings: ‘We’re in June Now’

Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft could afford both Dalvin Cook and DeAndre Hopkins.

The New England Patriots will not have to break the bank in pursuit of Dalvin Cook and DeAndre Hopkins as Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston sees it.

Both Cook and Hopkins have been linked to the Patriots amid their releases due to large contracts. Hopkins, a five-time Pro Bowl receiver, visited the Patriots on June 15. Cook, a four-time Pro Bowl running back, has teased interest in the Patriots via social media several times lately.

“Here’s the deal: I don’t think you’re going to have to pay up for this player,” Perry said about Cook as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston. “He’s a running back. He’s a veteran running back in a league where running backs simply, unfortunately for them, are not valued.”

“So, even though he’s a big name — and I still think he’s an explosive player — we’re in June now,” Perry added. “There ain’t that much money floating around for teams to just spend willy-nilly on veteran running backs.”

Cook rushed for more than 1,100 yards in each of the past four seasons amid 43 touchdowns with the Minnesota Vikings in that span. He became a salary cap casualty with this four-year, $63 million deal that he wouldn’t restructure with the team.

Hopkins similarly had a massive contract with the Arizona Cardinals at $54 million over two years. He can still produce amid 1,292 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last 19 games, but Perry doesn’t see a monster deal coming Hopkins’ way before training camp.

“I’m just telling you, there ain’t that much money out there,” Perry said. “DeAndre Hopkins is finding this out right now: He still hasn’t signed with anybody because the money isn’t there. Teams haven’t saved up to have as much money as you would need to pay a guy big bucks at this point in the calendar year.”

Patriots Still Need DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins didn’t take contract offers from the Patriots or Tennessee Titans earlier this month, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said he anticipates a waiting game for Hopkins. NFL teams don’t have any practices between now and when training camps open in late July.

New England could use a proven No. 1 receiver in Hopkins to aid third-year quarterback Mac Jones. Top Patriots receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been dealing with a knee injury from last season, and the team has little proven experience after him.

Dalvin Cook Fits in With Patriots Backfield Despite Rhamondre Stevenson

As for Cook, he would join a backfield with one other proven 1,000-yard back. Rhamondre Stevenson had 1,040 yards and five touchdowns last season, and he only costs the Patriots $1.1 million at this time. With that said, the Patriots have little experience after Stevenson — Ty Montgomery being the most experienced with split time between receiver and running back throughout his career.

“So, I’m Option B [in support of the Patriots signing Cook] because I think he could be had at a bargain,” Perry said. Don’t spend $10 million on this guy for 2023, but I don’t think he’s going to cost that much.”

If the Patriots don’t land Cook, he could easily become a regular opponent for the Patriots. Cook has notably teased interest in the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

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