Patriots Named Landing Spot for 5-Time Pro Bowl WR

New England Patriots

Getty New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots passing game needs a boost in 2023, and a big-name wide receiver linked to the team could be just what quarterback Mac Jones needs.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler suggested that the Arizona Cardinals should consider trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Patriots.

“At age 30 with a $19.4 million base salary, Hopkins might not merit a first-round pick in return (like he probably did in 2020 when Houston shipped him to Arizona for a second-round pick and David Johnson),” Fowler wrote in a January 24 story about an unnamed NFC executive’s thoughts on various potential offseason deals around the NFL. “The Cardinals would be wise to eat some of the money to facilitate a deal.”

Fowler asserted that Bill Belichick’s was “an admirer of Hopkins’ game.” Hopkins, who missed the first six games of 2022 because of suspension for violating the league’s substance policy, scored 3 touchdowns on 717 receiving yards and 64 catches. Each of the three totals is the second lowest of his 10-year career.

Still, Belichick “needs a game-changing receiver in the worst way,” Fowler wrote. “He’s also one of the league’s most active traders.”

Reported New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien Might Make a Trade Difficult

The Patriots are expected to have Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator in 2023, according to a January 24 tweet by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

O’Brien was Hopkins’ head coach during six of Hopkins’ seven years on the Houston Texans, which traded Hopkins to the Cardinals ahead of the 2020 season. Hopkins is on record saying there “was no relationship” between him and O’Brien, according to a 2020 Sports Illustrated story.

In his story, Fowler quoted an unnamed NFC executive who suggested their relationship — or lack thereof — might not be a detriment to finding success together on the Patriots.

“They might not be friendly,” the exec said, according to Fowler. “But they had success together with subpar quarterback play, so maybe it can work.”

Devin McCourty Excited About Bill O’Brien Joining the New England Patriots

Even though Devin McCourty’s future with the Patriots remains up in the air, the team’s captain said he was excited about the O’Brien news.

“(He’s) passionate, super competitive, a guy that you can talk trash to with in practice, back and forth throughout training camp,” McCourty said on the January 24 episode of NBC Sports Boston’s “Patriots Talk Podcast.” “He always welcomed that, and I think that was a lot of fun as a younger player coming into the NFL, not knowing what to expect and just seeing the passion and fire come from the offensive coordinator, a guy that’s on the sideline that you don’t expect to maybe see that from.

“Just seeing that and seeing him do that day in and day out, and then obviously, the production speaks for itself,” McCourty added. “A lot of people should be happy and excited having him back in town.”

McCourty also said he believed that O’Brien would help Jones.

“I think it’ll be great,” McCourty said. “I think a lot of times, we assume how relationships will go, but I think relationships are built, and I think obviously, they’re going to have a connection with all of the Alabama stuff, Billy O just coming from there and obviously Mac being two years removed. But I think they’ll have an opportunity to build a relationship, and that’ll form into whatever is best for them and the team.

“To play quarterback in this league, you have to be that ultra-competitive guy that wants to win every rep, that wants to be meticulous about the details and everything that goes into it, so I don’t think that’ll be anything new for either one of those guys working together,” McCourty added.

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