The New England Patriots could be in play to acquire one of their former receivers at the trade deadline.
According to NESN’s Zack Cox, Houston Texans receiver Brandin Cooks would be a “logical addition” for the Patriots. Cooks played the 2017 season with the Patriots and recorded 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns, leading New England wide receivers in every category.
Cox mentions how third-year receiver N’Keal Harry and a mid-round draft pick could suffice in a possible trade for Cooks.
“Jakobi Meyers, Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are a respectable top trio, even if Agholor has underperformed his contract to this point,” said Cox. “Tight end Hunter Henry also has emerged as a legit pass-game weapon with four touchdown catches in the last four games, and the disappointing Jonnu Smith was in the midst of his most productive game to date Sunday before a shoulder injury shelved him.”
“But if the Patriots are eyeing an upgrade, and New England alum Caserio would be willing to sell Cooks for a reasonable price — say, a mid-round pick and Harry? — he’d be a logical addition,” concludes Cox.
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Cooks Could Welcome Return to Patriots
The Texans will likely be in sell-now mode heading into the trade deadline on Nov. 2. The team is 1-6 and the season is quickly spiraling out of control after they won the season opener. Houston’s point differential of -106 is easily the worst in the league.
In fact, on Wednesday, October 27, the Texans traded starting running back Mark Ingram to the New Orleans Saints — much to the dismay of Cooks.
“This is b*******,” Cooks tweeted Wednesday after the trade. “Such a joke.”
It’s no secret that if there’s one position on offense the Patriots could use an upgrade on, it’s at wide receiver. New England spent money in the offseason on attempting to upgrade at the position with the additions of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.
However, the aforementioned pair have produced just 41 receptions for 625 yards and four touchdowns on the season — not exactly dominant numbers.
The Patriots rely heavily on a run-first, ball-control offense led by a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones. However, as New England continues to gain confidence with possible playoff aspirations, the possibility of adding an impactful wide receiver — one who has experience in the system — can be the difference between making the playoffs, or not making it at all.
Head coach Bill Belichick coached Cooks for just one season, but marveled at his playmaking ability prior to the Patriots’ matchup with the Texans in Week 5.
“(He’s) probably targeted as much as any receiver in the league, and he’s dangerous on everything,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Obviously, he has tremendous speed. Great deep-ball player. Super competitive, tough kid. Runs the intermediate routes. A catch-and-run player. Quick screens. Underneath routes. He gets a step on a guy, and he can turn a 5-yard gain into 20 in a hurry.”
Cooks Still Playing at High Level
Despite playing with a rookie quarterback on arguably the worst team in the NFL, Cooks has outperformed both Bourne and Agholor. The 28-year-old has 45 catches on 63 targets for 502 yards. He ranks in the top-14 in the league in all three categories.
His receiving grade of 73.6 this season is actually better than his grade of 71.9 during his lone season in New England in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. It’s also better than every one of the Patriots’ wide receivers.
Belichick has a history of reuniting with his former players. In fact, he re-signed Kyle Van Noy this offseason after one year away from the team. In the past, he’s traded for Deion Branch after an ugly departure back in 2006.
Most importantly, Cooks comes at a reasonable price.
Considering Belichick missed on his two signings at wide receiver this offseason and Cooks has proven success in the Patriots’ system, this would be an absolute steal at the deadline.