New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was praised as a genius last year for trading away a good portion of his 2017 NFL Draft class in favor of adding proven NFL commodities. Clearly this would blaze a new path in team-building. Of course not all the players he traded for even ended up making the team.
He gave up his first-round draft pick as well as a third-round draft pick last year, sending those selections to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round draft pick. Finally, they had a legitimate top wide receiver that would keep them ahead of the pack.
Of course, they did almost win the Super Bowl.
But just a year later, the genius move to trade for Cooks has not been replaced by another genius move to trade Cooks away. The Patriots are sending the wide receiver and a fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in order to get their first-round draft pick and a sixth-rounder at the back end.
So in all, the Patriots essentially got one year of Cooks, a sixth-round pick, and higher picks in the first and fourth rounds in exchange for a third-round pick, by the way I’m figuring it. Truthfully, I didn’t think he was worth what they gave up for him, and I don’t think he is worth what they got back for him either.
But while the team has continued to trade picks for players, acquiring defensive tackle Danny Shelton, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and cornerback Jason McCourty, they have also been accumulating some draft capital, owning an additional second-round pick for trading Jimmy Garoppolo last season.
Now New England has two selections in the first round in addition to two in the second, and many are concocting their own theories about what they intend to do with those resources. Some believe that they will seek a successor to Tom Brady after they parted ways with Garoppolo.
Who knows what they plan to do with those draft picks. Maybe they actually intend to draft players with them, but their long history of making trades on draft day suggests that at least one of them will be moved in some sort of deal.
One thing that will change from last season is Brady’s blindside protector, as Nate Solder signed a monster contract to join the New York Giants. LaAdrian Waddle is being viewed as a potential candidate for that role, but a downgrade seems inevitable.
I’m sure many of you are now wondering about what sort of deal the Steelers could get for Martavis Bryant. I know because we have already seen the questions being asked on Twitter. The thing with Bryant, of course, is that he comes with a whole lot more baggage than some of the other wide receivers we’ve seen get big contracts or retrieve large returns on investment, as Cooks has twice.