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ashnathan

Offseason Trade Targets

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Let me start by getting something out of the way because this run of posts by different people recently has gotten off course.

 

Albert Wilson alone wouldn't compensate for a hypothetical Cooks departure.

 

Wherever that notion came from, it's wrong and doesn't represent my opinion on the matter. This whole thing evolved from someone taking exception to my ideal version of what the Patriots mock roster/depth chart would be, taking into account the actual salary cap.

 

Albert Wilson's name was included in my mock 53-man roster. He was just one of the players who I thought could be signed to add depth on offense, specifically at receiver.

 

It was then discussed/brought-up/suggested/whatever, that the best value isn't to just let Cooks walk this year, but to trade him for a first or second round pick. Why a hypothetical trade instead of his $8 million option and then a contract extension? Ideally, I don't think the Patriots would re-sign a receiver to a huge annual cap figure. Brandin Cooks was just acquired at a major cost a year ago so in his case it makes all the sense in the world to expect his option to be picked up. Otherwise, it's a colossal failure of asset management and investment by the Pats. Historically, the Patriots have tried to move on from players that demand big money at the receiver position when their contract is up. The Patriots will be sly and buy low to avoid paying market value which is smart but then sell as soon as their leverage runs out; they have rarely paid the receiver position even to those who've earned it. Under Bill Belichick starting in 2001, Terry Glenn (27, Packers), David Patten (30, Redskins), David Givens (25, Titans), Deion Branch (26, Seahawks), Jabar Gaffney (28, Redskins), Donte Stallworth (27, Browns), Randy Moss (32, Titans/Vikings), Wes Welker eventually (31, Broncos), Brandon Lloyd (31, career put on hold then signed with 49ers), Brandon LaFell (29, Bengals). Randy Moss was extended after his record breaking 23 touchdown season in 2007 when he would have been a free agent at age 30, but he got traded before his three year extension finished in 2010. Wes Welker was acquired as an unknown commodity at age 26 taking less money throughout his prime as part of a 5 year restricted free agent deal before being franchised and then allowed to walk. So ideally, in my opinion, the Pats would only follow this pattern and try to maximize the value of Cooks either this year or next. The value I see would be to pick up his option this year then trade him next year or just let him walk in 2019 and get a compensatory third round pick in 2020 when who knows if Brady or Belichick are still active. To me however, an even greater return in trade compensation could be to trade Cooks now depending on what or who is available for trade. I think either this year or next there could be a huge free agent signing/player trade with another team and the Patriots. If it isn't in 2018 then you stick with Cooks for the year which is fine but not what I had imagined in my original mock off-season.

 

As a side, I happen to believe Wilson would succeed in the Patriots offense because he can run from the slot, get YAC, split out wide and deliver on all levels of the field. That's where I believe this whole discussion regarding the validity of having "mid-tier free agents" producing equally to Cooks arose from. Albert Wilson, under no recommendation by me, would be brought in to "be" Brandin Cooks, replace Brandin Cooks by himself, or replicate Brandon Cooks stats in any point in time that he'd hypothetically be signed with the Patriots.

 

These posts that have been made to show that Aaron Dobson, Reche Caldwell, Kenbrell Thompkins, and the majority of mid-tier level FA receivers who collectively won't grasp playbooks or build chemistry with Tom Brady are not necessary to convince me that Cooks is a superior athlete with an elite level of production. Those are facts not worth hashing out as far as I'm concerned so congratulations on being able to identify those cheap alternatives and trying to essentially blame them for either single-handedly losing games for the Patriots in years gone by or being unable to win with the Patriots.

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By the way, this idea that first year receivers struggle being productive for the Patriots is not supported by statistics. Many players in their first season during Belichick's tenure have broken out at receiver. 2000, Troy Brown is 29 years old and posts 944 yards/4 touchdowns. Previously he was a pigeon holed as a special teams player and middling receiver at best. Brown's previous season high in receiving prior to his first year under Belichick? 1997 when he was 26 years old playing for first time NFL head coach Pete Carroll, 607 yards/6 touchdowns. Troy Brown's second year under Belichick? Pro Bowl selection, 1199 yards/5 touchdowns and career year at 30 years old with a rookie season Tom Brady at quarterback. Also in his first season playing under Bill Belichick was the late Terry Glenn who posted 963 yards/6 touchdowns. It was Glenn's third most productive season from the time he was drafted until nine years into his career when he was rejuvenated at age 31 with the Cowboys.

 

Additional first year receivers with the Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick:

 

2001: David Patten, 749 yards/4 touchdowns, 28 years old-6 year NFL veteran-career season at the time. Went on to have to have the most productive season of his career the following year in 2002.

 

2002: Deion Branch, rookie, 489 yards/2 touchdowns in only 7 starts/13 games active. Branch's second season in only 12 starts, 803 yards/3 touchdowns.

 

David Givens didn't start until his second season. By 2004 after 17 starts at age 24, Givens accumulated 1476 yards/10 touchdowns.

 

2003 & 2004: no new starters

 

2005: Tim Dwight, one season, one start, fourth on the receiver depth chart on an offense with Ben Watson, Daniel Graham, Kevin Faulk, Patrick Pass and Corey Dillon running the ball. 332 yards/3 touchdowns/17.5 yards per catch. For comparison, Ben Watson in his second season in 9 starts had 441 yards/4 touchdowns and Troy Brown in his sixth season under Belichick had 466 yards/2 touchdowns/11.9 YPR in 3 starts.

 

2006: Reche Caldwell, 760 yards/4 touchdowns 14 starts, first and last season with Patriots. Previous four seasons only had 14 career starts combined for 950 yards/7 touchdowns all with the Chargers.

 

This where is gets good. Remember these are only the people in their first season.

 

2007: Randy Moss, 1493 yards/NFL record 23 touchdowns.

Wes Welker, 1175 yards, 26 years old, 8 touchdowns.

Donte Stallworth, 697 yards/3 touchdowns. 9 starts.

Jabar Gaffney, 449 yards/5 touchdowns. 7 starts.

 

2008: no new starters

 

2009: Julian Edelman, rookie college quarterback converted to receiver, 7 starts in only 11 games played on a depth chart with Wes Welker, Randy Moss, and beating out long tenured veteran wide receivers Sam Aiken and Joey Galloway through the course of training camp and the entire season. 359 yards/1 touchdown.

 

2010: Deion Branch first year back is second on the team with 706 yards/5 touchdowns in only 9 starts. You also had rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and the late Aaron Hernandez contribute a lot as receivers, (both over 500 yards/6 touchdowns, neither started more than 11 games).

 

Brandon Tate misses nearly entire rookie season in 2009, starts 10 games when healthy and manages to post 432 yards/3 touchdowns.

 

2011: Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch all return as starters. Chad Johnson is signed and starts in 3 games, 271 yards/1 touchdown.

 

2012: Brandon Lloyd, 911 yards/4 touchdowns. (14 games of career played with Josh McDaniels in Denver prior to NE, Lloyd posted 1565 yards/11 touchdowns. Two highest producing years of his career where in his first seasons starting in McDaniels offense's).

 

2013: Danny Amendola, 633 yards/2 touchdowns in 12 games/6 starts.

 

Kenbrell Thompkins, rookie undrafted free agent signing, 466 yards/4 touchdowns. 12 games/8 starts.

 

Aaron Dobson, rookie third round draft pick, 519 yards/4 touchdowns. 12 games/9 starts.

 

*Julian Edelman, first season starting at least half a season, 1056 yards/6 touchdowns.

 

2014: Brandon LaFell, 953 yards/7 touchdowns. In four seasons with Carolina since being drafted his average was 600 yards a season. LaFell's two seasons with the Panthers prior to signing with the Patriots at 27 years old, 12 and 16 games started. With the Patriots his first season he started 13 games.

 

2015: no new starters

 

2016: Chris Hogan, 680 yards/4 touchdowns. 15 games/14 starts.

 

Malcolm Mitchell, rookie, 401 yards/4 touchdowns. 14 games/6 starts.

 

2017: Brandin Cooks, 1082 yards/6 touchdowns. Actually down in yards and touchdowns for the second consecutive season of his career. 2015, second year with Saints: 13 starts. 2016: 12 starts. 2017: 15 starts. Bad trend. Never the less, it was a productive first season in New England for yet another first year receiver. The average mid tier (salary cap) receiver the Patriots start at least 7 games in their first season with the team is (not including outlier Randy Moss's '07 or even Brandon Lloyd's '12):

 

10,539 yards/67 touchdowns/15 players

4 out of 15 are rookies (Branch, Thompkins, Dobson, Mitchell)

4 out of remaining 11 were starters for a previous team (Glenn, Stallworth, LaFell, Cooks)

The remaining 7 players did not start for their previous teams (Brown, Patten, Caldwell, Welker, Gaffney, Amendola, Hogan)

 

This group averaged 703 yards and 4.5 touchdowns in their first season with the Patriots. Again, that's not counting Randy Moss or Brandon Lloyd in their first seasons, although there really is no reason not to add in Moss's numbers. If you average it all out just adding Moss's 2007 season in there then the average first year starting wide receiver with the New England Patriots gets 752 yards and 6 touchdowns. Put Lloyd's first season in there and the true average is 761 yards and 5.5 touchdowns.

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Was really hoping the Patriots would go after Peters. Don't know what the Rams had to give up but if it something similar to the Cooks trade last year I wouldn't have minded it. Know he has some character issues but Patriots have brought in guys with similar personalities before. Have they come out with the details of the trade yet?

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6 hours ago, Spooky said:

Was really hoping the Patriots would go after Peters. Don't know what the Rams had to give up but if it something similar to the Cooks trade last year I wouldn't have minded it. Know he has some character issues but Patriots have brought in guys with similar personalities before. Have they come out with the details of the trade yet?

No details yet. 

Apparently he’s been shopped for weeks, though. The Rams were the only team with a real offer while the 49ers inquired. 

Obviously any team would love to have him in their backfield as a player, but I think the fact that he’s been shopped this long without real suitors and that the Chiefs are outwardly looking to move him despite being young/on his rookie deal, speaks volumes. 

New England has had headcases before but they’ve also dumped guys for causing distractions too. I’d have taken the risk on Peters but I’m not surprised in the slightest that NE opted not to.

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The Patriots off-season is pretty dependent upon Nate Solder. I know that sounds crazy, but it really is.

He's their biggest FA and what they can do and what they might have to do is really dependent upon what Solder decides. If we won the SB, I really think he would have retired. He's had his injuries and his whole son situation, which I can't even imagine what he's going through.

But, he's really the first "domino" that we need to see fall before we can see how Belichick, Caserio and co. attack this off-season. He's going to have a big market and it's his last shot at a big payday. He's most definitely going to get offers that the Patriots can't afford.

Does he take the big contract or does he like playing here, close to great hospitals, culture, winning environment, etc. That's really what it's going to come down to. If he takes the Patriots offer, it's likely they'll be able to do what they need to do this off-season. There's other ways to free up cap space (Allen and Bennett taking paycuts, new deals for Gronk, Cooks, etc) but he's the guy they start with, IMO.

I'm not sure the game plan if he walks. A rookie LT starting from day one sounds like a disaster. People tend to forget that the Patriots have really had two LT's throughout this entire run (Light, Solder), I think that really highlights Solder's importance to this team and next season. Waddle (who's also a FA) is a great swing/3rd tackle, but I'm not sure I want him as our starting LT.

Just a side not on cap space and how the Patriots handle this off-season...I hope while we watch Belichick and co. work against the cap, cut players, extend players, etc, that the "We could have tagged Jimmy G" crowd goes silent. I can't even imagine the cap hell they'd be going through as I type this.

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Am I the only one here or on Patriots twitter that doesn’t really want anything to do with Sherman? Achilles injury mid season and then Caroll said that he had another surgery on the other Achilles fairly recently. Just seems like a high risk for a player his age and after an injury like that. 

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Sherman gets turnovers, Something this defense is flat out allergic to. Its One of the reasons I wanted peters as well.  In the final 8 games including the SB the defense forced 3 turnovers. That’s laugahble especially when you look at  those three specific interceptions and how they got them.

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4 hours ago, CP3MVP said:

Sherman gets turnovers, Something this defense is flat out allergic to. Its One of the reasons I wanted peters as well.  In the final 8 games including the SB the defense forced 3 turnovers. That’s laugahble especially when you look at  those three specific interceptions and how they got them.

What would you give up for him? Peters went for a 2nd Round pick essentially and he is one of the best corners the last 3 years. I don’t think I would give Seattle anything better than a 4th Round Pick 

 

Give me Talib over Sherman

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35 minutes ago, Spooky said:

What would you give up for him? Peters went for a 2nd Round pick essentially and he is one of the best corners the last 3 years. I don’t think I would give Seattle anything better than a 4th Round Pick 

 

Give me Talib over Sherman

I would’ve given a 2 for Peters. In Richards case He’s gonna be released so you wouldn’t have to give up anything for him. He’ll be a free agent. 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, CP3MVP said:

I would’ve given a 2 for Peters. In Richards case He’s gonna be released so you wouldn’t have to give up anything for him. He’ll be a free agent. 

 

 

Obviously a different situation if he’s released. Just think we need to pump the breaks on this a little 

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Give me Talib yesterday. We need some attitude on the D and he will give us lots of that. Interesting trade rumour regarding Jadeveon Clowney for picks, risky with his injury history but he would make our pass rush infinitely better straight away. Only really need him to be healthy for playoffs.

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1 hour ago, CP3MVP said:

I would’ve given a 2 for Peters. In Richards case He’s gonna be released so you wouldn’t have to give up anything for him. He’ll be a free agent. 

 

 

Was said this morning that Talib wants to be released (instead of traded) and he wants to go to New England 

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1 hour ago, ashnathan said:

Was said this morning that Talib wants to be released (instead of traded) and he wants to go to New England 

I’m 99% sure one of the two will be on the roster. I don’t have a problem with Talib

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1 hour ago, ashnathan said:

Give me Talib yesterday. We need some attitude on the D and he will give us lots of that. Interesting trade rumour regarding Jadeveon Clowney for picks, risky with his injury history but he would make our pass rush infinitely better straight away. Only really need him to be healthy for playoffs.

I’d give the 31st pick for Clowney Tonight 

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7 hours ago, CP3MVP said:

I’d give the 31st pick for Clowney Tonight 

I would not. Maybe one of the second round picks because he has potential but a history of getting injured and his contract is up after 2018. This draft is so good I'd rather ser the Patriots manuever around tthe first few rounds than pulp off another trade for player like last year.

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