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REPORT: Patriots send 1st round pick and more to the Saints for WR Brandin Cooks

The Patriots are winning free agency so far.

The New England Patriots continue to make waves in the 2017 NFL Season as they have sent their 1st round pick (#32) and 3rd round pick (#103, compensatory from Cleveland) to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for WR Brandin Cooks and a 4th round pick (#118) per ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

The Patriots have been interested in Cooks for a while and offered a trade package that included a 1st round pick. The Saints rejected the offer as they hoped to acquire a star defender in exchange for their wide receiver, and so the Patriots appeared to be out of luck.

New England apparently kept pressing and finally reached terms with the Saints on an extremely productive young wide receiver. Cooks is 23 years old (2 months younger than Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell), but has 3 years of NFL experience and has averaged 1,180 yards from scrimmage and scored 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons.

Cooks compares favorably to a faster version of former Patriots WR Deion Branch. The Patriots will have two years of control of Cooks by virtue of the 5th year option in his rookie deal. The Patriots likely wouldn’t make this trade without an extension in mind.

It’s important to note that WR Julian Edelman will be a free agent after the 2017 season and will be 32 years old. WR Danny Amendola will also be 32 years old and needs to restructure his contract before even making the 2017 roster. WR Chris Hogan will be 30 years old. Even if the Patriots retain any or all of these players, head coach Bill Belichick wanted to add youth to the roster to allow the Patriots offensive machine to keep plugging along.

The Patriots were able to obtain Cooks without giving up one of their key defensive players, which means that the Patriots could still head into 2017 with CB Malcolm Butler and the newly-signed CB Stephon Gilmore as starting cornerbacks. The Patriots have a ton of cap space and could make this happen.

The Patriots offense is now off the chains. Here is the Patriots depth chart:

QB: 1) Tom Brady; 2) Jimmy Garoppolo

RB: 1) Dion Lewis; 2) James White

TE: 1) Rob Gronkowski; 2) Dwayne Allen

WR 1: 1) Brandin Cooks; 2) Chris Hogan; 3) Danny Amendola

WR 2: 1) Julian Edelman; 2) Malcolm Mitchell

The Patriots second-string offense would arguably be an above average unit in the NFL. Of course the acquisition of Cooks could make Amendola expendable if the Patriots want to add more size to the position, with the likes of Michael Floyd.

New England has the following draft picks:

3rd round, #72 from Carolina

3rd round, #96

4th round, #131 from Seattle (#118 should be forfeit as DeflateGate penalty)

5th round, #163 from Denver

5th round, #183 compensatory

6th round, #200 from Indianapolis

7th round, #239 from Detroit