The New England Patriots have been looking to add a top receiver to the offense and the team remains committed to the cause. Despite being turned down for New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks in a trade that included the Patriots 1st round pick, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick appears to be doubling down.
The Patriots are still trying to pry Cooks away from the Saints, which are looking for a key defensive player in return. The Patriots won’t give up more than the 32nd overall pick for Cooks, and there aren’t many Patriots defenders that might be worthy of a swap.
Beyond the team’s pursuit of Cooks, the Patriots are also interested in Washington WR DeSean Jackson, per the Washington Post.
“Along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” the Washington Post reports, “the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys also have inquired about wide receiver DeSean Jackson, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it’s expected that the Redskins and Jackson will part ways, multiple people with knowledge of the situation have indicated.”
Reports surfaced in February that the Patriots were interested in Jackson, to which I shook my head. Adding Jackson to WR Chris Hogan and TE Rob Gronkowski would give the Patriots the three best deep threats in the league from 2016.
It’s curious to note that the Patriots are linked to such speedsters like Cooks and Jackson. I would have thought that Hogan had that role filled in the offense. Perhaps the Patriots are considering giving Hogan more time in the slot to allow WR Malcolm Mitchell to share time with whatever deep threat signs with the team as the Patriots rely on more three-receiver sets.
New England likes to remain one step ahead of the competition when it comes to constructing the team and league talent goes through cycles. As defenses get lighter to counter the high volume passing attacks around the league, the Patriots used RB LeGarrette Blount to grind defenses to dust.
As more teams bulk up to stop the run and rely on safety/cornerback hybrids, perhaps there will be more opportunity for QB Tom Brady and his league-best deep ball to connect down the field.