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Pieces falling into place for the Patriots to acquire Saints WR Brandin Cooks

The Patriots and Saints seem close to striking a deal and are making plans as if a trade is happening.

The New England Patriots have been linked to New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks in recent weeks, with reports that the Patriots offered a package that included the 32nd overall pick. The Saints apparently rejected the Patriots offer because they wanted a star defender in return for their star wide receiver.

The wheels were set in motion.

The Patriots have been unable to reach long-term extension with CB Malcolm Butler and placed a first-round tender on the restricted free agent. The two sides had brief discussions prior to the legal tampering period, but could not come to terms.

New England adjusted and prepared for a possible Butler departure by signing a #1 cornerback in Stephon Gilmore. The signing made Butler as expendable as an All Pro cornerback can possibly be.

The Saints reportedly went out and signed speedster WR Tedd Ginn Jr. as a possible sign that they were preparing to move on from incumbent speedster Cooks.

So both the Patriots and Saints made roster moves that seem to point to potential departures of Butler and Cooks, respectively. Reports surfaced that the Patriots were “considering trading Malcolm Butler to the New Orleans Saints.” All the transactions made sense and pointed in that direction.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport believes that a trade for Cooks will be finalized “by this afternoon,” with the Patriots and the Titans in the running.

The Titans reportedly offered the Saints the 18th overall pick for Cooks, which the Saints rejected. The Patriots and Titans are clearly in a bidding war for Cooks.

Will the Patriots have to give up a draft pick to outbid the Titans? We’ll find out. But the Patriots are approaching the 2017 season at 100 miles per hour. The next couple of days should be fun.