Hogan had a fantastic start to the 2017 regular season, prior to suffering a shoulder injury in week 8 that effectively sidelined him for the rest of the year. Over those first eight games, Hogan collected 455 yards and 5 touchdowns, which set him on pace for a 910-yard and 10-touchdown season.
What’s important and impressive about that production is how he generated it. One year after leading the league in yards per reception as the Patriots deep threat, he handed the job over to Brandin Cooks and took on a more versatile role in the offense with Julian Edelman out for the year with an injury.
Hogan was still a great deep threat in 2017, but his yards per catch fell from 17.9 to 12.5. With Cooks out of the picture, Hogan should take back the deep ball targets- and hopefully he can combine his positive experiences from both seasons and become an all-around receiver for Tom Brady and the Patriots in 2018.
It should also be noted that when Cooks suffered his concussion in the Super Bowl, Hogan uncorked for 132 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. He is capable of that every week.
ESPN’S Adam Schefter theorizes that New England might have been willing to pay up to $12 million per season for Cooks, but the receiver was likely looking at $14 million or more. Both of those totals are far greater than what the Patriots would likely have to pay Hogan.
Hogan, who turns 30 in October, will be a free agent after this season after finishing the final season of his 3-year, $12 million contract. Perhaps he’ll bet on himself to put together a big year and cash in on one final contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and the Patriots came to terms on an extension, either.
The Patriots weren’t willing to pay Danny Amendola $6 million per season- in part because top dog Julian Edelman is on a $5.5 million per year contract- but Hogan could be worth that deal. The current receiver market could place Hogan in the $6-8 million per year range (depending on how desperate the team is for talent), which is half the price of what Cooks is likely to earn from the Rams.
Hogan has the chance to push the ceiling of that future contract with Cooks out of the picture. And if the Patriots can get 80% of Cooks’ production for half the price, then that’s a pretty great reason to make the trade and move forward with Hogan.