By MyFM's Jake Archer - Usually around this time of year the fans in Boston have turned the page on football and are beginning to focus on the Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins. This year is not like most years however, as the Patriots have demanded our attention with their very active, news-filled, offseason onslaught.
The latest moves came later on Friday and over the weekend as the Patriots added three more players. Bill Belichick somehow convinced the Carolina Panthers to trade him a young, talented defensive end in Kony Ealy along with a third round draft pick for just a second rounder. The kicker here is that the third round pick comes only eight slots after the second rounder that the Pats gave up. I don’t know how he manages to pull these deals off or why opposing teams agree to them, but it looks like more Belichick magic.
Later that night, a deal that had been rumored to go down for a few days finally materialized. The Patriots acquired New Orleans Saints star wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth round draft pick for a first rounder, which was the 32nd overall, and a third rounder. The Pats will not actually be able to use the fourth round pick from New Orleans because it will be taken away with Roger Goodell as the final ridiculous DeflateGate punishment. Nevertheless, the Patriots added a significant offensive weapon while parting with some fairly valuable picks.
This move was about the most anti-Patriot move I have ever seen. It’s a move that many teams would get laughed at for making but when it is the Patriots you just kind of assume it’s the correct move to make. Cooks provides some more star power to an already loaded offense and brings another speedy deep threat into the attack. This type of move, when you are giving up future assets for a proven commodity, screams “win now.” It certainly feels like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are pushing all their chips into the middle of the table to go get a few more Super Bowl titles.
With this deal, my first thought was that the Patriots are loading up for another run at an undefeated season. I wouldn’t be surprised if they secretly want it, considering it is really all that is left to accomplish for this regime. While I’m extremely excited about the next few years and the multitude of weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal, I hope that the Pats have a plan to recoup some draft picks soon in a deal.
On Saturday, the Patriots would continue to add as they signed former Baltimore Raven defensive tackle Lawrence Guy to a four-year deal. He projects as a rotational player, but he’s an underrated depth signing nonetheless. The biggest news of the weekend however was involving Super Bowl 49 hero Malcolm Butler and his relationship with the team. After having his name floated in the Brandin Cooks trade talks, Butler appears to be unhappy and is looking for a way out of Foxboro. He also can’t be happy that the team just paid new cornerback Stephon Gilmore a big contract while not rewarding him for what he has done over the past few years.
This Butler situation seems volatile, and though he doesn’t have much leverage against the Patriots, it could get somewhat ugly. I sure hope something gets worked out because Butler has not only won us a Super Bowl but he has come out and followed that up with two seasons of great play. He’s a hard worker, a tough competitor and seemingly a perfect Patriot. You could make the argument that he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and I feel he certainly deserves to get paid, not disrespected. I trust in what the Patriots and Bill Belichick do, but if Butler is traded or signed away somehow, I won’t understand it in the least.
Even with all the moves that have gone down now, we’ve got a lot to monitor still. Add in the ongoing Jimmy Garoppolo saga, Dont’a Hightower narrowing his choices down and the running back hunt and we’ve still got quite a bit to determine. I know I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the coming weeks.