If we thought the five-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were already great, we might not have seen anything yet, as the Patriots made a trade with the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
The Patriots gave up the 32nd overall pick for Cooks, but in adding Cooks to their wide receiver roster, the Super Bowl 51 champions have paired one of the best young wide receivers with future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
This Patriots duo of Brady-to-Cooks will be scary good, to say the least. You can say they will be scary great, because Brady makes an average receiver above average, so with Cooks and all his talent, imagine how much he’ll improve with the Patriots and their system on the offensive side of the ball.
The rest of the NFL had better take notice, because besides adding Cooks, the Patriots added tight end Dwayne Allen in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, plus they made a trade with the Carolina Panthers for defensive lineman Kony Ealy to improve on that side of the ball as well.
Now back to Cooks, and what he brings to the Patriots offense. Not only can Cooks catch the football with the best of them, what is even more impressive about his addition to the Patriots offense is the speed threat he brings. Brady will have a field day throwing the football to Cooks on any given play during the 2017 season.
Cooks has already played with another future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees while with the Saints, and now he’s basically hit the lottery twice by getting to play alongside Brady. With the Saints in 2016, Cooks totaled 1,173 yards on 78 receptions. Cooks averaged 15 yards per reception and scored eight touchdowns.
In 2015, Cooks had his first 1,000-plus yard season, totaling 1,138 yards on 84 receptions, with nine touchdowns. That season, he averaged 13.5 yards per reception.
Cooks has played three seasons in the NFL, and he is just 23-years-old. Comparing his numbers to the Patriots’ leading receiver of 2016, Julian Edelman, the possibilities of Edelman and Cooks with Brady should leave the rest of the NFL up late at night, because they will be very tough to stop. Edelman totaled 98 receptions for 1,106 yards with three touchdowns for the Patriots in 2016.
This will be the first time Brady has had two solid wide receivers, who will not just complement each other, but will help tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Allen next season, too. Allen has played with a solid young quarterback in recent seasons when Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was healthy, but now with teams being forced to focus on others before Allen, he too will see even more open looks than he is used to.
The Saints made the Super Bowl champions even better on Friday, and though the Saints wanted the draft pick over Cooks, what should be asked is was that pick worth making the strongest team in the NFL in the Patriots even stronger?
The Patriots are arguably the team to beat in the AFC once again. They should win the AFC East division easily, and if they are able to stay healthy, Cooks will see his best season to date. The Patriots will be a very dangerous team to stop. Though they were already a great team, Cooks makes the Patriots more of a threat than they already were.
Brady-to-Cooks could become the top quarterback/receiver combo in 2017, but even with all the improvement, the Patriots and Cooks will have to show just how good they can be once the regular season begins.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]