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Patriots Talk: Trade for Saints WR Brandin Cooks worth it?

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Patriots Talk: Trade for Saints WR Brandin Cooks worth it?

by Stephen Hilton

It was reported over the weekend by multiple media sources that there has been talks with the New England Patriots trading their 32nd pick in the 2017 NFL draft for New Orleans Saints wide receiver, Brandin Cooks. According to the latest report, the Saints turned down the trade because they felt they could gain at least a mid 1st round pick in this year’s draft. There are still talks currently going on between the two teams.

New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

This comes as a surprise as the Patriots have many issues more so on the defense then offense. It seems fairly odd to the average fan that the Patriots would risk losing their only pick in the 1st round to acquire a wide receiver, when it is one of the least spots in need of any depth. But let’s remember that Bill Belicheck thinks multiple steps ahead of everyone else when it comes to long-term planning. He didn’t just want to give this pick away for any average player.

 

So the first thing that most want to know is who exactly is Brandon Cooks? Cooks was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the 20th pick in the 2014 NFL draft. He was recruited out of Lincoln High School in Stockton, CA to Oregon State University, and  is a dynamic wide receiver that in only 3 seasons, has already recorded:

  • 215 total receptions
  • 2861 total receiving yards
  • average 13.3 yards per reception
  • 20 total touchdowns

Now, for those who are wondering if those stats are actually  good, I think Bill Belicheck stating how dangerous Brandin Cooks is would make things easier to say yes. This was a quote taken after the 2015 pre-season game against New Orleans by Belicheck when he discussed with NOLA.com writer Evan Woodberry about Bradin Cooks:

“I’m glad we don’t have to play him twice a year and he’s not in our division,” Belichick went a little further and added “He’s a really good player.”

Although hearing Belicheck praise an opponent is nothing really special or new, there is actually a lot of sense to this deal in a way. Let’s start out with Brandin Cooks age. He is only 23 years right now and his rookie contract will not expire until 2019, where he will be an unrestricted free agent. Cooks being traded now means that teams will only have to pay him for what his rookie contract is worth, which this season will be $2,667,462 according to spotrac.com. For a team like the Patriots, that is peanut money.

 

Cooks is still in his prime, he is easy to afford and he has been one of the most dynamic play makers on the Saints’ offense.  Brandin has already had back-to-back 1000+ yard seasons and is likely only to get better if he is brought into the right system (Sean Payton‘s West Coast offense is obviously different from the Patriots’ Erhardt-Perkins offense). Not only that, if Belicheck is willing to part with a 1st round pick for Cooks, he has trust that he can be successful here.

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However, the main factor that I feel is the reason for why this trade has been brought up is due to our wide receiving core. First, Julian Edelman is our number 1 receiver, but he is already pushing 31 alongside teammate Danny Amendola. Michael Floyd will be under punishment for his extreme DUI in Arizona and Chris Hogan is the only pick up that we have that is staying beyond the 2017 season alongside rookie Malcolm Mitchell. When you add it all together, there is a good chance that most of our playmakers will likely be gone by the end of next season.

 

This deal isn’t so much that Belicheck is caring about the present but the value it will have for the future. The reality is, Belicheck wants to invest into young talent and Cooks is both young and has plenty left to prove to the NFL. Despite the fact the deal is still in the process right now, many fans are feeling conflicted about this deal.

 

On one hand, we are risking our only pick in the 1st round, we also fail to forget that Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson among notable names were brought here and grasp the system. The reality is that we don’t know if Cooks could actually work out in New England. Sadly, teams are willing to bet on him being worth a first round and more. This includes the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans who are also in talks right now with the Saints.

 

The New Orleans Saints originally acquired the 20th pick to get Cooks by giving away their 2014 first and 2018 third round picks. The Saints organization will want to make a deal to gain all that back which is asking for a first and possible third pick as a fair trade. The Patriots are likely going to ‘up the price’ to see if either the Titans or the Eagles will part with more of their draft capital for  Cooks.

 

But this begs the question that has been bugging me: how much more valuable is a wide receiver of Brandin Cooks’ caliber compared, to say, Jimmy Garoppolo? I know I hate bringing Garoppolo back into these discussions (trust me, I am) but teams feel confident that Cooks can succeed, if given the right opportunity on offense. Whereas teams that desperately need a quarterback will look at Garoppolo with caution. The reasoning for why Jimmy G is not being given up for a 1st rounder like Cooks because:

  • The Saints used the 20th pick (1st round) on Cooks and Garoppolo was taken with the 62nd pick (2nd round) in the 2014 draft. (The return on investment is more justified in Cooks’ case)
  • Jimmy has limited play tape and teams feel he is still a prospect that is still questionable because of the success of the Patriots system. (see Matt Cassel in 2008) Whereas with Cooks who has been catching throws from future hall-of-fame quarterback Drew Brees has already had 3 full seasons to get an idea on his overall skill-set.
  • Garoppolo only has one more year on his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Cook will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Cooks contract is cheap (similar to Garoppolo’s) but longer, so therefore easier to pay as Garoppolo will be paid much for being a quarterback.
  • More importantly, this is about knowing who your enemies are. The Patriots just won the Super Bowl this year, any teams are likely going to stone wall any trades with the Patriots to avoid giving them any form of edge to repeat again.
  • The Saints’ need picks to get more talent on the defensive side of the ball and this year’s draft class has plenty of that. (similar case with the Patriots)

Overall, its sadly understandable to see why teams are hesitating with Jimmy G then Brandin Cooks, who is likely going to one of the these teams by the end of the off-season.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

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Heaps Out, But Who’s to Blame in New England?

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New England Revolution

Heaps Out, But Who’s to Blame in New England?

Hope springs eternal one week into the post-Jay Heaps era for the New England Revolution after a surprise 2-1 victory over table-toppers Toronto FC on Saturday. But despite taking three points from their first match since the skipper’s dismissal last week, the Revs will likely need to win out and receive a good bit of help to avoid missing the MLS Playoffs for a second consecutive year.

Who’s to blame for the slide into mediocrity since their 2014 MLS Cup appearance? Heaps was the first on the chopping block, yet many have questioned Revolution General Manager Mike Burns as well. Voices around the league from prominent agents, to national soccer writers, to the Twitter artist formerly known as @FakeJayHeaps have pointed to the GM’s culpability.

Burns stepped into his role as GM at the same time as Jay Heaps was brought before the 2012 season. In the build to 2014, he played a role in earning the Revolution a reputation for drafting well, utilizing homegrown players and making clever low risk-high reward acquisitions. Is any of that true in 2017? Has it been true since 2014?

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State of Trifecta Network

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State of Trifecta Network

The last two months have been a whirlwind. There are no words that can truly describe what has happened to us as a website.

We went from a site that was getting an average of 2-3k viewers a week to getting that in a single day on average since the start of June. Since the start of June, we have been a credentialed member of the media to several of the teams in the area and look to increase that in the Fall.

Ultimately everything we create is meant to be read/consumed by our readers, you.  Often it is tough to get a vibe on what is or isn’t working in terms of content. That is why we would greatly appreciate if you guys give your thoughts in the comment section of this post to help us curate better content.

One thing we are looking forward to in the Fall is more reader/writer interactions. We will start doing Q and A’s related to all the Boston sports teams as well as a live Fantasy Football podcast where we will take your lineup questions.

The launch of the Fantasy podcast has yet to be decided, but expect it ahead of week 1 of the NFL season with a draft podcast. We will also be launching a Fantasy Football league to run alongside it if interested in joining fill out the contact form below with your information.

Trifecta Network is a growing platform, we will always be free and made for our readers. We appreciate your readership and want to build the best product we can to ensure the best Boston sports experience in the city.

You may have noticed more video content on the site, it is an area we are looking to improve, but not focus solely on. Many sports sites are going away from traditional writing, a move that I believe is a mistake.

If you ever have any thoughts or comments please feel free to reach out to us.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox: Realistic Trade Deadline Possibilities

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Fenway Park

Third Base for the Red Sox has been a void for the last few months, and these names could help them fill it.

As we normally do, every Trade Deadline year after year the Red Sox always throw their hat in the race for the biggest name on the market. This season, Jose Quintana has been the biggest name that was moved and to no surprise the Red Sox checked in on him at some point in the season. With names like Sonny Gray, Todd Frazier, and David Robertson all potentially on the move, I assess the realistic opportunities for the Red Sox to cash in and find their missing puzzle piece at third base. These are some players that you may not of heard of that are likely on the radar for the Red Sox this season:

Jed Lowrie playing infield for the Oakland Athletics.

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but the former Red Sox infielder may find his way back into Boston. With Oakland exploding their team quicker than anyone in the bay area can fathom, most of the Athletics players become a target for trade opportunities (as we saw with Doolittle and Madson). In Boston, Jed Lowrie makes sense.

Lowrie is probably the most obtainable of this list. The switch hitter is hitting a respectable .272 with 10 homers and 33 RBI in 83 games. He’s on pace to have one of his better seasons since 2014, but this is only due to injuries. Lowrie is notoriously injury prone, and his low cost can provide a valuable third/short/second option without moving an important player. He was a platoon player while in Boston before ultimately losing his job completely to Jose Iglesias, then Bogaerts, then Will Middlebrooks so platooning is nothing new to him. With Oakland owing him $6 million next year, you would expect the Red Sox to take part of the contract and give up a fringe prospect for him and to Dave Dombroski, this is pocket change. Prepare for the return of Jed Lowrie in Boston.

Josh Harrison at bat against the Miami Marlins.

Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates

While this is more of a stretch than a reality, I still want to talk about it in case it happens (making me look smart). Harrison has been a sort of Brock Holt style player for the Pirates since breaking into the league in 2011. A career .282 hitter, he doesn’t wow you with flashy power and high RBI totals. Instead he provides a reliable bat that in the lower half of the lineup.

Despite being a very reliable part of the Pirates lineup, and a potentially good fit for Boston, he is under contract through 2020. If the Red Sox plan on moving Devers like they did with Moncada, they better haul in a bigger return than 30 year old Josh Harrison. But if Dombrowksi pulls the trigger and decides to go with Harrison expect him to move to a different position if he sticks around. He might even end up at pitcher. Who knows.

Eduardo Nunez taking batting practice before the 2016 All Star game. He represented the Minnesota Twins for the American League.

Eduardo Nunez, San Francisco Giants

The former Yankee (and All Star, believe it or not!) is yet another player that provides flexibility when it comes to filling holes, but once again – all we are focusing on is third base. Red Sox Nation may be hesitant to see another former Giant taking reigns over third base but I promise you that Nunez is nothing like that dude that the Sox just DFA’d. In 67 games this year Nunez is just a tick under .300, batting .297 with 4 homers and 25 RBI. He’s also got 17 steals, so the tangible of stealing bases makes him more of an attractive pick up.

Nunez is also signed through this season – potentially making him an even better suit for Boston with prospects waiting. His numbers aren’t flashy, but they’re maybe the most respectable of this list considering he has spent some time on the disabled list. With the Giants in free fall, and more than likely selling the house in two weeks, I would put my money on Eduardo Nunez as one of the first to go.

With the deadline two weeks away, I think these three guys could end up in Fenway Park playing third base really soon. While the main point of focus is finding another reliable arm in the bullpen, it is necessary to find a major league ready third baseman who can provide a tangible that Marrero and Lin can’t at this early in their careers – and that is to hit with consistency. Check back in on July 31st and see the madness unfold.

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