"The Patriots made it clear they do not value Butler as a number one cornerback with the Stephon Gilmore signing". He was able to observe it when his Saints faced them in joint practices during training camp past year.
At just 23 years old, Brandin Cooks has already established himself as one of the most unsafe receivers in the NFL. The vertical threat which nearly certainly spells the end for Michael Floyd and Danny Amendola in New England, cost a first and third-round pick while bringing in a fourth.
Meanwhile, the Saints are stockpiling draft picks and will have five selections in the first three rounds in April. "Not like I wasn't able to do them, we just had great guys doing those other things so if it's not broken why fix it?"
But the Cooks trade really doesn't, as Kellerman implies, declare a now-or-never scenario.
One of the teams reportedly interested is (still) the Saints.
After the dust settled, the Patriots are left without a first or a second-round pick.
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By Friday evening, US attorneys around the country - including New Jersey, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Montana - had publicly announced their resignations.
On Friday, the team completed a deal to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick from the New Orleans Saints in exchange for their first-round pick and a third-round pick. In New Orleans' case, that means the 11th pick.
In three National Football League seasons, all with New England, Butler has appeared in 43 games, including 33 as a starter, accumulating 122 tackles and 6 interceptions. But after Cooks expressed frustration with his usage in the offense past year and with the emergence of Michael Thomas as the team's true no. 1 receiver, a separation may have felt inevitable for the Saints' front office.
Not only are the Patriots loaded on offense, on defense they might be even better than their No. 1 scoring defense of 2016. While Butler was graded higher last season, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Gilmore is taller, longer, and more physical than Butler. Key linebacker Dont'a Hightower is still a free agent, and according to ESPN's Mike Reiss, hasn't found the market he may have expected, possibly leading to a reunion with the Patriots. "I'm not sure what my role is going to be, but I'm excited just to get to work and learn from everyone around me".
So to recap, the Patriots can take any of the following options as compensation for Butler (assuming other teams play ball, of course). The only reason it's not exactly as much about the future is because there's always the possibility that the Patriots would re-assess and move on when his contract expires in two years. That makes the Ealy trade seem all that more exciting now, doesn't it?
"No, I didn't", Cooks said.