Patriots

Lombardi: Saints-Patriots trade involving Brandin Cooks still in play

Lombardi: Saints-Patriots trade involving Brandin Cooks still in play

It felt like things were moving pretty quickly on Day 1 of the new league year. The Patriots had added a big-money corner, and soon thereafter it was reported by ESPN that they were considering trading Malcolm Butler to the Saints for Brandin Cooks. 

That potential deal was not executed by the time the clock hit midnight, but it sounds as though there's a chance something happens with Cooks before the weekend begins. 

According to former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff and Ringer NFL analyst Mike Lombardi, the Saints are expected to make a decision on Cooks soon and the Patriots are still in play. The Titans, whose general manager is former Patriots executive Jon Robinson, are also in the running for the 23-year-old dynamic wideout. 

Player-for-player deals are a rarity in the NFL, but the Cooks-for-Butler swap would make some sense if that's how it were to break down.

The Patriots have numbers at the cornerback position with Butler, Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe and last year's second-round pick Cyrus Jones all currently on the roster. Though Butler has proven to be the best of that group over the last two years, the team is paying Gilmore like a No. 1 guy. 

The Saints, on the other hand, are desperate for defensive help. The also seem to be positioning themselves to move on from Cooks, who was unhappy with his role last season. 

The Patriots have loads of respect for the shifty former first-round pick who had strong performances against New England in recent preseason games and joint training camp practices. With his straight-line speed and short-area quickness, Cooks appears to have the versatile skill set to play both outside and in the slot that the Patriots covet. 

If the Patriots hoped to move Butler, they wouldn't be able to do that until he's under contract. He has been tendered at the first-round level, worth $3.91 million, but would need to sign that tender before he could be dealt. 

Cooks is under contract to make $1.56 million in 2017. As a first-round pick in 2014, he has a fifth-year option bonus that will be worth about $8 million. 

Tom Brady: 'Whatever the future may bring, I will embrace it with open arms'

Tom Brady: 'Whatever the future may bring, I will embrace it with open arms'

The New England Patriots are facing a lot of uncertainty this offseason as Tom Brady will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

At this point in time, it's unclear what he will be doing. And Brady isn't giving any hints ahead of his mid-March decision.

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Brady recently addressed his future in an interview on Westwood One radio and said that he will embrace the future "with open arms."

"I am open-minded about the process and at the same time I love playing football and want to continue to play and do a great job," Brady said. "I am looking to what is ahead. Whatever the future may bring, I will embrace it with open arms."

Patriots fans won't be encouraged by this seemingly non-committal answer, as it seems that there is a legitimate chance Brady will leave. This is especially true considering the rumors that Brady is planning on hearing pitches from opposing teams this offseason.

Still, there's a chance that Brady returns to Foxboro. But as long as he keeps his preferences close to the vest, there will be uncertainty surrounding the Patriots starting quarterback position.

Why Patriots center David Andrews is rooting for the Titans in the AFC Championship

Why Patriots center David Andrews is rooting for the Titans in the AFC Championship

Fans of the New England Patriots may be conflicted about whether to root for the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game. They are coached by former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, but they also knocked the Patriots out in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

But regardless of how fans feel, there is one member of the Patriots who will be pulling for the Titans on Sunday. And that's center David Andrews.

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Andrews, who spent all of the 2019 season on IR with blood clots in his lungs, is rooting for one of his college teammates and closest friends, Titans center Ben Jones.

"Watching him have success is really special," Andrews said of Jones to ESPN's Mike Reiss. "I'm pulling for him all the way."

Andrews spoke about how close that he and Jones became during his recruiting process. And Andrews described Jones as a mentor to him.

"When I was in high school, I remember a lot of people said, 'You're too small to play at Georgia.' But then came Ben, and he wasn't much bigger than me, and I really looked up to him," said Andrews, per Reiss.

"When I was getting recruited, he was always great. I would go see him and he'd let me hang out with him. He'd give me leftover Georgia gear that I could wear around my high school and think I was pretty cool. Then once I got to Georgia, he really took me under his wing. Ben was always a sounding board for me -- people called us father and son because we acted a lot alike."

Jones clearly did a good job helping Andrews to develop. Despite his lacking size, Andrews has been one of the NFL's most consistent centers when healthy. And though Ted Karras filled in well in place of Andrews this past season, the team still missed their solid interior blocker.

It's easy to see why Andrews is rooting for his friend and perhaps Jones and the Titans will pull off a third consecutive upset. We'll soon find out who will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl as Jones' Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs will square off for the conference title on Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m.