Patriots

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 

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Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively

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NFL rumors: Patriots 'aggressively courted' Jared Cook in free agency

NFL rumors: Patriots 'aggressively courted' Jared Cook in free agency

The New England Patriots weren't able to sign veteran tight end Jared Cook in NFL free agency, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.

ESPN's Mike Reiss reported Sunday that the Patriots went hard after Cook before he ultimately decided to join the New Orleans Saints.

3. Similar to how the Patriots made an aggressive pitch to receiver Adam Humphries in free agency and didn't close the deal, a source close to tight end Jared Cook said the Patriots aggressively courted him before Cook elected to sign with the Saints late last week. Rob Gronkowski's uncertain status seems to have played a significant part in Cook's thinking, as there is clearer path to a top role on the tight-end depth chart in New Orleans.

Cook tallied 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders last season. He also was selected to the Pro Bowl. 

His decision not to sign with New England leaves the tight end market pretty barren. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the only notable tight end still unsigned in free agency.

The Patriots released veteran tight end Dwayne Allen before the free-agent market opened and haven't yet signed a tight end in free agency. Rob Gronkowski's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, recently said he doesn't know what decision his client will make regarding his future. Reports throughout the 2018 season suggested Gronkowski would consider retirement

At this point, the Patriots would probably be best suited to draft a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Luckily for the Pats, they have six picks in the first three rounds and there are a few highly rated tight ends in this draft class.

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This stat shows Patriots QB Tom Brady's impressive ability to prevent turnovers

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USA TODAY Sports

This stat shows Patriots QB Tom Brady's impressive ability to prevent turnovers

One of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's trademark qualities is avoiding turnovers.

The six-time Super Bowl champion, unlike many other NFL quarterbacks, consistently avoids putting his team in situations where turnovers are likely.

Pro Football Focus shared a tremendous stat Sunday showing the amount of snaps Brady has had a turnover-worthy play. As you might imagine, it's one of the lowest rates in the league.

Brady threw 11 interceptions during the 2018 season, ending his streak of four consecutive years with fewer than 10 interceptions. However, since the beginning of the 2016 campaign, Brady has just 21 interceptions while completing better than 66 percent of his pass attempts. New England has won two of the three Super Bowls played in that span.

The Patriots next season will try to become the first team to successfully defend a Super Bowl title since Brady and Co. accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004. For that to happen again, Brady must continue to protect the football, and his performance over the last few seasons suggests he will do that.

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