New England Patriots: Breaking down offseason additions and losses

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 13: Wide receiver Brandin Cooks
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 13: Wide receiver Brandin Cooks /
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New England Patriots
ORCHARD PARK, NY – DECEMBER 24: Mike Gillislee /

Running Back

 Running Back In:

  • Rex Burkhead
  • Mike Gillislee

 Running Back Out:

  • LeGarrette Blount
  • Tyler Gaffney

Running back is an interesting group. On one hand you have two relatively untested players coming in with Burkhead and Gillislee but both have potential. On the other, you have the experienced bruiser in Blount leaving for the Eagles. Poor injury-prone Tyler Gaffney had potential, but at 26, injuries mean he is now a veteran with very little game-tape. Going back to Burkhead, it will be intriguing to see if he will get an increased workload or if he will be a Brandon Bolden replacement. Gillislee provides a passing and running threat that should keep defenses honest compared with the run-heavy Blount.

Verdict: Upgrade

Wide Receiver

 Wide Receiver In:

  • Brandin Cooks
  • Andrew Hawkins

Wide Receiver Out:

  • Michael Floyd

The wide receiver position is probably the biggest improvement the Patriots made this offseason. With the best will in the world, the troubled Michael Floyd had very little time to make much of an impact, and with the existing depth he saw limited playing time in 2016. Cooks is an elite receiver in the NFL and is probably in the top-10 at his position. A slightly surprising addition given that the Patriots already had a good receiving core. It comes across as a real statement of intent that the Patriots want somebody who can stretch the field. Hawkins is an intriguing player that plays in the slot and his brought in to compete with Danny Amendola for a roster spot.

Verdict: Upgrade