Here are three players who the Patriots wish they still had on their current roster.
The Patriots looking like a legitimate playoff contender after undergoing a colossal quantity of roster turnover this past offseason just speaks to the greatness of head coach Bill Belichick.
Despite quarterback Cam Newton not being entirely dialed in through the air, New England ultimately coasted to a dominant victory over the Raiders on Sunday, improving to 2-1 on the year in the process. The Patriots could easily be undefeated had they scored from the goal line on the final play of their clash against Seattle in Week 2, so there’s plenty for fans to feel good about three games in.
With that being said, there are still some glaring holes on the roster that could really use some filling at the 2020 trade deadline or in free agency next offseason. Though player opt outs and financial constraints certainly haven’t helped, that reality does fall on Belichick, who, yes, has swung and missed a few times as a general manager across his esteemed career.
Whether it be trading away players too soon into their respective careers or refusing to re-sign free agents who were understandably asking for top dollar on the open market, Belichick (like every GM) doesn’t have a perfect resume.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three former players the Patriots wish they still had on their current roster.
3. Brandin Cooks
The Patriots’ current passing game contains no deep threat.
Newton came out last week and admirably asserted that the answers to the Patriots’ supposed wide receiver problem are in the locker room, which dismissed the popular notion that Belichick should look to pull off a trade ahead of the deadline.
While we don’t necessarily disagree with the former MVP, who has the offense buzzing through the first three weeks of the season, the group’s ceiling would be taken to new heights if it had a vertical dimension. Through three games, Newton is averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 15th among qualified signal callers.
That isn’t a dig at Newton or starting WR trio Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd, but their lack of ability to create separation on deep routes is an undeniable issue and makes the Patriots’ passing attack predictable.
Brandin Cooks, who played for the team in 2017, would fix that problem, as he’s averaged a whopping 14.2 yards per reception and 9.2 yards per target across his career. Despite seemingly being around forever and having suffered a number of concussions, Cooks is still just 27 years old.
The Oregon State product’s inclusion on this list isn’t to say that the Patriots should regret trading him — doing so ultimately resulted in the selection of left tackle Isaiah Wynn — but his speed and game-breaking ability would be a welcomed addition to this current Patriots roster.