Some people forget the Patriots still have Cyrus Jones. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Some people forget the Patriots still have Cyrus Jones. (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler is in New Orleans meeting with the Saints and it appears it’s more and more likely Butler will not be playing in New England next season given how far things have gone to this point.

The 27-year-old could have another team sign him to an offer sheet and the Patriots could refuse to match and they would get a first-round pick in return, or he simply could be traded

The Patriots gained Stephon Gilmore, but lost Logan Ryan so from the 2016 defense, Gilmore would replace Butler, but they would still be without a No. 2 cornerback. It’s too late in the game to add a quality player via free agency and the Patriots likely won’t be able to land a NFL-ready cornerback in the draft, so they may need to rely on players already in their system.

And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

New England had a few cornerbacks show flashes last season, and just look at Butler himself after Revis left. He went from an undrafted rookie to a No. 1 corner. While no one will likely make that jump, the Patriots have players capable of developing into quality No. 2 cornerbacks to play opposite Gilmore.

Cyrus Jones — People forget Jones was a second-round pick out of Alabama. While he had a disappointing rookie season, he’s a talented player. There’s a reason he was a second-round pick. He himself admitted he needs to be better and seems like a player determined to prove to people his rookie season was not how his entire NFL career will go. If Jones puts the time in, and doesn’t let his rookie season get to him, there’s a good chance he could be a solid No. 2 cornerback in New England next season.

Eric Rowe — This is proving to be a great trade for the Patriots, as they acquired the corner for a conditional fourth-round pick early last season from the Eagles. At 6-foot-1, he’s a relatively bigger cornerback and proved he can go against some of the best big receivers in the league. He shut down A.J. Green in the second half of the Bengals game last season. Rowe even was ahead of Ryan on the depth chart in the middle of last season. There is a talented player there and seems to be poised for a big role in 2017.

Jonathan Jones — The undrafted rookie mostly played special teams last year, but when Cyrus Jones struggled, Jonathan Jones stepped in and played pretty well in the slot. While he certainly cannot be counted on in a big role, if he continues to develop, the Patriots could use him a good amount next season in sub-packages.

Justin Coleman — Coleman had a tough 2016 season, but he’s been in the Patriots’ system for a few seasons and who knows, maybe he steps up and can be a contributor. Stranger things have happened in Foxboro.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Standing 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Brandin Cooks isn’t a big receiver by any means, and has been reminded of that going back to his days at Oregon State.

Speaking on a conference call with the New England media Wednesday, Cooks said being small has never bothered, or affected him.

Brandin Cooks isn't bothered by being so small.  (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandin Cooks isn’t bothered by being so small. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Standing 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Brandin Cooks isn’t a big receiver by any means, and has been reminded of that going back to his days at Oregon State.

Speaking on a conference call with the New England media Wednesday, Cooks said being small has never bothered, or affected him.

“I mean quote-unquote ‘always being the small guy’ has been fun for me because it’s a challenge and I love challenges,” Cooks said. “But having three older brothers, being in the household, you’ve got to fight them all the time to get what you want. I think that helped a lot as far as the toughness, but as you all know and as has been said plenty of times from guys like me, one thing you can’t measure is heart and I feel like I’ve got one of the biggest hearts out there. Physical wise, I’m not too worried about it. It’s just playing ball and doing what I have to do.”

Cooks will likely line up all over the field with the Patriots — both wide and in the slot.  The 23-year-old doesn’t have a preference where.

“As far as going into detail on what I would like to do, I’d rather not go into detail,” Cooks said. “But as far as playing in the slot, I definitely think I can do that at a high level. It’ll be all about what coach [Bill] Belichick and the offense think I can fit well at and just doing my job the best that I can.”

Last season with the Saints, Cooks totaled 78 receptions for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Dont'a Hightower re-signed with the Patriots on Wednesday.</p>
<div class=



It appears Malcolm Butler was very anxious to meet with the Saints.

Malcolm Butler reportedly met with the Saints on Wednesday. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler reportedly met with the Saints on Wednesday. (Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports)

It appears Malcolm Butler was very anxious to meet with the Saints.

According to Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate, Butler was at the Saints’ facility on Wednesday to meet with the team. The 27-year-old was scheduled to meet with the team on Thursday.

Butler is a restricted free agent meaning if the Saints put in an offer sheet, the Patriots would have the right to match. If not, the Saints would have to give up their own first-round pick. This means it would be the No. 11 overall pick, not the No. 32 pick the Patriots traded them for Brandin Cooks last week.

Butler was placed with a first-round tender meaning he’s on the books in 2017 for $3.91 million.

Another possibility is a trade, which has been rumored over the past few days. The Patriots could do the Saints a favor and not get their No. 11 overall pick in return, but their own first-round pick back (No. 32) and potentially other picks from the Saints. This could happen given Bill Belichick and Sean Payton’s relationship.

With how far this has gone, it would appear Butler’s days as a member of the Patriots are limited.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

When Brandin Cooks was rumored in trade talks all last week, the thought was the 23-year-old wanted out of New Orleans.

Brandin Cooks didn't request a trade out of New Orleans. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Brandin Cooks didn’t request a trade out of New Orleans. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

When Brandin Cooks was rumored in trade talks all last week, the thought was the 23-year-old wanted out of New Orleans.

Speaking on a conference call with the New England media on Wednesday, Cooks set the record straight saying that wasn’t the case and the trade was a matter of a deal working out for both teams.

“Oh boy, no, I didn’t,” Cooks said when asked if he wanted to be traded. “That was a long process. And I guess, if we could set this straight, I think a lot of that and what was going on got taken out of context and a little exaggerated. Throughout the process I felt like I had to take the blows and keep my mouth shut, which is fine. It just happened to be a great opportunity for both sides to be able to do what they want to do, and to be sent off to a good team for me.

“I think it’s a win-win situation and like I said, the rumors out there and what’s been going on and what’s been [said], I don’t let it bother me. I’m just here to play football and that’s what it’s all about.”

Cooks also had nothing but good things to say about his time with the Saints.

“Well first of all, once I found out about it, I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to play in New Orleans and the opportunity they gave me there,” Cooks said. “No bad blood. I loved everything about the organization and the people. Things just happen in this life. When I found out about [the trade], I was ecstatic to be able to come play for an organization like New England and to play for a guy like Coach Belichick, Tom [Brady], Mr. [Robert] Kraft and his family. The whole process was a blessing. As soon as I found out, I couldn’t be more thankful throughout this time.”

The receiver likely will line up all over the field with the Patriots and is signed through 2018 (team option).

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Jimmy Garoppolo rumors will only heat up between now and the draft.

Would the Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns? (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Would the Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns? (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Jimmy Garoppolo rumors will only heat up between now and the draft.

Appearing on Mighty 1090 in San Diego on Tuesday, ESPN’s John Clayton speculated given the Browns’ quarterback situation they will end up by trading for Garoppolo.

“I think in the end they have to come to some kind of Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but as far as Brock Osweiler, he is just being held up until somebody makes an offer, and I don’t think anybody is going to make an offer,” he said. “Cleveland was the only team willing to pick up that $16 million guaranteed salary and the only reason they did it was to pick up that second-round pick in 2018. What they are offering is they will give you a third-round pick if you take him because they get a fifth back. Nobody is going to do that deal because no one is excited about Brock Osweiler at this stage.

“In the end, Cleveland I think at the moment has a worse quarterback situation than they did last year because Terrelle Pryor was probably their best quarterback, RG3 [Robert Griffin] struggled and all they have right now is Brock Osweiler, who they expect to cut if they can’t get a trade, and Cody Kessler and [Kevin] Hogan. Not a great situation.

“Particularly with the Patriots not having a picks in rounds one and two, there has to be some kind of trade coming up with Jimmy Garoppolo.”

Clayton also said with the Patriots not having a first or second-round pick, that only increases the chances of them dealing him.

“Let’s put it this way, [Bill Belichick] doesn’t have picks in rounds one and two, and if they don’t get Dont’a Hightower signed, they are down four players on defense and this is a good defensive draft,” Clayton said. “They need some defensive volume. This is why I can’t see them sitting there with a quarterback who is not going to play next year because he has Tom Brady on the team, waiting to get a third round compensatory pick in 2018 when he can get a good group of draft choices now.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable