After the signing of Brandon Marshall to a two-year contract worth $12 million this morning by the New York Giants, I thought it would be a good idea to compile all of the latest rumors in one article, for your convenience, of course. See, I think about you guys sometimes! Similar to our live Celtics Trade Deadline article, I will be updating this piece constantly with the latest and juiciest rumors, so be sure to check in frequently! If you have any rumors or things I have not covered, shoot me a message and I will be sure to add it.
DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver
2016 Season: 15 Games Played, 56 Receptions, 1005 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
DeSean Jackson has been involved in rumors with the New England Patriots since the 2014 season, when it was thought he may be able to help Tom Brady and company, who were struggling early in the season offensively. However, the now-30-year-old wide receiver is set to be a free agent and is looking to cash out. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, the Patriots have "inquired" about Jackson, who is looking for "at least $11 million" per year. At that number, the Patriots will not be anywhere near Jackson, but I believe we are now seeing a clear-cut message by the New England Patriots. They are not satisfied with their outside receivers and are looking to add a legitimate #1 threat.
Adrian Peterson, Running Back
2016 Season: 3 Games Played, 72 Yards, 1.9 Yards Per Attempt, 0 Touchdowns
According to CBS Sports, Adrian Peterson is willing to take a "pay-cut" in order to to join the New England Patriots. Last season, Peterson was limited to three games after tearing his meniscus and requiring surgery. The Vikings did not pick up Peterson's option, as it would have been $18 million for the 2017 season. According to reports, a couple teams, including the Seahawks, Patriots, and Raiders are interested in signing the 31-year-old Sooner product. Doesn't this seem like the perfect Patriot move? Sign a former stud coming off an injury who is chasing a ring to a below-market 1-year deal. While the move makes sense and Peterson would be a better back than LeGarrette Blount, who is also a free agent, I think it is unlikely to happen. Peterson would need to take a severely reduced role in New England and I am not sure he can check his ego enough to fit in with this team. According to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, the Patriots have not paid a running back more than $2 million since 2010. Take that for what it is worth...
UPDATE March 8, 2:30 P.M.
According to NESN, the Patriots have not discussed signing Adrian Peterson in Free Agency.
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver
2016 Season: 16 Games Played, 78 Receptions, 1173 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
Now this is awesome. According to multiple reports, including Pro Football Talk, the Patriots have offered the #32 overall pick for Brandin Cooks, as well as the swap of first rounders, but the Saints are reportedly looking to get a higher pick in proposed trade. Last season, Cooks was an absolute stud for the Saints, but was not happy with his role on the team. Rather than being the #1 option, Cooks was setting up other receivers and was extremely dissatisfied and looks to be ready to move on to another team. This move makes perfect sense for the Patriots. Cooks is one of the fastest receivers in the league and can play multiple positions. If you want him out wide, he can burn guys down the field. If you want him in the slot, where I think he would primarily play with the Patriots, he will rack up 100 receptions with ease. With the uncertainty of Danny Amendola on the team next year, as well as Father Time catching up with Julian Edelman, a trade for the 23-year-old speedster makes all the sense in the world. While the deal mentioned above was not accepted, WWLAM's Kristian Garlic indicates that talks are ongoing between the two sides.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback
2016 Season: 6 Games Played (2 Started), 68.3% Completion, 502 Yards, 4 Touchdowns, 0 INT, 113.3 QBR
The Jimmy Garoppolo Saga has continued into the offseason, as we are now all quite aware. According to Pro Football Talk, the Cleveland Browns are the main aggressor and are reportedly willing to offer the 12th overall pick in this year's draft. However, the Patriots are reportedly interested in getting a first round pick in 2017, as well as 2018, in a deal that includes Jimmy Garoppolo. In my opinion, I don't see a deal going down anymore, even though I would like one to happen. Bill Belichick is playing this perfectly. He is not going to make a deal unless he is blown away, which is completely fine with me. Garoppolo is a great insurance policy if anything happens to Brady this season, or perhaps even in 2018 if the Patriots franchise him next offseason. On we go!
Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker
2016 Season: 13 Games Played, 65 Total Tackles (31 Solo/ 34 AST), 2.5 Sacks, 1 Safety
I have gone back and forth on the reports surrounding Dont'a Hightower. Everything I have seen has indicated that Hightower is going to test free agency and bring the Patriots back the offer he wants them to match. He has had successful conversations with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, but I am not sure he is the same type of guy as Devin McCourty, who was in a similar situation after the 2014 season. McCourty turned down more money from the Philadelphia Eagles to return to the Patriots, who gave him a competitive but below-market value deal. In contrast, I don't see Hightower doing something like that. He wants to get paid, and for good reason. If it weren't for Hightower, the Patriots probably don't win either Super Bowl XLIX or Super Bowl LI, and I don't think it is crazy to say that. I would love to have Hightower back and have him become the next Teddy Bruschi, but I am not holding my breath. According to Greg Bedard of Sports Illustrated, he believes Hightower will be back with the Patriots unless Hightower is "blown away" by a deal, which he believes would be in the range of $15 million per year.
LeGarrette Blount, Running Back
2016 Season: 16 Games Played, 1161 Yards, 3.9 Yards Per Attempt, 18 Touchdowns
Don't let the numbers fool you, LeGarrette Blount didn't have a phenomenal year. Yes, he had 18 touchdowns, but how many of those were from the 1- or 2-yard line? Blount has an extremely difficult time behind the line of scrimmage and recognizing which hole to run through. He was blown up behind the line multiple times, and no one should forget his fumble in the Super Bowl. However, Blount is a great compliment to James White and Dion Lewis, who all bring a unique skill set to this team. According to Bleacher Report, the Patriots are not expected to match the type of offers Blount is going to command on the free agent market, and he is likely to leave. I am completely fine if Blount leaves. The type of player he is can easily be replicated by a player in the draft or a free agent for far less money. Do not expect to see Blount in a Patriots uniform again, unless he is taking a massive pay-cut compared to what he gets on the open market.