The Patriots haven't really replaced Randy Moss. They've done just fine without him, as the statistics and won-loss record since he left indicate. But the home-run element, the need to guard against a wideout either running right past or jumping right over a corner, doesn't exist for this team right now. That explains why they were in the hunt for Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. The 30-year-old Lloyd, who led the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards in his breakout 2010 season, is in the final year ofhis deal with the Broncos and has requested a trade. Multiple reports had the Patriots in the mix for Lloyd's services, along with San Francisco and St. Louis. Ultimately, the Rams sewed up Lloyd, according to Jason LaCanfora at the NFL Network. The fact Lloyd becomes a free agent at the end of the year means that any team acquiringhim ranthe risk of losing whatever pick it sent in compensation after just 10 games of regular-season service in 2011 if it can'tre-sign Lloyd. And the Patriots' dynamic in trying to re-sign Lloyd would have been complicated by the fact they can't (and shouldn't) disrespect Wes Welker - also a free agent to-be - with an offer to retain Lloyd that would have trumped something Welker's offered. But the asking price for Lloyd - who has 19 catches for 283 yards in four games this season - was intriguing enough for the Patriots, experts at buying quality on the cheap. The pros to Lloyd? He jumps out of the gym (7-2 high jump in high school) and doesn't have a lot of wear on his tires. He also worked in Josh McDaniels' offense when McDaniels - now the Rams offensive coordinator - was in Denver. Cons? One year of great production and a background of inconsistency. That the Patriots are looking to add a wideout right now shows just how useless the acquisition and expenditure on Chad Ochocinco has been. And since they've already burned two picks on a guy who's made just nine catches and will cost 6 million probably made them think twice about upping the ante on Lloyd.
PHOENIX -- For an indication of just how high the expectations sit for newly-acquired Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks, have a look at what team owner Robert Kraft said during the annual league meetings at the Biltmore on Monday.
Asked about all the moves Bill Belichick and his front office have made this offseason, Kraft started with the former Saints big-play threat.
"I think what they've done is excellent this year," Kraft said. "And I know bringing this young man from New Orleans, I don't know, except since I've owned the team the only player who could make an impact like that at wide receiver is Randy Moss. He doesn't have his height, but he's got his speed. I think that's complementary to what we have on the team. I'm excited about him joining us."
Cooks gives the Patriots one of the most dynamic pass-catching threats in the NFL and should provide an additional boost to an offense that ranked third in the league in points scored (27.6) in 2016. He is one of three players to record 75 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. The other two? Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.
Those are some big names, but Moss may be the biggest ever associated with Cooks. What Moss did when he arrived to New England in a trade with the Raiders in 2007 was historic, catching 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns.
As excited as Kraft is for Cooks' arrival, not even he will project a similarly gaudy statistical year. But he's clearly thrilled that Tom Brady will have yet another explosive receiving threat to pair with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and an impressive stable of pass-catching backs.
Marc Bertrand discusses Robert Kraft’s comments about Brady wanting to play another 6-7 years, and why he thinks it would be tough for Belichick to believe that Brady can realistically play that long.