Most of Cooks' success with the Saints came via big plays - he averaged 13.3 yards per reception during his three years in New Orleans, including a career-high 15 yards per catch last season on a career-low 4.9 receptions per game.

He's fresh off back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons as one of Drew Brees' favorite targets in the pass-friendly Saints offense.

While not almost as valuable as a second round pick in this 2017 class, which is positively loaded with corner prospects that could replace Butler in the long run, keeping him on the team this season and settling for a third round pick two years from now would give the Patriots a very, very strong secondary for 2017. Butler, who has become a star for the New England Patriots in the last two seasons, has yet to sign a new deal.

Now that he's in New England, Brandin Cooks is trying to leave any bridges back to New Orleans without so much as a scorch mark, even though it remains rare for an National Football League team to trade a young, talented player with two more years left on his contract. If not, the organization notorious for its players providing minimal substance behind public words and speaking by the PR book will be pleased with Cooks' conference call with reporters Wednesday.

Communicating an interest in playing for another team is always a pretty decent way to get the home squad to up its offer, but it could have a different effect in this case if the Patriots are OK getting a first-round pick in exchange for Butler's services.

Butler is a restricted free agent with the New England Patriots, who would seem to hold most of the leverage in this situation.

Former Boston drummer Sib Hashian dies aged 67
Hashian was listed as a performer on the eight-day cruise, which departed March 18 from Miami, Fla., on MSC Cruise's Divina ship. According to his son, Hashian was performing on stage at the Legends of Rock Cruise when he collapsed and died.

"When I found out about it, I was ecstatic to be able to come play for an organization like New England and play for a guy like Coach (Bill) Belichick and Tom (Brady) and (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft and his family", Cooks said. If they don't, they Saints will be forced to part ways with their first-round pick in 2017 which is the number 11 spot. The deal would have moved the Saints from No. 11 overall to the fifth overall slot.

Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. has torched the Saints for a number of years as a member of the Carolina Panthers, but now, the speedster is wearing black and gold.

Even before the Patriots bestowed a monster contract on cornerback Stephon Gilmore last week, there has been speculation about Malcolm Butler's future.

"I'm just thankful for the opportunity", Cooks said. And that's all I want to be, is be a factor.

"No, I didn't", Cooks said.


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