The Best Just Got Even Better
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The Best Just Got Even Better

The New England Patriots' ability to swap draft picks for existing talent remains one of a kind.

The Best Just Got Even Better

On Friday, the New England Patriots completed two trades that further prove why the organization has been at the forefront of the National Football League for the past 15 years.

First off, New England shipped their second-round pick (#64 overall) to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for their third-round pick (#72 overall) and defensive end Kony Ealy. Think about that. The Patriots moved down just eight spots in the upcoming draft and received Ealy.

Kony Ealy may have failed to reach the expectations Carolina had for him this past season, he's a young talent only one year removed from a breakout performance in Super Bowl 50. During that game Ealy proved to be a force to be reckoned with by snagging an interception, forcing a fumble, recovering another fumble, and terrorizing the Denver offensive line to the tune of three sacks. Take a look for yourself.

What makes this deal even more appealing for the Patriots is that the 2017 season will be the final of Ealy's rookie contract, which means their commitment to him is minimal (and pretty cheap) if he fails to produce. Also, since this is a contract year, if there was ever a time for him to be motivated to improve his production, this would be the year. If that's the case and Ealy begins to reach his full potential, don't be surprised when New England lets him walk or ships him off for draft picks, similar to what they did with Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones. And as a result, the cycle will simply repeat itself.

The second, and more interesting, trade New England made on Friday should have opposing offenses even more terrified than usual. The Patriots sent their first-round pick (#32 overall) and a third-round pick (#103 overall) to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for wide receiver Brandin Cooks and their fourth-round pick (#118 overall).

While the price was much steeper for Cooks, if he leads to even one more championship, nobody will care what they had to give up. With Tom Brady turning 40 before the beginning of the 2017 season, the window of opportunity for this team is slowly closing. Time and age have yet to truly catch up to Brady, but it is unrealistic to expect him to maintain his status as an elite quarterback for more than three more seasons. Is it possible? Yes, but it isn't exactly realistic and the front office knows that.

Cooks offers a true deep threat that has alluded Brady since his record-breaking team-up with Randy Moss. After seeing the success the Patriots had with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Chris Hogan as their primary receivers, it can be hard to imagine what someone with the talent of Brandin Cooks will allow the offense to do. But maybe these highlights will help.

This addition should also help take care of star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who appears to made of glass. Adding Cooks should take some of the load off of Gronk and allow him to remain healthy.

These two trades show that just because the Patriots are champions, doesn't mean they're going to be complacent. Now, New England just needs to revive Adrian Peterson's career, like they did with Randy Moss, and put an end to competitiveness in the NFL as we know it... at least until Tom Brady retires, right?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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