Patriots Talk Podcast

What are the odds Hopkins, Cook sign with Patriots in free agency?

Two high-end offensive players in Hopkins and Cook remain unsigned. Could they find their way to New England?

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We've hit a bit of a dead zone for NFL news. Training camps are still about three weeks away, and there isn't a whole lot of player movement going on, either through the trade market or free agency.

All of that could change in an instant, though, because two high-end offensive players -- wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back Dalvin Cook -- are still available on the free agent market.

Hopkins is obviously the name to watch for Patriots fans. He had a free-agent visit with the Patriots last month and the team reportedly remains interested in signing him. Wide receiver also is a roster need for the Patriots.

Running back is a different story. Rhamondre Stevenson is a top-10 running back, and while the depth behind him is very much unproven, improving that position doesn't need to be a top priority for head coach Bill Belichick when other areas on the roster are more concerning.

Patriots Talk: 18 looming questions heading into Patriots training camp | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

In the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Talk Podcast, our Insider Tom E. Curran talked about Hopkins and Cook with special guest Cerrone Battle of 98.5 The Sports Hub. One specific topic was: What are the odds Hopkins and/or Cook actually end up in New England?

"Patriots sign Hopkins? I'm going to put that at 70 (percent)," Curran said. "I'm going to say Patriots sign Cook at 10 percent. Do they sign both? I'm going to put that at seven percent. I don't know how I did the math, but that's where I'm going.

"My logic is they're the most motivated on Hopkins. Secondarily, I just don't see the motivation or hear the motivation mentioned with Cook. I hear insinuations that they might be marginally intrigued, but I think that's just vapor. So that's where I stand on those guys."

One of the main reasons to sign Hopkins, besides the obvious on-field impact, is that he would give the Patriots some much-needed star power and excitement. Aside from maybe Stevenson, the Patriots don't have any players who can regularly fill up a highlight reel on offense. Hopkins, even at age 31, can still be that kind of star.

"They are a boring team. The product was paint-dry boring at times last year," Curran said. "The offense was so bad that they had to be propped up by defensive and special teams touchdowns on multiple occasions.

"Their best player is Matt Judon, who is certainly not a household name outside football fans. He's a very good player, great personality, someone you'd like to have among your top five players, but he's their best player. Mac Jones is an OK quarterback. But it's not like kids are going to be growing up saying they want to be like Mac Jones. They want to be Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert."

The Patriots had the face of the league in Tom Brady for two decades. Many other Patriots players from that era, most notably Rob Gronkowski, were household names as well. Bringing in Hopkins would not only satisfy the Patriots' need for a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver, it would also add some flair to an offense that was hard to watch and unproductive for long stretches of the 2022 season.

Also in this episode: Curran and Battle answer listener questions on lots of topics, including whether the 2022 defense was overrated, breakout candidates for 2023 and much more!

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