The New England Patriots are gearing up for training camp, and after losing the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes to the Tennessee Titans, fans are wondering what their next move will be. It’s clear this team needs offensive play-making talent, and while there aren’t a lot of options available, Dalvin Cook has quickly emerged as a player many believe will be the perfect fit for New England.
There had been rumors linking Cook to the Pats for some time, and with Hopkins out, he seemed the most logical choice for the team. Instead, the Patriots are once again choosing to go a different route from the looks of it, as they recently brought in former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette. visit,
It’s not the first time New England has shown interest in Fournette, as they brought him on tour last season before old friend Tom Brady convinced him to return to Tampa. And while he’s not the worst option for the Patriots, it’s clear that at this point, the team should be targeting Cooks instead of Fournette if they’re going to add another running back.
Why The Patriots Should Pursue Dalvin Cook Instead Of Leonard Fournette
For starters, it goes without saying that Fournette is not a bad running back. The fourth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft revived his career with the Bucs, and became a valuable dual-threat option for Brady out of the backfield (189 CAR, 668 YDS, 3 TD, 73 REC, 523 YDS, 3 TD). Fournette lost his grip to Rachad White as the season progressed, but still did what he was asked to do for Tampa.
However, after missing out on Hopkins, it’s clear that New England just can’t choose to settle for fewer running backs. Fournette has already shown signs of decline, as his yards per carry increased from 4.5 in 2021 to 3.5 last year, a significant drop. Fournette remained a valuable checkdown option in the passing game, but he was lost to White due to his inability to gain consistent yards.
Fournette could be a cost-effective secondary option behind Ramondre Stevenson, but what does that mean if he’s already starting to decline? New England could probably get away with their current squad of running backs behind Stevenson rather than paying to bring Fournette with them. Of course, it’s a completely different story when it comes to Dalvin Cook.
The Minnesota Vikings decided to release Cooks and hand things over to Alexander Mattison to move on, but it’s not as though Cooks was ineffective last season. Cook’s numbers are far better than Fournette’s (264 carries, 1173 yds, 8 td, 39 rec, 295 yds, 2 td) and if you’re going to add a running back, it makes sense for the Patriots to target the best guy available.
Neither of these guys will fill the holes that Hopkins could fill, but it’s clear that Cooks has the explosive ability to add another dimension to New England’s attack that Fournette simply can’t fill. Cook’s yards per carry dropped for the second season in a row, but even so, his 4.4 yards per carry is far ahead of Fournette’s aforementioned 3.5.
Cook is a versatile weapon that allows Bill O’Brien to be a little more creative with his playcalling on offense. Having two of your best playmakers running backs will present a bit of a challenge, but you can rotate and roll these two guys throughout the game with the hot hand, and even use them together in a two-running back formation on the field at the same time.
You could probably do the same thing with Fournet, but the results almost certainly won’t be the same. Fournette is a good secondary guy, but he’s not a game-breaker like Cook. New England’s offense isn’t good enough to drop Cook in favor of Fournette; Hey, they’re not that cool that they should have left Hopkins to discuss it.
Dalvin Cook is clearly the better option of the two here, and given the dry market for running backs at the moment, it’s clear they could get him on a pretty cheap deal. New England has the ability to make a deal after making room for Hopkins but not paying him, so at this point, the front office should have a ‘cook or perish’ mentality.
Instead, Bill Belichick and the front office, which have dropped the ball several times in recent years, appear to be doing it again when taking an extended look at Fournette. Going to Cook on Fournet shouldn’t really be a question, yet here we are. Belichick is likely already in a difficult position after missing Hopkins, and the decision to sign Fournette in place of Cooks certainly won’t help his case.