NFL Rumors: Saints To Make Brandin Cooks Decision Friday; Patriots Still In Play

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We should know by the end of the day Friday where Brandin Cooks will be playing his football next season.

The New Orleans Saints will decide before the weekend whether to trade Cooks, Michael Lombardi of The Ringer reported Friday morning.

Per Lombardi, a former New England Patriots executive, the Patriots still are a potential landing spot for the 23-year-old wide receiver, as are the Tennessee Titans.

The Patriots have been linked to Cooks since last week, when a report surfaced claiming they had offered the No. 32 overall draft pick to the Saints as part of a trade package for the speedy wideout.

Then on Thursday, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported New England was considering trading cornerback Malcolm Butler for Cooks in what would be one of the more significant player-for-player deals in recent memory.

Butler’s future with the Patriots came into question Thursday after the team reportedly signed Pro Bowl corner Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract. New England placed a $3.91 million first-round tender on Butler, a restricted free agent, meaning he’s set to make close to $9 million less than Gilmore in 2017 if he signs the tender.

Cooks has been a highly productive offensive weapon for the Saints, catching 162 passes for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons. His 1,173 receiving yards in 2016 ranked seventh among all NFL pass-catchers.

Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images

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