Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Maybe I’m remembering this wrong, but it seems to me like Brandin Cooks never earned Tom Brady’s trust like Josh Gordon has already. I think they’d be better off with Cooks, though, since they don’t have the fastest group of receivers. What do you think? Would you rather have Cooks or Gordon? – Keith N.
Throwing non-football variables out of the equation, I agree it’s Cooks. He does stretch the field better than anyone the Patriots have, and better than the vast majority of receivers in the league.
He was very good if occasionally erratic with the Patriots last year (65 catches, 1,082 yards, 7 touchdowns, plus some important pass-interference flags). He’s been excellent and more efficient with the Rams this year (51 catches, 857 yards, 3 TDS). He’s caught 70.8 percent of his targets this year compared to a career-low 57 percent last year. He also leads the league in yards per touch this season (15.8).
But the variables matter. Cooks would have been in the final year of his contract this year. There’s no way they were going to pay him anything close to the five-year, $80 million deal he got from the Rams. The Patriots did well to get a first-round pick in return for him.
Gordon is a weapon and a bargain, that second part for well-documented reasons. His Patriots performance has been encouraging (26 catches, 477 yards, 2 TDs in 7 games), but he’s caught just 53 percent of the balls thrown his way. There’s room for improvement for sure.
Brady seems to trust him, though. He targeted him 12 times Sunday. That’s more than he targeted Cooks in any game last season (he threw his way 11 times twice).
Based purely on football reasons, I’d rather have Cooks. But what do you guys think? I’ll hear you in the comments.