Toucher & Hardy

Toucher & Hardy

Toucher & Hardy

The New England Patriots lost out on the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes to the Tennessee Titans this past weekend. With Hopkins off the board and offensive talent still lacking in Foxboro, what moves can the team make to improve their weapons at running back or wide receiver? On Tuesday’s Toucher & Rich radio program, Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard joined the show to discuss whether Bill Belichick will sign running back Dalvin Cook—who is still on the free agency market. Greg also touches on other positional needs for the Patriots heading into the 2023-24 NFL season.

Parts of conversation are abbreviated for clarity.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JANUARY 08: Running back Dalvin Cook #4 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on January 08, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)


Fred: Why are the Patriots the Vegas favorites to land Dalvin Cook? 

Greg Bedard: I have no idea. Those Vegas odds are so dumb. They’re never right. Everybody always wants to say, “Oh, it’s an indication!” 

How long were they favorites for DeAndre Hopkins? Anybody who’s ever spent time around DeAndre Hopkins knew he would go with the best offer at the end of the day. That was never, ever going to be with the New England Patriots. And yet, they were the favorites until the very end. These Vegas odds mean nothing. They’re not an indication of anything. 

Dalvin Cook is another player. Here’s a guy who basically made $10 million a year on his last contract with the Vikings. He wants to get paid. The Patriots don’t pay anybody on offense, especially running backs. They have a running back, a burgeoning star, making less than a million dollars a year. They’re not going to sign him. 

Dalvin Cook for $9 million a year to be Stevenson’s backup? None of it makes any sense. There’s very little chance he’s coming here. 

  • Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)


    Rich: Greg, you have a quarterback right now in Mac Jones. And this is the year where you must find out how good he actually is. The Patriots haven’t given him nearly enough weapons to be successful. You think the team would’ve spent some money. That’s why the DeAndre Hopkins thing is so confusing to me. 

    Greg Bedard: I mean, it’s valid. I don’t have an issue with the Patriots’ quote-unquote “weapons for Mac Jones.” I’m not one of these guys that’s like, “You’ve got to get Tyreek Hill to see what Jones is capable of.” To me, that’s a false duality. That’s not really telling you who this quarterback is. 

    But here’s the thing, I think they continually shortchange Mac Jones in this offense. I mean, get him a freaking tackle! 

    At least they have Devante Parker—when he stays healthy—a decent wide receiver. JuJu Smith-Schuster—when healthy—is also a decent wide receiver. The two tight ends are decent. So, can you go out and get a tackle? 

    With Trent Brown, we don’t know what the hell he’ll be. Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff are not good. Conor McDermott is not good. Sidy Sow, the new draft pick—as far as spring training camp, it’s hard to tell—didn’t jump out to me as being an everyday starter at right tackle. 

    The Patriots will have a good interior offensive line, but at least go and get a legitimate tackle. Also go and get another running back somewhere. It doesn’t have to be Dalvin Cook. I’m sure they’ll get somebody like Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, or Rex Burkhead. I’m sure Belichick’s salivating to bring back Burkhead since he plays special teams. 

    Their first three draft picks were on defense. Now, look, they need to draft Christian Gonzalez. I’m fine with that. But Keion White is a Deatrich Wise replacement at some point in time. Marte Mapu was really just a depth draft pick. Yet Bill kept passing on possible offensive tackles, running backs, wide receivers, or anything that would help the offense. 

    What does he do instead? He goes first three rounds on defense. Then he goes with an interior offensive line pick, and then kickers. I mean what are we talking about here? 

  • KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - APRIL 27: (L-R) Christian Gonzalez poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected 17th overall by the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – APRIL 27: (L-R) Christian Gonzalez poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected 17th overall by the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)


    Wallach: Greg, if you’re a defensive coordinator facing the Patriots, which player on offense keeps you up at night? Who do you double cover, if anybody? 

    Greg Bedard: Maybe teams will try to take Hunter Henry away. We’ll need to wait and see what Mike Gesicki’s role looks like first. He’s a finesse player, so I assume he’ll be more of a slot receiver. 

    Either way, the Patriots are going off the same playbook they’ve always had, specifically when Brady was here. Who’s going to be the open pass catcher? They’ll use some sort of scheme and blah, blah, blah, using alignment and all this stuff to get guys open. 

  • Full Segment

  • Ryan Beaton is a producer for You can follow Ryan at @ry_beaton on Twitter.

    Follow @Toucherandrich on Twitter, @Toucherandrichofficial and @fredtoucher on Instagram to keep up with the show!

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