Over the first three days of Free Agency in the National Football League (NFL) the New England Patriots executed three different trades with three different teams in another demonstration of their mastery of gaming the system. These three trades for Dwayne Allen, Kony Ealy and Brandin Cooks show how the Patriots managed their draft picks, the salary cap and how they replaced the players that they lost in free agency.

Dwayne Allen

The first move that the team made was trading their fourth round pick (No. 137) to the Indianapolis Colts for tight end Dwayne Allen and a sixth round pick (No.

200). Allen has not yet proven that he is as dynamic a receiving threat as Martellus Bennett and he as some injury history, having missed 23 games over four seasons. However, Allen is a better all around tight end than Bennett and is also three years younger. Allen's remaining contract is 3 years, $20 million, basically the same that Bennett just got from the Green Bay Packers, but would not hit the Patriots with any dead cap if they parted over the next three seasons.

Kony Ealy

They then pulled off a trade with the Carolina Panthers, trading their second round pick (No. 64) for defensive end Kony Ealy and a third round pick (No. 72). Ealy is a one year rental if the team wants, since his remaining contract is only for 1 year and $803,600.

Ealy is expected to fill Jabaal Sheard's role as the top rotation defensive end, since Sheard went to Indianapolis for 3 years, $25.5 million. Ealy is also two years younger than Sheard and produced basically the same stats as him last season. Once again the team got younger, got a player near the same level as the lost, saved money in the process and only had to move down eight spots.

Brandin Cooks

Finally, the team traded their first round pick (No. 32) and their third round pick (No. 103) to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks and their fourth round pick (No. 118). The Patriots will, however lose this fourth rounder because of Deflategate and get their original No. 132 pick back, since the Saints pick is higher.

Like the Ealy trade if the Patriots want this move can also be a rental, since Cooks only has one year and about $1.5 million left on his contract. In Cooks that Patriots get a 23-year-old receiver coming off of back-to-back 1,100 plus yard season that can stretch the field and be a deep threat that the team has lacked at the position.