The New England Patriots’ receiving corps struggled mightily this season as it underwent several changes that affected its chemistry with veteran quarterback Tom Brady. At the beginning of the season, the Patriots addressed their lack of weapons for Brady when they took wide receiver, N’Keal Harry, with the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. As the first wideout picked by head coach Bill Belichick during his stint with the Patriots, Harry is expected to step up in his rookie year. The Patriots also signed Josh Gordon to a one-year tender worth $2.025 million despite being indefinitely suspended by the NFL for violating the terms of his reinstatement.

The Patriots then pounced on veteran wideout Antonio Brown after he was released by the Oakland Raiders and signed him to a one-year deal worth $15 million. Things didn’t work out as expected as Brown was released after just 11 days due to his off-field troubles, including allegations of rape and sexual assault by two women.

Sanu, Harry both failed to live up to the billing

After the Patriots traded a 2020 second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for veteran wideout Mohamed Sanu, the Patriots released Gordon. However, Sanu failed to live up to expectations as he caught just 26 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown in eight games with the Patriots after catching 33 passes for 313 yards and a touchdown in seven games with the Falcons.

Harry, for his part, missed the first eight regular-season games due to an ankle issue. He suited up for eight games with the Patriots, recording 12 receptions for 105 yards and two scores. In the regular season, veteran wideout Julian Edelman emerged as the Patriots’ top wide receiver with 100 catches for a career-best 1,117 yards and six touchdowns despite suffering from various ailments, including a separated AC joint.

In their regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots receivers recorded just 221 yards on 16 catches. In their Wild Card loss to the Tennessee Titans, Brady completed just 20 of 31 passes for 209 yards and an interception.

Cooper could convince Brady to stay

For the first time in his 20-year career, Brady will turn unrestricted free agent on March 18, where he has a chance to test his value in the market.

However, many experts believe that the Patriots give Brady the best chance to win as he has to adjust to a new system with another squad. Hall of Fame wideout Randy Moss said the Patriots should add more weapons if Brady decides to stay in New England. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), that weapon could be wide receiver Amari Cooper, who, like Brady, will turn free agent on March 18. Cooper played for the Dallas Cowboys last season, compiling 79 catches for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns, but he was not signed to a contract extension, making him available for the taking in the free-agent pool. According to PFF’s Anthony Treash, Brady could wait for one or two days in free agency while he watches it all play out with the Patriots.

Treash said acquiring Cooper could help the Patriots convince Brady to stay and make another run at a 7th Super Bowl trophy. According to PFF, Cooper’s receiving grade is the 11th best and generated the ninth most explosive plays since he joined the Cowboys via a trade from the Raiders. The Cowboys have a chance to sign Cooper to a fresh deal between now and March 18, but they are focused on signing quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term deal.

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