With the loss of Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis, the Patriots were facing a glaring hole in their kick return game. Now they are not.
First reported by the Pardon My Take Podcast, the Patriots have acquired WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson from the Oakland Raiders. In exchange for the talented returner, the Patriots sent the Raiders a 2018 fifth-round pick. In addition, the Patriots received a 2018 sixth-round pick from the Raiders.
Breaking – Reports out of Oakland, recurring guest WR Cordarrelle Patterson expected to be traded to the Patriots per sources. Please credit
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) March 18, 2018
Prior to spending this last season in Oakland, in which he caught 31 passes for 301 yards and averaged 28.3 yards per kick return, Patterson spent the first four seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings. Ironically, the Vikings drafted Patterson with the 29th overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft. A pick they acquired from the Patriots. New England acquired four picks in that trade. Three of the four picks turned into Logan Ryan, Jamie Collins, and LeGarrette Blount. All three played large roles in the teams Super Bowl Championship a year later.
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Patterson never quite panned out as a weapon on offense for the Vikings and Raiders. However, he has been consistently one of the best return men since he entered the league. In fact, in three of his first four seasons, he led the league in yards per kick return with averages of 32.4, 31.8, and 31.7. His rookie season in 2013 he had nearly 1,400 yards on 43 returns. He has five return touchdowns in his career.
When facing Oakland this season, the Patriots steered clear of Patterson, registering six touchbacks on kickoffs in that game. Now, they have that weapon for themselves. Combined his speed with that of Brandin Cooks and Philip Dorsett, the Patriots now employ three of the fastest players in the league.
Cornerback Cyrus Jones was drafted with the hopes that he would double as a depth corner and a dynamic return man. However, after coming off an injury that cost him the entire 2017 season on top of the departure of Amendola and Lewis the Patriots needed to address the position. Julian Edelman has returned kicks and punts in the past, however, recovering from a torn ACL is not ideal for either the player or the team. Especially considering his importance in the offense and his age.
The Patriots have never been shy when it comes to trading for Raiders receivers. Obviously, the Patriots had historic success with Randy Moss. With Doug Gabriel the year prior? Not so much. Now, Patterson is no Randy Moss and no sane person will ever try to tell you otherwise. With that said, he could have a significant impact in the often forgotten third phase of the game…special teams.
Tom Brady and the offense generally don’t have trouble scoring against most defenses. When given better field position, it becomes much easier and nearly automatic that the Patriots will put up points. That’s the potential impact Patterson can have on this team with his career 30.2 yards per return average.
The trade shouldn’t impact the potential return of special teams captain, Matthew Slater, who visited Pittsburgh but left without a contract.