How the mighty have fallen. The New England Patriots are projected to be the worst team in the AFC East in 2023 and are in jeopardy of missing the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2000. In the middle of their pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins, they could also target another aging star looking for a new home: Dalvin Cook.

The Patriots are eager to add talent and compete with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Could the addition of Cook boost the offense as a secondary option behind Rhamondre Stevenson? It doesn’t seem likely but one football writer believes that there is ample reason to believe

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk suggested the idea of the Patriots signing Cook. While it would not only provide depth, it would also deprive the Jets and Dolphins of his services, Florio writes. Both teams have been rumored to be pursuing the four-time Pro Bowler.

“If the goal is to be the best team in the division, which could be critical to getting in the playoffs at all given the overall difficulty of the schedules for the four AFC East teams, the Patriots could be (perhaps should be) thinking about snagging a guy who otherwise will make one of two division rivals better,” writes Florio.

While taking away a potential target from a division rival is certainly a benefit, it seems like a bad primary reason to sign a player. Cook could be of service to the Patriots but only if he is willing to be the backup to Stevenson — or at least the 1B to his 1A.

Dalvin Cook's 4.4 yards per rush attempts last season was a career-low and his 69.0. rushing yards per game are the lowest since 2018. A lighter workload can help but after a fourth straight season of 1,000 yards, he may not be ready for that. He is still just 27 years old, though that age is still quite considering the mileage he has racked up.

The Patriots having more legit rushing options can help them as they grow their passing game. It's possible, but not a given, that Cook is that guy who can help.