Teams should really stop trading with the Patriots 

Bill Belichick and the Patriots are in a prime position heading into free agency with Jimmy Garoppolo in their back pocket.

After acquiring Dwayne Allen from the Indianapolis Colts for an exchange of mid-to-late round picks earlier in the week, the defending champs were back on the trade market again on Friday.

This time, New England picked up former Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy and an early third-round pick in exchange for its second-round pick in the upcoming draft. Yes, the Patriots added a solid pass rusher while moving down just eight spots in the draft (more on that here).

Ealy, 25, was a second-round pick of the Panthers back in 2014. He’s coming off a 2016 campaign that saw him record 32 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles. Remember, Ealy is just more than a calendar year removed from sacking then Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning three times in Super Bowl 50.

While Carolina made Ealy expendable after bringing back Julius Peppers in free agency on Friday, one would expect the team to get more for the talented young pass rusher. As it relates to the Patriots, they find an immediate replacement for Jabaal Sheard, who inked a contract with Indianapolis on Friday.

Then, in a massive move later on Friday, New England picked up talented young wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints. Cooks, 23, has long been on the trade block. But the Saints seemed to be holding out for more than the 18th overall pick, which the Tennessee Titans reportedly offered earlier (more on that here).

Making this deal so much more absurd, New England was able to land Cooks and a fourth-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for its first-round pick (32nd) overall and a late third-round pick. Yes, that’s less value than what Tennessee apparently offered New Orleans.

Now with Cooks and his two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, Tom Brady has himself yet another toy to work with. In reality, Cooks automatically turns into the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver. They were able to make this happen without parting ways with Malcolm Butler, who was bandied about in potential trade scenarios for Cooks leading up to Friday’s deal.

This right here is one of the primary reasons New England has remained in consistent contention for the past two decades. It has the ability to find gems in trades. It’s also gotten to the point where other teams should just hang up when the Patriots call. Carolina learned this first-hand on Friday.