Patriots pick up Brandin Cooks’ fifth-year option

New England made BYU linebacker Harvey Langi the highest-paid undrafted rookie in the league, shelling out a $100,000 guaranteed base salary and a $15,000 signing bonus. Although Langi started against Jacksonville, he was overshadowed by a pair of pass catchers on offense.

Wyoming’s Jacob Hollister, signed to a contract featuring $80,000 in guarantees plus a $10,000 signing bonus, was rated the NFL’s No. 1 tight end for the first week of the preseason, per Pro Football Focus’ grades. Hollister is tied for second in the league in both receptions (seven) and receiving yards (116) entering the second week of the preseason.

This was likely just Caserio’s attempt at being entirely non-controversial. The Bill Belichick line has always been we’ll do what’s best for our football team and only now does it sound remotely evasive. While it makes too much sense for Cleveland to swing a deal and immediately acquire the most professional-ready quarterback available to be their starter for next season, New England seems too invested in its series of backstops to ensure their success even if father time eventually catches up with their soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback.

Of course, if there was one team that was able to slip through smokescreen season completely undetected, having worked out this year’s crop of quarterbacks in anticipation of a Garoppolo deal without tipping off the rest of the NFL, it would be the New England Patriots. In that way, even with Caserio’s most serious effort to not sound suspicious, New England sounds just the slightest bit so.

At that point, the Pats would decide whether to match the offer or simply accept the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — the mandated level of compensation for poaching a restricted free agent assigned the first-round tender.

If New Orleans’ decision-makers were to balk at that first-round price tag, they would have to come up with a different package of picks to meet New England’s demands.

New England on Saturday exercised Cooks’ fifth-year option, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The 2014 first-round pick was traded to New England from the Saints back in early March. The Patriots made the obvious one-year extension just a few days ahead of the May 3 deadline.

For those who have turned their attention fully toward the draft, the Patriots are building a scary-good team for the next two seasons at an incredibly fair price. Cooks, who has logged 162 catches for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons, is now on the books for a $1.56 million salary-cap hit this year and an affordable option year in 2018.

I’ll let someone else write “The Patriots are classless!” column, and instead focus on the reality of the situation — specifically that the Patriots were getting run out of the building for 72 percent of Super Bowl LI. The 283 diamonds thing is a nod to the relentless effort and unquenchable competitive fire within, sure, but it also serves as a reminder that the champs got whipped for a solid portion of that game.

Marty Bennett is no longer a member of the Patriots, having signed a free-agent deal with the Packers in March. But he still got the invite and it appears he made the most of it. Here he is celebrating with Gronk before dropping a sneak-attack loyalty pledge to Aaron Rodgers.

As a member of the New York Jets in 1968, Parilli backed up Joe Namath during Gang Green’s Super Bowl run, throwing for 401 yards and five touchdowns during the campaign.

Parilli also played for the Green Bay Packers (1952-53, 1957-58), Cleveland Browns (1956) and Oakland Raiders (1960). In the 1952 draft, Green Bay selected the quarterback fourth overall out of Kentucky, where he was coached by Paul “Bear” Bryant.