The combination of the NFL draft and the fading portions of free agency make for one of the rumor mill's most interesting times.
And the rumor mill has been on fire lately.
It has chatter that fans would be unwise to ignore. It doesn't guarantee the speculation will actually occur, but everyone should know better than to dismiss.
Pats Chased Cook?
The Cook rumor came slightly before the Gronk announcement, though, which should have been a warning sign for Patriots fans.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reported: "Similar to how the Patriots made an aggressive pitch to receiver Adam Humphries in free agency and didn't close the deal, a source close to tight end Jared Cook said the Patriots aggressively courted him before Cook elected to sign with the Saints late last week."
On Thursday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Saints "are expected to sign" Cook.
New Orleans fans shouldn't necessarily worry, though. According to Pro Football Talk's Peter King, Cook "will not reconsider his decision."
Even then, the Patriots were smart to at least try. The 31-year-old is one of the game's most underrated tight ends. Even in Oakland's awful offense last year, he scored six times.
With Cook seemingly an impossibility for the Patriots, the mind wanders to what Bill Belichick and the Patriots will do to fill the Gronk-sized hole in their offense. At least it's a deep draft class at the position this year.
Darron Lee on the Move?
The purge and do-over for the New York Jets continue, even after landing Le'Veon Bell.
One of the next big moves could end up happening on the defensive side of the ball by shipping away another former first-round pick who hasn't worked out.
This latest one is linebacker Darron Lee, the Ohio State product who came off the board 20th in 2016.
ESPN.com's Rich Cimini passed along a feeling he's getting from the team: "If there are no takers, they could hold on to him for a while longer, holding out hope. They had success with that approach two years ago, waiting until June to deal safety Calvin Pryor, another disappointing former first-round pick (No. 18 overall in 2014)."
Lee is expendable after the Jets spent a guaranteed $122 million, per Cimini. Part of that brought aboard C.J. Mosley at linebacker. Slight overpay or not at $85 million over five years, it makes a first-round bust expendable.
Right now, at least, the Jets can still get something back while selling Lee as a 24-year-old former top-20 pick who might just need a change of scenery in order to meet vast expectations.
This would be a smaller move for the Jets compared to other items so far, but it'd constitute a win if they could flip Lee as part of an ongoing rebuild.
No. 2 Pick Revealed?
In a good sign for television ratings and Twitter impressions, this has turned out to be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent years.
At No. 1, the whole drama surrounding Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals doesn't figure to end until the opening night of the draft on April 25. And it makes the future beyond that cloudy, starting right with the San Francisco 49ers at No. 2.
The Niners aren't looking for a quarterback, but there is a chance the Cards gobble up their preferred prospect.
Said prospect is apparently Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa:
This wouldn't end up as too much of a surprise. Bosa was a potential Heisman Trophy candidate a year ago before things went off the rails. And he's still a 6'4", 266-pound presence whom NFL.com's Lance Zierlein compares to Michael Bennett.
There are plenty of other possibilities for the second pick. Alabama's Quinnen Williams is worthy. Edge-rushers Brian Burns and Josh Allen, out of Florida State and Kentucky, respectively, are premier disruptors. Linebacker Devin White out of LSU keeps rising. And don't forget the chance that a team makes an offer the 49ers can't refuse while trying to move up for a quarterback.
Still, if the Cardinals don't take Bosa first, it sounds like there might be a new leader in the 49ers clubhouse a month out from draft day.