The Patriots have traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Rams, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The deal will see Cooks and a fourth round pick head to Los Angeles. In return, the Pats will receive a first-round pick and a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft.
The Pats now have the No. 23 overall pick in the draft to pair with their original selection at No. 31. With those two selections, the Pats could conceivably explore trades to get into the top half of the first round or keep them in order to fill multiple urgent needs. Further down the line, the Patriots also own two second round picks at Nos. 43 and 63.
The Rams have been extremely aggressive this offseason and Cooks is just the latest high-profile addition, joining the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. In recent weeks, the Rams have been tied to Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr., but they have found a different standout wide receiver in Cooks. The Pats, meanwhile, could hypothetically turn their attention to OBJ now that they are armed with two first-round picks, but that apparently is not in the cards.
Cooks may not be of the very top tier of wide receivers like OBJ, but he’s not far off. The former first-round pick does not turn 25 until September and has three consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons under his belt. Last year, he set a new career high with 16.6 yards per reception while finding the end zone seven times.
Cooks will now serve as the Rams’ top receiver, arguably giving the team an upgrade over the departed Sammy Watkins. Robert Woods and rising sophomores Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds will return and the Rams may still look to improve that group between now and the fall.
Cooks is set to enter the option year on his rookie deal, worth $8.459MM. The Rams can continue to control him through the 2019 season with the franchise tag, but he’ll probably seek out a fresh multi-year pact. Knowing the Patriots, it’s likely that Bill Belichick & Co. were wary of having to extend him given the boom of the WR market this year.
You can now add wide receiver to the Patriots’ list of needs as they approach the draft in April. As it stands, Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman, Kenny Britt, and Phillip Dorsett comprise the top of the team’s wide receiver depth chart. While there’s potential there – particularly in Britt and Dorsett – the Pats presently lack a strong No. 1 WR type for Tom Brady to target. Brady will also be without the services of Danny Amendola, who left New England after five seasons to sign with the rival Dolphins.
[RELATED: Rams Depth Chart]
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.