Brandin Cooks is set to be a member of the Rams for years to come. On Tuesday, the Rams signed Cooks to a five-year extension, according to a team announcement. Cooks is now under club control through the 2023 season.
The five-year extension is worth $80MM, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). When including his pre-existing 2018 season, he’s tied to L.A. for six years at a total of $88MM. The new money average of $13.3MM per year positions Cooks as the 11th-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL, just behind Allen Robinson and ahead of notables such as T.Y. Hilton, Alshon Jeffery, and Doug Baldwin.
Cooks has four years of NFL experience and has been one of the league’s best wide receivers for the last three. While he has had the benefit of playing for two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Tom Brady, there is no denying his individual talent. Many perceive him to be primarily a deep threat, but new head coach Sean McVay sees him as a well-rounded receiver.
“He’s a guy — if you just look at, really, his career — he is a really fast player, but he can do everything,” McVay said. “He plays big for a smaller-stature guy. But he’s strong. He can win short, he can win intermediate, he can go down the field. So I think you’re really not limited in any way that you can utilize him. And there’s a reason why he’s had over 1,000 yards and [at least] seven touchdowns each of the last three years. And he’s a special player for sure.”
This offseason, the Rams shipped a first- and sixth-round pick to the Patriots for Cooks. It was a considerable haul, but the deal gave L.A. the ability to franchise tag Lamarcus Joyner while allowing wide receiver Sammy Watkins to leave in free agency. Cooks also represents a younger – and arguably better – alternative to Watkins.
After giving up a first-round pick for Cooks, there was little chance that the Rams would allow him to walk in free agency next year. Indeed, the Rams moved quickly to begin talks with Cooks with the understanding that they would have to make him one of the highest-paid players at his position.
With Cooks in the books, the Rams can now focus on their other contractual priorities, including defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Joyner, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and offensive linemen Rodger Saffold, Rob Havenstein, and Jamon Brown are also among those set for free agency after the 2018 season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.