A year after acquiring him from the Saints, the Patriots shipped wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to the Rams in exchange for first- and sixth-round picks. Let’s take a look at some of the reaction to and fallout from the blockbuster deal:
- Before trading him to Los Angeles, the Patriots engaged in extension talks with Cooks, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. However, those discussions stalled as the two sides were simply too far apart. Cooks is scheduled to earn $8.459MM in 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option, but he’s likely looking for at least $14MM annually on a new deal. The Rams, for their part, have reportedly already expressed interest in extending Cooks’ contract, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Los Angeles is “intent” on doing so. Florio, however, indicates there is as of yet no timeline for a long-term pact to get done.
- The Rams and Patriots had discussed a possible Cooks trade for more than a month, well before Los Angeles ever contacted the Giants regarding fellow wideout Odell Beckham Jr., according to Schefter (Twitter link). Los Angeles preferred Cooks, and the price tag — New York is reportedly looking for at least two first-round picks in exchange for OBJ — likely played a role in that stance. Talks between the Patriots and Rams heated up on Monday when head coaches Bill Belichick and Sean McVay worked at the same coaching clinic, and those talks ultimately led to a trade on Tuesday, per Schefter (Twitter link).
- Los Angeles finally acquired Cooks on Tuesday after attempting to land him from the Saints last year, as Rams general manager Les Snead tells Peter King of TheMMQB.com. The Rams did not hold a first-round pick a season ago while the Patriots did, allowing New England to make the better offer for Cooks. Los Angeles, meanwhile, discussed a deal involving then-franchise-tagged cornerback Trumaine Johnson, but the talks never gained traction. For what it’s worth, the Rams actually tried to trade Johnson twice in 2017: once for Cooks, and once in exchange for a second-round pick, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
- The Patriots never viewed Cooks as a true No. 1 wide receiver, per Rapoport (Twitter link), and quarterback Tom Brady is “not sad” about the trade. While Cooks topped 1,000 yards receiving in his lone New England campaign, he wasn’t a perfect fit for the Patriots’ offense, says Rapoport. Theoretically, New England could shift back to a more horizontal offense based around incumbent receivers Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan now that Cooks is no longer in town.
- Although the Rams have now eschewed a hypothetical Beckham trade in favor of acquiring Cooks, the “frenzy” surrounding the mercurial Giants receiver doesn’t figure to subside, as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY writes. Still, a Beckham deal remains “highly unlikely,” as Los Angeles’ payment for Cooks doesn’t come anywhere close to what New York would want in exchange for Beckham.