Brandin Cooks

Injury Updates: Rams, Clowney, Brady

Rams wideout Brandin Cooks is set to return from the fifth known concussion of his six-year career. While the veteran has continually been sidelined by the dangerous head injury, he told reporters that his latest concussion didn’t make him consider retirement.

“Absolutely not,” Cooks told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “When it happened, that never went through my mind. Even now, it’s not going through my mind.”

Cooks suffered a pair of concussions in a 25-day span, and he traveled to Pittsburgh twice to meet with the director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Following those meetings, Cooks felt comfortable returning to the field.

“One of the biggest things that I learned, concussions is a case-by-case thing,” said Cooks. “Mine was very unique, and just thankful once again to be able to go and get answers.”

Cooks won’t be the only Rams receiver returning to the lineup. Thiry writes that Robert Woods returned to practice this week after missing last week’s contest due to “personal issues.” The 6-4 Rams will take on the Ravens on Monday night.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is a game-time decision after missing three practices this week due to a hip injury, tweets ESPN’s Brady Henderson. Coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Clowney didn’t travel with the team to Philadelphia as he gets his hip checked out. Clowney suffered the injury during Monday’s win over the 49ers. In his first season with Seattle, the 26-year-old has compiled 25 tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles.
  • The Eagles will be dealing with injuries of their own, as Lane Johnson is set to miss the matchup against Seattle. The veteran right tackle suffered a head injury during last weekend’s loss to the Patriots, and he remains in the concussion protocol. Rookie first-rounder Andre Dillard will slide into the starting lineup.
  • No surprise here, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will play vs. the Cowboys tomorrow. The 42-year-old was listed as questionable on the injury report thanks to an elbow injury. Brady hasn’t missed a game due to injury since the 2008 campaign.
  • Some good news on the Giants injury front: the team announced that wideout Sterling Shepard, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and offensive lineman Nate Solder have all cleared concussion protocol and will play Sunday against the Bears. Jenkins and Solder both left the Giants’ Week 10 loss to the Jets, while Shepard hasn’t seen the field since Week 5.

Brandin Cooks Expected To Play Week 12

The Rams will be getting a jolt to their playoff push this week, as head coach Sean McVay said wide receiver Brandin Cooks is expected to play against the Ravens next Monday (via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com on Twitter). Cooks has been sidelined since suffering a concussion during LA’s Week 8 victory over Cincinnati.

The concussion was especially troubling given that it was Cooks’ second of the season and his fourth in less than two years. The Rams visited the Steelers in Week 10, and in advance of that matchup, Cooks traveled to Pittsburgh multiple times to meet with doctors. It’s clearly a situation to monitor moving forward, but Cooks recently indicated that he is not considering stepping away from the game.

Cooks is in his second season with the Rams, and he signed a five-year, $80MM contract with the club in July 2018. Los Angeles could not feasibly get out from under the contract until after the 2020 season at the earliest, but assuming Cooks can stay healthy, there is no reason for the team to cut ties. Cooks has topped 1,000 yards in each of the past four years, and his career 14.3 yards-per-catch mark is emblematic of his big-play ability. And while correlation does not equal causation, and while quarterback Jared Goff has been mediocre most of the season, Goff has looked especially bad with Cooks out of the lineup over the last two games.

The status of Cooks’ fellow starting wideout, Robert Woods, remains uncertain. Woods missed Sunday’s win over the Bears due to undisclosed personal reasons, and McVay indicated that Woods is still dealing with that personal matter. So while Cooks will be a major help against Baltimore’s tough secondary, Goff may not have his full arsenal at his disposal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Cooks, Gordon

The 49ers (and certain fantasy owners) may well have to make other plans at tight end this week. George Kittle drew a doubtful designation for San Francisco’s pivotal Week 10 game against Seattle. The All-Pro candidate is battling knee and ankle injuries, and although he played eight games with torn rib cartilage last season, Kittle is likelier than not to miss the nationally televised game. Levine Toilolo and second-year UDFA Ross Dwelley reside as the other tight ends on the 49ers’ roster.

Veteran Garrett Celek could be activated from the PUP list, however. Celek has been dealing with a back injury for months but returned to practice this week, per ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter). While the 49ers are not against activating Celek for Monday, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team would prefer he go through multiple practice weeks before debuting this season. Dwelley and Toilolo have combined to catch nine passes for 38 yards this season.

Here is the more from San Francisco and the latest from the NFC West:

  • In more promising 49ers injury news, the 49ers may get both of their tackles back this week. With Joe Staley expected to return this week, Mike McGlinchey may join him. The second-year right tackle worked in three limited practices this week. He has been out since Week 5 due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Staley also participated in three limited practices this week. Despite both of San Francisco’s tackles being out for much of the season, the 49ers’ run game ranks second in the NFL.
  • The team’s Chase McLaughlin acquisition will likely lead to game work. Robbie Gould joins Kittle in being given a doubtful status. Gould, who has not missed a game since his 49ers tenure began in 2017, is dealing with a quad injury.
  • In advance of the Rams‘ road assignment against the Steelers, Brandin Cooks has spent time in Pittsburgh because of concussion trouble. Cooks has made multiple trips to Pittsburgh to meet with doctors over the past two weeks, Omar Ruiz of USA Today tweets. The Rams wide receiver remains in concussion protocol and is out for Sunday’s game. Cooks has suffered two concussions this season, one in 2018 and one in Super Bowl LII. The 26-year-old receiver is not considering retirement and still wants to return this season (Instagram link).
  • Josh Gordon‘s Seahawks debut is likely set for Monday night. Despite being on the Patriots’ IR list to start last week, Gordon was not listed on the Seahawks’ injury report. Pete Carroll said there’s a “good chance” the recent waiver pickup plays against the 49ers, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The former All-Pro played in six Patriots games, catching 20 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown.

West Notes: Mahomes, Cooks, Harris, DJ

With Patrick Mahomes missing today’s matchup against the Vikings, there is speculation that the star quarterback could indeed make his return next week when the Chiefs travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans.

While some thought Mahomes would be active today, doctors told the team that he had a 40% chance of re-dislocating his kneecap inside of 21 days, but that percentage goes down to 10-15% after 21 days, according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer.

Today would make 17 days that Mahomes has missed since going down with the knee injury Week 7 against Denver. The Chiefs are undoubtedly going to be extremely cautious with Mahomes, and it is not surprising that Chiefs held him out today with the percentages that Glazer reported. Matt Moore, who has performed admirably in Mahomes’ absence, got the start today against the Vikings.

Lets check out some more developments from out west:

  • During the Rams‘ bye week, Brandin Cooks saw a concussion specialist, with sources saying that the visit was “positive”, with the hope that this latest concussion won’t necessitate a long-term recovery, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Cooks suffered his second concussion of the season last week against the Bengals, and his fourth since the Super Bowl. Rapoport goes on to say that the Rams will be cautious with Cooks, which is unsurprising with his concussion history. The Rams take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh next week.
  • While many people within the Broncos organization want to re-sign All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr., Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reports that they did not deal Harris at the deadline due salary cap concerns, a high asking price, a desire to field a competitive team down the stretch, and Denver’s injury issues at the cornerback position. During his contract dispute with the Broncos this offseason, Harris said his goal was an average salary of $15 million. O’Halloran speculates that the Rams would be a good fit if Harris were to leave in free agency.
  • With the Cardinals releasing running back Alfred Morris on Friday, Kliff Kingsbury said that David Johnson is expected to return next week when the team takes on the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, relays Cardinals Reporter Darren Urban. Johnson, who signed a big extension with the Cardinals in 2018, has been out the last two weeks due to an ankle injury. On Thursday against the 49ers, new arrival Kenyan Drake got the start, rushing for 110 yards on 15 carries.

 

NFC West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Rams

49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has had some brutal luck in recent years. After landing a big contract from San Francisco last offseason, he tore an ACL in the preseason. He never fully recovered from the issue, and will miss the entire 2019 season after suffering a separate knee injury. The guaranteed money in his deal is up, which means it might be tough for him to stick. McKinnon is due $6.5MM in 2020, and even though the organization thinks very highly of him as a player and person, “there is no way the 49ers can pay him that money,” writes Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Maiocco hypothesizes that the 49ers “will try to work out a one-year deal in which he remains with the club at a greatly reduced price,” and that “if he declines, he will not be back.” Shockingly considering he signed a four-year, $30MM deal last offseason, it seems like there’s a good chance McKinnon never plays a snap for San Francisco. They still have a very deep backfield with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson Jr., so it’s obvious why they wouldn’t want to give McKinnon $6.5MM as he enters his age 28 season coming off two lost years.

Here’s more from the NFC West, as we await kickoff in the morning:

  • In the same piece, Maiocco writes about another member of the 49ers who might not be long for the team. C.J. Beathard lost the competition to be the team’s backup quarterback to Nick Mullens, but they’ve kept him on the roster. There was talk that San Francisco would try to trade one of their young backups this offseason, but Maiocco writes that they’ve tried and “there is no interest around the NFL in acquiring C.J. Beathard for the price the 49ers want in return.” Maiocco speculates that the team might eventually pull the plug and release Beathard outright if injuries pile up and they need the roster spot. Beathard, a 2017 third-round pick from Iowa, has started five games each of the past two seasons and has looked competent at times.
  • The Cardinals are still looking for their first win, and they just got dealt a tough injury blow. Promising second-year receiver Christian Kirk will miss their Week 5 game against the Bengals, and it sounds like he could be out even longer. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t rule out Kirk for the team’s Week 6 game against the Cardinals, but he did say the team wouldn’t rush him back, and that “it’s a long season,” per Darren Urban of the team’s official site (Twitter link). It’s too early to tell for sure, but Kingsbury using that type of language suggests they’re going to be pretty cautious. The 47th overall pick of last year’s draft, Kirk is dealing with an ankle injury.
  • The Rams dropped their second straight game on Thursday to fall to 3-2, and now a key player is banged up. Receiver Brandin Cooks was placed in the concussion protocol following the team’s loss to Seattle, head coach Sean McVay said Friday. McVay said Cooks was asymptomatic as of yesterday, but it’s still concerning given Cooks’ history with concussions. Thankfully for the Rams he has a few extra days to get cleared since they played a Thursday night game, but this is still a situation worth monitoring. Los Angeles relies on Cooks to stretch defenses vertically, and him missing anytime is the last thing a suddenly struggling Rams team needs.

NFC West Notes: Cards, 49ers, Rams, Hawks

Speaking at the Phoenix Open golf tournament on Wednesday, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson apologized for his 2018 trade request and reiterated that he’s in Arizona “to stay,” according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Cardinals were 1-6 when Peterson originally made his request and ultimately finished with a 3-13 record, their worst mark during Peterson’s eight-year run in the desert. Teams like the Saints and Eagles were reportedly interested in acquiring Peterson, but he rescinded his trade demand only two days after making it. Peterson, a three-time first-team All Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler, is signed through the 2020 campaign.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers already made one option decision last week, declining their 2019 year for defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, and they may be leaning in a similar direction for another veteran player. San Francisco is not expected to exercise its option on wideout Pierre Garcon, reports Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Garcon, 32, would earn $6MM in 2019 if the 49ers change their mind, but if the club follows through on declining the option, it will take on $7.2MM in dead money while saving roughly $1MM. After five years of relative durability in Washington, Garcon hasn’t been able to stay healthy in the Bay Area, playing in just 16 total games over the past two seasons.
  • Not that it needed to be said, but Rams head coach Sean McVay “guaranteed” Los Angeles will not trade wide receiver Brandin Cooks, tweets Lindsay Jones of The Athletic. Cooks has already been dealt twice in his five-year career, with both acquiring clubs (the Rams and Patriots) surrendering first-round picks in order to acquire the dynamic pass-catcher. The Rams signed Cooks to a five-year extension last summer, and they’d take on more than $22MM in dead money by trading him this year. In his first season in Los Angeles, Cooks posted 80 receptions for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns.
  • The Seahawks aren’t likely to franchise tag safety Earl Thomas with the intention of trading him, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times indicates in his latest mailbag. Seattle probably wouldn’t be able to generate much trade interest in Thomas at a ~$12MM, fully guaranteed salary, and the Seahawks likely aren’t willing to risk keeping an unhappy veteran on their roster for another season.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Cooks, Gronk

New Patriots wideout Josh Gordon will make his New England debut today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Gordon was inactive for last week’s loss against the Lions, but the Pats are sorely in need of some playmaking ability at the wide receiver position, and Gordon certainly has the potential to give them exactly that.

Let’s take a quick look at a few more notes out of Foxboro as the Patriots get set to take on the Dolphins in what could surprisingly be a pivotal divisional matchup:

  • Speaking of playmaking wideouts, given the disappointing performance of New England’s receiving corps thus far, plenty are wondering whether the Pats were right to trade Brandin Cooks to the Rams in the offseason. When factoring in what the team netted in its trade to acquire Cooks from the Saints in 2017 and the trade that sent him to LA, Doug Kyed of NESN.com believes the Patriots were right to make the move. The Pats ultimately received a year of Cooks, a 2017 third-round pick, the 2018 No. 23 overall pick, and a 2018 sixth-rounder in exchange for another year of Cooks, a 2017 fourth-round pick, the 2017 No. 32 overall pick, and a 2018 fourth-round pick. That represents good value, especially when considering the Pats would have had to pay Cooks $8.5MM this year and might have received a 2020 compensatory third-rounder if they let him walk in free agency (which they almost certainly would have). Plus, New England could not have predicted the Julian Edeleman suspension, so even though the results might indicate the Cooks trade was a bad one with the benefit of hindsight, Kyed believes the process was right.
  • The Patriots have already put nine players on IR since the start of training camp, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com observes. Reiss points out that the team put just 11 players on IR all of last season, and just four during the 2016 Super Bowl season. Reiss notes that only Rex Burkhead and Duke Dawson are the only two players who could realistically return from IR in 2018.
  • In light of last week’s Rob Gronkowski trade reports, Reiss points out that there had not been much communication between Gronk and the Pats before the star tight end was informed of the potential trade to Detroit. Reiss wonders whether New England really would have pulled the trigger on the deal, or if it simply used the trade as a way to reignite conversations with Gronkowski
  • Reiss also notes that last week’s AFC Defensive Player of the Week, the Bills’ Matt Milano, was drafted by Buffalo with the fifth-rounder it acquired from the Pats when New England signed then-RFA Mike Gillislee. Needless to say, that transaction looks like a big win for the Bills right now.
  • The Patriots cut Gordon’s former Browns teammate, Corey Coleman, from their practice squad yesterday.

Rams Rumors: Donald, Gurley, Cooks

A specific provision in the CBA means that a holdout for Aaron Donald would be particularly costly if it continues into the preseason. The CBA dictates that players in the midst of their fifth-year option are subject to daily fines of $30K during preseason training camp, which is less than the usual $40K fine. However, each missed preseason game for fifth-year option players results in a fine equivalent to one week of regular season salary, Mike Florio of PFT notes.

For Donald, a holdout lingering into the preseason will cost him $405K per game. If he were to miss the full preseason, that would come out to more than $1.62MM of his $6.892MM salary. That doesn’t ensure Donald will show up for the exhibition games, but it’s certainly something for the defensive standout to think about.

Here’s more from sunny L.A.:

  • The Rams’ new deal for running back Todd Gurley is a game-changer for obvious reasons, but Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap (Twitter link) sees it as a potential turning point for some less obvious factors as well. He wonders aloud if elite running backs like Gurley with today’s lighter workload and better conditioning can last longer than the last set of backs who hurt the market. If that’s the case, then the running back market may finally move on a trajectory similar to other key positions.
  • We have the details on Brandin Cooks‘ new deal with the Rams, courtesy of Ben Volin of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Cooks will receive a whopping $50.46MM guaranteed and will carry a $27.46MM cap number in 2019 and a $20.36MM figure in ’20.
  • The Cooks deal is a huge investment for a player who has been traded twice in two years and hasn’t played a down for the team he is currently under contract with, Fitzgerald writes. His cashflow is also extremely impressive when compared to the league’s other top wide receivers. He’ll receive the largest Year 1 take home of any wide receiver and, after two years, he’ll earn more than any player except for Antonio Brown. The flow tails off a bit in the fourth and fifth years of the deal, but he can top every other receiver in those seasons via incentives.
  • On Tuesday, the Rams signed defensive end Ryan Davis.

East Notes: Allen, Cooks, Eagles

Bills fans are anxiously looking forward to the inevitable ascension of Josh Allen, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News takes a look at the team’s quarterback competition with training camp fast approaching. A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman know that, if either of them start the season under center — and McCarron is generally seen as the favorite to open the year as the starting signal-caller — they would just be keeping the seat warm for Allen. Carucci notes that Allen’s natural talent was on full display throughout spring practices, and he adds that all three competitors have developed a friendship during their time together. The Buffalo News scribe examines each player’s case to start on Week 1, and he notably does not rule out any possibility at this juncture.

Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s east divisions:

  • Former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks just inked a massive extension with the Rams, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says New England had a pretty good idea that Cooks, who was scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2018 season, was going to get that kind of money given the robust state of the wide receiver market. However, the Patriots just did not value him that highly and were approaching this year as though it would be Cooks’ last in Foxborough. So, when presented with the opportunity to get a first-round pick for him this offseason, New England pounced.
  • Earlier today, the Patriots signed No. 31 overall pick Sony Michel.
  • Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com takes a look at 10 Giants who are in danger of being cut because of their salaries, the status of their position groups, or some combination thereof. Dunleavy’s list is headlined by guard John Jerry and defensive end Kerry Wynn.
  • Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has made more trades than any other general manager since 2010, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, who believes that Roseman will make more trades in the coming weeks. Shorr-Parks puts a potential return on each player on the roster, and he notes that Roseman would likely be open to moving Nick Foles and Brandon Graham, though it would take at least a first-round pick to acquire Foles and a third-rounder to land Graham.
  • In a separate piece, Shorr-Parks offers his take on the locks, longshots, and bubble players on the Eagles‘ roster as it currently stands. As Shorr-Parks has indicated previouslyRonald Darby is another trade candidate if De’vante Bausby continues to play well in training camp.

Extra Points: Cardinals, Cooks, Gregory, Manhertz, McCluster

Larry Fitzgerald will be back for a 15th season in Arizona, and the long-time Cardinals wideout is set to hit free agency next offseason. Of course, the future Hall of Famer can’t envision himself playing elsewhere, as he essentially told Jace Frederick of TwinCities.com that he’d hang up his cleats if he wasn’t retained by Arizona.

“If I’m not playing in Arizona, I won’t be playing anywhere,” he said. “I’ve built a good life for myself down there. Playing in the same place for 15 years is a true blessing.”

Fitzgerald is one of only two players (along with Antonio Brown) to compile 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards over the past three seasons. Despite turning 35 years old this fall, Fitzgerald says he isn’t slowing down.

“It doesn’t really matter about the age, it’s about what you put into it and your mind-set,” he said. “Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it’s supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play. If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We learned earlier today that wideout Brandin Cooks had inked a five-year, $80MM extension with the Rams. NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora tweets that the new deal contains $20.5MM in guaranteed money and a $50.5MM injury guarantee. NFL.com’s Albert Breer clarifies (via Twitter) that the deal will actually total $81MM, with the $16.2MM average annual value trailing only Brown, Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins.
  • Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty today to extreme DUI, and the Cardinals subsequently fined and suspended the executive. Kent Somers of AZCentral tweets that there won’t be an interim general manager during Keim’s absence, as the team will ultimately divide his responsibilities. Terry McDonough will likely handle the “evaluation side,” while Mike Disner will focus on contracts and the cap. Somer adds that Keim won’t face further discipline from the NFL.
  • Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets that Keim’s suspension “doesn’t preclude” the Cardinals from working out a long-term deal with running back David Johnson, echoing that Disner would likely negotiate the contract. The Pro Bowler skipped mandatory minicamp last month as he looks for a raise on his $1.8MM base salary.
  • Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. The 26-year-old underwent offseason surgery after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot. The team is hopeful that Greg Olsen‘s primary backup will be ready for the start of the regular season. As Person points out, Manhertz’s absence will provide fourth-rounder Ian Thomas with an opportunity to contribute during training camp.
  • Earlier today, the NFL reinstated Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory on a conditional basis. Naturally, after appearing in only two games over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old is excited about the prospect of returning to the NFL. “I’m very excited,” Gregory said (via the Dallas News’ Jon Machota on Twitter). “Thanks to the ones who supported me and stood by me. It’s a lot more to the story than it seems and it took me a lot to get to this point. Now I’m ready to make some plays.”
  • Former NFL running back Dexter McCluster has caught on with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL (via CFL.ca). The 29-year-old played in six games with the Chargers during the 2016 season. During his four years with the Chiefs, McCluster compiled 662 rush yards, 1,500 receiving yards, and more than 2,000 return yards.