Immediately after shipping a first- and sixth-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for wide receiver Brandin Cooks earlier this year, the Rams expressed interest in extending Cooks’ contract. And that makes sense, as Los Angeles presumably did not give up that type of draft capital with the intention of getting just one year of service from Cooks, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
But, as a young and accomplished wideout in today’s market, Cooks will not come cheap. After the trade to LA was consummated, our Zach Links suggested that the Oregon State product could land a contract approaching Mike Evans‘ recent mega-deal with the Buccaneers, a five-year, $82.5MM pact with up to $55MM in guarantees. While Cooks will almost certainly not get that type of money in an extension with the Rams, he may not be too far away.
Indeed, just last week we learned that Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs could command a deal worth at least $60MM over a four-year term, and he has not had a single 1,000-yard season yet. Cooks, meanwhile, is just a couple of months older than Diggs, and he has topped the 1,000-yard barrier in each of the past three seasons. In his only season in New England, he had 65 grabs for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns, and he averaged 81 catches for 1,156 yards and eight scores during his final two years with the Saints.
Of course, Cooks has had the benefit of playing for two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Tom Brady, but there is no denying his ability. And while many perceive him to be primarily a deep threat, his new head coach, Sean McVay, believes Cooks is a well-rounded receiver. Last month, McVay said of Cooks, “he’s a guy — if you just look at, really, his career — he is a really fast player, but he can do everything. 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.”
If the Rams and Cooks are able to come to terms in the next couple of months, it would not be surprising to see Cooks bring home something in the neighborhood of Jarvis Landry‘s new contract with the Browns, which pays him over $15MM per year with $34MM in guaranteed money. Landry and Cooks are quite different in terms of style of play, but in terms of age and track record, they’re pretty similar. Because of his big-play ability, Cooks would probably seek a little more than Landry, which could make him a top-five receiver by AAV.
Since it was reported that the Rams were interested in extending Cooks, there has been no further news on that front, presumably because LA still wants to lock up Aaron Donald before addressing Cooks’ contract situation. If and when the Donald matter gets resolved, though, Cooks could be the next domino to fall. He will lead a strong receiving corps on a team that features a great deal of talent on both sides of the ball and that could be a legitimate title contender.
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