Cooks led Patriots receivers in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns in his one season with the team, but he has just one year remaining on his current contract at a cap hit of almost $8.5 million, according to Over The Cap.
In his first and only season with New England, Cooks totaled 65 receptions, 1,082 receiving yards, and seven receiving touchdowns.
The uncertainty surrounding Rob Gronkowski's future has dominated the offseason thus far, but in moving Cooks, a Gronkowski trade becomes even more unlikely for the Patriots. Expect the San Francisco 49ers and now, the New England Patriots, to be considered potential destinations.
Cooks was entering the final year of his contract, however, and there were rumblings that Bill Belichick wouldn't want to pay the speedster big cash.
The Patriots now have the #23 overall pick, #31 overall pick, #43 overall pick and #63 overall pick.
Cooks, 24, was acquired last spring from New Orleans for the 32nd overall pick in last year's draft. That first-round selection is nine spots higher than the one the Patriots sent to the Saints for Cooks a year ago in a trade that proved to be a fruitful one-year rental for Belichick and Co. This move is notable for a bunch of different reasons, not the least of which means the Rams are ending their dabble in the Odell Beckham trade market by virtue of giving up their best draft pick asset in exchange for a No. 1 wideout to replace Sammy Watkins.
They now own two picks in the first and second rounds - 23, 31, 43 and 63.
Now that he has two first-round picks, could he trade them to go in the other direction?
Now, 13 months later, Cooks is on the move again. It had been assumed that they would draft a player, such as Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, with their first pick.
Belichick can stand pat and help fill the gaps on the offensive line and defense - one that was exposed by the Eagles in the Super Bowl - but the Patriots have been frequently active in the draft.
Cooks' acquisition should hardly be viewed as the Rams settling though. The former Oregon State product represents a top-tier deep threat for young quarterbackJared Goff, and should immediately slot alongside Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Cooks is a good player, but was always more of a luxury in the Patriots offense than a need.
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