While the New England Patriots have typically entered free agency quietly in the past, mostly staying away from the early frenzy, this year was different. One of the biggest moves the defending world champions made was trading their 2017 first round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
The 23-year old adds speed and a proven big-play ability to a Patriots’ offense that ranked third in scoring during the 2016 season (despite quarterback Tom Brady only playing 12 games). Given his addition to a group that is filled with depth at talent across the board, Cooks has every reason to be excited.
However, when asked about whether or not he finds himself looking ahead with excitement about the possibilities of him performing in this offense, Cooks gave a rather Patriots-esque answer. "Nope, focus on the moment," he said during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. "That's what it's all about here."
Still, Cooks did speak of excitement when asked about another wide receiver on New England’s roster: Julian Edelman, who has been the most productive wideout on the team as well as Tom Brady’s top option for the majority of the last four years. "I'm excited to be able to play with a guy like that," noted Cooks.
For good reason. After all, both Cooks and Edelman have been among the game’s best receivers since the former entered the league as a first round pick in 2014. While Cooks caught 215 passes for 2,861 and 20 touchdowns from the Saints’ Drew Brees, Edelman was the recipient of 251 passes, 2,770 yards and 14 scores in New England over the same time-span.
Naturally, given Edelman’s experience in the Patriots’ system, Cooks was asked on Tuesday whether he has already learned something from him. "His work ethic is great," the former Saint said, not directly answering the question. Cooks was not done praising his now-teammate: "I always saw him from a distance; a guy that can play," before adding that his playmaking ability stood out.
"That’s what I have to say. He’s a playmaker." Given Cooks’ first three years in the NFL, it is a distinction both men share. Obviously, they fit together well in that regard. Whether or not they will actually complement each other well on the playing field remains to be seen. "I guess we'll have to find out once the season comes," Cooks pointed out.
If they do, New England’s high-powered offense might become even more lethal than it has already been over the course of the 2016 season.