Despite not winning the Super Bowl last season, the New England Patriots are the class of the NFL when it comes to sustaining success in the salary cap era. No other franchise of the 21st century has been able to manage its roster and assets as well over such a prolonged period of time. Naturally, this puts the team in the spotlight and each move made is closely watched by other teams, fans and media alike.
Tuesday's trade of wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams is no different. When the Patriots shipped their number one wideout from a year ago west, everyone affiliated with the NFL in some capacity took a close look at the details behind the move – especially from New England's perspective. And according to Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, teams around the NFL get nervous when moves like this are made:
Front office executive: “Whenever Belichick makes a trade, the whole league gets nervous. Teams always wonder, ‘What does he know that I’m missing?’ He’s in a lot of people’s heads.”
Patriots head coach and de-facto general manager Bill Belichick, more than any other team leader in the NFL, has shown an uncanny ability to recognize value and all that it entails and make moves to maximize it. Even though they would probably want to, not all organizations in the NFL operate like this. Look no further than New England's division rivals from New York, who made a questionable move up the draft board last month.
The Patriots, on the other hand, usually stay true to their principles when making transactions: They assign values to their players and draft picks and when an opportunity presents itself to increase said value by making a trade, they are not afraid to pull just that. New England's success over the last 15+ years proves the team and its approach right – and leads others around the NFL to question themselves or their process.
It's good to be the king.