When the New England Patriots traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this week, the move – while certainly a logical one to make considering the circumstances – came as a surprise to many. After all, Cooks was New England’s most prolific wide receiver just a year ago and was seemingly just scratching the surface of his potential within the Tom Brady-led offense.
With the outlook of keeping him around long-term a bleak one, however, the team decided to maximize Cooks' value by trading him and a fourth-round draft pick to the Rams for a first-rounder and a sixth-rounder. For the 24-year old, this is familiar terrain as he originally arrived in New England through another trade last offseason. Back then, the Patriots were the team to invest a first-round pick to acquire the wideout.
“It's part of the game, the business of it,” Cooks said about the transaction on Thursday during the Rams' officially introduction of him to the local media. The wide receiver, who caught a total of 75 passes for a combined 1,237 yards and seven touchdowns in his first and only season with the Patriots, went on to talk about how the transaction went down from his very own perspective.
“Coach Belichick gave me a call hours before it happened,” Cooks said. “I have a ton of respect for him and we have a ton of respect for each other. You know, you hear horror stories – guys finding out on Twitter or whatever – but at the end of the day, the way that they run things over there and the respect that we have for each other... he gave me a call, gave me a heads up.”
“So much respect for Bill and the organization how they went about it,” continued the former New Orleans Saints first-round draft selection. And even though the move might have come as a surprising one for Cooks, he knows that potentially getting trading is part of the NFL experience: “At the end of the day, all you can do is respect that. You gotta understand it's a business.”
For the Patriots, it certainly was just that. After the team and Cooks' camp failed to reach a common ground during contract negotiations, trading the wideout was the one move New England could make to guarantee a positive return on the investment they made last year. Bringing Cooks in was a successful move – after all, he had a top-five season for a wide receiver under Bill Belichick –, trading him away as well.