It has been speculated over the past few days that Brandin Cooks was soon to be headed out of New Orleans, and that deal finally came to fruition today. Cooks and a fourth rounder are headed to New England, an in exchange for the Patriots’ first and third round picks. After much speculation, Malcolm Butler — the hero of New England’s storybook Super Bowl 49 victory — was not included in the deal.
From New England’s perspective, this is a no-brainer. They add another explosive weapon to one of the league’s most explosive offenses, while only giving up draft capital. With Cooks on his rookie deal (a measly $800,000) this season, with an option in 2018, it’s clear Bill Belichick is going for it. It was vital that they were able to keep Butler, while also breaking the bank on Stephon Gilmore on Thursday. If/when Butler signs his tender, the two will form arguably the best cornerback duo in the NFL — next to Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib.
The Patriots get a young, dynamic weapon in Brandin Cooks. At just 23 years old, Cooks has thrived in a pass-happy offense to the tune of over 2,300 yards and 17 TDs in the last 2 seasons alone. He’s not exactly the Randy Moss-type weapon that many Pats fans may have hoped for (he’s just 5-foot-10) but he has electrifying speed, great hands, and runs crisp routes — basically all you need to do in the Patriots offense, because Tom Brady will typically do the rest. Cooks will be a great threat opposite the likes of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, so despite the steep price tag I think most reasonable Pats fans can get on board with this one.
Although Brandin Cooks and Drew Brees have clearly developed a great deal of chemistry in the past few seasons, we’ve seen other examples recently that have shown the Saints locker room as a whole may not be so close. It looked as though Cooks and Mike Thomas had some issues, and Sean Payton wanted to roll with the second-year wideout from Ohio State, who had a monster rookie season. With the addition of Ted Ginn, the receiver triumvirate of Thomas, Willie Snead and Ginn, Brees will continue to air it out with much success. The Saints will now have two first round picks to build their defense in a very talented draft — something that needed to be done.
Overall, this is a major win for the Patriots. They add a dynamic receiver to their team, while only giving up draft picks. It’s clear that they are going all in for Brady, which might make Jimmy Garoppolo expendable — as they no longer have a first or second round pick in this draft. And finally, keep this in mind: the Patriots will travel to New Orleans for a game in the Superdome at some point in the 2017-18 season. Get your popcorn ready.