In another off-season move in which the Patriots lose a key part of their team, Brandin Cooks and the 136th overall pick have been traded to the Rams in exchange for the 23rd and 198th overall picks in the 2018 NFL draft.
From surface level, you may be asking yourself… “What on earth are the Patriots doing?!?!”, but with Billy B, anything is possible. As much as the Patriots seemed to like Cooks, no one player is too important to the team. The “Patriot-way” is never paying top dollar for a player. Instead, they find a cheaper replacement through the draft or a cheap, veteran contract.
A perfect example of this was Jamie Collins getting traded less than two years ago. Collins was arguably the Patriots’ best defensive player at the time, but he was nearing the end of his rookie contract and was asking for “Von Miller type money” (a poor choice). What happened next? Collins was shipped off to the Browns quicker than Tom Brady could eat his “almost” vegan burger, all for a measly compensatory third-round pick.
Cooks is entering the final year of his contract and due about $8.5 million this year, which is typically more than the Patriots are willing to pay. Let’s break down how this trade affects the Rams and Patriots offenses.
Brandin Cooks, WR LAR
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It’s not very often you see a star wide receiver who is 24 years old on his third team in two years. Such is the case for Brandin Cooks.
Cooks thrived in New Orleans with Drew Brees, but the emergence of Michael Thomas made Cooks expendable, especially after being vocal about wanting to be more involved. He was then traded to the Pats where he had a very good year, catching 65 balls for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns. But due to his upcoming salary and the ‘Patriot-way’, he has been traded to the Rams.
Cooks is going from two Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks to an up and coming QB and offense. Brady really liked to spread the ball around with Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, James White, etc, and I see a similar situation in Los Angeles. Cooks will most likely never be the number one option for the offense with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Todd Gurley already there, but a similar stat line to 2017 should be attainable.
Jared Goff and Sean Mcvay have a fantastic relationship and like-minds, which bodes well for all offensive players on the Rams. Cooks getting traded to the highest scoring team in the NFL definitely doesn’t hurt his value. A 2018 stat line of 65-75 catches for over 1,000 yards and six-nine TDs seems about right, and will put Cooks in a solid WR2 role with WR1 upside.
Robert Woods, WR LAR
Robert Woods is a player whose value has been on a steady climb all off-season. He appeared to be Goff’s go-to-option when he was healthy and enjoyed a breakout season after leaving Buffalo. Although this Cooks signing definitely doesn’t help his status, I also won’t overreact and say that it kills his value as well.
There are some injury concerns with Woods as he has never been able to start all 16 games in a season, but developing a rapport and connection with a QB is a huge part of every wide receiver’s success and Woods seems to have that with Goff.
For dynasty purposes, Woods ADP has crept up towards the mid-50s, but typically settles around 60-65. So while it can be a bit concerning and I see his value dropping a bit due to this trade, he is still a “hold” for me if I am an owner. I still think he will be the number one WR on that team.
Cooper Kupp, WR LAR
At first glance, one would think this trade hurts the value of Kupp more than anyone. While it would have been nice for Kupp to be the number two receiving option for the Rams, he fits really well in the slot and excelled from that position last year. The Rams also used a league-high 92% of plays with three wide receiver sets, so Kupp will definitely be involved.
The Rams will use Cooks’ speed on the outside, Woods’ precise route running and possession skills, and Kupp’s ability to get open in the slot to their full advantage.
For dynasty purposes, Kupp’s value has floated around 55 for sometime after a stellar rookie season. Similar to Woods, Kupp is a “hold” guy for me, until we are able to see the three wide receivers play together and form some sort of rapport on the field.
Jared Goff, QB LAR
The one player out of the entire trade who benefits the most is definitely Goff. He gains a wide receiver as fast or faster than Sammy Watkins, with more explosion and less injury risk. All of this while developing good relationships with the other two pass catchers in the offense, Goff’s value is pointing up.
Sean McVay seems to be an offensive genius and Goff will keep benefitting from that growth. This trade solidifies Goff as a QB1 for this upcoming season and moving forward.
Gerald Everett, TE LAR
Many people were hoping this next year would be a breakout year for Everett, but this trade puts a damper on those hopes. He showed promise in his rookie season, and the Rams have been searching for a tight end for some time.
Everett now drops down to the fourth or fifth receiving option (behind the receivers and Todd Gurley) on the team, and there will just not be enough balls to go around. I would be surprised to see Everett make any sort of significant fantasy impact. If you play in a league with deep rosters, you could stash him away for a year or two… but I wouldn’t be expecting too much production in the near future.
Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, WRs NE
This trade definitely helps free up some targets for both of these guys. Statistically, Cooks was the best pass catcher on the team last year, therefore catches and TDs will be available.
I think both make for good value trades right now, especially if you are a contending team. Edelman has some risk coming off an injury, but he can be had for very little and as of right now, Hogan would be projected to be the number one receiver for the Pats after the departure of Cooks and Amendola.
I expect the Pats to address the position through the draft and take a receiver within the first three-four rounds, but Hogan and Edelman will still be heavily involved in the offense.
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