LA Rams acquire Brandin Cooks: Instant reaction and analysis

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: Brandin Cooks (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: Brandin Cooks (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams continued a busy offseason by making yet another blockbuster move: trading for New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

The LA Rams were not done after signing Ndamukong Suh. We all should have known that.

The LA Rams acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks Tuesday afternoon in a trade with the New England Patriots. In return for Cooks, the Rams are sending New England the 23rd overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft as well as a sixth-round pick. Los Angeles is also receiving a fourth-round pick in the trade.

This trade comes only eight days after the Rams last blockbuster; signing Ndamukong Suh to a one-year, $14 million deal. Cooks also joins Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib as the Rams’ notable offseason acquisitions.

Acquiring Cooks is likely in response to losing Sammy Watkins earlier in the offseason. Watkins signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Although Watkins was not on the field as much as Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods, he led the LA Rams in touchdown receptions last season.


An hour ago I left California State University, Fullerton, ready for a traffic-filled commute ahead. Instead of making the entire two-hour drive home, I decided to stop at a Panera Bread to get a bite to eat.

After ordering a bowl of chicken noodle soup, I check my phone to see a Slack messenger alert. LA Sports Hub contributor, Isaac Gutierrez, commented on the move when the deal first broke. Now, here I am, writing this reaction piece up in the middle of that Panera Bread.

All I can say is wow. 

The LA Rams are not hesitating this offseason. The window to win a Super Bowl in the NFL is often short, lasting anywhere from two to five years, if you are lucky. Even though the front office has already pulled off their blockbusters, I was caught off-guard by this. I thought it was going to be Odell Beckham Jr. or Rob Gronkowski.

Brandin Cooks never even slipped in my mind. That is how sports usually work; the expected rarely happens.


It is hard to not to consider the LA Rams as Super Bowl favorites after this move, if they already weren’t before. That is not meant to discredit the New England Patriots or Philadelphia Eagles, it is just hard to argue with what the Rams are doing.

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The team is essentially doing what the Eagles did a year ago; stock up on talent around a young, promising quarterback and core. What the Rams have that the Eagles don’t is the best running back in football and arguably the best defensive player in Aaron Donald.

Brandin Cooks is going to fit in perfectly in Los Angeles. Sean McVay’s high-powered, yet quirky, offense is going to suit Cooks’ play style perfectly. Cooks is going to be able to provide the same “big play” potential as Watkins in screens and short passes while also being a legitimate vertical threat for Jared Goff; who loves to throw the football deep.

The first-round pick is a hefty price to pay without a second-round pick but it seems to be worth it. The biggest need for the LA Rams is at linebacker, however, there may not have been any first-round worthy linebackers left at the 23rd pick. The class is top-heavy, and while there are good options outside of the top three, the Rams obviously couldn’t justify using a first-round pick on them.

Plus, the Rams could pick up a veteran linebacker in free agency for relatively cheap. Brian Cushing, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson are all still unsigned. While they are not the same linebackers they were several years ago, they can provide a veteran presence in the linebacking core to at least hide some of the larger holes.

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Bottom line: trading for Brandin Cooks was a great move for the LA Rams. Cooks is going to be as good, if not better, than Sammy Watkins was for the Rams. These new-look Rams are scary.