By trading for Brandin Cooks, Rams get missing piece on offense

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In exchange, the Patriots received the Rams' first-round and sixth-round picks and while the deal makes sense for both franchises, the reasons behind the trade are likely to be heavily scrutinized, particularly in New England.

According to ESPN, the Patriots attempted to re-sign Cooks before talks broke off, and the Rams now will continue those talks with the intent to sign Cooks to a long-term deal.

Watkins also indirectly factors into the Cooks trade in another way.

New England will trade up for a top quarterback.

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After weeks of rumors about the Rams' interest in acquiring star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants, they managed to find another elite talent at the position. Los Angeles sent a second-round pick past year to the Bills for Watkins, who was a season away from free agency, then watched him sign a large contract last month with the Chiefs. While the asking price for Cooks was also steep, the Rams apparently felt more comfortable giving up the assets for Cooks. Even if he's not a top-10 receiver, Cooks was a quality piece to the puzzle.

Of course, the trade begs the questions: Who will be quarterback Tom Brady's No. 1 receiver without Cooks and the recently departed Danny Amendola?

Brandin Cooks spent just one season with the Patriots after his first three came in New Orleans.

Cooks hauled in 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns last season and was sorely missed in the second half of the Super Bowl after being knocked out of the game with a suspected concussion.

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Entering the final, fifth-year option of his rookie contract, Cooks was due for a massive extension this offseason or next.

After making four picks in 2017, Patriots loading up: The Patriots now have two first-round picks (23, 31), two second-rounders (43, 63), a third-rounder (95) and then two selections in the sixth round and one in the seventh.

This offseason, it has been no secret that the Rams were looking to add a wide receiver. The other three players include Talib and Peters, as well as free agent signee Ndamukong Suh.

The Patriots might be in the market to draft another quarterback in the early rounds this year after trading Brady's former backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, to the San Francisco 49ers last season. The team still has a downfield threat in Chris Hogan, while Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell are on track to return from knee injuries after missing all of 2017.

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