Since being acquired by the Patriots, Cooks' approach has caught the eye of coach Bill Belichick, ESPN's Mike Reiss reports. "Brandin's worked hard. Definitely, he has some skill. A transition for him [from New Orleans]; he's working hard to make it," Belichick noted.
Cooks' speed and pass-catching upside are undeniable, but it's still a good sign to see him picking up the complex New England offense well thus far. Given that the team forked over a first-round pick in the deal that landed the wideout, we expect that the Pats have big plans for the 20th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Cooks will contend with fellow wideout Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski, among others, for targets, but his field-stretching ability adds an explosive element that the team's passing attack has largely lacked since the departure of Randy Moss.
Cooks will be in New England through at least the end of the 2018 season with Saturday's announcement. He racked up a staggering 162 receptions for 2,311 yards in his final two seasons in New Orleans and chipped in 11 plays of 40 or more yards in that span. Cooks adds a vertical dimension to the Patriots' offense that they have not had in quite some time and if he's able to mesh with Tom Brady, he'll be one of the biggest bargains in the league in 2018.
It appears that the Saints were unable to wrest cornerback Malcolm Butler from New England, but with five picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft, they'll have numerous chances to bolster the unit. Meanwhile, Cooks provides a deep threat to an offense predicated on precise, short throws from Tom Brady. The fit may not be ideal, but because he doesn't turn 24 years old until March and is entering the final year of his rookie deal -- if his fifth year option isn't picked up, that is -- the Patriots will gamble that adding Cooks to the mix provides a wrinkle absent from the offense during their run to Super Bowl LI.
Already rumored to be shopping Cooks in exchange for defensive help, the Saints did nothing to quiet the whispers when they signed fellow speedster Ted Ginn on Thursday. While there would be a sizable drop-off from Cooks to Ginn, the presence of young wideouts Michael Thomas and Willie Snead makes a downgrade at the other receiver spot much more tolerable. Meanwhile, the Patriots spent big to lure CB Stephon Gilmore away from the Bills, hinting at a willingness to part ways with CB Malcolm Butler, the player rumored to be involved in trade talks with the Saints. The Titans may also still be in the mix for Cooks' services, whereas the Eagles are likely set at wide receiver after signing both Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on Thursday.
ESPN.com relays that Cooks' name has been associated with potential trade talks involving both the Eagles and Titans.
While it's unclear whether the Cooks will actually be moved, the Titans and Eagles are both looking to upgrade at wideout and the Saints also feature the likes Michael Thomas and Willie Snead at the position. Cooks, who New Orleans took 20th overall in the 2014 draft, is coming off a season in which he turned 117 targets into 78 catches for 1,173 yards and eight TDs. Despite that respectable level of production, previous reports have hinted at Cooks' frustration with his role in the Saints offense. That said, per the New Orleans Times-Picayune, coach Sean Payton has indicated that he "absolutely" expects Cooks to be back with the Saints in 2017.
|P2||8/19/17||@ HOU||8:00 pm|
|P3||8/25/17||@ DET||7:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|5||10/5/17||@ TB||8:25 pm|
|6||10/15/17||@ NYJ||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|10||11/12/17||@ DEN||8:30 pm|
|11||11/19/17||@ OAK||4:25 pm|
|13||12/3/17||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|14||12/11/17||@ MIA||8:30 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ PIT||4:25 pm|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||10||7||53||550||10.4||50||3||4||2||25|
|2015||New Orleans Saints||16||12||84||1138||13.5||71||9||18||5||45|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||16||12||78||1173||15.0||98||8||15||6||45|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||10||7||7||73||10.4||28||1||1||4|
|2015||New Orleans Saints||16||12||8||18||2.3||11||0||0||2|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||16||12||6||30||5.0||11||0||0||1|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||10||1||12||12.0||12||0||0|
|2015||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||10||10||15||35||3.5||15||0||0|
|2015||New Orleans Saints||16||2||0||12||6.0||6||0||0|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||16||1||0||2||2.0||2||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||10||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2015||New Orleans Saints||16||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||10||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||New Orleans Saints||16||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||New Orleans Saints||16||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|