The Rams plan on signing Cooks to a contract extension before Week 1, Steve Wyche of NFL Network reports. Los Angeles agreed Tuesday to acquire the wideout and a 2018 fourth-round pick from the Patriots in exchange for first- and sixth-round picks in 2018. It would be an awful lot for the Rams to give up for a one-year rental with an $8.46 million salary, but the deal starts to make sense if Cooks is viewed as part of the club's long-term plan. While the speedy receiver may have been a slight disappointment in New England last season, he's only 24 years old and is coming off three straight 16-game campaigns with at least 1,082 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Cooks profiles as the likely No. 1 receiver in Los Angeles, though the same was said of Sammy Watkins, who ultimately served as a low-volume decoy in his lone season with the Rams. Cooks should see an uptick from Watkins' 2017 total of 70 targets, but his accustomed volume -- 120-target average the past three years -- is far from a sure thing. The Rams also need to feed Todd Gurley, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, their top three pass catchers from last season. Cooks may end up disappointed with how much time he spends clearing out space for his teammates.
The Patriots are slated to trade Cooks to the Rams along with a fourth-round draft pick for first- and sixth-round draft choices, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. With Cooks sent packing after just one season with New England, Julian Edelman (knee) and Chris Hogan now top the Patriots' wideout depth chart, while Cooks slots in as the Rams' top option at the position. Cooks, who finished the 2017 regular season with 65 catches (on 114 targets) for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games, will now be catching passes from Jared Goff instead of Tom Brady. Though Brady is the more productive of the two signal-callers, Cooks' new team context (in terms of competition for targets) should ensure a rate of volume conducive to continued fantasy relevance in 2018.
Cooks (head) finished the regular season with 65 catches (on 114 targets) for 1,082 yards and seven TDs in 16 games. Cooks, who also ran nine times for 40 yards this past season, was knocked out of Sunday's Super Bowl loss to the Eagles after just 18 snaps. While the Patriots were able to rack up 33 points in the contest, they had to adjust their game plan minus their top deep threat for almost three full quarters. The 24-year-old speedster remains under contract with the Patriots in 2018 and will once again serve as one of QB Tom Brady's top pass-catching weapons next season.
Cooks was taken to the locker room in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Patriots after taking a hard hit from Eagles' safety Malcolm Jenkins, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Cooks caught a 23-yard pass from Tom Brady and did not see Jenkins coming as he tried to bounce outside. The speedy receiver is presumably undergoing concussion tests to determine if he can return to the contest. More information will be known following evaluation.
Cooks brought in six of eight targets for 100 yards in Sunday's 24-20 AFC championship game win over the Jaguars. The speedster found some rare success against the Jags' pair of stalwart corners, doubling up his reception total from last Saturday's divisional-round win over the Titans in the process. Among his six catches, Cooks notched an 18-yard grab on a key early fourth-quarter drive, which was preceded by a game-long 31-yard reception on the second play of the contest in which he got loose from Jags linebacker Telvin Smith downfield. In between, Cooks served as a deep threat on multiple occasions, and as a pivotal component of the passing game once Rob Gronkowski was lost for the game in the first half due to a head injury. His eight targets tied with Dion Lewis for second on the afternoon behind Danny Amendola, and Cooks should once again see a prominent role in two weeks' time when the Patriots face off with the winner of the Vikings-Eagles NFC championship game in Super Bowl LII.
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