Rams make receiver Brandin Cooks available in a trade to trim salary and gain draft picks, per report

Brandin Cooks has already been traded twice during his six-year NFL career and it looks like a third deal may soon be on the horizon. The Los Angeles Rams have made the 26-year-old receiver available in an attempt to replenish their draft cupboard and trim some salary, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic

Michael Silver of NFL.com highlighted prior to the start of the new league year that this could be a possibility. Silver even reported that Cooks, who was acquired by the Patriots (2017) and Rams (2018) for first-round picks, wouldn't cost a first-rounder this time around in a potential deal. 

This all comes off the heels of reports that Los Angeles is also looking to move on from running back Todd Gurley. For the Rams, Spotrac currently has them below the league average in salary cap space. They also own just six picks in this year's draft and zero in the first round, so it's no wonder they are looking to deal both Gurley and Cooks for some sort of capital. 

Cooks is signed through the 2023 season and at a pretty expensive rate. He owns a $16.8 million cap hit for the 2020 season with a dead cap of $21.8 million, according to Spotrac. From there, his cap hits go to $16.8 million in 2021, $17.8 million in 2022 and $17.4 million in 2023. There is an opportunity to clear some of Cooks cap hit following the 2020 season, but a more substantial drop occurs following the 2021 campaign where a club could create $9.6 million in space. 

The former first-round pick had his worst statistical season since his rookie year in 2019. In 14 games played, Cooks had a career low in catches (42) and receiving touchdowns (2). His 583 receiving yards were also the second lowest of his career. Prior to that, however, Cooks turned in four straight seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving with at least five touchdown receptions. 

Cooks will still just be 26 years old by the time the 2020 season kicks off, so he is still very young despite being a six-year veteran. The issue with teams acquiring him will likely most center around his massive contract. That said, if a club with cap space is in need of some pass catching talent, Cooks can seemingly be had at a reasonable price. 

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