Rams trade wide receiver Brandin Cooks to Houston in deal for second-round pick

The Los Angeles Rams are trading wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for the No. 57 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora has confirmed. Houston is also receiving a 2022 fourth-round pick. Albert Breer of MMQB.com initially reported the trade.

The wide receiver position was a critical need for the Texans following the March trade of DeAndre Hopkins. Houston had signed veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb in free agency in addition to trading for running back David Johnson.

Cooks, 26, is coming off a season in which he recorded 42 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns, statistically the worst year of his career. The Oregon State product has four years remaining on a five-year extension that he signed in July of 2018, and he carries a $16.8 million cap hit this upcoming season. The California native has been a consistent contributor since entering the league. Outside of six games missed during his rookie campaign, he has missed a total of two games over the past five seasons. 

He was the No. 20 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, who shipped him to the New England Patriots. The Patriots later traded him to Los Angeles. 

The Rams still have Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods on their roster. A year after serving as the Super Bowl runner-up, the NFC West franchise finished the 2019 regular season with a 9-7 record.

The Athletic reported in March that Cooks was on the trade block. While at the NFL combine, Rams general manager Les Snead spoke on what many deemed a down season for the wide receiver.

"For his sake and for us, you always want players to catch more balls or have more yards. The one element that I think Brandin does not get credit for is that he can really run and he can stretch the defense vertically," Snead explained.

"When you have a player like that, it does basically create more space in the coverage shells that could allow for openings underneath, intermediate, things like that. When you don't have a player with that kind of speed, defenses will traditionally go, 'Uh oh, they can not get it down the field.' They start making things tighter so the openings underneath get a little bit tougher. With each player, they bring a skill set that can help the other combination of players on the field and I think that is what Brandin does. Take catches and yards out of the mix."

Snead, who at the time did not appear to be in the market for a wide receiver, also spoke to his excitement for the incoming wide receiver class.

"There is a lot of talent and skill coming into the league at that position this year. It has been fun to evaluate in the draft. There have been some really fun players at that position this year."

Houston has seven draft picks remaining, with five of those occurring at No. 100 overall or later. The pick traded for Cooks was their own rather than the second-round pick acquired from Arizona (No. 40 overall). Los Angeles also has seven selections now. In addition to the one received from their trade partner, they hold the No. 52 and No. 84 overall selections. 

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