ATLANTA — Players like Los Angeles Rams receiver Brandin Cooks don’t often get traded twice in the prime of their careers.
His circuitous route through the NFL is historic. He is the first player in NFL history to post 1,000 receiving yards in three straight seasons with three different teams. Since all Cooks does is post 1,000-yard seasons for good teams, after being a first-round draft pick, why do those good teams keep trading him?
Cooks looks at it in a different light: Good organizations keep wanting him, and pay up to acquire him. The Patriots gave the Saints a first-round pick for Cooks, then the Rams gave the Patriots a first-round pick for him.
“Doesn’t hurt my pride at all,” Cooks said about being traded. “Not at all.”
Cooks finds himself back in the Super Bowl for the second straight season, coincidentally against a Patriots team that traded him away in the offseason. But even though he helped the Rams beat the Saints, who traded him, in the NFC championship game, he isn’t focused on payback against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
“I don’t believe in revenge,” Cooks said.
Brandin Cooks has been on the move a couple times
Finances certainly have played a role in Cooks being on the move. The Saints and Patriots had him when he was on his cheap rookie contract, and they traded him before the bill got really large. The Rams knew their investment had to be more significant. This offseason they signed Cooks to a five-year, $80 million extension.
Cooks doesn’t have a bad reputation around the league, and the Rams have been thrilled with him. One of the best stories of Super Bowl week has been Cooks surprising the Rams’ janitor with tickets to the game on Sunday. Rams coach Sean McVay gushed about Cooks this week.
“When you get a chance to Coach [Bill] Belichick and Coach [Sean] Payton, they think the world of Brandin and what he’s done,” McVay said. “This is a special human being. The way he goes about his business, guys like him are why you love coaching.”
Cooks being traded multiple times before age 25 seems to be an oddity, and the Rams are happy about it.
“I think it goes to say I can play this game at a high level and I’m still in demand,” Cooks said.
Rams love what Cooks has done
Cooks has had quite an NFL education already, one most players don’t get over their entire career.
First he played for Sean Payton, catching passes from Drew Brees. Then he was with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. From there he moved onto Sean McVay and Jared Goff. That’s a pretty nice list of coaches and quarterbacks to be around.
“There was no doubt in my mind that I’ve been blessed to play this game at a high level,” Cooks said. “I was moved a couple times, but every single time I was moved to a special team. And for a first-round pick.”
Cooks had a nice season with the Rams and is locked up for the near future. After being knocked out of last season’s Super Bowl early with a concussion, he wants to be a big factor against the Patriots on Sunday. He made some key plays against the Saints in the NFC championship game.
Finally Cooks’ strange NFL journey of the past few years has settled down.
“I can promise you this: We’re not trading him,” McVay said.
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• Rams star gives janitor a once-in-a-lifetime gift
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