The New England Patriots were able to acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints. Why did Sean Payton and the Saints trade him?
One of the biggest surprises for the New England Patriots this offseason was the trade with the New Orleans Saints to acquire Brandin Cooks. Coming into the offseason, wide receiver wasn’t really considered to be a major need for the Patriots.
Despite having a solid wide receiver corps, the Patriots made a big deal to acquire Cooks. With the Saints, Cooks proved to be a very good wide receiver with two straight seasons of 1,000 receiving yards.
Even though Cooks was a good player for the Saints, they did decide to trade him to the Patriots this offseason. Here’s what Cooks’ former coach had to say about the process.
"“He wasn’t a player that we went out and said, ‘Hey, we’re shopping this player.’ But when someone calls on a player, you obviously take the call and listen to what they have to say,” Payton said to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I’ve said this a number of times, working with him, he’s not a kid, but he is fantastic in regard to his approach. Never at any time was he upset or unhappy. I think a little bit of last season, after one game, his agent was a little disappointed, if you will. He didn’t have the production in a game. Mind you, we just scored 49 points in beating a team. To Brandin’s credit, he was smart enough to see the season he was having, so he signed and got with another agent (Ryan Tollner) when this offseason began.”"
One of the rumors during the trade negotiations was that a Butler for Cooks deal was a possibility. However, Payton said that the Saints and Patriots never talked about swapping players.
"“We weren’t in a position where we felt like we’ve got to make this trade,” Payton said to Howe. “It was the opposite, actually. I had a couple conversations with him saying, ‘Hey, there’s a good chance this isn’t going to happen. We’re not interested in just looking to do this.’ But when we were able to make a deal with New England that involved a first-round pick, a third-round pick, we felt that was significant, and we did feel that was a way to help our team, particularly our defense.”"
For the Saints, the two draft picks acquired for Cooks will likely be going toward the defensive side of the ball. The Saints’ defense has continued to struggle, and they clearly need to upgrade the unit.
Even though the Saints didn’t consider Butler in a swap for Cooks, they are still interested in the cornerback. However, Butler being a restricted free agent makes it difficult for the Saints to acquire him without giving up a lot.