The Patriots just traded a major piece off their roster in receiver Brandin Cooks. But apparently, Tom Brady isn't fretting over the move.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted on Wednesday that Brady is "not sad" about the Patriots' decision to trade Cooks to the Rams. The now-former Pats receiver apparently wasn't seen as a "true No. 1" in New England, and "wasn't a great fit" for their Brady-led offense.
The team probably doesn't need to do a lot of convincing on the second part. Cooks, while talented and productive as a member of the Patriots, doesn't have the kind of skill set you'd expect to be an important building block around Brady. And this also tells you that the Patriots had no intention of paying Cooks top receiver money after 2018, anyway. Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday that the Patriots attempted to re-sign Cooks long-term, but likely didn't offer him nearly as much as he'd get on the open market.
But clearly, Rams head coach Sean McVay sees Cooks as a potential No. 1 wideout in his offense. Rapoport added the McVay "coveted" Cooks, and the fact that L.A. gave up the 23rd overall pick in this month's draft to get him is evidence enough.
As far as Brady not being sad about the move ... it's hard to believe he's thrilled to lose another weapon. But moving on from Cooks certainly can't cause as much trouble with No. 12 as it would if they jettisoned, say, Rob Gronkowski or Julian Edelman.
It sounds like the Pats fed Rapoport some information. Also, this teeters dangerously to a Cooks smear campaign. He did catch 65 passes for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns and came up big in the AFC Championship Game. He also played in every game and didn't appear to have any issues off the field or in the locker room. The hope is that the Brady part is accurate, and it's fair to wonder if Cooks lived up to his potential on the field. But it's not like he was a complete disaster here.
Still, "smear campaign" is admittedly too strong of a term. It's just a little curious to insist that Brady isn't mad about the move and that Cooks wasn't a great fit for the team. Cooks is a good player, but was always more of a luxury in the Patriots offense than a need. Losing him in Super Bowl LII clearly didn't hurt.
As long as the Patriots have Gronkowski, Edelman, Chris Hogan, and James White healthy, Brady and the offense will probably be just fine. They got a great deal to snag the 23rd overall pick, and Cooks will also have a big opportunity in front of him as the Rams' likely No. 1 receiver.
-- By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].