Tom Brady is losing one of his top receivers Jeremy Kerley Jersey , and Jared Goff is getting a speedy new target.
The New England Patriots traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Rams on Tuesday for Los Angeles’ first-round draft pick, the 23rd overall.
New England also sent a fourth-round choice to the Rams, and the Patriots got a sixth-rounder from Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old Cooks had 65 catches for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns in his only season with the Patriots. His receiving stats were second on the defending AFC champions’ roster only to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who barely topped Cooks in all three categories.
Cooks’ clear chemistry with Brady makes the trade fairly surprising for New England, particularly after the recent departure of another favorite Brady target, Danny Amendola, who signed with the Dolphins.
But the defending NFC West champion Rams made an aggressive offer to secure a potential No. 1 receiver and proven deep threat just three weeks after the departure of Sammy Watkins, who got a three-year, $48 million deal from the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.
After weeks of rumors about the Rams’ interest in acquiring star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants, they managed to find another elite talent at the position. Cooks’ speed and versatility should fit in well in coach Sean McVay’s schemes as he lines up alongside Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in the NFL’s highest-scoring offense last season.
The trade also appears to be a strategic move on the part of the Patriots: Cooks is entering the fifth year of his rookie contract, and he can become a free agent after the 2018 season.
With three 1,000-yard seasons in a four-year pro career that began with New Orleans Melvin Ingram Jersey , Cooks would likely be a coveted player after another big year, and the Patriots may not have been willing to pay a high price to keep him and may be looking to get maximum value now.
Watkins was in the same contractual situation when the Rams acquired him from Buffalo during training camp last year, and he parlayed a solid season in Los Angeles into an enormous contract elsewhere. Yet the Rams don’t appear to regret the trade, even though Watkins was their fourth-leading receiver with 39 catches, because he excelled in the red zone with eight TD grabs and provided a deep threat that had to be respected by opponents.
Cooks will be asked to do all that and more with the Rams, who haven’t let up on their intense offseason pursuit of a championship roster.
The Rams acquired elite cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib last month, and they signed defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh last week to form a ferocious duo with AP Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Los Angeles has lost leading tackler Alec Ogletree and top cornerback Trumaine Johnson during its machinations, yet kept its entire offensive line intact for Goff and running back Todd Gurley.
With the draft picks acquired in Tuesday’s deal, New England now holds four picks in the first two rounds later this month and four more picks in Rounds 3-7. That gives coach Bill Belichick the ability to go shopping for a young prospect or perhaps to make a deal for a veteran.
Still, there’s also the possibility that the Patriots may do nothing at all at receiver heading into training camp.
Julian Edelman is expected to return after suffering a preseason knee injury, and Malcolm Mitchell is also slated to return after spending time on injured reserve with a knee issue.
Cooks was New Orleans’ first-round selection out of Oregon State in 2014, and he played three solid seasons for the Saints while emerging as a top young receiver.
Yet when the competitive receiver apparently disagreed with the Saints about the height of his abilities and his long-term future, he was traded to New England 13 months ago for a first-rounder and other picks.
Although Cooks is one year away from free agency Thomas Morstead Jersey , the Rams probably feel they’ve got a better chance to do a long-term deal with Cooks. Cooks and Goff are represented by the same agent, and Cooks is a Stockton, California, native whose family will be able to see him play regularly.
AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this story.
Football fans had their jerseys on and their wallets open as pro football season arrived in places where sports betting is newly legal.
New Jersey won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in May that clears the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they choose.
There was an hourlong wait in line to place bets at Atlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino as kickoff approached Sunday.
Chris Matthews of Clementon, New Jersey, put $50 each on the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, reasoning that all three have strong defenses. Their defense was good last year, even though they didn't win a game, and they were on TV this preseason, and I think that has them fired up," he said, referring to the HBO football themed series "Hard Knocks" that featured the Browns.
"The Patriots are angry they lost the Super Bowl last year Ray Lewis Jersey , so they'll come out strong today, and the Packers have Aaron Rodgers back this year after being hurt last year."
Robert Stovall of Rahway, New Jersey, put $100 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Clad in a throwback Keyshawn Johnson jersey, he rattled off statistics and predictions for almost the entire Bucs roster in rationalizing a $100 bet on them to win despite being 10-point underdogs.
Phil Henderson of Mahwah, New Jersey, put $500 on the other side of that game, picking the New Orleans Saints to win. It was his first legal bet on football, and he said he likes doing so with a regulated casino better than with a bookie, whose offer of credit can easily get gamblers in over their heads.
"The money's all up front here; you know what you're betting and you're not running an account or a tab, losing money you don't have," he said.
Other states where sports betting is currently being offered include Nevada, Delaware Laquon Treadwell Jersey , Mississippi, and West Virginia.
Bruce Deifik owns the Ocean Resort Casino, and was encouraged to see how full the new sports book was on Sunday. He said the casino is already seeing a ripple effect from people who come primarily to bet on football, but then stay for lunch or dinner and drinks, go to the spa or play in a golf simulator.
"In terms of bringing people into contact with other amenities 鈥?playing in the casino, food and beverage, maybe getting a hotel room and staying over, this is a big deal," he said.
Sports betting took in $40.6 million in wagers in New Jersey in July, the first full month it was legal.
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