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Rams' Sean McVay: Brandin Cooks Trade Was 'Result of a Lot of Tough Decisions'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 16, 2020

Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) gets up after an injury and walks with head coach Sean McVay, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)
Scott Eklund/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Rams traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick to the Houston Texans for a second-round selection in this year's draft.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer asked Rams head coach Sean McVay about the move during an interview on Fox Football Now, and McVay issued the following response:

FOX Sports: NFL @NFLonFOX

Los Angeles @RamsNFL Coach Sean McVay says there should be no narrative on Brandin Cooks being a poor teammate. "That really couldn't be further from the truth. This is one of my all-time favorite players I've ever worked with." https://t.co/TPJ2uEwlck

Cooks has been traded three times since being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2014, bringing about Glazer's question about whether the wideout was a good teammate and a positive for the locker room.

McVay shot down those criticisms quickly.

Also, ESPN's Sarah Barshop, who covers the Texans, reported April 9 that she's "been told he has been respected in NFL locker rooms throughout his career."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who was with the New England Patriots for 20 years, also praised Cooks in 2018 when the Pats dealt him to L.A., calling him a great player, teammate and friend in an Instagram comment.

McVay then hinted at why the deal was made:

"It's the result of a lot of tough decisions that [the Rams] really had to make organizationally as a whole this offseason, Jay, losing a lot of great players that have been instrumental in our success, and Brandin is one of those guys as well, but it's also a reflection of the confidence that we do have in some other players on our roster."

ESPN's Bill Barnwell provided more detail on the Rams' potential motive after the deal broke April 9.

"It's easy to see how trading Cooks makes sense. Los Angeles was in a desperate cap situation and down its first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 after the Jalen Ramsey trade. Jared Goff's passer rating and QBR both declined without Cooks on the field. But as the team tried to find a Plan B for the 6-1 defensive front it saw early in the season and changed its running game, it began to seem like the Rams might operate best out of 12 personnel, which would put Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett on the field and force the Rams to leave one of Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods on the sidelines."

Cooks is an excellent deep threat when healthy, averaging 15.5 yards per reception from 2016 to 2018. He also gained 1,082 or more receiving yards from 2015 to 2018 and played a key role in the Rams' 2018 NFC Championship Game-winning team.

The former Oregon State star suffered two concussions in 2019 and had an off-year relative to his previous success, but he could return to form in Houston with quarterback Deshaun Watson calling the shots and another great deep threat in Will Fuller V also capable of giving defensive backs serious problems deep downfield.

As for the Rams, their receiving corps appears largely intact sans Cooks, with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods manning the top two spots on the wideout depth chart.

Josh Reynolds is the early candidate to handle WR3 duties, and breakout star Tyler Higbee (43 catches, 522 yards, two touchdowns in his final five games) is back as well at tight end alongside Gerald Everett.

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