The Patriots had their sights set on Brandin Cooks, and two days into the new league year they've landed him.
According to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran, the Patriots have agreed to send their No. 32 overall selection in this year's draft as well as their No. 103 choice to the Saints. In return, they'll acquire Cooks and the No. 118 pick from New Orleans.
In Cooks, the Patriots have landed a dynamic receiver with the speed to be an outside-the-numbers threat and the short-area quickness to get himself open in the intermediate range that Tom Brady so often likes to exploit.
The 5-foot-10 burner was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2014 draft. He is 23 years old -- about two months younger than Patriots wideout Malcolm Mitchell -- and has one year remaining on his rookie contract as well as a fifth-year team option.
Cooks recorded a career-high in yards last season for New Orleans, racking up 1,173 yards on 78 catches and he scored eight times. The cost for the Patriots -- their first-round draft choice and 15 spots in draft position -- seems reasonable for a player of Cooks' skill set, age and contractual status.
ESPN's Dianna Russini was the first to report news of the deal.
More on Cooks and Patriots free agent doings in this special edition of Quick Slants The Podcast:
In separate statements Saturday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith each criticized President Donald Trump's verbal attack on NFL players.
The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.
And Smith's statement:
Whether or not Roger or the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen. This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.
NFLPA president Eric Winston, a tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, also tweeted a statement critical of the President:
At a rally in Alabama on Friday night, Trump said NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he encouraged NFL fans to walk out of games in protest.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump told the rally.
He also lamented that football has become less violent.
“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.
President Trump responded again on Twitter Saturday afternoon, saying players who don't stand for the anthem should, "Find something else to do!"