Were LA Rams wise to trade WR Brandin Cooks?

Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Van Jefferson
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Win-Win outcome

The LA Rams roster was smothered in 2020, paying top dollars for players whose production had dropped significantly. Nobody questioned that Cooks did not have the potential for a big season in 2020. What was the concern was the exorbitant cost combined with the growing risks to Cooks’ health due to repeated concussions over his short NFL career. That forced the Rams into exploring other options, and the best-case scenario was a trade.

By moving Cooks, the Rams removed $47 million of salary commitments off the books over the next four seasons. Of course, the team had to swallow over $21.8 million of dead cap salary in 2020, but the move created enough space to extend defensive back Jalen Ramsey, wide receiver Cooper Kupp, and wide receiver Robert Woods.   But was it all about the money?  Not at all.

Tomorrow, tomorrow

The LA Rams entered the 2020 NFL Draft with the 57th pick obtained in the trade with the Houston Texans, and selected wide receiver Van Jefferson. While Jefferson is not matching the Texans Brandin Cooks in performance this year, he is not far off the mark compared to Cooks’ 2019 performance with the Rams.  Jefferson so far has 11 of 16 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown.  That compares with Cooks’ 42 of 72 catches for 583 yards and two touchdowns.

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Jefferson is a younger and healthier receiver who has tremendous upside. In a year with a very deep and talented group of receivers, the Rams converted an expensive player today into a cheaper alternative for tomorrow.  In many ways, the LA Rams found a better fit for their offense. And in the process, found a better offense for Brandin Cooks.  A very wise decision, indeed.