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Brandin Cooks, Patriots trade a fantasy dream realized

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Brandin Cooks was a hot name on the trade market the last few weeks, and now a deal has finally been inked. The Patriots sent first- and third-round picks to the Saints in exchange for Cooks and a fourth. The rich get richer, as Tom Brady acquires yet another dynamic pass-catcher who is exceptional after the catch and in space and is a dangerous deep threat.

Cooks is coming off back-to-back 1,100-plus yard seasons with the Saints, finishing as the WR8 in 2016 and WR12 in 2015 and now he gets to catch passes from Tom Brady. Bill Belichick has long coveted Cooks, so it'll be no surprise to see him prominently featured in this offense. Despite his size, Cooks is primarily an outside receiver and a downfield threat. He played 65 percent of his snaps lined up out wide in 2016, and 73 percent in 2015. Yet, his versatility is likely what drew Belichick to him.

Fantasy-wise, Cooks may have just vaulted Julian Edelman in the Patriots' pass-catching pecking order. His downfield and after-the-catch ability make his ceiling higher in this spot. Edelman has battled through a number of injuries and is already 30 years old, but don't expect him to disappear -- he's one of Brady's most trusted targets. This certainly deflates the value of Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, who were both putting together resumes late last season to earn more playing time and targets. Sorry about your luck, guys.

The concerns with this move are Cooks' indoor/outdoor splits. Speedy, agile players like Cooks excel on the fast tracks of dome stadiums, which he enjoyed the past three years playing in the Superdome. It could be just bad luck, but so far Cooks has put up noticeably different numbers when playing outside on real turf:

Now, that being said, the combination of Josh McDaniels calling plays and Tom Brady executing them will likely make this split null and void, but it's worth mentioning. Cooks was being drafted at the end of the second round, per early MFL10 ADP (average draft position) data. That feels about right, but I wouldn't be surprised if his ADP starts creeping even higher from a perceived (and probably deserved) Brady/Belichick bump.

On the flip side, this boosts Michael Thomas' stock in New Orleans as well. He impressed as a rookie and could now be looking at an even bigger piece of the passing pie coming his way. Same goes for Willie Snead, who fell to third fiddle with Cooks and Thomas in town, but now could jump back up into second place in the eyes of Drew Brees. Last I checked, Coby Fleener is still Coby Fleener, so I wouldn't read too much into this move impacting him.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the move? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook (links below). Until next time.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar or "Like" his page on Facebook.

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