Rams intend to extend Cooks before '18 season starts

Brandin Cooks has yet to be introduced as the newest member of the Los Angeles Rams -- that unveiling is set for Thursday -- but the organization is already scheming to keep the wideout in Southern California for the long haul.

The Rams intend to sign Cooks to an extension before the start of the 2018 season, a team source told NFL Network's Steve Wyche.

Acquired in a trade Tuesday from the New England Patriots in exchange for the 23rd overall pick in this year's draft among other things, Cooks is set to earn $8.5 million in 2018, the final year of his rookie contract. However, the Rams want to extend him as soon as possible so as to kill two birds: ensure that Jared Goff has a go-to No. 1 receiver for the foreseeable future and help ease their salary-cap situation for 2018.

Los Angeles' four all-or-nothing acquisitions -- Cooks, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh -- add roughly $35.2 million to its payroll, which puts the Rams over the cap in 2018. (That's including Cooks' $8.5 million number.) Each of those players, besides Talib, is currently off the Rams' books in 2019 when L.A. has a more flexible cap situation, as is All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is way overdue for an extension as well.

In going all-in in 2018, the Rams are trying to have their cake and eat it too, reaping a big-name offseason haul with limited financial consequences. But to make it all work will require serious money moves on the Rams' part, starting with signing Cooks to a back-loaded extension.

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