ATLANTA -- Brandin Cooks generated 1,000-plus receiving yards and at least six touchdowns in each of the past four seasons, yet in back-to-back years the speedy receiver has been traded for first-round picks.
While heaping praise on the receiver, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay said Cooks won't be traded for a third straight season.
"When you get a chance to talk to [Bill Belichick] and [Sean Payton], they think the world of Brandin and what he's done," McVay said. "Everybody that's been around Brandin you can't talk enough about the production. This is a special human being. The way he goes about his business. Guys like him are why you love coaching. ... I could go on and on about what he's done for this football team. He's been instrumental in us getting here. Love that guy and you can't say enough good things about Brandin Cooks. I can promise you this: We're not trading him."
Selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Cooks was traded by Sean Payton to the Patriots in 2017. After one season, the Pats shipped him to L.A. after deciding the wideout, who was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, would cost more than they desired to spend. After acquiring Cooks, the Rams handed the receiver a new six-year, $88 million contract.
The coach noted how Cooks affects the game even when he's not targeted by stressing the defense. McVay also praised Cooks' pass-catching acumen, noting that he snags almost everything thrown his way, and how the wideout made a pivotal deep shot in the NFC Championship Game that jumpstarted a mostly dormant Rams offense.
Cooks said bouncing around hasn't affected his play. The receiver seemed to take it as a compliment that he was traded each time for a first-round pick, which teams historically hoard.
"No, it hasn't [affected me] because there is no doubt in my mind that I've been blessed to play this game at a high level," he said Tuesday. "Unfortunate I was moved a couple times. Every single time I was moved to a special team, so with that aspect -- and for a first-round pick -- so, it wasn't hard at all for me. It's interesting to me because I just think of the fact that I get to go and touch other people's lives."
Cooks added that he hasn't considered whether his career would have been altered had he not been twice traded.
"It gives me something to look forward to, a challenge, being on different teams, but I haven't really thought about [how changing teams has affected his production]," Cooks said.
Not only has Cooks been traded back-to-back offseasons, he's also in back-to-back Super Bowls. After leaving last season's game after a devastating hit after catching just one pass for 23 yards in the Patriots' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Cooks is looking to have a bigger day this Super Sunday.
At the very least, Cooks can play with the comfort of knowing he won't be traded again once the season ends.