The list of players on the Los Angeles Rams roster potentially becoming free agents in a year’s time grew larger by one this week with the trade for New England Patriots WR Brandin Cooks.
The issue with re-signing Cooks who is headed into the fifth-year option season on his rookie contract? Hollywood has already seen this script before. Last year in the preseason, the Rams traded for WR Sammy Watkins who came over from the Buffalo Bills before running off into the sunset of free agency landing a huge contract and a leading role with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Luckily, it appears that this sequel could have a happier ending:
The Rams plan on signing recently acquired WR Brandin Cooks to an extension before the season, according to a team source. Cooks is scheduled to earn $8.5 on the final year of his deal in 2018. He's part of the long-term plan, which is why they traded a No. 1 for him.— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) April 4, 2018
You can forgive any Rams fans who approach this news with skepticism. Remember when the Rams were actively and aggresively trying to re-sign Watkins? Or when Rams General Manager Les Snead said he could “definitely” see CB Trumaine Johnson returning roughly two months before Johnson signed a major contract with the New York Jets? Or when Snead suggested re-signing the four members of the 2016 secondary to long-term deals was “Priority A” only to see exactly 0 of those players sign a long-term deal? Yeah, you get the idea.
Still, there’s reason to believe there’s legitimacy behind this one. The Rams have pursued Cooks as far back as last year when he was still on the New Orleans Saints. So clearly he’s not just a target to fill a role. He’s someone they want specifically and should be willing to pay market value beyond 2018.
So with the Rams planning on extending Brandin Cooks before the season begins, the next issue will be how will the Rams deal with superstar DL Aaron Donald. Donald will likely command more than $20m a year, and as mentioned the team already has plenty of tough decisions in regards to their free agents in 2019. So where does Donald fit in with the Rams’ future?
Schefter on Aaron Donald: “What’s the rush to sign Aaron Donald right now? I don’t know when it’s going to get done, but sure enough at some point before training camp, I’ll be you this deal gets done.”— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) April 2, 2018
The Rams didn’t give up a first-round pick to NE for Brandin Cooks for just one season. My report on a forthcoming long term deal and how it won’t be prohibitive in getting a mega-deal finalized for DT Aaron Donald pic.twitter.com/cb2TMFG0N0— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) April 4, 2018
It appears that the Rams will push to re-sign Cooks and Donald prior to the regular season.
Extending two of their top talents prior to the start of the season would be great news for the Rams and would allow the front office to focus on other players in what is shaping up to be a Super Bowl or bust season.