The LA Rams are sending receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans for a second round pick just two years after acquiring him in exchange for a first round pick from the New England Patriots, and one and a half years after giving him an $81 million contract extension.
Les Snead was dealing from a position of strength and I even wondered early in the offseason if LA would attempt to cull offers for Robert Woods. Why Woods instead of Cooks? Simply because he had more value in both trade compensation and salary cap savings. However, dealing Cooks instead of Woods is an indication that perhaps Snead and Sean McVay see themselves in a position to get back to the Super Bowl next season and they’re more inclined to keep a great player. No surprise there and no surprise that they traded Cooks even though it didn’t save them any money.
Will they turn around and use the second round pick on a different wide receiver though?
The Rams currently have Woods and Cooper Kupp, with Kupp being a top-10 receiver in the NFL in my opinion. Only Kenny Golladay caught more than Kupp’s 10 touchdowns in 2019. Past that, they have Josh Reynolds, a fourth round pick in 2017 who caught 21 of 43 targets for 326 yards and one touchdown last season. Then Greg Dortch and Nsimba Webster.
Webster came out of Eastern Washington in 2019, also going undrafted, but going directly to Los Angeles. He made the initial 53-man roster but was eventually waived again. Webster had no snaps on offense but returned seven punts for 18 yards and two kicks for 57.
As of today, that leaves the Rams with Kupp, Woods, Reynolds, Dortch, and Webster on the roster at receiver. Kupp and Reynolds will both be free agents in 2021, whereas Woods will be going into the final year of his contract. That makes me believe that receiver is in fact a priority for LA, including on day two.
The 2020 draft class is expected to have a deep pool at receiver, with quality players coming off the board in rounds two and three. The Rams now pick twice in both of those rounds. Penn State’s KJ Hamler may be a player in that range who compares somewhat to Cooks.