The Saints traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots. In his first media availability as a member of the Patriots, Cooks was asked whether he asked to be traded.
“I didn’t,” Cooks told reporters on Wednesday. “It was a long process. So if we can set this straight, I think a lot of that and what was going on got taken out of context and a little exaggerated, and throughout the process I felt like I had to take the blows and keep my mouth shut, which is fine. It just happened to be a great opportunity for both sides. To be able to build what they want to build and to be sent off to a good team for me I think is a win-win situation. Like I said, the rumors out there and what’s been going on and what’s been told, I don’t let it bother me. I’m just here to play football and that’s what it’s all about.”
The most accurate rumor that’s out there isn’t that Cooks asked for a trade, but that his former agent engineered it by making the player’s discontent known to the media during the 2016 season and by working directly with one or more other teams to lay the foundation for a deal to be done. Ultimately, the Saints didn’t shop Cooks; teams contacted the Saints, and the Saints decided to pursue the possibility.
Now that Cooks is in New England, his role could change to something more like whatever it was he wanted it to be in New Orleans.
“As a young guy I think there were some things that I would’ve liked to have done more,” Cooks said. “Not like I wasn’t able to do them, we just had great guys doing those other things so if it’s not broken why fix it? But coming to New England it seems like it’s an offense that guys do a bunch of different things and I’m looking forward to being able to do some things that I didn’t necessarily have to do in New Orleans, hopefully to get the chance here and do it here.”
Cooks declined to elaborate on what it is that he wants to do, but he provided some fuel for the speculation that he’ll play more in one specific location in the formation.
“As far as going into detail on what I would like to do, I’d rather not go into detail,” Cooks said. “But as far as playing in the slot, I definitely think I can do that at a high level. It’ll be all about what coach [Bill] Belichick and the offense think I can fit well at and just doing my job the best that I can.”
It makes sense for Cooks to gravitate to the slot, given that outside receivers not named Randy Moss typically don’t fare as well in the New England system. But that could be bad news for the likes of Julian Edelman, a soon-to-be 31-year-old who could be supplanted sooner or later by Cooks.