The Saints decided earlier this month to move on from receiver Brandin Cooks, a first-round pick in 2014 who has developed into a quality player. On Friday, quarterback Drew Brees explained during a visit to PFT Live his reaction to the move.
“You know that was tough, because I love Brandin and not only is he a great teammate but he’s a great friend and obviously we were able to accomplish some great things together over the last three years,” Brees said. “I think it was just one of those unfortunate things that maybe kind of took on a life of its own too as the season progressed and then into the offseason. You know, there was so much speculation about his intentions and that kind of thing in regards to whether he wanted to be here or not he wanted to be here and I think a lot of that was kind of fostered by the media and that kind of thing. But at the end of the day I hope that he got what he wanted or got in to a good situation, which I think he did and obviously we got some draft picks out of it. So at the end of the day I just want what’s best for him, also want what’s best for us and hopefully that accomplished that.”
Brees then addressed how the offense will adjust to the absence of Cooks.
“You evolve, and you find ways,” Brees said. “The balls that were going to Brandin Cooks are now gonna go somewhere else, and the evolution of Michael Thomas, our rookie receiver out of Ohio State last year. The progression he made from the beginning of the season to the end, he became a go-to guy. Willie Snead in the slot was very productive for us. I think Coby Fleener will be able to take it to the next level as we get him involved at the tight end position, which we’re always able to do here. And the addition of Ted Ginn gives you that speed element. Not only a guy that can pull the top off [of a defense] but he’s been very productive over the last few years in Carolina. I’ve been very impressed with him.
“You know, we got some young guys and we’ll see, there’s always opportunity there. The skill position on offense, we find ways to spread the ball around not matter who’s in the lineup and those guys know they’re gonna get their opportunities.”
The opportunities will be plentiful as long as Brees is around to dispense them. Ultimately, that surely was one of the reasons why the Saints were comfortable with the prospect of plugging someone else in to the offense in place of Cooks.