Teams don’t often trade young, talented, affordable wide receivers before they reach the end of their rookie contracts. New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis on Tuesday explained why his team did just that with Brandin Cooks.
“The goal is to take offensive assets and position them to improve our defense,” Loomis said at the NFL Annual Meeting, via The New Orleans Advocate. “Let’s not kid ourselves, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Saints dealt Cooks, a 1,000-yard receiver in each of the last two seasons, to the New England Patriots earlier this month in exchange for the 32nd overall pick in 2017 NFL Draft. The teams also swapped mid-round picks in the deal, with the Saints receiving a Patriots third-rounder (No. 108) and New England landing a fourth-rounder (No. 116) from New Orleans.
As Loomis noted, the trade was about improving the Saints’ long-struggling defense, even if it meant giving up a valuable offensive piece. New Orleans hasn’t finished worse than fourth in the NFL in total offense since 2010 but ranked 31st in points allowed this past season and dead last in 2015.
“We’ve had spectacular offensive play for a good period of time, and a lot of those parts have been interchangeable,” Loomis said. “We’ve had good players on offense, I’m not trying to diminish that. And yet, look, before we had Jimmy Graham we had a No. 1 offense, then we had (tight end) Jimmy Graham and we had a No. 1 offense, and then we made a trade there, and after that, we’ve had a No. 1 offense.”
The Saints also have their own first-round pick (No. 11) to work with, giving them two selections in the top 32 and three in the top 42. The Patriots, meanwhile, aren’t scheduled to pick until No. 72.
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