Tue Jul 17 3:41pm ET
Players: Brandin Cooks
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks runs the ball during practice at the NFL football team's mini camp, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Rams have agreed to a five-year extension with wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
The Rams traded their first- and sixth-round picks in the 2018 draft to the New England Patriots for Cooks and a fourth-round pick earlier this year.
Before joining the Rams, Cooks played in 58 regular-season games with 46 starts, and had at least 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past three seasons.
The fifth-year pro has 280 receptions for 3,943 yards and 27 touchdowns, and averages 14.1 yards per reception. He had nine 100-plus yard receiving games in 2016 with the New Orleans Saints.
''Brandin Cooks has shown himself to be a class act on and off the field since the first day he joined our team,'' Rams coach Sean McVay said in a statement. ''He's a proven professional in this league, and signing him to a long-term contract was always our goal. We're excited to keep Brandin in a Rams uniform through 2023.''
The Los Angeles Rams signed wide receiver Brandin Cooks to a five-year extension on Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The Patriots sent Cooks to Los Angeles via a trade, and it looks like they want the speedy receiver to be a part of their future as they move into a new stadium in a few years. The Rams offense is on the rise under young head coach Sean McVay and young quarterback Jared Goff, but moving from Tom Brady to Goff is a downgrade. Cooks' ceiling will be lower in LA and he'll have more week-to-week volatility, making him a potential WR2 bust coming off three straight 1,000-yard seasons. Cooks is much more attractive as a high-end WR3.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell's tentative plan is to miss training camp but to be ready for the regular season in Week 1, according to sources. As expected, Bell missing any regular season games would be a shock, and the Steelers expect him to play a full season. With Bell on another one-year franchise tag, it wouldn't make sense for him to skip any games and damage his potential value heading into free agency. He has more incentive to produce in what could be his last year with the Steelers, and he is the consensus No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts.
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said on his Instagram that he wants to be traded if he's not going to be given an extension. If he doesn't get an extension, it's likely that he'll hold out of training camp and the preseason. The Cowboys were rumored to be interested in trading for him around the draft, but Seattle's asking price was too high. Perhaps now something can be worked out between the two teams. Thomas, 29, has missed seven games the last two years due to injuries, but his play hasn't really fallen off. Seattle's defense is slowly losing members of the Legion of Boom, and their secondary would be vulnerable if they lose both Thomas and Richard Sherman in the same offseason.
Washington Redskins linebackers Mason Foster (shoulder) and Zach Brown (foot) are both expected to be fully healthy for the start of training camp. Foster separated his shoulder in Week 2 and was shut down by October. Brown was leading the league in tackles before his season-ending foot injury. The duo is one of the more productive linebacking tandems in the league. Brown can be an IDP beast in tackles, as he's posted back-to-back 100-plus tackle seasons, including a career-high 149 tackles in Buffalo in 2016. He had 127 in just 13 games in his first year with Washington. In a full season in 2016, Foster recorded a career-high 124 takedowns and also added a sack.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said he is "pumped" about tight end Austin Hooper's potential as he heads into his third season. Hooper has caught 10 of 14 passes with four touchdowns and six first downs in his career in the red zone. "I think I can be a red zone threat," Hooper said. "I just have to put in the work so I can get the opportunities in the red zone." Hooper had a lot of drops last year, though, and with all the offensive weapons Atlanta has, it's unlikely that Hooper becomes much more than a touchdown-dependent TE2 option in his third year.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has the traits of a No. 1 receiver, but in Detroit he's behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate as the third wideout. He caught 28 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns in 2017, but he's looked better in offseason workouts and could be ready to break out in 2018. Golladay excelled in the red zone in spring practices and tore up the first-team defense. He was inconsistent in his rookie year due to missing five games with a hamstring injury, and his route running needed work. "I saw freakish catches, man," Tate said. "Some real freakin' freakish catches. Kenny's still a young guy trying to figure it out, but he's moving at a great pace. If he can just keep the mentality he has coming in, he studies, and just tries to get better every day, I'm telling you, this guy can be dominant. He's a WR1 kind of guy." Golladay was a popular waiver wire addition after Week 1 last year when he scored two touchdowns, but he was inconsistent after that. He's a late-round sleeper that should be much more consistent this year, and he'll be a must-have if one of Tate or Jones gets injured.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith (knee), who missed all of last year with the Bears after tearing his ACL and partially tearing his MCL in his left knee, is still recovering but hopes to be cleared for training camp. "On a scale of 1 to 10, it's almost a 10…I haven't had a setback along the recovery process," Meredith said on the injury. "I'm gaining strength day by day, month by month. I'm excited to see how soon I can get back…But the main objective for me is to do as much as I can with the trainers to get ready for the season. My goal is to try and get back to training camp. As long as there aren't any setbacks or anything like that, it shouldn't be a problem." In 2016, Meredith led the Bears with 66 catches for 888 yards and was tied for the team lead with four touchdowns. He'll also have his former wide receivers coach, Curtis Johnson, with him in New Orleans. For Meredith, it'll all depend on health. But he has a great opportunity with his new team, although the Saints are starting to transition to more of a run-first club. Still, he'll have Drew Brees throwing him passes and he could be a nice surprise. Consider Meredith as a nice value pick in the later rounds.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is in the final year of his deal as he enters his 15th NFL season, and he admitted that he might not be done playing after 2018. "If I'm not playing in Arizona, I won't be playing anywhere," Fitzgerald said. "I've built a good life for myself down there. Playing in the same place for 15 years is a true blessing." Fitz turns 35 this fall but has 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of the last three years, showing that he hasn't slowed down with age. He'll be working with a new quarterback this year in Sam Bradford, but rookie Josh Rosen could take over at some point. With Fitzgerald, it really doesn't matter who the QB is - he still produces. He should once again be a pretty safe pick as a WR2 with the offense running through him and David Johnson.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will not hold out in training camp as he seeks resolution to his contract. He's expected to report to training camp on July 25, according to a source. Gronk contemplated retirement after losing the Super Bowl, but he'll be back for at least one more season. Injuries make him a risk, but with Tom Brady still at quarterback, Gronkowski is an elite fantasy tight end, albeit with considerable risk, too.
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is expected to report to the facility on time by July 25, according to a source.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald hinted that he isn't close to retiring. He still feels good, enjoys the competition and loves being around his teammates. He also said he's either playing for the Cardinals or retiring. 'It doesn't really matter about the age, it's about what you put into it and your mindset,' Fitzgerald said. 'Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it's supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play. If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands.'
Detroit Lions WR Kenny Golladay has the potential to dominate, according to WR Golden Tate, who also referred to Golladay as a 'WR1 kind of guy.' He added: 'I saw freakish catches, man -- some real freakin' freakish catches. Kenny's still a young guy trying to figure it out, but he's moving at a great pace. If he can just keep the mentality he has coming in, he studies, and just tries to get better every day, I'm telling you, this guy can be dominant.'
New Orleans Saints WR Cameron Meredith (knee) said that while he is still recovering from his knee injury and has been limited in team activities thus far, he is hopeful to be given the 'all clear' for training camp. 'On a scale of '1 to 10,' it's almost a 10? I haven't had a setback along the recovery process,' Meredith said of his injury. 'I'm gaining strength day by day, month by month. I'm excited to see how soon I can get back, but the main objective for me is to do as much as I can with the trainers to get ready for the season. My goal is to try and get back to training camp. As long as there aren't any setbacks or anything like that, it shouldn't be a problem.'
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones attended QB Matt Ryan's annual offseason passing camp, per a Snapchat post by WR Calvin Ridley, who was also on hand. The other players that were in attendance included TEs Austin Hooper, Eric Saubert, WRs Justin Hardy, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Hall, Russell Gage Jr. and Reggie Davis. Jones didn't attend the team's offseason program or mandatory minicamp and it's unknown if he'll be at training camp, which begins on Thursday, July 26.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Derek Watt has earned high praise from running backs coach Alfredo Roberts, who called him 'one of the top fullbacks in the NFL.' Watt is not only considered a 'capable blocker,' but also someone who can be an effective runner in short-yardage situations, as well as be a factor in the passing game that defenses have to take account for.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston threw 53.4 percent of his passes beyond the first down marker in the air per Pro Football Focus, easily the highest such mark in the league.
According to a report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Pittsburgh Steelers offered running back Le'Veon Bell a five-year, $70 million contract ahead of the July 16 deadline for the two sides to work out an extension. Rapoport went on to report that $30 million of that contract would come over the next two years. That extremely large sum of money, which would have made Bell the highest-paid running back in the league, was not enough to convince the All-Pro to sign the contract extension. Bell will instead earn $14.5 million under the franchise tag in 2018, which could be his final season in Pittsburgh.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has 116 forced missed tackles over the last three seasons according to Pro Football Focus, the second-highest total of any running back over that span.
New York Giants RB Jonathan Stewart has forced 124 missed tackles over the last three seasons according to Pro Football Focus, the most of any running back over that span.
Cleveland Browns RB Carlos Hyde has 114 forced missed tackles over the last three seasons according to Pro Football Focus, tied with Le'Veon Bell for the third-highest total of any running back over that span.