Last season, Cooks played in all 16 regular season games for the Patriots.
Cooks only lasted one season on the Patriots after he was traded from the Saints. With the wideout having left the Rams for the Kansas City Chiefs, it created a vacancy for Los Angeles to fill with another deep threat capable of stretching the field.
The New England Patriots have four draft picks in the first two rounds, setting them up for a potential big move.
With free agency looming and the Rams needing to maintain payroll flexibility downstream, when large outlays will be needed to retain superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald and perhaps Goff and running back Todd Gurley, Watkins became too expensive to retain. Additionally, Rapoport suggests that there were some issues with Cooks' fit in the Patriots' offensive system.
The trade is somewhat of a surprise move for New England considering the chemistry he quickly developed with Brady.
The failed contract talks coincided with discussions of a trade with the Rams during the offseason.
Watkins also indirectly factors into the Cooks trade in another way.
Rather bizarrely for such a talented player, he's now on his third team in as many seasons, after joining the Pats from New Orleans in 2017.
Cooks will be asked to do all that and more with the Rams, who haven't let up on their intense offseason pursuit of a championship roster.
Gone now is the impact player in the 2018 NFL Draft, especially an edge rusher/linebacker to be had that starts opening day. But Cooks is still just 24, so it's hardly a move that is mortgaging the team's future, so long as he is extended and kept in Los Angeles.