NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "Something real significant."
Those were the words uttered by Saints head coach Sean Payton when asked what it would take for him to trade away Brandin Cooks.
Then, the trade finally happened. And it feels like Payton and the Saints fell short. The Patriots shipped their first round pick at 32 and third round pick at 103 to New Orleans in exchange for Cooks and their fourth rounder at 118. On the surface, looks like Bill Belichick got one over on Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton, at least for now.
But still, I go back to that opening line: 'Something real significant' and can't help but wonder what exactly happened?
Earlier reports had Tennessee and Philadelphia as potential suitors. A first round pick was clearly the Saints' aim and both teams held higher ones than New England. There was even one report that the Titans would offer the 18th overall pick for Cooks straight up and the Saints wanted more.
Was that offer ever really made? Were Philly and Tennessee ever truly interested? Did the Saints balk at their early offers in hopes of landing a better offer but got caught when it never materialized? Thus, they were forced to take a deal that appears not as valuable when those prior teams moved on? Was this the best they were going to get all along?
Guess we'll never know. We also don't know how this trade will ultimately turn out. For all the doom and gloom in the reaction to this deal, there's still a very realistic chance the Saints will land one or two quality football players.
Time will eventually tell who the true victors are. But for now, the winning team in this deal doesn't feel like the Saints.