Cooks, who posted consecutive seasons with over 1,100 receiving yards with the Saints, was sent to the Patriots in exchange for 2017 first- and third-round selections on March 10.
Brees established a strong rapport with Cooks during the latter’s first three seasons with the Saints, but appeared rather composed about the receiver’s departure Friday.
“I was aware that there were offers out there for (Cooks), and that that was a possibility,” Brees said to ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “There’s a value that’s given to a player based on how the rest of the league views you, and if all of a sudden that value gets to a (certain) point … well, then moves are made.”
Exactly two years before Cooks was traded, Jimmy Graham was shipped to the Seattle Seahawks for center Max Unger and a 2015 first-round pick (used on Stephone Anthony), and Brees drew parallels to the previous transaction.
“Going back to the Jimmy Graham trade, I hate to lose Jimmy, but what did we get out of that? Well, we got Max Unger, and I love Max Unger, and I think he’s going to be a mainstay on our offensive line and a leader for that group for a long time, and (we got) a first-round pick out of that deal.
“So while I’d love to keep all of my toys, all of my guys, I also understand that this is the nature of the business and how you finagle things to go out and acquire more talent.”
Cooks’ departure is an obvious hit to the Saints’ passing game, but the veteran Brees remains unflappable – the rare quarterback who can remain consistent, even with a rotating receiving corps.
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