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New England Patriots acquire wide receiver Brandin Cooks in trade with Saints

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) --The New England Patriots made their second blockbuster move of the offseason, acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with the New Orleans Saints.

New England gave up a first and third round pick in this year's draft in exchange for Cooks and a 2017 fourth-round pick. The trade comes after the reigning Super Bowl champs signed former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million contract.

The Patriots typically do not sign major free agents, nor do they pull off trades for big name players. Sometimes, they trade their own well-known players in exchange for draft picks, such as their midseason trade with the Cleveland Browns, in which they sent linebacker Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a compensatory third-round pick.

However, New England's been aggressive in acquiring talent early in free agency. The 23-year-old Cooks has had back-to-back 1,000 receiving yard seasons with the Saints, and Gilmore is recognized as one of the NFL's best corners over his five-year career.

Speaking to ESPN about the trade, Cooks said, "I've been praying. I'm just thankful."

Cooks has been lauded for his big-play ability since he was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. According to ESPN, Cooks scored 17 touchdowns over the past two years and had two of the four longest receptions in the NFL last year (98 yards and 87 yards).

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