Patriots reportedly trade for Saints' Brandin Cooks without giving up any of their players

The New England Patriots pulled off what seemed like a bank heist on Friday, dealing a handful of draft picks in exchange for players who can have an immediate impact with the franchise.

It started with the team trading its 2017 second-round pick for Carolina Panthers linebacker Kony Ealy, but the move of the day was reportedly landing Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

ESPN's Dianna Russini broke the news of the deal. The Patriots will deal their 2017 first-round pick (No. 32) and third-round selection (No. 103) in exchange for Cooks and the Saints' fourth-round pick (No. 118).

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TRADE! The Patriots have traded their #32 & 3rd #103 pick to the Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks & their 4th #118 pick per sources

— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 11, 2017

This can only be explained by an overwhelming desire on the Saints' part to place their money elsewhere down the line and bolster their defense in the meantime.

Cooks has another year on his rookie contract before he becomes one of the more sought-after free-agent wide receivers in the league. The 23-year-old has averaged 81 catches, 1,155.5 yards and 8.5 TDs the past two seasons.

Apparently, New Orleans isn't interested in competing in that market, or at least is willing to rent him out for a year in return for...probably fewer wins and maybe a sleeper second-rounder.

Dan is on Twitter. Saints gonna Saint.