The New Orleans Saints' trade of Brandin Cooks was one of the marquee deals of NFL free agency this year, but since it happened, the team has been relatively quiet.

Coach Sean Payton offered his first public remarks about the trade during an interview Thursday with Mile High Sports (1340-AM) in Denver, explaining that the Saints dealt Cooks with hopes of improving the defense.

Although there were rumors about Cooks being unhappy in New Orleans, he told New England Patriots reporters Wednesday that those were exaggerated. Another potential explanation is the Saints were comfortable with Michael Thomas and Willie Snead as their main targets for Drew Brees, but Payton addressed that possibility with regards to Thomas, too.

"Well, look, Mike Thomas came in and really did a great job in his first year of working with us at the X receiver position," Payton said in the interview. "He's big and he's physical. But I don't know, in part, that it had anything to do with our decision to trade Brandin.