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Brandin Cooks

Cooks hoping for offseason trade

Brandin Cooks wants out of Houston, and I think there will be a market for him. He has some talent, and it’s not a good season to be shopping for wide receivers.

It’s a down year for wide receivers in the traditional draft. Unlikely that any will be selected in first 15 picks. Maybe not even the top 20. There’s no uber-elite prospect who looks likely to come in and dominate from the git-go. Jaxon Smith-Njigba hardly played as a junior, catching 5 passes for 43 yards. Jordan Addison, Jalin Hyatt and Zay Flowers all weigh less than 180 pounds. Quentin Johnston is taller but also looks awfully lean.

The receiver options in free agency also look lighter than usual. Jakobi Meyers (who wasn’t even drafted back in 2019) looks like the best available. JuJu Smith-Schuster has size and experience but limited playmaking ability; he’s gotten little interest from teams the last two years. Allen Lazard, Kenny Golladay, Robert Woods, Jarvis Landry, DJ Chark. There’s just not a lot available.

Enter Cooks. He’s been a pain to work with, which probably played a role in the Saints, Patriots and Rams all choosing to unload him. In Jeff Duncan’s book, “Payton and Brees”, he suggests that New Orleans got rid of Cook because he was too preoccupied with his individual numbers.

But Cooks has been productive, and that will get the attention of some teams. He doesn’t want to play in Houston – he made that clear last year, when he was nearly sent to Dallas at the trade deadline – and the Texans seem open to moving him. “I’d say we’re kind of in the team building process here,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said at the combine on Tuesday. “Every player, every individual situation we’ll look at it. Then, ultimately we’ll do what feels best for the team and the organization moving forward.”

Cooks is due $18 million guaranteed this year, but I don’t think that will be a problem. Christian Kirk looks comparable to Cooks and signed a four-year deal averaging $18 million last year – now the salary cap is 8 percent higher.

With not much around him, Cooks’ production was down last year. He caught 57 passes for 699 yards and 3 TDs in 13 games (sitting out one week when he was upset about not being traded). He caught 171 passes for 2,187 yards and 12 TDs in his first two seasons with the Texans.

Over the last three years, Cooks has averaged 5.2 catches for 66 yards in 44 games, with 15 TDs. Using PPR scoring, that puts him 22nd in per-game production among wide receivers who’ve started at least half the time.

I think we’ll see Cooks with a new team before the draft rolls around.

WIDE RECEIVER PER-START AVERAGES (last 3 yrs)
PlayerStNoYdsRunTDPPR
Davante Adams, G.B.-L.V.477.294.5.0.9122.1
Cooper Kupp, LAR417.691.02.5.6420.8
Tyreek Hill, K.C.-Mia.486.688.05.2.7120.2
JaMarr Chase, Cin.285.988.41.0.7919.6
Justin Jefferson, Min.506.596.5.8.5419.4
Stefon Diggs, Buff.496.985.5.0.5919.0
DeAndre Hopkins, Ari.356.377.0.0.4916.9
Keenan Allen, LAC406.872.1.2.4616.8
A.J. Brown, Ten.-Phi.445.078.2.2.6416.7
Deebo Samuel, S.F.364.667.417.3.5616.4
Chris Godwin, T.B.416.572.3.6.4016.2
Mike Evans, T.B.474.767.3.2.7015.7
Tyler Lockett, Sea.485.468.0.2.5615.5
Jaylen Waddle, Mia.335.471.8.9.4515.4
CeeDee Lamb, Dall.495.369.34.2.4615.4
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.335.962.84.7.3815.0
DK Metcalf, Sea.505.066.4.1.5615.0
Tee Higgins, Cin.444.968.8.6.4514.5
Amari Cooper, Dal.-Cle.485.065.4.3.4714.3
Diontae Johnson, Pitt.485.961.81.9.3314.2
Adam Thielen, Min.454.752.6.5.6814.1
Brandin Cooks, Hou.445.265.6.6.3413.9
Terry McLaurin, Was.494.968.61.4.2913.6
DJ Moore, Car.494.566.12.5.3113.3
Mike Williams, LAC444.363.6.0.4213.1
DeVonta Smith, Phil.344.762.1.0.3613.1
Marquise Brown, Bal.-Ari.444.956.5.2.3912.9
Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.464.256.32.5.4412.8
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.-K.C.375.151.2.2.3612.4
Christian Kirk, Ari.-Jac.484.456.5.5.4012.4
Jakobi Meyers, N.E.425.057.0.2.2512.2
Michael Pittman, Ind.464.954.62.2.2512.1
Curtis Samuel, Car.-Was.334.446.211.7.3012.0
Robert Woods, LAR-Ten.424.548.14.8.3712.0
Cole Beasley, Buff.-T.B.315.353.5.0.1911.8
Tyler Boyd, Cin.474.351.71.5.3011.5
Allen Robinson, Chi.-LAR384.652.6.0.2711.4
Russell Gage, Atl.-T.B.404.648.7.2.3311.4
Chase Claypool, Pit.-Chi.433.850.33.9.3311.2
Jarvis Landry, Cle.-N.O.344.348.81.5.2911.1

—Ian Allan

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