Last night, the Texans traded a 2020 second-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for Brandin Cooks and a 2022 fourth-round pick. We wrote about it here at BRB yesterday and this morning, so let’s hear it from someone else now. Bill Barnwell, the professional football writer at ESPN, has graded the Cooks trade. You can (and should) read the entirety of his piece here. If you want a quick summary, here’s a blurb with some of Barnwell’s thoughts on this trade from the Texans’ perspective.
In a vacuum, if I told you the Texans replaced DeAndre Hopkins with Cooks, that wouldn’t be a disaster. Where this really goes off the rails, though, is with another O’Brien mistake. The one non-Cooper wideout to get a significant guarantee over two years in this draft class is Randall Cobb, who received a three-year, $27 million deal with $18 million guaranteed from Houston. Based on the rest of the market, Cobb’s value was realistically somewhere around one year and $5 million.
To have this all make sense, you have to believe that the difference between having Cobb and Cooks on your roster as opposed to Hopkins and Stills is less than what the Texans needed to do to make that change. Houston sent the 57th pick and 131st picks out in those two deals and got back the 40th selection to go with fourth-rounders in 2021 and 2022. It also had to absorb the contract of running back David Johnson, who has a minimum of $12.3 million guaranteed due over the next two seasons. There was no market for Gurley, who has been a dramatically more productive player over the course of his career. Most teams would insist on getting a pick just to absorb that Johnson contract.
There’s no way to make this all add up, and while I try to keep each of these trades and decisions separate in evaluating deals, you can’t escape the specter of the Hopkins and Cobb deals in evaluating what the Texans are doing here. To spite one of their best players for wanting a contract extension too soon, they have made three disastrous decisions. We’re going to look back on this offseason the same way we look back at the decisions the Rams made during that summer of 2018: in total disbelief.
Are you as down on the trade for the Texans as Barnwell is? Or are you happier with the deal for Houston?