Whether it’s gameplan, player regression, lack of chemistry or something else, it’s obvious Brandin Cooks has not put up the stats in 2022 he’s been known for in prior years.
Through 6 games this season, Cooks has only 28 catches for 281 yards on 47 targets. Add in 13 receiving first downs and only 1 touchdown and you could say this season is shaping up to be a disappointment.
Play this forward through 17 games and Cooks will amass 79 catches for 796 yards and less than 3 touchdowns.
Those certainly aren't the numbers of a premier WR1 in today’s NFL.
There are lots of reasons that may or may not explain the explosive receivers drop off: quarterback Davis Mills’ sophomore slump, new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s new(ish) playbook, Cooks connection to now-ousted team exec Jack Easterby and so on.
But, no matter the reason, the stats don’t lie.
Brandin Cooks on Jack Easterby: 'My relationship with Jack was nothing but great. One thing I'll think about is a lot of positive he had on here. What he was a part of building our sub programs was special. A lot of people should be thankful for him. I'm going to miss him.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 19, 2022
Does the summary ejection of Easterby bring an end to Cooks’ loyalty to the Texans? That’s a pretty bad leap of logic. Cooks, since his arrival in Houston, has been a great player, great teammate and solid professional. However, in a ‘no one is safe’ atmosphere of a basement level on up rebuild, it’s hard to imagine Texans general manager Nick Caserio isn’t listening to phone calls.
Big-name WRs generating trade interest:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 23, 2022
-- #Texans WR Brandin Cooks has been the target of multiple calls.
-- #Steelers WR Chase Claypool has been in focus, but is not expected to be deal, barring a shift.
-- Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy has been the center of calls, as DEN sputtered.
Brandin Cooks and the Salary Cap
First thing to look at his salary cap number. Per the fine folks at OverTheCap.com, Cooks is currently on the books for $9,749,847. That might seem like a big chunk of change to those of us who live paycheck to paycheck, But when it comes to #1 receivers, that’s not a lot of dough for an NFL franchise. In fact, it doesn’t even lace Cooks in the top 10 highest paid receivers. Granted, that number will balloon to $26,610,370 next season. But, a new team can easily re-do his deal to fit their cap over the next few years.
Brandin Cooks’ Trade Value
Next thing is Houston’s return on investment.
Cooks trade value was a 2nd rounder two year ago. I don’t see how the value stays that high today. https://t.co/QKBYugZpgE— TexansCap (@TexansCap) October 23, 2022
If the Texans could still get a second round pick from a team in need of a receiver bad enough to give away that draft value, then would you take it?
Houston’s WR2 Nico Collins is starting to come into his own. He doesn’t offer the sort of take-the-top-off-the-defense speed that Cooks brings. However, Collins is showing to be a solid player.
CBSSports.com currently has 7 wide receivers in the top 50 players for the 2023 NFL draft. Are any of them a better option than Cooks?
As of this writing, the Green Bay Packers hold the #15 overall pick in the 2023 draft. A second rounder would, theoretically, translate to Houston getting the #47 overall pick. That is, if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers think Cooks is worth that much.
After an embarrassing loss to the Washington Commanders yesterday, Green Bay might be looking for anything to light a spark. Replacing Las Vegas Raiders’ WR1 DeVante Adams, who lit the Texans defense up for 95 yards yesterday, has been a tall order for the Packers so far.
Brandin* Cooks is one trade away from tying Eric Dickerson for the most all time. Dickerson was traded four times.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 23, 2022
*This time with Brandin spelled correctly. I’ll handle it, phone https://t.co/M6VsZFd1e3
Should the Houston Texans trade Brandin Cooks?
What do you think?
With the NFL trade deadline only 8 days away, we’ll find out soon enough.