NFL Trade Rumors: Lions can’t really compete in market for Brandin Cooks
The Detroit Lions are in the market for a wide receiver, but is Brandin Cooks a realistic target?
The Detroit Lions could be active as Tuesday’s trade deadline creeps closer, and there have been plenty of indications they are looking to add a wide receiver. It will come down to fit and asking price if they do make a move for someone, all the way to an having an eye on 2022 and beyond.
Upon the Houston Texans trading running back Mark Ingram back to the New Orleans Saints this week, wide receiver Brandin Cooks was not thrilled and took to Twitter with a profane assessment.
Cooks is easily the Texans’ leading receiver this year, with 45 receptions for 502 yards and a touchdown. No one else on the team has 20 catches, 25 targets or 160 receiving yards going into Week 8. It’s easy to tie Cooks to multiple teams as a trade option (Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints), and the Texans’ previous tune about not trading him may have changed with his public reaction to the Ingram trade.
NFL rumors: Should the Lions be in on Brandin Cooks?
Mike Payton of Pride of Detroit thinks Cooks makes sense for the Lions.
There are deep ties, from quarterback Jared Goff, to head coach Dan Campbell to assistant general manager Ray Agnew. Goff was of course Cooks’ quarterback for two seasons with the Rams (2018 and 2019), and Campbell was a New Orleans Saints assistant when Cooks was there in 2016. Agnew previously worked in the Rams’ front office, and was considered instrumental in getting the trade that brought Cooks there done. And Lions general manager Brad Holmes worked in the Rams’ front office for years.
As ESPN’s Field Yates suggested, Cooks is owed a remarkably reasonable amount in salary (around $1.5 million) for the rest of this season heading into Week 8. A contract that originally look like an albatross on the surface is actually not that bad after the Texans restructured last March, with voidable years in 2023 and 2024. Cutting or trading him before June 1, 2022 would leave behind $7.5 million in dead money, and clear $8.7 million on cap space (according to Over The Cap).
Trading for Cooks makes some sense for the Lions, informed by his history with Goff, Campbell, Holmes, etc. and manageable cap implications if they don’t keep him next year. But in what’s shaping up to be a competitive market to get him, it’s hard to see Detroit making an offer with the kind of future assets that’ll get the Texans’ attention.