The 2020 NFL offseason has been one for the ages. DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs were traded away, Tom Brady is a Buccaneer and Todd Gurley is a Falcon. Top players have been traded and released, but there are still moves that will be made. Brandin Cooks has reportedly been shopped around, and from his tweet below he seems to want out.
Free me 🤦🏿♂️
— Brandin Cooks (@brandincooks) March 27, 2020
To be fair, this could be about freeing him from self quarantine, but with the trade rumors buzzing around him, many believe he is talking about being free from the Rams. A team that could make sense for Brandin Cooks is the Green Bay Packers. He seems to fit the speed receiver mold in Green Bay that the Packers are lacking. His availability has many fans asking: Should the Packers trade for Brandin Cooks?
Why the Packers SHOULD trade for Cooks:
The Packers have one glaring weakness in their offense, and that is a speed receiver. The Packers have a top receiver in Davante Adams, but he gets open because of his incredible route running and release off the line of scrimmage. He is not burned by defensive backs on seem routes down the field, and the offense is in need of someone who can spread the field for their offense.
The fastest receiver on the Packers’ roster right now is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. During his combine, he ran a 4.37, which is the fastest on the Packers by over one tenth of a second. He hasn’t shown that big play speed on the field, and has fallen out of the rotation. In the last seven games of the regular season, MVS played over 30% of the offensive snaps just once. He had games where he only played 11,10 and 6 snaps. If the Packers brought in Brandin Cooks he would be the fastest receiver on the roster. He ran a 4.33 during his 40 and has shown the ability to use his speed on the field. Cooks can play in the slot between Adams and Funchess, or line up on the outside and be a deep threat anytime he is on the field.
Brandin Cooks has a proven track record of being a productive playmaker on whatever offense he is on. Cooks is on his 3rd NFL team with the Rams, and has posted over 1,000 yards for each team he has played for. In the four seasons that Cooks played all 16 games he averaged 1,149 yards and 7.25 touchdowns. Compare that to 1,216 yards and 7 touchdowns, which were the numbers for MVS, Allison and Lazard combined. If Cooks could bring that type of production to the Packers, he would change their offense the moment he steps on the field.
Brandin Cooks also has experience playing with future hall of fame quarterbacks and the expectations they bring. Cooks has played for both Drew Brees and Tom Brady and would bring big game experience to the Packers. Currently, Rodgers and Crosby are the only two Packers on the roster with Super Bowl appearances. Cooks played in two Super Bowls, one with the Patriots and one with the Rams just two seasons ago. He will bring leadership to the team and pair up with Adams to guide young receivers like MVS, Kumerow and Lazard.
Why the Packers Should NOT trade for Cooks:
The Packers face a critical offseason in 2021 when Bakhtiari and Kenny Clark are both free agents. They will try to keep both players who have earned contracts that could be over $15 million each year. This is important because Brandin Cooks signed a 5 year extension in 2018 with the Los Angeles Rams. Next season Cooks is earning $16.8 million, and that number only goes up the further into his contract. Cooks brings a lot of talent to any roster he joins, but for a team like the Packers who already have limited cap space, bringing in Cooks would mean players will need to be released. He will also be $16.8 million against the cap next offseason when the Packers need to sign Bakhtiari and Clark.
Another big red flag against Brandin Cooks is his injury history. Cooks’ injury is not one that teams can determine the severity of at the moment. He doesn’t have trouble with his knee or a bad ankle, but rather Cooks has a history of serious concussions during his time in the NFL. Brandin Cooks suffered five (confirmed) concussions in his six season NFL career. He suffered two last season within 25 days. Before last season, Brandin Cooks also suffered a concussion in his first Super Bowl appearance as part of the Patriots against Nick Foles and the Eagles. Packer fans know all too well how concussions can change the course of someone’s career. Former Packers cornerback Sam Shields had to retire from the NFL after sitting out an entire season because of a concussion. Do the Packers want to trade for a receiver with such a long and serious injury history? The price of $16.8 million is not worth it.
The final reason the Packers should stay away from Brandin Cooks is the depth of the 2020 NFL draft. Many experts have considered the 2020 WR draft class to be one of the deepest in decades. There could be five receivers taken in the first round this year, and the Packers are likely to use their 30th overall pick on one. If the Packers go a different direction with the 30th pick, I can guarantee the second round pick will be bringing in a receiver to add to their roster. Will a rookie have the same impact as Brandin Cooks? Probably not year one, but the price tag will be much cheaper.
Final Answer: Should the Packers trade for Brandin Cooks?
No, I do not believe they should. He is a talented player, but $16.8 million or higher for the next four seasons is too much to pay for a player with an injury history as extensive as Brandin Cooks. The Rams are likely looking for a 2nd or 3rd rounder for Cooks after trading away a 1st rounder to get him. That price tag alone is hefty, and is even pricier in a draft that is so deep at the WR position. Do the Packers have reasons to trade for Cooks? Of Course, but I believe the risk outweighs the reward.
As we have seen this offseason with the Funchess, Wagner and Kirkey signings, the Packers are looking for low risk, high reward moves, and Cooks does not fit that.