Ian Rapoport believes Brandin Cooks may be traded. Is it a real possibility? Is it pure, unwarranted speculation? Who Dat Dish has some ideas. And just a hint, to both questions I believe the answer is: yes. Although one yes is stronger than the other.
Now, before you get excited, it’s important to note: Rapoport makes no mention of any Sean Payton discontent. This speculation is based on Cooks’ fit in the offense, not on Payton possibly being upset with the WR after his recent twitter escapade.
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But that doesn’t make Rapoport’s claim any more legitimate. While his initial tweet is worded strongly enough to sound like certainty, his article makes no reference to any sources. It’s pure conjecture.
He doesn’t even really present an argument for why the Saints would want to trade him. The basic premise of his claim is that teams will be interested in Cooks, and who knows, maybe Sean Payton will bite.
He cites Cooks’s “frustration with his role in the offense”, ignoring the fact that Cooks has expressed frustration only once, and about a single game. He wants the ball, and who can blame him. But he generally gets the ball often on this offense. And he’s got Drew Brees throwing him the ball. I don’t think he’s itching to go anywhere.
I don’t think he’s itching to go anywhere. And after the revolving door that has been Brees’s offensive weapons, I doubt the aging QB wants him gone either.
Exploring the possibility.
Yet all that said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least entertain the idea. So is it a possibility that The Saints move Cooks this offseason? I’ll answer that with another question: did it seem possible that they’d trade Jimmy Graham?
Simply put, you never know what might happen in the NFL. As a rule, no player is ever truly off the trade block. If the offer is right, a GM should be ready to trade anyone.
The problem is that for most players, the offer needs to be somewhat one-sided.
Would a first-round pick be enough to pry Brandin Cooks away from the Saints? Maybe. Probably not. And would any team really be open to that kind of deal, with Cooks coming off his rookie contract next year?
The only real argument to be made in favor of the trade is the same argument made with Graham. This defense needs players, desperately, while the offense seems capable of excelling with whoever suits up. So Cooks could theoretically be traded to improve the struggling defense.
Add to that the fact that, for all of Cooks’s talents, he hasn’t yet ascended to the top tier of WRs. And, barring some unforeseen development, he may stay that way.
But a trade is still unlikely.
The Saints would need to find a replacement deep threat if they did choose to move Cooks, and they have enough holes to fill as it is.
And I think most people forget: Brandin Cooks is only 23 years old. He’s the same age as Michael Thomas. And he has continued to improve every year.
With Drew Brees entering his twilight years, it’s important that his successor is in the right position when he takes the helm. That means a group of established and familiar faces on the offense. Cooks is, by all accounts, a great locker room presence, and a team leader. He’s the sort of player you want around your young quarterback.
So, Rapoport made a splash with his tweet. Until we get some credible sources, don’t believe Brandin Cooks is going anywhere. And don’t hold your breath on those sources.