The spirit of reunion is alive and well in the New Orleans Saints camp. Kenny Stills returned earlier this season. Mark Ingram is packing his bags as we speak.
The next ex-Saints player who could be on his way home is Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
On Wednesday, Cooks publicly revealed his animosity toward the Ingram trade, which may suggest he’s currently unhappy with the Texans franchise.
Patrik Walker of CBS Sports writes of a potential trade:
"“It’s an all-out tailspin in Houston, and Cooks is one of the remaining few who have any star power for the Texans…there’s no reason for Houston to sit on Cooks when they also know he has a $15.5 million cap hit looming for 2022. They can get out from under that financial cloud while also getting something in return — presumably draft picks — to send Cooks east to New Orleans.”"
With Ingram gone, DeAndre Hopkins long gone, and Deshaun Watson all but heading out for a fresh start, Cooks is starting to feel a bit lonely in Houston.
The immediate future of Houston’s squad seems to point toward large Sharpie-ed letters on cardboard, “FIRE SALE,” and Cooks could be caught on the trading block.
While Cooks may be the type of player the Texans want to build around in the coming years, if the wideout is truly unhappy, he could force Houston’s hand.
Why not join his “very close friend” in the Big Easy?
The Saints are potential playoff contenders…only if they pick up a receiver of the same caliber as Cooks. Might as well consider a homecoming.
Could the New Orleans Saints bring WR Brandin Cooks back home?
As the Texans’ leading receiver this season, Cooks is arguably their most valuable trade chip, and he also happens to be very affordable for any interested team.
His base salary this season is just $2.5 million, and any team that acquires him would only have to pay a prorated portion of that salary.
The eighth-year wideout was originally drafted by New Orleans 20th overall in 2014 and had a promising start with 550 receiving yards in his injury-shortened rookie year. In his third season with the Saints, Cooks was pegged as a potential breakout candidate, playing WR2 behind Michael Thomas, but he went through a cold streak during which he mouthed off about his lack of targets.
The Saints subsequently traded him to the Pats for draft capital (which got them Ryan Ramczyk, no regrets there), and Cooks bounced around a couple teams before landing in Houston in 2020.
This season, Cooks leads the Texans with 45 catches for 502 yards in seven games. He’s more than capable of recording a 1,000-yard season (he’s done so five times in his career), he’s durable, and like Ingram and Stills, he’s already familiar with the Saints offensive system.
Coincidentally, former Saints teammate Willie Snead was cut by the Raiders on Tuesday and signed to the Panthers’ practice squad.
It’d be a stretch to say the Saints should poach Snead from the Panthers, trade for Cooks, and effectively get the old crew back together again (Michael Thomas could return just in time), but wouldn’t that be a fun and zany turn of events for New Orleans’ receiving corps?
If Cooks does end up getting traded to NOLA and he manages to keep his mouth closed, he’ll get fed plenty.