Saints can flirt with a Brandin Cooks reunion but shouldn’t commit to one

Brandin Cooks #13 of the Houston Texans. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Brandin Cooks #13 of the Houston Texans. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks has re-entered the chat, but the New Orleans Saints need to seriously consider whether Cooks is worth trading for in 2022.

Look, we’re all for the Saints acquiring productive veteran wideouts this offseason, especially since they’ve signed….exactly zero so far in 2022. NOLA actively pursued Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but after that didn’t pan out, the Saints have sat back and waited for the market to return to normalcy.

The remaining free agent wide receivers don’t offer the best value, and elite options like Seattle’s DK Metcalf may be too far out of reach. Texans’ Brandin Cooks could pose as the Goldilocks option, the best bang-for-buck wideout who won’t deplete all of NOLA’s draft capital.

The Texans claim they have received “multiple calls” on Cooks in the past few days, and another source has revealed that teams should be prepared to give up a second-round pick for the 28-year-old receiver.

Okay, so one second-round pick. Doesn’t sound too bad in theory, but a potential Cooks trade could catastrophically backfire for the Saints in the future.

New Orleans Saints can flirt with a Brandin Cooks reunion but shouldn’t commit to one

For comparison, the Cleveland Browns got Amari Cooper for a fifth-rounder. Is Cooks that much better than Cooper? Absolutely not. But that Cowboys trade ranks as one of the worst deals of the offseason and shouldn’t be considered a sensible baseline for any future receiver trades.

Cooks’ record in in the NFL highlights his consistency more than anything, having logged 1,000-yard seasons on each of the four teams he’s been on. More recently, Cooks posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Texans in the past two years and recorded a career-high 91 catches along with six touchdowns in 2021. Considering Cooks was playing with rookie Davis Mills for most of the year, that’s pretty impressive.

Cooks has proven he can stay healthy and productive in virtually any offensive scheme, but in terms of future value, a second-round receiver prospect possesses much more upside and staying potential.

Do the Saints want an aging receiver they can dump next offseason, or do they want a fledging but promising prospect they can mold into a top-tier talent at the position?

Asking for a second-round pick for a player of Cooks’ age just seems too steep of a proposition, and NOLA would do well to think twice about a possible Cooks reunion. He gave three good years to the Saints at the beginning of his career, and the Saints could expect more of the same if they were to trade for him this offseason.

Next. 4 players the Saints will be thrilled to have back on the field in 2022. dark

In 2022 and the future, though, the Saints don’t want the “same,” they want higher potential, greater upside, and long-term value. As consistent as he’s been, Cooks doesn’t meet those requirements, and unless the Texans lower their asking price, the Saints shouldn’t bite.