Three Brandin Cooks Trade Destinations

Brandin Cooks
Brandin Cooks / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Here we are again, talking about where Brandin Cooks will play next. The 29-year-old wide receiver has been traded by three teams in eight NFL seasons and, if he had it his way, would've made it four last fall as he requested a trade from the Houston Texans multiple times. Hard to blame the guy. He's a good veteran wideout and the Texans were a bad, young dumpster fire with no hope of winning anything. Houston just couldn't get rid of him because his 2023 salary of $18 million was fully guaranteed, which was seen as too steep a price to pay on top of his 2022 salary and the draft picks necessary to get him.

This offseason, Cooks should get his wish. The $18 million salary is now essentially an expiring contract since a team can cut him in 2024 with a dead cap hit of only $8 million. And it is very much in the best interest of the Texans to offload Cooks. If they trade him after June 1, they save $18 million in cap space while taking a $16 million dead cap hit spread out over two seasons. Cooks is a good bet to be very unhappy if he's still in a Houston uniform come training camp, so it's basically an assumption at this point that he'll get moved.

Texans general manager Nick Caserio told reporters at the combine that the team was trying to work on Cooks' trade requests and other reports emerged that there is interest around the league.

Cooks recorded more than 1,000 yards receiving last year while dealing with the Texans' subpar, shall we say, quarterback situation so he still has something left in the tank. Here are a few possible destinations for the well-traveled wideout.

New England Patriots

Heading back to New England makes all the sense in the world. The Patriots need receiver help and do not have a proven field-stretching threat like Cooks on the roster. They'd like Tyquan Thornton to be that guy but they can't go wrong with having two and there's no guarantee Thornton works out. Giving Mac Jones as many weapons as possible is priority No. 1 in Foxborough. Given the roster fit and the obvious connection between Bill Belichick and Caserio (along with a bunch of mid-round picks the Pats have to offer) this seems like a natural pairing.

Baltimore Ravens

Unfortunately we are obligated to put the Ravens on every single receiving-adjacent list like this until they fix their biggest roster issue. They failed to do so again last year, although it can't be said that they tried very hard. Baltimore hoped Rashod Bateman would break out, but that didn't pay off. Nobody else stepped up in his absence and eventually DeSean Jackson was called upon to provide depth. That, stunningly, did not work. Regardless of what happens with Lamar Jackson Baltimore desperately needs competence at receiver and Cooks can definitely provide that. Does he cost more than the Ravens are accustomed to paying for wideouts? Yes. Should that stop a deal from happening? No. Going cheap on receivers is part of the reason the Ravens weren't able to capitalize on having an MVP quarterback on a rookie deal. It's time to start spending on the position.

New York Giants

Like the Ravens above, the Giants are in such dire need of a decent receiver that they'll be in consideration for all available wideouts this offseason. Unlike the Ravens, though, New York is not in this position for lack of trying. They gave Kenny Golladay a huge deal to be their No. 1 and he was such a bust that they're cutting him only two years later. New York could use Cooks to further usher along Daniel Jones' development and would give Brian Daboll more weapons to work with. Yeah, Cooks is expensive and Big Blue is surely in no rush to pay top money to a veteran wideout again. But the Giants can move on next summer if things do not work out. They need another quality set of hands out wide if they want to return to the postseason and Cooks is likely the best option available before the draft.