I’m not one to usually suggest such a big move for the Detroit Lions. Typically suggestions of big moves are unrealistic or just pure fantasy. But here we are. I’m doing it. The Lions should trade for Brandin Cooks. Here’s why:
On Wednesday night, the Texans shipped running back Mark Ingram back to the Saints. This seemed to really upset Cooks. He took to Twitter and voice his opinion on the move.
This is bullshit. Such a joke— Brandin Cooks (@brandincooks) October 27, 2021
The Houston Texans are a wreck right now. The team is bad, the Deshaun Watson situation could heat up at any moment regardless of if a trade happens or not and the Texans owner Cal McNair is currently under fire for racist remarks again. If I’m Cooks, I’m looking to get out there as soon as possible before the implosion happens.
Enter the Detroit Lions. Here’s a team that is in desperate need of a top receiver. Cooks would immediately change the way this offense runs, and he would get the lion share (no pun intended) of the targets on this team. With Cooks in town, you might see Jared Goff start to play better.
And it likely wouldn’t take long for the two to get some chemistry. The two have a history together. Cooks caught 122 passes for 1,787 yards and seven touchdowns in two combined years with Goff in 2018 and 2019. That first year Cooks was a big part of the Rams run to the Super Bowl. Cooks could really take some pressure off Goff. We know this because he’s done it before. They have a good rapport too. Cooks had glowing things to say about Goff back in February 2020.
The Lions also have a guy on staff that helped arrange a trade that brought Cooks in the Rams in assistant general manager Ray Agnew. Oh yeah, there’s also this other guy that has history coaching alongside Cooks. You might know him. His name is Dan Campbell. The Lions head coach was the Saints' assistant head coach in 2016 when Cooks was still with the Saints.
The ball would totally be in the Lions’ court on this one. The Texans are imploding and are more likely to ship players away at this point to free up money and accrue draft picks. Like I said, this team is going to implode any day now. The Lions can use that as leverage and get Cooks for much cheaper than he’s previously been traded for. It’s hard to know what exactly the 28-year-old wide receiver would cost to acquire, but the Texans have been fleeced before, and with a very upset wide receiver, they don’t exactly have a ton of leverage.
The contract is very favorable to the Lions, as well. Earlier this year, the Texans restructured Cooks’ contract, converting $10 million of his salary to a signing bonus. That means, for 2021, the Lions would only be on the hook for the remainder of his prorated $2.5 million salary (around $1.5 million), plus in-game roster bonuses. His salary for next year is $12.5 million, but with most of his guarantees already eaten by the Texans, the Lions could slip out of that contract with almost no dead cap.
The issue here is on the Texans' side. According to Aaron Reiss of The Athletic, the Texans had no plans of trading Cooks—but that was before Cooks’ outburst on Twitter. Additionally, while this financially makes sense for the Lions, it would be a bit of a disaster for the Texans. Having just restructured his contract, the Texans would have to eat an additional $7.5 million in dead cap.
But, again, Cooks’ displeasure could be the driving force here. Of course, one would have to question if sending him to an 0-7 Detroit team would really make him that much happier, but the Lions certainly seem like a far less dysfunctional organization right now.
If Cooks is made available, there will certainly be other suitors ringing the Texans’ phone off the hook. But the Lions need to be at the front of that line. We’ll see what the Lions decide to do—if anything—at the trade deadline next Tuesday on November 2.