Brandin Cooks has drawn a host of offers, but the Saints are aiming high if they’re to part with the 23-year-old wide receiver. Most notably, the Patriots have entered the equation. The defending Super Bowl champions offered their first-round pick (No. 32 overall) as part of a package for Cooks, NOLA.com’s Josh Katzenstein reports. But the reporter adds the Saints are targeting a mid-first-round selection for Cooks if they are to deal him.
Several other teams have made overtures to the Saints for Cooks, offering second-round picks for the fourth-year receiver, but the team is holding out. The Titans and Eagles are among the interested teams. Katzenstein notes at least five teams have contacted the Saints about Cooks. One of the unnamed franchises is hoping to give the Saints some defensive help to acquire the elusive wideout.
New Orleans is not operating as if it has to deal the wideout, though. He’s signed through 2017 and will be available on his rookie contract through ’18, provided the Saints or the team to which he’s traded predictably picks up his fifth-year option. Katzenstein notes Cooks’ agents could come into play in this deal. Ryan and Bruce Tollner represent the wideout. They are also the agents for Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota, helping to explain the two initial suitors becoming known this week.
Bill Belichick offered praise for the then-second-year wideout in 2015, expressing relief his team doesn’t have to face Cooks annually.
The Eagles have had their eye on Cooks dating back to the 2014 draft, and Philly attempted to trade for him before the 2016 trade deadline. The Eagles hold the No. 14 pick in the first round after winning a Friday coin flip vs. the Colts, while the second of the Titans’ two first-rounders is the No. 18 pick. Those would fall within the realm of a mid-first-round selection. The Titans and Saints have already exchanged proposals regarding a potential deal, one that would have to be “real significant” if New Orleans is to part with its current top receiver.
The Saints now have both Willie Snead and Michael Thomas as emerging playmakers, with Thomas breaking out down the stretch of his rookie slate. But Cooks has compiled two 1,100-yard seasons and has scored 17 touchdowns in those campaigns. And he’s under contract in 2017 for just $1.56MM. A 2018 fifth-year option would stand to be worth around $8.5MM.
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