Brandin Cooks is emerging as a popular name leading up to Tuesday’s trade deadline. We heard yesterday that the Chiefs, Packers, and Rams were among the squads looking into the veteran receiver, but it sounds like Cooks may have a preference for where he lands.
A source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that Cooks could be willing to sacrifice some of his 2023 salary “in order to escape the Texans and return to the Rams.” Cooks has a fully-guaranteed $18MM salary coming his way in 2023, a factor that’s complicated trade talks so far. The financials of a trade would be a whole lot easier if Cooks was willing to give up some of that money, and Florio suggests the Texans could also eat some of the contract. Indeed, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes, Houston is willing to deal Cooks. Schefter adds the Giants and Vikings as potential landing spots.
Florio compares the situation to that of the Browns and Odell Beckham Jr. from 2021. Cleveland ultimately couldn’t find a taker for OBJ, but the wide receiver willingly gave up a significant chunk of his contract to get off the squad. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that Cooks is looking to get out of Houston at any cost, but it sounds like he’d consider reducing his salary to help facilitate a trade.
Cooks spent two seasons with the Rams in 2018 and 2019. He had one of his most productive seasons during his first year in Los Angeles, hauling in 80 receptions for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns. He was limited to only 583 yards in 14 games in 2019, and he was dealt to Houston the following offseason. Since joining the Texans, Cooks has had a pair of 1,000-yard receiving seasons. In six games this year, the veteran has hauled in 28 receptions for 281 yards and one touchdown.
Cooper Kupp leads the way for Rams receivers, but Allen Robinson hasn’t been able to click during his first season in Los Angeles. The Rams will soon welcome back Van Jefferson at the position, but per Florio, the team still wants more speed at WR.