Another high-profile wide receiver finds himself in the middle of trade rumors as the wildest NFL offseason in recent memory rolls on. Weeks after Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were moved to new teams, ESPN reports that teams have started calling the Texans about a potential deal for Brandin Cooks. The Bears still need to add several wideouts, so should Ryan Poles get in the mix too?
Cooks is one of the most consistent and exciting players in the NFL. He’s crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in six of his eight seasons in the NFL, and he’s done it in a wide range of ways. Cooks put up numbers as the No. 1 option (and arguably only option) for the awful Texans last season. He’s also managed to produce in offenses with a bevy of weapons, like the 2018 Rams with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Todd Gurley. Cooks is a home run threat who can take the top off a defense at any time, or can challenge opponents running horizontally. Off the field, he earned praise as a leader in the Texans locker room for mentoring the young players on the roster. All this and he’s only 28 years old, with a reasonable base salary of $12.5 million this year.
In short, he sounds like a slam dunk option for the Bears. But when you dig a little deeper, Poles making a move for Cooks may not be his best option for addressing the position.
Let’s start with his size. Cooks comes in at 5’10” and 185 lbs, or nearly exactly the same size as Darnell Mooney. Dazz Newsome is also a small target, and Byron Pringle is only a few inches taller. Equanimeous St. Brown is the only wide receiver with a serious height difference on the roster right now. That’s not to say teams can’t field skill players with similar frames. But with Mooney already expected to play a big role in the offense, and other smaller wideouts in the room, you’d imagine Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy would want to add a bigger body to the mix near the top of the depth chart.
Then there’s the matter of keeping Cooks in Chicago. While that $12.5 price tag is enticing, Cooks is only under contract for one more season and will be looking for a pay day next offseason. The Bears will have the cap space to work out a deal if they like, but they’ll have other players with expiring contracts, like Roquan Smith and David Montgomery, who they may prefer to keep in house.
Of course, the Bears will need to send something to Houston in exchange for Cooks, and that may be the ultimate factor that keeps Poles on the sidelines in any trade talks. According to Mike Fisher of Texans Daily, Nick Caserio would want at least a second-round pick in exchange for Cooks. The Bears have two second-rounders right now (Nos. 39 and 48), so they could make it work and still have a pick to draft a top-50 player. But in a class stacked with wide receiver talent, it may make more sense to simply use one of those picks on an incoming rookie. That way Poles and Eberflus can continue to infuse their roster with young talent on entry level deals to not only develop alongside Justin Fields, but to give them added financial flexibility to make a splash signing down the road.
Adding Cooks to the Bears offense would certainly make an instant impact. He’s a proven playmaker who has produced consistently, and has no red flags like a notable injury history. But given the current makeup of the Bears roster, they might not be the perfect fit to land him in a trade.