Despite what seems like a pretty glaring need, the Eagles have not added a single wide receiver this offseason. They didn’t add one via free agency. They didn’t add one in a trade.
So now they’re probably going to head into the NFL Draft needing to find a high-level wideout.
But there are always other options and an intriguing one was floated by NBC Sports’ Peter King in his Football Morning in America column on Monday.
While said he was told Rams receiver Brandin Cooks isn’t on the trade block, he thinks a possible trade could be in play and listed the Eagles at the top of possible destinations. It appears that in an earlier version of the story, he theorized that it would take the Eagles’ second-round pick, No. 53.
Back in 2017, before that draft, I wrote that I thought it would be worth it for the Eagles to trade their top pick (that turned into Derek Barnett) for Cooks. But a lot has changed since then.
So here’s an updated list of the pros and cons for pulling off a trade for Cooks:
• While he had a down season in 2019, Cooks is still really good. From 2015-2018, he averaged 76.8 catches, 1,149 yards (15.0) and 7.3 touchdowns per season. The only other receivers in the league to put up numbers better than those in all three categories during that span were DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown.
Cooks is the kind of deep threat the Eagles had for one game last season when DeSean Jackson was healthy. But they missed it for the other 15 games in 2019.
• And he’s still really young. Cooks won’t turn 27 until Sept. 25. This offseason, Howie Roseman has tried to find players who are around 26 or 27, getting back to the mold of the offseason when he signed Brandon Brooks and Rodney McLeod in 2016. Cooks came into the league very young, so he’s just 26 but has already completed six NFL seasons.
• The Eagles desperately need receivers. Their top four right now are Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. So we’re talking about two 30-plus receivers coming off injuries, a disappointing rookie heading into Year 2 and a slot receiver who has a handful of NFL games under his belt.
• Cooks has been traded for first-round picks twice before, but that won’t be the compensation this time. The price has dropped! (But there are reasons for that, as you’ll see.)
• Cooks is coming off a season that saw a drastic dip in production. In 14 games, he caught just 42 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns. Those are new career-lows in receptions and touchdowns. He had over 75 yards in a game just once in 2019.
• Cooks has a pretty serious history of concussions.
Last season, Cooks suffered a concussion in Week 5, returned, and then suffered a concussion in Week 8. According to ESPN, in six NFL seasons, he’s suffered five known concussions. One of them came against the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, when Malcolm Jenkins knocked him out of the game in the first half.
• Cooks is expensive. In 2020, he has a base salary of $8 million and a roster bonus of $4 million. In 2021, he has a base salary of $12 million. Cooks is under contract through 2023 and is expensive in all four years. King writes that a team could cut ties with Cooks after 2021 to save cap space but if you trade a second-round pick for a 26-year-old, you’d probably want him for more than two seasons. So the Eagles would likely want to rework this contract … but why would Cooks give up money?
• Cooks was a first-round pick back in 2014 and he’s been a very good NFL player. But he’s already been traded away for first-round picks twice. If he gets traded this offseason, he will have been traded three times in a span of four years. Generally speaking, teams don’t trade away great players without reason.
Free me 🤦🏿♂️— Brandin Cooks (@brandincooks) March 27, 2020
Verdict: Should the Eagles be interested in Cooks? Yeah, sure. They desperately need receivers and getting creative to get one isn’t a bad idea.
But should they trade away the No. 53 pick for him? No way! Especially not in a draft that’s this deep at receiver. And not for a high-priced player coming off his worst NFL season and who might be one concussion away from the end of his career.
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