Without star quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans are falling fast toward the trajectory of securing the first overall pick in next year’s draft. Houston’s struggles have quickly shifted the conversation over to potentially becoming sellers at the trade deadline as it inches closer.
A name that will arise in trade rumors will be that of Cooks as other teams explore adding the speedy wideout to their passing game. Cooks has sped off to a highly productive start as he has had 31 catches for 392 receiving yards and a touchdown so far.
Brandin Cooks could be a game changer for some AFC teams
The 28-year-old is currently on pace for 99 catches for 1,254 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He tallied at least five catches four times while topping more than 100 receiving yards twice.
Cooks has been one of the league’s most consistent receivers as he recorded more than 500 receiving yards five times in his first seven seasons. He’s currently in the fourth year of the five-year, $81 million deal that he inked with the Los Angeles Rams in July 2018.
As the trade deadline moves closer, here are three teams that should move to acquire Cooks.
#1 - Cleveland Browns
Through the first five games, the Browns offense has pushed forward with a heavy lean on the running game. Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are anchoring the offensive game plan, but it’s led to Baker Mayfield’s lack of consistent production.
Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t been a major factor and Jarvis Landry is out with a shoulder injury. All of that points to the need to add another proven factor to the passing game. Cooks can step in to provide a strong deep-ball option while bringing more balance to the offense.
#2 - Las Vegas Raiders
Although the Raiders have cooled off a bit from their hot start, the team could benefit greatly from adding a proven wide receiver. Cooks shares a similar skill set to Henry Ruggs, but he holds the ability to line up from the outside while he can be a strong factor in the intermediate passing game.
Beyond that, he could provide leadership to the younger group of talent at the position that can be the steady hand that pushes them forward. In other words, the Raiders can only gain from having Cooks in the mix.
#3 - Pittsburgh Steelers
Staying with the theme of the AFC North, the Steelers may soon make a strong push to land Cooks. Pittsburgh are coming off losing former Pro Bowl wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster for likely the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery. Smith-Schuster has been a fixture in the passing game as one of Ben Roethlisberger's most dependable options.
Cooks can fill that massive void as he’s excelled in the slot throughout his career, and pairing with Roethlisberger could lead to some stable production next to Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.