3 Reasons Trading for Brandin Cooks Would Make Sense for the Tennessee Titans
By Luke Worsham
The Tennessee Titans are reportedly considering a trade for New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks. Here are three reasons why this would make sense.
1. The Titans have a need for speed.
As of now, the Tennessee Titans only have two viable wide receivers on the roster. Though both Rishard Matthews and Tajaé Sharpe are quality options in the passing game, they lack an element of speed.
Matthews finished the 2016 season just shy of 1,000 receiving yards. He capped off his career year with a big game against the Houston Texans, catching 9 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, Matthews showed great chemistry with Marcus Mariota, as the quarterback often looked his way in the red zone.
Sharpe was faced with a very tough transition last season. In the span of a few months, he went from a fifth round draft pick out of UMass to a starting WR in the NFL. It was a transition that he partially struggled with. However, Sharpe showed several flashes of brilliance throughout the year, ultimately proving that he should develop into a reliable option both in the slot and on the perimeter.
Matthews and Sharpe both have great hands and run very precise routes, but neither possesses great speed. Sure, Sharpe ran a 4.55 forty at the combine and Matthews did a good job of stretching the field last season, but Brandin Cooks’ speed is at another level.
A lack of speed was perhaps the biggest reason the Titans narrowly missed out on a playoff berth in 2016. With the addition of Cooks, they will instantly gain a lethal downfield weapon, something that will help both Mariota in the pocket and DeMarco Murray in the backfield.
2. The compensation would be minimal.
In the NFL, big ticket player for player trades are very rare. Even rarer are trades that involve sending away very high draft picks in exchange for a player. Both of these things work greatly to the Titans’ advantage in regards to Brandin Cooks.
Chris Mortenson of ESPN.com has reported that a potential scenario for a Brandin Cooks trade to the Titans would involve the Titans sending the fifth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft to the Saints in exchange for Cooks and the eleventh overall pick.
While the fifth overall selection is clearly a more valuable pick than the eleventh, the Titans would still have plenty of quality options available at #11. They would also be getting first round value with Cooks.
In 2014, the Saints picked Cooks with the 20th overall selection. If a carbon copy of Cooks was available in this year’s draft, he would hold the same value. At only 23 years old, Cooks arguably hasn’t even entered his prime yet, and his 4.33 speed makes him an incredible asset to any offense.
Essentially, moving down six spots in the first round for Brandin Cooks would still allow the Titans to pick twice in the first round while also acquiring a player with first round value.
3. It would allow the Titans to look elsewhere during the offseason.
When you enter the offseason with only three receivers on your roster, one of whom will likely be cut to preserve cap room, you know you must add multiple receivers to your roster at some point. The Titans will be no exception.
So, if you know you are going to have to acquire a legitimate wideout at some point during the offseason, why not do it in the way that least affects your team?
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Signing a big time free agent receiver like Alshon Jeffery would do a good bit of damage to the cap room, and drafting someone like Corey Davis or John Ross would use valuable draft capital. Assuming that acquiring Brandin Cooks would only require the Titans to move down a few spots in the first round, that seems to be the ideal option.
This year’s draft class is one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. Players like Reuben Foster, Jamaal Adams, Leonard Fournette, and Malik Hooker are all stellar athletes with the potential to be stars in the NFL from day one. If Jon Robinson feels forced to take a receiver with one of his two first round picks, it greatly limits his options on draft day.
Acquiring Brandin Cooks would allow Robinson and his front office staff to not have to worry about getting a big time threat at receiver, but maybe just some quality depth players. Consequently, they would then also be able to use their valuable draft picks and copious salary cap space for other areas of need.