On April 9, 2020, the Texans reportedly agreed to acquire former Ram’s WR Brandin Cooks along with a 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for the 57th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. While it was a bit of a surprise to see them trade for a guy like Cook’s, the Texans were known to be looking to add a Wide Receiver. After the highly controversial trade involving DeAndre Hopkins, GM Bill O’Brien swung the deal for Cooks. Texans fans continued to show their displeasure after another BoB trade, however, there are several factors to take into consideration before judging the trade. Health, fit into the new system and cost of the player. We will breakdown Brandin Cook’s game and how the Texans might use their newest weapon this season!
With the addition of Brandin Cooks and the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans offense will be quite different this season than most. One of the biggest parts of the Hopkins game was his health. Hopkins has missed only 3 games in his career. The biggest drawback of Brandin Cooks is his injury history. Entering his 7th NFL season Cook’s has already suffered 5 documented concussions. That’s a scary number for a guy who is only 26 years old, however, when we take a closer look 4 of the 5 concussions were considered Grade 1 concussions that were not significant enough to cause him to miss games. Out of 90 possible games in his career, Cooks has played in 88 of them. While there is rightfully cause for concern about the number of concussions he’s suffered, Cook’s has been healthy for the bulk of his career, and Texans fans are far too familiar with injury-prone wide receivers. Cook’s health aside from the concussions will be a welcoming sight for Texans fans.
Role in Offense
Like it or not Texans fans Bill O’Brien has a vision for how he wants the offense to look like this upcoming season, and Brandin Cook’s game fits this perfectly. The old saying “Speed Kills’ appears to be O’Brien’s motto for the 2020 season, with the addition of Cook’s, Houston’s WR core now includes 3 players that run a 4.38 40 yard dash. Kenny Stills, Will Fuller V and now Cook’s. One of the words most often used by Bill O’Brien is versatility and that’s exactly what they got in Cook’s. He can line up outside the numbers as well as a reliable guy out of the slot. Cook’s will likely play a majority of the snaps for Houston on the outside since the team signed free agent WR Randell Cobb to play the slot. With Tim Kelly taking over play-calling duties expect Cook’s to be used in a variety of ways. He will be used as a deep threat and try to burn opposing secondaries, expect more WR screens this year, as we saw them run some with Stills last season. As an outside receiver from 2015-2018 Cook’s had 4 straight 1000+ yard seasons. In 2019 he posted career lows since his 2013 rookie season, now with Desean Watson as his quarterback most expect his number back up where they were from 2015-2018. Expect to see Cook’s line up all across the line of scrimmage in 2020.
Despite being a consensus top 3 WR in the league the Texans traded away Deandre Hopkins. When asked why HC/GM Bill O’Brien stated it was due to Hopkins asking for a record-setting deal worth 21+ million dollars a year. While he undoubtedly deserved it the Texans needed to save money for Watson and Laremy Tunsil and not make them locked up financially for years to come. In 2018 Cooks signed a 5 year 81 million dollar extension, upon being traded to Houston the Rams agreed to pay 12 of the 20 million dollar cap hit towards Cooks. Cook’s 2020 salary is much easier for the Texans to work with rather than paying Hopkins, Watson, and Tunsil. 1/3 of their cap space would have been for those 3 alone. Cook’s salary after the 2021 season becomes non-guaranteed meaning if he doesn’t pan out for the Texans they can cut him after next season without taking on any dead money. The 12 million dollars the Texans saved by acquiring Cook’s is what they will pay new RB David Johnson for the 2020 season. They got Cook’s and Johnson for the price of Hopkins alone, and while time will tell if it was the right decision, the move fits what O’Brien and Tim Kelly envision for the offense.
While the majority of the media and fans continue to bash the Texans for their series of moves, this is what OB wants. The Texans offense with Cooks could be a top 5 offense and with Cook’s deep threat ability and speed along with Desean Watson’s incredible deep ball accuracy. Those 2 could become a scary duo for opposing defenses, if nothing else Cook’s speed alone will draw the attention of the secondary like freeing up another Texan for Watson to throw to. Although we have to wait and see how the Texans use him and opposing teams’ plans for him, this has the makings to be an underrated move of the offseason.
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