It’s mid afternoon on the eve of the legal tampering phase of NFL Free Agency and the biggest question seems to be if Brandin Cooks will be bleeding green in 2017. Everyone who is in tune with the NFL has taken to social media to give their take on this odd, but fluid situation. We have seen players and draft picks thrown around in this supposed deal faster than a ping pong ball on a beer pong table. Whether or not it happens still hinges on the willingness for the Saints to dance with the perfect partner. There are several available with the Eagles being in the front of the line, but all with different visions. However, the situation still is in the building stages with a blueprint that still needs approval.
Brandin Cooks is a 23 year old receiver, who has been an integral part of the high powered Saint’s offense led by Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Cooks enters the final year of his four year rookie contract and is looking to cash in on a monster payday, one he doesn’t see in his future with the Saints. He played 10 games as a rookie, but has put up some impressive stats over the last 3 years.
2014….10 games …..70/550/3 70 targets
2015….16 games…..84/1,138/9 129 targets
2016….16 games…..78/1,173/8 117 targets
The Oregon State product finished the 2016 season with 78 receptions for 1173 yards, but it was the game by game production that could be a cause for concern. In 2015, Cooks only had 1 game where he was held to under 4 receptions and never went catchless that year. However, in 2016 he had 5 games where he produced less than 4 receptions and even tallied a game where he didn’t catch a single pass. ESPN reported afterwards that Cooks was frustrated with his role in this 49-21 blowout win over the Los Angeles Rams and the downward trend begin to unravel from there.
Sure Michael Thomas’s stellar rookie campaign was the main reason for the difference in game by game production, but to tally numerous games with low production totals is enough to throw shade to any eventual deal. As a fantasy football owner, you constantly look at game by game production in the hopes of gaining maximum consistency for the scoreboard. If you look at the breakdown below, you will notice the difference between years……
2015….16 games….5.2 catches, 71 yards per game….7 games of 80+ receiving yards (4 w/120+)
2016….16 games….4.8 catches, 73 yards per game….4 games of 80+ receiving yards (3 w/ 140+)
These stats are pretty similar, but you can clearly see the difference in big games versus steady production. However, they are still fantastic numbers for any receiver on your team, which makes you wonder why he wants out.
Cooks would bring an immediate upgrade over the inept group of receivers on the Eagles roster, as well as any rookie that is available. I know John Ross is being talked about as the best comparison, but Cooks has proved his worth on this level while Ross is still a prospect. Would you rather get an established receiver for at least two seasons or gamble in the draft to get a player who may be more established one day?
I personally think the ceiling has been set on Cooks and you know what type of ROI you are receiving in return. In the eyes of receptions, he has shown what he can do. His stats will not falter much up or down and leave you with a force on the field that has to be marked. A rookie may have a higher ceiling, but may never blossom into that potential. As the twitter wars start to unfold, I still think the jealousy factor and the attitude need to be looked at strongly in this situation, especially if you are willing to part with a high draft pick. However, if Brandin comes knocking on Howie’s door with a 2nd round proposition, you shouldn’t need David Copperfield to convince you to #DoTheDeal!
As always you can stop by my Facebook page (FantasySportsAddiction) or tweet me (@TCutillo23) for questions or some nice fantasy debates. I can also be heard weekly via the internet stream live at WengRadio every Monday at 4:00pm EST for a weekend sports wrap.