Texans Deep-Threat WR Dubbed ‘Ideal Trade Target’ for Packers

Cooks Packers Scenario

Getty Brandin Cooks #13 of the Houston Texans catches a pass for a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

The Green Bay Packers have typically remained quiet at the NFL trade deadline in recent years, but some are hoping the ticking clock on Aaron Rodgers’ time with the franchise may finally compel them to pursue a dynamic receiving weapon heading into the second half of the 2021 season.

With the NFL trade deadline set for 4 p.m. ET on November 2, Bleacher Report analyst Brent Sobleski examined some of the potential moving pieces around the league and identified one “ideal trade target” for every team. In terms of the Packers, he made the case that general manager Brian Gutekunst should go “back to the well” and see if they can make a deal to acquire Houston Texans veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

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Cooks’ Cost & Efficiency Could Appeal to Packers

Cooks has already caught 40 passes for 481 yards and a touchdown this season for the Texans, who are stuck in the early stages of a rebuild and would have plenty of reasons to offload veterans for draft capital at this year’s deadline. The Packers could also feasibly make room on their books for Cooks with a cap hit of about $5.89 million that the Texans have already partially paid out.

Here’s what Sobleski wrote on a possible trade for Cooks:

The conversation of Green Bay adding another wide receiver entered beating-a-dead-horse territory long ago, but the problem has never been solved. Yes, the Packers’ front office added Randall Cobb to appease the 37-year-old Rodgers. Still, no other wide receiver on the roster has even a third of Davante Adams’ 66 targets this season.

How about Green Bay goes back to the well and calls the Houston Texans? Brandin Cooks has been a proven producer everywhere he’s gone, though he’s not stayed in one place for too long. He would give the Packers a true threat beyond Adams and make Matt LaFleur’s offense dynamic.

Status of MVS Could Determine Trade Interest

A month ago, the Packers had no compelling reason to trade for another deep-threat wide receiver. That’s because they housed one of the league’s best in that department in fourth-year wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who led all NFL receivers in 2020 with an average of 20.7 yards per reception and tied D.J. Moore and DeAndre Hopkins with a league-most six catches of 40 or more yards.

Unfortunately, Valdes-Scantling picked up a hamstring injury in Week 3’s win over the San Francisco 49ers and was placed on injured reserve less than a week later, keeping him out of the lineup ever since. His absence has specifically impacted the Packers’ ability to push the ball deep downfield on a consistent basis, as Aaron Rodgers acknowledged on October 21 when talking with reporters.

“Eighty-three has been hurt,” Rodgers said. “That definitely is a big part of it. We haven’t had a ton of that stuff in the plan. Also, we’ve seen a lot of Cover 2. With 83 not playing, and them clouding Davante a bunch, we just haven’t had the same opportunities.”

In theory, the Packers could grab someone like Cooks to take pressure off Adams and provide Rodgers with more opportunities to throw deep, but they might be better off just waiting for Valdes-Scantling to return to the fold. While he has not yet returned to practice, he is eligible to be activated off IR at any point now that he has missed the minimum requirement of three weeks. If he is able to start practicing again soon, the Packers wouldn’t have much of a reason to waste resources in a trade for Cooks.

At the same time, the Packers are the ones in the know about Valdes-Scantling’s hamstring injury. There has been no indication that it could keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season, but it would be understandable if they had doubts about him getting back to full speed in a timely fashion. Those doubts could just as easily persuade them to feel out the trade market, similar to how injuries to Za’Darius and Preston Smith led the Packers to sign veteran pass rusher Whitney Mercilus this week.

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