CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns have contemplated trading for Deshaun Watson’s top 2020 target in Texans receiver Brandin Cooks, but it’s unlikely to happen.
They’re one of the multiple teams that have called the Texans about trading for the ninth-year pro, league sources tell cleveland.com, but the possibility is currently low.
That’s in part because the Texans might want a second-round pick for the 2014 first-round pick, and the Browns have already traded their first-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022 to the Texans for Watson, as well as a third-rounder in 2023, and a fourth-rounder in 2024.
What’s more, Cooks, 28, is heading into the final year of his contract at a base salary of $12.5 million, and will be seeking an extension from his new team. He also has incentives worth about $500,000 and escalators worth $1.5 million this season.
Cooks, who’s played for four teams in his eight seasons, will expect to be the No. 1 receiver — and get paid like it — and the Browns have already traded for their X in former Cowboys four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper.
But Cooks (5-10, 183) would provide the Browns with another speedy deep threat and reliable target for Watson, who excelled with him in their lone season on the field together in 2020. That year, a season in which Watson led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards, Cooks caught a team-high 81 of 119 targets for 1,150 yards and six TDs. In 2021, with Watson a healthy scratch for all 17 games after he asked to be traded and in the throats of his legal issues, Cooks caught 90 passes for 1,037 yards and 6 TDs from a combination of Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor.
The receptions in 2021 were tied for 13th, the yards were 20th, and the TDs were tied for 18th. In six of his last seven seasons, he’s produced 1,000 yards or more, and can play outside or in the slot, which he did 34% of the time in 2021.
The Browns will likely add another starting receiver this offseason, whether it be a college prospect or a veteran. In addition to Cooks, they’ve also discussed re-signing current free agent Jarvis Landry, who’s drawn interest from several teams, including the Chiefs.
The Browns have the No. 44 overall pick in the second round and could possibly land their No. 2 receiver there. They’re also expecting Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz to continue to improve and be key components of the passing game.
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