What does the future hold for Brandin Cooks in Houston?

Houston Texans

Brandin Cooks has gone from budding superstar receiver to being on his fourth team with a future as cloudy as ever. 

If you bought stock in the future of Brandin Cooks, you weren’t alone.

Cooks did well for the New Orleans Saints in his three years in black and gold, totaling 2,861 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had two seasons where he went for 1,000+ yards, but the Saints ended up trading him to the New England Patriots after the 2016 season.

Once Cooks landed in New England, it felt like he was the weapon who could put them over the top once again. While he was once again a 1,000 yard receiver and the Patriots went to the Super Bowl (only to lose to the Eagles), it wasn’t enough to keep Cooks in Foxborough.

This wasn’t as surprising considering the Patriots aren’t the kind of organization to pay players big money, instead opting to trade them for draft assets. That was the case here, as Cooks was due for an extension and the Patriots didn’t want to give him one. So, they sent him to the Rams and got draft capital in return.

At that point, Cooks was entering his fifth year in the league and was with his third NFL team. It wasn’t for lack of talent with Cooks, as he had proven by posting three 1,000 yard seasons to that point and Cooks continued to show he was a good player in Los Angeles.

In his first year with the Rams, he had yet another 1,000-yard season and made it to his second Super Bowl, but was on the losing side once again. And worse yet – He lost to the team who had traded him the year before. The next season, however, was one of his worst since his rookie year, totaling just 583 yards.

The Texans needed a wide receiver after DeAndre Hopkins had been traded, so them trading for Cooks was an attempt to bring in a top receiver for their offense.

Cooks has been a strange case in the league because he’s been talented, but hasn’t been able to stay with the same team long-term. First it was his unhappiness in New Orleans and not enjoying his role there. After that it was the Patriots not wanting to pony up and pay him. Most recently it was the Rams who were desperate for draft capital and shipping Cooks to his fourth team was the best way to do that.

At age 26, Cooks still has plenty left in the tank, but if the Texans weren’t satisfied with Hopkins — who was publically low-key about his unhappiness — it’ll be interesting to see how things go with Cooks there. It’s hard to imagine O’Brien getting along much better with Cooks, who was much higher key vocal about his unhappiness with past teams and is a reason he’s bounced around so much.

If O’Brien can get past that (big if there), Cooks could really flourish in Houston. Deshaun Watson is one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the league and it was only fitting that after taking away his best weapon that O’Brien gave him another solid weapon. Cooks isn’t as good as Hopkins, but he’s posted 1,000 yard seasons in all but two of his six years and can most definitely be a top tier talent at the receiver spot.

Houston seems stuck in a rut, getting eliminated from the playoffs early on each year. Texans fans are frustrated by O’Brien and they have every right to, but maybe Cooks – who has played in two Super Bowls – will bring experience to that offense and help them get over the hump.

After a down year, Cooks has a lot to prove in 2020 for his now fourth team, but he’ll be a nice weapon for Watson and the Texans offense.

From a first round pick to now on his fourth team in year seven of his pro career, Brandin Cooks is certainly an interesting story in the NFL.

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