The Green Bay Packers now have a second credible report linking them to another veteran wide receiver ahead of next Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston, the Packers are among at least three teams who have called the Houston Texans and made trade inquiries about deep-threat wide receiver Brandin Cooks with less than a week to go until the trade deadline. The 29-year-old Cooks has caught a team-high 28 passes for the Texans through their first six games and has blazing speed (4.33 seconds in the 40), which would be valuable to a Packers roster that has lacked a deep-ball passing attack this season.
Wilson added the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams have also reached out about Cooks’ availability ahead of the deadline. The Chiefs are most likely out of the running — if there is one — after they traded a 2023 third- and sixth-rounder to the New York Giants for Kadarius Toney early Thursday afternoon. Toney confirmed the trade news himself on his Twitter account on October 27. Like the Packers, though, the Rams could still very much use another deep-threat weapon for their offense.
Jordan Schultz of The Score — who broke the news about the Chiefs trading for Toney — reported on October 25 that the Packers have been “actively calling” about a potential wide receiver trade with injuries currently ravaging their roster. He noted it was their “hope” to find a trade candidate who was still on his rookie contract, but ESPN’s Dan Graziano has also reported that Arizona Cardinals veteran A.J. Green could be in play.
The deadline for NFL teams to complete trades this season is 4 p.m. ET on November 1.
Packers Could Fit Cooks for 2022, But Questions Loom
There are always contract complications for the Packers to consider when it comes to potentially trading for a veteran receiver on a non-rookie contract, especially with how they have played their salary-cap situation for “all-in” runs the past few seasons. According to independent cap specialist Ken Ingalls, the Packers would have “zero issue” fitting Cooks — or Carolina’s D.J. Moore, for that matter — onto their books for the remainder of the 2022 season due to their low cap hits for the season.
Unfortunately, the future seasons are where things get tricky. In Cooks’ case, he is under contract with the Texans for another two seasons beyond 2022 and will carry a cap hit of about $26.6 million in 2023 and about $24.6 million in 2024, respectively. Ingalls noted a one-year rental is not an option for Cooks with his base salary ($18 million) guaranteed for the 2023 season, meaning they would have to find a way to restructure him. And that’s easy said than done with the Packers currently projected to have just $3.685 million in cap space for 2023 before any re-signings or other expenses.
The other problem is the cost the Packers would have to sink into Cooks. Given the expensive nature of Cooks’ deal, the rebuilding Texans (1-4-1) would probably accept a lower offer to get his contract off their books in future seasons. The counteroffer would normally be for the acquiring team to send a higher draft pick in exchange for the original team eating some of the contract cost, but that is especially difficult when dealing with contracts that have lump sums of guaranteed money.