I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Eagles are interested in trading for Saints WR Brandin Cooks. The idea of this is a no-brainer as Cooks checks off every box in the “what the Eagles need and want” categories.
Back in January, I wrote a piece about the idea of trading for DeAndre Hopkins. It appears I had the right idea, just not the right player (yet, anyway). While I’d personally prefer Hopkins to Cooks, it’s like option 1A to option 1B++.
Hell, maybe it’s really even…1A to 1A.
Anyway, this move isn’t a question of “if” the Eagles should do it, it’s a question of what it will take to get a deal done. Trade compensation is difficult to determine most times because player value is always subjective.
How much do the Saints want to get rid of him? How much do the Eagles want him? How much do other teams want him? The rules of supply and demand will certainly apply here.
Luckily, the Eagles have the supply part on their side as there are some decent options at WR in free agency this year. This could help their cause, hopefully. As far as demand, it seems the Titans and Patriots are also interested.
With three teams bidding for Cooks, it could jack-up the price, as long as it’s legitimate competition and not just an agent or team playing games in order to “create” it. However, if legit, one team could end up “over-paying”.
So, exactly what kind of value do you think Cooks will have on the trade market?
Much like player contract negotiations, past precedent can be used as a guideline for determining trade value. Therefore, I thought I’d dig up some previous trades that have been made involving top-end Wide Receivers. Here’s what I found that could be comparable to what it might take to land Cooks…
Kenny Stills – Hell, might as well start with a WR that the Saints traded just two years ago. The Dolphins gave up LB Dannell Ellerbe and a 3rd round pick for Stills. Cooks would be seen as more valuable than was Stills (at the time of the trade), and Ellerbe was coming off a season that ended with him on Injured Reserve.
Percy Harvin – Seattle gave up a 1st, 7th, and a 3rd round pick in the following year’s draft
Anquan Boldin (First trade) – Ravens gave up a 3rd and 4th round pick for Boldin and a 5th
Brandon Marshall – Traded twice: In the original trade he netted two 2nd round picks, then netted two 3rd round picks in his next trade
Santonio Holmes – Coming off his best season (79 catches, 1,248 yards, 5 TDs), catching the game-winning TD in the Super Bowl and being named MVP, he was traded for just a 5th round pick
Roy Williams – Dallas gave up a 1st, 3rd, and 6th round pick for Williams and a 7th
Braylon Edwards – Remember hands-of-stone Braylon Edwards? Yeah, he was traded for a 3rd, 5th and two players. Unbelievable.
There have been several other trades involving WRs over the past 8-10 years or so, but these were the ones that would be most comparable. Are there any I’m missing?
As you can see, the price of trading for a WR that is still in his prime can be a little expensive. The only real anomaly of that group is Holmes, but there were significant extenuating circumstances with him (pending suspension, history of arrests, etc).
If you were to take each of the above players (besides Holmes) and compare them at the time of their trades with Cooks right now, where would Cooks fit in? I would say somewhere between Harvin and Stills.
I don’t believe any team would give up a 1st for Cooks, but a report came out last night that the Patriots have offered their 1st (pick 32) for him. Furthermore, the report goes on to say that the Saints are looking for a mid-first round value in return for Cooks.
The value the Saints are supposedly seeking somewhat jives with the above examples of past precedent, particularly when looking at the Harvin deal. However, I just don’t think it would be worth it to give up our first for Cooks.
With that said, who knows how true that report is. Again, agents and teams play games while in the midst of trade negotiations. Everyone has an agenda.
My best guess as to what it would take to get a deal done will at least include the Eagles’ 2nd round pick. Most likely, our 2nd plus Mychal Kendricks.
Kendricks, however, is the wild card.
When the Saints received Ellerbe as part of the Stills trade, he was a former UDFA with some starting experience but was also damaged goods. Kendricks, at the time of trade, would be younger and has a better pedigree. Therefore, I wonder what kind of value he would carry as part of a trade.
In a best-case scenario, perhaps Kendricks’ value could be enough to make it so the Eagles only have to give up their 3rd instead of their 2nd. The deal could also get more involved and include future “conditional” picks and/or swapping picks in certain rounds. When those things start happening, value and compensation gets much more convoluted.
In any case, I think the best case scenario would be our 3rd round pick + Kendricks for Cooks. Worst case, our 2nd + Kendricks and some kind of additional player or pick. For the record, I’d give up Kendricks and our 2nd, no questions asked. I believe Cooks would be worth it, without a doubt.
Trades are Roseman’s bread and butter. Let’s see what he can pull off this year.