Beyond The Mic: Brandin Cooks New Orleans Departure Now Inevitable
It's inevitable Saints fans. Brandin Cooks is leaving New Orleans. He will wear a different uniform next season. It's only a matter of time.
"Closed mouths don't get fed."
The now infamous line from Cooks after voicing his displeasure for not being "involved" enough in the top ranked Saints offense after a 49-21 win over the LA Rams last season will forever be part of his New Orleans resume.
It came as a surprise to many at the time. Hearing the soft spoken and humble Cooks publicly voice an unpopular opinion was a new.
Perception of Cooks changed in the aftermath, but he never backed down of his stance.
78 receptions for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2016 for the #1 ranked offense in the NFL wasn't enough to keep Cooks full. He's hungry for more. Or, at the very least, something different. Whether different equals more is TBD.
"Right now, I'm comfortable, we're comfortable with him in a Saints uniform, and we think the world of him and his skill set," New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said in an interview on NewOrleansSaints.com yesterday.
A different response from Payton, who less than a month ago said he "absolutely" anticipated Cooks being with the Saints in 2017.
Teams executives can become enveloped in trade talks during the NFL Scouting Combine, taking place currently in Indianapolis. Cooks was the center of those talks yesterday, according to multiple reports.
Cooks, who changed agents recently, sealed his fate in a trade out of New Orleans when Matt Miller of NFL Draft Scout dropped this tweet on his timeline.
While Cooks' now infamous "Closed mouths don't get fed" line led many general managers to acquire about a potential trade, once an agent leaks to the media a player wants out, it takes trade talks to another level.
Unfortunately for the Saints, it also hurts their negotiating power.
Could New Orleans balk at any offer and keep him around for 2017 while also picking up the team option for 2018? Sure, but in the long run, he would be leaving anyway. Any GM worth his weight knows this.
Other dangers include his value dropping due to an injury or poor season. On top of that, does a team want a player to remain a key piece of their organization when he's let it be known he'd rather be somewhere else?
It's hard to imagine a big chess piece in the #1 ranked offense would want to jump ship to a checker board, but Cooks and his agent are likely thinking long-term, hoping to get a hefty extension from a potential team he could be traded to, even if their offense is checkers to the Saints chess.
A trade partner couldn't pick up the 2018 option, and likely wouldn't trade for a player they only had locked up for one season, making the likelihood of a large extension upfront from a suitor who values his game all but guaranteed.
Philadelphia and Tennessee are the two teams reportedly in trade discussions with the Saints regarding Cooks, with the Eagles being the leader in the clubhouse.
Can the Saints get Philly's 1st round pick (14th or 15th overall depending on coin flip with Colts) for Cooks? Reports from the NFL Network suggest it's the Saints current demand.
Will the Eagles bite the hook early, or wait for time to pass to see if Cooks' camp heats up the trade demand? If Philly is smart, it'll be the latter. Same goes for any other team calling Mickey Loomis.
The only certainty is Cooks will not be with the Saints next year. His open mouth will lead him to being fed somewhere else.