When the first report rolled in last Thursday, the Eagles and Titans were considered the favorites to swing a deal for Saints playmaker Brandin Cooks. By Sunday, the Patriots were reportedly in the mix, to the point where New Orleans nixed a deal that may have included New England’s late first-round pick.
Now, according to Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson, we’ve come full circle: The Titans are now the front-runners to land Cooks.
So what might the compensation be? According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who originally reported the possibility of a trade last week, discussions with the Titans have included two scenarios: Tennessee sending its No. 18 overall pick to New Orleans for Cooks; or Tennessee sending its No. 5 pick (acquired from the Rams) to the New Orleans in exchange for No. 11 pick and Cooks.
Saints coach Sean Payton initially called the reports “garbage” and told the team’s website, “I wouldn’t say [Cook] is on the trade block but certainly when a team calls, a team that’s looking for a receiver -- and we’re looking to improve our defense -- we’re always listening.”
But Payton left the door open for a trade when he said, “We think the world of him and his skill-set. (Compensation for Cooks) would have to be something real significant.”
Whether Payton and the Saints would consider the Titans’ No. 18 pick “real significant” is another matter, though it’s also fair to wonder if, from the Titans’ perspective, Cooks is worth it. Cooks was reportedly frustrated with the Saints’ offense last season, and if he can’t find a way to thrive in a system that features Drew Brees, why would anything change under a young Titans offense that relies heavily on the running game?
They are certainly in the market for a game-changing receiver, which explains why half of the latest CBSSports.com mock drafts have them targeting John Ross, Corey Davis or O.J Howard late in the first round.