By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Bill O’Brien drew the ire of Texans fans earlier this offseason by trading away All Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He’s about to get hit with a lot more criticism.
O’Brien’s replacement plan for Hopkins, who racked up over 4,100 yards and 31 touchdowns over the last three seasons, is Brandin Cooks. The Texans reportedly sent a second-round pick to the L.A. Rams for Cooks on Thursday night, receiving a fourth-round selection along with the receiver.
When O’Brien traded Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals last month, all he got back was running back David Johnson, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick. Mash the two deals together, and the Texans essentially received Johnson, Cooks and a fourth-rounder for their star receiver.
This is no knock on Cooks, who has been a great pass-catcher over his six-year career — when he’s healthy. Patriots fans are familiar with what he can bring to the table, with his 1,000-yard, seven-touchdown season for New England in 2017.
But he is no DeAndre Hopkins. Even if you add Johnson to the mix, that isn’t enough to replace what Hopkins brought to the table for quarterback Deshaun Watson. And Cooks is coming off a career-low 42 catches for 583 yards with the Rams last season, a campaign that also saw him suffer another concussion. Cooks has suffered at least five concussions over his NFL career.
If Cooks is healthy, it might be a halfway decent trade for the Texans. But that is a big IF. And they only made this move because they needed to give Watson another target after O’Brien flubbed the Hopkins trade so badly.
O’Brien essentially traded Hopkins because he didn’t want to pay the receiver $39.5 million over the next three years. Instead, he’ll now pay Cooks $44.5 million over the next four years. Houston can cut ties with Cooks after this season with no dead money hitting their books, but at the cost of a second-round pick, O’Brien should have done a lot better in replacing a generational talent in Hopkins.
Apparently, Billy O really enjoys sitting on an extremely hot seat.