Acquiring Cooks Does Nothing for Texans’ 2021 Super Bowl Odds

Houston Texans posing for a photo.

The Texans acquired Brandin Cooks on Thursday but their Super Bowl odds remained the same. Photo by KA Sports Photos (Flickr).

  • The Houston Texans have acquired Brandin Cooks from the Los Angeles Rams for a second-round pick
  • Cooks posted a career-low 42 catches last season and has suffered five concussions in six seasons
  • The Texans moves on the wide-receiver front continue to raise eyebrows

The Houston Texans have had a busy 12 months of trades and, on Thursday, they made one more.  The Texans stuck a deal with the Los Angeles Rams to acquire Brandin Cooks. While it theoretically plugs the hole left by the DeAndre Hopkins trade, it’s done nothing for the Texans’ 2021 Super Bowl odds.

Super Bowl 55 Odds

Team 2019 Record Super Bowl 55 Odds
Kansas City Chiefs 12-4 +650
Baltimore Ravens 14-2 +700
San Francisco 49ers 13-3 +1100
New Orleans Saints 13-3 +1500
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9 +1600
New England Patriots 12-4 +2500
Seattle Seahawks 11-5 +2500
Philadelphia Eagles 9-7 +2500
Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 +2500
Buffalo Bills 10-6 +2800
Houston Texans 10-6 +5000

Odds as of April 9.

Texans Acquire Cooks From Rams For Second-Round Pick

The Los Angeles Rams entered the offseason in salary-cap hell. It looked almost impossible get out of bad contracts like Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks. Cooks was coming off his worst season and is owed a whopping $47 million over the next four seasons.

Cooks also has a serious injury history as he’s suffered multiple concussions. It’s gotten to the point where one more could put him in Wes Welker territory and start pushing him closer to retirement. Cooks suffered two concussions in a 25-day span last season and some were already wondering about his longevity.

Overall, he’s suffered five known concussions in a six-year span. The Texans made a mistake by dumping DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts and they’ve now overpaid for a guy whom the Rams might have cut.

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Are The Texans Better?

If this was 2016, then the answer would be an easy ‘Yes’. Back then, David Johnson (the man they got in return for Hopkins) was among the best running backs in the NFL and Cooks was coming off a 1,173-yard season with eight touchdowns.

However, this is 2020 and there are some serious question marks about both players.

In reality, this move for Cooks effectively completes the Hopkins trade: Houston acquired Johnson to fill its running back void and then used a similar draft pick that came with the Johnson trade to acquire Cooks.

As mentioned, Cooks is coming off a 2019 season in which he had a career-low 42 catches and two touchdowns. Johnson took a back seat to Kenyan Drake in the Cardinal backfield by the end of last season and, like Cooks, might have wound up getting cut by his former team.

In 2016, Johnson had over 2,000 total yards. Since then, he has a total of 2,191 yards combined over three seasons. Most teams insisted on getting a draft pick to take Johnson and swallow his contract; the Texans, on the other hand, gave up Hopkins for him.

What’s worse is that these moves don’t make a lot of sense. Why trade Hopkins for Johnson when a guy like Devonta Freeman is a free agent? Or why trade for Cooks when you already have two similar deep threats on the roster in Kenny Stills and Will Fuller?

Worse yet, the Texans will pay Cooks and free-agent signing Randall Cobb $38.7 million over the next two seasons when Hopkins wanted about $20 million per year. No other team in the NFL would prefer that duo over Hopkins.

Don’t try to justify any of this. Most people have panned head coach and GM Bill O’Brien and rightfully so.

What’s The Best Bet?

Are the Texans better than they were when they had Hopkins? Probably not. If Cooks regains his form from two years ago and Johnson can prove he’s still a workhorse, then maybe. However, recent history says that Hopkins is the guy you’d rather have.

There’s no question that Deshaun Watson has lots of weapons around him but Cobb, Fuller, and Cooks are all injury-prone.

It’s likely that the Texans are basically who they were last year, but slightly worse. They’ll contend for a playoff spot in a weak division but won’t be a serious Super Bowl contender come playoff time.

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