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Brandin Cooks Rumored to Be Subject of Trade Talks with Eagles, Titans

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2017

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Brandin Cooks #10 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after scoring a 65 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks is reportedly the subject of trade talks involving both the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported the news on Thursday and added that Tennessee is a more likely landing spot for Cooks than Philly. Mortensen also discussed the framework of a potential deal:

One scenario has the Titans simply trading their first-round pick (No. 18 overall) for Cooks, who was the Saints' 20th pick in the first round of the 2014 draft. Another scenario, per sources, has the two teams swapping slots in the first round, involving the Titans moving from the No. 5 pick (acquired from the Rams) to the Saints' 11th pick, with another pick or two also in play.

On Friday, Alex Marvez of Sporting News reported the Eagles were in fact the likelier landing spot for the talented wide receiver. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted the Eagles are asking for a first-round pick in return for Cooks. 

John Hendrix of the Sun Herald reported Friday that the Saints are seeking a first-round pick in 2017 and additional 2018 picks for Cooks.

The 23-year-old wideout is set to enter the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, but there is a fifth-year option available for 2018.

According to Spotrac, 56 wide receivers have a higher cap hit than the $1.5 million figure carried by Cooks.

The former first-round pick out of Oregon State has put up big numbers in each of the past two seasons, averaging 81 receptions for 1,156 yards and 8.5 touchdowns per year.

Cooks led New Orleans in receiving yardage in 2016 but was second to rookie Michael Thomas in both catches and touchdowns.

Willie Snead chipped in 72 grabs for 895 yards and four touchdowns, which could make Cooks expendable provided the Saints don't want to commit long-term money to him.

Despite the rumors, Saints head coach Sean Payton recently said on SiriusXM Radio's Schein on Sports (h/t Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune) that he expects Cooks to be with the team in 2017: "Absolutely I do. And, really, if you really want to cut down to the chase, he's a magnificent kid—a worker, he's not a kid anymore. He's a tremendous player. He practices 100 miles per hour. You have to slow him down some. He's got a great rapport with [quarterback] Drew [Brees]."

New Orleans ranked first in the NFL in total offense and second in scoring in 2016 but finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

If the Saints are looking for a shakeup in the form of trading Cooks, Philadelphia and Tennessee are both logical landing spots.

The Eagles need a true No. 1 wideout to pair with Jordan Matthews, and they have been linked to almost every major free-agent wide receiver, including Alshon Jeffery and Kenny Stills.

The Titans need another threat to complement Rishard Matthews and help further elevate quarterback Marcus Mariota's play.

Along with Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., Cooks is one of only three wide receivers to post at least 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.

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