NFL Trade Rumors: Texans' Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks Among Veterans Targeted

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2020

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) scores a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

With the Houston Texans seemingly preparing for a retooling after firing coach/general manager Bill O'Brien, opposing teams have begun targeting veteran players for potential trades.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported receivers Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller, linebackers Zach Cunningham and Whitney Mercilus and tight end Darren Fells are among the players who could be moved ahead of the Week 8 deadline.

It's likely the Texans will want to move vets who aren't part of their long-term plans to recoup draft picks lost in trades made by O'Brien. The Miami Dolphins have Houston's first- and second-round picks in 2021 from the Laremy Tunsil trade. With Houston sitting at 1-4, it's possible the team will wind up with one of the five worst records in football—a cataclysmic result for what amounts to an above-average left tackle.

Cunningham is the likeliest of the listed Texans players to stay in Houston after signing a four-year contract extension in August. Houston would have to pay a sizable cap charge to get out from under his deal. The same goes for Mercilus, who signed a four-year deal in January. 

Fuller is an expiring contract who has flashed elite downfield ability when healthy but has missed at least five games in each of the last three seasons. He and Cooks, who does not have any guaranteed money remaining on his deal, are both movable from a contractual standpoint. However, it would be hard to justify the moves to Deshaun Watson after O'Brien jettisoned DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts in March.

Fells is a solid tight end who could fit in anywhere, and the Texans would be fine to move him for a late-round pick if one becomes available. 

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That said, with the organizational structure of the Texans up in the air, the team may choose to stand pat and allow its next general manager to handle the reconstruction.