Browns have explored trade for Deshaun Watson’s former top target, Brandin Cooks

Without Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the Cleveland Browns looked to supply Deshaun Watson with a former favored target with the Houston Texans — Brandin Cooks. 

Cleveland still has approximately $20 million remaining in cap space, even after giving Deshaun Watson a historic five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed.

With that money, the Browns are in want of another wide receiver after losing Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry a few months apart, although Landry could re-sign with the team. To that end, the Browns secured Amari Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys early in the offseason, but there’s another former Texas wideout the Cleveland team has apparently been eyeing.

Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot revealed that Cleveland have been calling the Houston Texans after the Deshaun Watson trade with an interest in another trade: acquiring Watson’s former top target, Brandin Cooks.

Cleveland Browns were interested in pairing Brandin Cooks with Deshaun Watson

According to Cabot, league sources have indicated that Cleveland is one of several teams interested in the nine-year NFL veteran wideout, but the possibility of the Browns landing Cooks is “currently low.”

Part of that is because Cleveland gave up a large chunk of their future already in draft capital, and the Browns would likely want at least a second-round pick for Cooks. Through the Watson trade, the Texans already got a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2022, a first-round pick and third-round pick in 2023, and a first-round pick and fourth-round pick in 2024. That’s three straight years of first-rounders from the Browns, so the organization is unlikely to give what little is left for Cooks.

Additionally, Cooks is in his final year with the Texans, and he might look for an extension with his fourth NFL team rather than be traded… again. Cooks has never been a free agent, being traded from the New Orleans Saints to the New England Patriots to the Los Angeles Rams to, now, the Houston Texans, all within a span of seven years.

In addition to his speed, the distinguishing benefit of Cooks is that he and Watson have already built chemistry, which could help Watson adjust to playing with an entirely different team. The Browns may draft someone with the No. 44 pick in the NFL Draft, they may re-sign Jarvis Landry, or they could continue to prowl the free agent market for a capable veteran wide receiver to play opposite Amari Cooper.

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