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CSC Roundtable: What Should the Saints Do with WR Brandin Cooks?

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CSC contributors get together to speak on the future of Brandin Cooks.

NFL: Preseason-New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

We thought we would let the readers see the inner conversations of contributors here at Canal Street Chronicles, where we each can weigh in on a topic and share our thoughts. We don’t always agree with each other, so view our thoughts below and comment with your thoughts.

Contributors in the conversation: Super Saiyan Saint (SSS), Kevin Skiver (Kevin), J.M. DiGiulo (JM), John Sigler (Sig), and Chris Dunnells (Dunz).

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SSS - If I'm them I'd extend Cooks now. Another 1200 yard-ish season will raise his cost a lot

Kevin - I totally agree, but they do still have an option on his contract, right? Extending him what would presumably be two years ahead of time is a tough negotiation because I'm sure his agent knows full well how he can raise his value.

JM - I'd exercise the 5th-year option and let him walk in 2 years.

Kevin - Honestly, the last thing I'd do is let him walk. He's too talented for that - if you draft a star, you lock him up. I know the hype around Michael Thomas is real, but Cooks led the team last year and he is an absolute burner.

Sig - Cooks bidding on the open market starts at $11M APY. My main goal on offense is keeping the Cooks, Thomas and Snead together. It'll make life easier for Brees as he wraps things up and set up a great situation for the next guy.

Kevin - I think people confuse Saints' players for just being replaceable in the offensive scheme, but we never saw Devery Henderson or Robert Meachem put up anywhere near these numbers.

Dunz - But at the same time, we also saw Meachem put up numbers with Drew in this offense that he didn't put up in San Diego. Can we really think of any WR in the Sean Payton Era that left the Saints and found any level of significant success with another team? Henderson, Meachem, Copper, Moore etc. etc.

JM - Meachem is probably the only one that left in physical prime, to be honest.

Dunz - But does Brandin being vocal about not getting targets change your perception of him or desire to keep him? Remember: Brandin complained after the Saints blew out the Rams. Next two games, Brandin got his touches, but the Saints lost.

Kevin - Yeah, Chris brings up a really important point, especially when you're talking about the Saints. They don't like it when guys think that they're bigger than the team. But also, the Saints are used to Marques Colston types when that isn't your average receiver. Every team has divas; you weigh whether the production outweighs the drama. Cooks made a passive aggressive comment that amounted to your girlfriend posting "I'm fine" on Facebook. Annoying, but hardly a big deal.

Sigler - That was the meekest, quietest protest ever. It was a non-story in my opinion. Of course a 22 year old kid who got 12 catches a game in college wants his targets in a fun blowout.

Dunz - Agreed that it was blown out of proportion, but still disappointing to see him take his disappointment to any level in the public.

Sigler - Yeah, and it was a one off thing. If it becomes toxic, I'll worry, but so far there's nothing really there.

SSS - The Cooks mouthing off thing is the stupidest, most overblown thing by fans in my opinion. If Drew Brees or Sean Payton are bothered by it, then I care (if you can prove it)... Otherwise, total non-issue.

Dunz - Why did the Saints trade Kenny Stills, though? Weren't there rumored character/personality issues?

Kevin - I think they were rumored, but not really confirmed. That was a bizarre offseason in general, though. It looked to me like they were stockpiling picks and trying to get value at other positions (L-line, LBs), while clearing some cap space. Stills got caught in the crossfire.

JM - The Saints drafted a player in the 5th round, got production from him for 2 years, then flipped him for a 3rd round pick and a LB.

Dunz - Could there not be a similar perfect(/imperfect) storm with Cooks? We have an actual example of vocalized displeasure during a Saints win. We have a team with plenty of holes and could use picks in a deep draft class. We've got an extremely talented WR but, potentially and arguably, a better one already on the team. Could/would the Saints trade Cooks this offseason?

Sigler - The possibility is always there. If someone offer a first round pick, maybe they pull the trigger.

Dunz - Do you think a first round pick is enough to get a deal done?

JM - I would accept it, to be honest, Dunz.

Kevin - Sure, but on the flipside, would you trade with the Saints for offensive weapons these days? I value him a LOT more than a lot of Saints' fans likely do, I believe he's a top 8 receiver in the NFL right now, but I accept that that's heavily, heavily subjective. If the guy sitting at home thinks that people overvalue Saints' wideouts, other GMs will too

JM - Don't be so quick, Kevin. All it takes is one.

Dunz - #Eagles

Kevin - If we did it with anyone, guaranteed it'd be Philly.

Hendrix - Trade Cooks, get value. Draft Samuel. Only way I'd let him leave.

Kevin - Literally every player has a price. I don't believe that Cooks's price will line up with a team that's "a receiver away," with Philadelphia being the only notable exception.

JM - Kevin, let's assume that extending Cooks to a market-value contract is mutually exclusive to keeping Michael Thomas past his rookie contract. Would you still be on board?

Kevin - Even though I don't see a scenario where those two things are necessarily exclusive, yeah I'm still on board. I could see him extending Cooks for the duration of Thomas's rookie contract and then making a choice when the time comes.

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So there you go. Was there anything said in our roundtable that you agree with? Something you absolutely hate? Tell us in the comments! Share you thoughts - what do you think the Saints should do with Brandin Cooks moving forward?