While the offseason isn’t officially over for the New Orleans Saints and the other 31 teams in the NFL, Bleacher Report has named the riskiest move for each team’s offseason. For the New Orleans Saints? The trade of Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots:
If you're not rebuilding, it seems counterintuitive to trade a key offensive player who is entering his prime in exchange for draft picks. And as long as 38-year-old future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees remains on the roster, the Saints presumably are not rebuilding. And yet they sent Cooks, 23, and a fourth-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for a first- and third-rounder.
And while the Saints still have a strong receiving corps, they're rolling the dice that 2016 rookie sensation Michael Thomas won't encounter a sophomore slump and that free-agent addition Ted Ginn hasn't lost a step after a bit of a down year in Carolina at the age of 31.
Bleacher Report also says that they can’t envision the players the Saints drafted in the 2017 NFL Draft with the picks received from the Patriots (OL Ryan Ramczyk and LB Trey Hendrickson) to make a larger impact than Cooks in 2017. This seems unfair and without recognition of the Saints recent injury to Terron Armstead. With Armstead set to miss a significant chunk of time this year, the Saints would be even worse off if they didn’t have Ramczyk as a fall-back option.
For what it’s worth, the Patriots failing to trade Malcolm Butler (presumably to the Saints), was part of their riskiest offseason move by the Patriots.
But while we’re at it, if we’re going to be brutally honest and have the benefit of hindsight now, it’s fairly safe to say the riskiest move for the Saints this offseason was the two-year extension of Nick Fairley, who is now set to miss all of the 2017 season.