For Eagles, Brandin Cooks worth trading a 1st-round pick

For Eagles, Brandin Cooks worth trading a 1st-round pick

If the Eagles have the opportunity, they should trade for Brandin Cooks. Even if it means giving up their first-round pick. 

In an age when first-round picks are seen as untouchable golden bars, this opinion is going to be unpopular. I mean, how can you trade a first-round pick? 

Well, in this case, it just makes too much sense. Everything seems to line up. 

First off, you might have noticed the Eagles kinda need some help at receiver. The combination of Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Dorial Green-Beckham and Bryce Treggs wasn't just bad. It was bad enough that if it happens again, it could stunt the growth of the franchise quarterback. 

Over the last two seasons, Cooks hasn't just been OK. He's been really, really good. 

In 2015 and 2016, Cooks had 162 catches for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns. The only other players in the league to put up those same stats over the last two years: Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr.

That's not bad company. 

And it's not just the overall body of work, it's that Cooks does exactly what the Eagles need. He had as many 40-yard catches (six) and 50-yard catches (three) as the entire Eagles team in 2016. 

The whole reason DeSean Jackson and Kenny Stills have been appealing options this offseason for the Eagles is because of their deep-threat ability. Cooks is right there with them. 

And he's just 23 years old. 

To put his age into perspective, the top three receivers in this year's draft class -- Mike Williams, John Ross and Corey Davis -- are all 22. So Cooks is one year older and already has two 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL. 

This trade wouldn't be a move to pick up an aging veteran in the league. It would be a move to pick up a proven commodity who is still young enough to grow with Wentz as he enters his own. 

So far, all of this has been stuff you already knew. Cooks is good and he'd fit with the Eagles. 

What about price? Not only the price to get him, but also the price to keep him. That's the part that has Eagles fans worried. We'll start with the price to get him. 

Yes, a first-round pick is steep. And Howie Roseman is probably trying to work his trade magic to pull off the deal for less. If he somehow lands Cooks for a second-rounder and something else, great. Then, it's a no-brainer. 

But even if it takes parting with the No. 14 pick in the draft, the Eagles should do it. Here are a few reasons why: 

Draft picks and new cars are just about the only things that seem to lose value the second they're driven off the lot. It's why most players drafted in a given round, unless they become great, are immediately worth a lesser-round pick a few years later. (A big reason for that is financial.) 

With the depth of the cornerback class, without a first-round pick, the Eagles can still use their second-round pick to pick up a starter in the secondary.

Still, there's no doubt the Eagles would have a good chance to draft a good player at 14. But it's certainly much more of a gamble than picking up a proven player. It's rare that a trade for a player of Cooks' caliber is ever an option. 

There's a really good chance the top receivers in this class will never be as good as Cooks. Obviously, there's a chance one of them could be great, but none are slam dunks. And do you really trust Roseman to pick the one that will turn out? 

And remember, this draft pick was the return for Sam Bradford. Would you have traded Bradford for Cooks straight up? 

The second part of cost is the cost to keep Cooks. And I understand the trepidation, but not trading for Cooks because of a fear that the Eagles won't be able to re-sign him after two years is just playing scared. 

This season, he would come with a low cap hit of $2.67 million, which would be great for the Eagles, who have around $8.5 million in cap space. They're strapped. And even next season, the Eagles would have a club option to keep Cooks for around $8.5 million. 

Two years of Cooks at around $6 million per year sounds a lot better than adding a free agent like Stills or Jackson for $10-12 million over four or more years. 

And then, if everything goes the way the Eagles hope over those two years, sure, Cooks will be expensive. If he isn't expensive after the 2018 season, something has gone horribly wrong. 

But here's the thing: Good players get paid. And it will be up to Roseman to find a way to keep him in the building. 

Roseman has talked all offseason about signing free agents in their mid-20s instead of older guys. He wants players that can grow with Wentz and the organization. Well, how's this then: In two years, the Eagles could have a pending free agent in-house who is 25 and coming off four straight 1,000-yard seasons. Yeah, he's going to cost a lot of money in two years. But that can't be the reason not to go after him today. 

Sure, there seem to be plenty of reasons not to trade a first-rounder for Cooks. But there are more reasons to do it.

Eagles Mailbag: Fletcher Cox, OTA evaluations, Nelson Agholor

Eagles Mailbag: Fletcher Cox, OTA evaluations, Nelson Agholor

The Eagles have completed one round of OTAs and will kick off another next week, starting Tuesday. 

OTAs are basically light practices in shorts and there's not a ton to gain from watching them, but they're not completely worthless. We already learned who some starters are for now and got a chance to see some new players on the field. 

Training camp will be here before you know it. 

To your questions: 

This is an interesting question because I think if I'm his teammate, I'd be a little annoyed. Especially if I'm some backup player making league minimum and the $100 million man doesn't show. 

But it really isn't like that. Even talking to players off the record, they don't seem to be bothered that Fletcher Cox wasn't with the team during a week of OTAs. Basically, players assume if a guy isn't there, they have a reason and are working out on their own. 

Guys especially understand if a player misses because of contract reasons — get paid, fellas. Obviously, that's not the reason Cox is missing. He signed a $100 million deal last offseason. And Cox's absence allows some other guys to get more reps, which is good for younger guys. 

It definitely doesn't look good from the outside that Cox isn't there. And it's pretty obvious Doug Pederson wants him at the facility. But the players inside the locker room? They're more understanding. 

Let's pump the breaks on the Nelson Agholor OTAs praise. Sure, he looked pretty good in the one day we got to watch of practice this week, but Agholor has looked good in shorts before. 

Does he have a shot at being a starter? Maybe a very slim shot. But the chances he actually beats out Torrey Smith for a starting gig seem minuscule. Perhaps you're thinking Smith is completely shot after looking that way in San Francisco, but it's hard to imagine he can't beat out Agholor for the job. 

That said, Agholor will be on the team this year. His contract makes cutting him nonsensical. And it'll be interesting to see how he performs without the pressure of being a starter. To me, it would make sense to occasionally work him into the slot, something the coaching staff hasn't done much of in the last couple years. 

I put these together because I want to make this point first: we have only been allowed to watch one of their three practices, so we don't have a lot to work from. But I'll give you what I can. 

Barnett: He looks impressive in shorts, at times beating Lane Johnson, who is a very good tackle. That bend we've heard so much about was evident really early. Remember Joe Douglas' talking about ankle flexion? Well, it's absolutely there. It's clear Barnett is a technician, but I'll reserve my judgment until training camp when the pads go on. 

Wentz: Thought he looked fine. I saw some folks saying they saw differences in his mechanics ... Eh. Hard to say in one practice. What I did see were a few beautifully tossed balls and some chemistry forming with Alshon Jeffery, who ought to be the team's No. 1 target this year.

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has had a lot of time on his hands this week while sitting at home on his Kentucky ranch as his team went through optional practices in the Twin Cities.

Zimmer was under strict orders to leave the team and rest his right eye, which has needed eight surgeries to try to repair a detached retina. The lingering issues have led some to wonder if he would be forced to shorten his career.

Zimmer has heard the speculation all week long. The hard-nosed coach said he has reached out to some of those doubters personally this week.

"I'll be back shortly," Zimmer vowed in a conference call with reporters on Friday. "One eye or two, it doesn't matter. I'll be back. We can put that retiring thing to bed quickly."

Zimmer missed one game last season due to the problems with his eye . He tried to work through the issues, but said on Friday that he was told to skip this week's practices and go home to allow his eye to recover.

"It's not much fun," he said. "Usually I love it down here in my place here. But I don't love it too much this week. It was kind of a forced situation. But for the long run it's the best thing for me."

Giants: Smith trying to resurrect career
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith didn't catch a break in his final two seasons with the New York Jets, and it seems his chances of resurrecting his career with the Giants are facing obstacles.

Not only does Smith have to beat out incumbent Josh Johnson for the backup quarterback job to Eli Manning, his prospects of making the team took another hit in the NFL draft when the Giants selected Davis Webb with their third-round draft pick.

The 26-year-old Smith doesn't seem concerned.

Speaking after the Giants organized training activities Thursday, Smith sounded confident for a player who had a promising rookie season four years ago and then regressed, in large part due to inconsistency.

"Honestly, I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone other than myself," said Smith, who has played in only three games in the past two seasons, starting one. "I am just trying to be my best every single day, focusing on trying to be perfect. I know that is a far goal to try and reach, but just trying to be perfect every day and understanding what is required of me once I step onto the field, and then trying to get it done."

Redskins: Injured Moreau final draft pick to sign
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have signed the final member of their 10-player draft class, third-round pick Fabian Moreau.

The team announced the deal Friday.

The cornerback out of UCLA tore a pectoral muscle at his pro day in March. He was projected to be a first- or second-round pick before the injury and went 81st overall to the Redskins.

Moreau says doctors told him it was a five-month recovery, putting him on track to be ready by late in the preseason. The 23-year-old was at Washington's practice facility for rookie minicamp and the first sessions of organized team activities.

Coach Jay Gruden says the team is playing by ear the injury situations of Moreau and fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson and hopes they learn the schemes for the secondary as they rehab.

NFL: Judge tosses lawsuit over cheerleader wages
SAN FRANCISCO -- A lawsuit accusing the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders lacks evidence to support that claim, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. The suit sought class action status on behalf of all NFL cheerleaders.

"To state an antitrust claim here, plaintiff must plead not only `ultimate facts, such as conspiracy, and legal conclusions,'" Alsup said. "The complaint must answer the basic questions of `who, did what, to whom (or with whom), where, and when?'"

An email to an attorney for the 49ers cheerleader, Drexel Bradshaw, was not immediately returned. The cheerleader was only identified in the suit as "Kelsey K."

Alsup gave her an opportunity to amend the lawsuit and refile it by June 15.

The lawsuit was among a spate of legal actions in recent years accusing NFL teams of failing to pay cheerleaders for hours they spent practicing and making public appearances.