3 reasons Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins were never realistic for Cleveland Browns
By Greg Newland
Reason No. 3 – The Browns cap was never realistic
The biggest reason the Cleveland Browns were never a realistic trade partner for either Cooks or Hopkins, they don’t have the cap space or the assets to make it happen.
Everyone looks at the fifth and sixth-round picks that the Cowboys gave up for Cooks. That’s fantastic, but this is an NBA trade, meaning the real value for the Texans is the Cowboys taking on $12 million of cap hit in 2023 and $16.5 million in 2024.
Cooks is a strong player, but trading for him would have been like keeping Jarvis Landry around in 2022. An average player on an elite contract doesn’t make sense when you’re trying to get to the next level.
The Hopkins contract is similar to Cooks. You won’t hear me argue that he's a next-level talent compared to Cooks, but the team will still be taking on a base salary of more than $19 million in 2023 and $14.9 million in 2024 and it will take an early-round pick which the Browns don' have a lot of.
Yes, the Browns have more than $10 million of cap space now and there are plenty of moves that could be made to create more space, but do you really want to go off a ledge at a position where you don’t need a player of that caliber?
Cooks may have a ton of success in Dallas, and whoever trades for Hopkins may get that all-pro caliber back out of him, but the Browns need help at other positions that will cost money and could add wins for 2023.
I’d rather spend $15 million on another defensive tackle, linebacker, and third wide receiver for 2023 compared to just one player.