Photo via Orlando Ramirez
Last season, the Green Packers surprised many by reaching the conference championship game. They edged out the New Orleans Saints for the two seed with a 13-3 record. In the Divisional Playoff Round they held off a late charge from the Seattle Seahawks to win, 28-23. The Packers were rarely considered true contenders and that sentiment was proven correct when the Packers were dominated 37-20 in the NFC Championship by the San Francisco 49ers.
But you may ask, if they went 13-3 and reached the conference championship game, then why were they never considered true Super Bowl contenders?
First, their schedule was very favorable. They faced a Chicago Bears team with a limited offense twice and a Detroit Lions team twice heavily banged up and got help from the officials. They faced a weak NFC East and the AFC West, which included the Denver Broncos led by Joe Flacco and the Kansas City Chiefs without Patrick Mahomes. They also faced the Minnesota Vikings without star running back Dalvin Cook in their second matchup. Then, they beat a Seahawks’ team in the playoffs without their top three running backs and a depleted secondary.
Also, they looked very unimpressive while achieving their 13-3 record. Their point differential was only +63 despite winning 10 more games than they had lost. To compare, the 49ers were +169. Additionally, their total offense and defense ranked in the middle part of the league. They rarely put together a complete game and in their two trips to San Francisco, their flaws were completely exposed in two losses where the game was decided before halftime. They lacked weapons to compete with elite teams as only one wide receiver had more than 450 yards and the one that did, Davante Adams, had over 500 yards more than second place despite missing four games.
The Packers’ window to compete is narrowing. Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old and Davante Adams is in his prime. With Drew Brees entering the twilight of his career and the Los Angeles Rams heading on a downward spiral, the Packers have a golden opportunity to compete with the 49ers and get back to their first Super Bowl since the 2010 season. The best way for the Packers to elevate themselves to championship contenders is to trade for Rams’ wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Cooks is a speedy, deep-threat wide receiver that has bounced around the league. He has twice been traded for a first-round pick and has played for the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and most recently, the Los Angeles Rams. From 2015-18, Cooks gained over a thousand yards receiving all four seasons and averaged 1149 yards per season. He also was a top two target on the Patriots and Rams who made the Super Bowl in 2017 and 2018 respectively. However, in 14 games played last season, Cooks only gained 583 yards and is now on the trade block.
I think the Packers giving the Rams a first or second-round pick would be beneficial for both teams. First, the Rams already have a loaded receiving corp with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds and will still be fine at that position without Cooks. Also, the Rams do not have a first-round pick the next two seasons and could really use more high draft picks with the lack of cap space they have. Even if they only get a second-round pick for Cooks from the Packers, that will still be a good compensation for a team desperate for higher-round picks.
As for the Packers, their position of need this offseason is wide receiver. So why not use a first or second-round pick on a wide receiver that is already proven and developed? Cooks is a deep threat and will fit in with the offense very well. When Aaron Rodgers has been at his best, he has had deep threats such as Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings stretch the defense and utilize his incredible arm talent. Cooks has played with talented quarterbacks before and has played in two Super Bowls and I believe he would fit in very well in Green Bay.
The Packers are a solid team and they are just one or two pieces away from truly contending for a championship. Adding Brandin Cooks would elevate the Packers’ offense and make them dangerous.
Good luck stopping Aaron Rodgers with a 1000-yard rusher in Aaron Jones and two explosive receivers.