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Insider Thinks Brandin Cooks Could Be a Trade Option for Steelers

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There’s no doubt about it, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in dire need of a wide receiver. They added some depth pieces in Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins in free agency, but they’re still without a No. 2 wide receiver due to the Diontae Johnson trade to Carolina.

It’s expected that the Steelers will fill the massive WR hole through the draft or a trade. They’ve been heavily linked to San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, but the draft capital and compensation demands are quite hefty. Aiyuk reportedly wants over $25 million per year. Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton has recently come on the scene, and seems to be a more rational option, but there are hurdles there, too.

Mark Kaboly of The Athletic thinks Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks would be a realistic trade target for the Steelers that wouldn’t break the bank.

“It’s possible. It’s very possible. It might not be the guys we’ve heard of. Denver doesn’t want to get rid of Courtland Sutton, right? Tee Higgins [is] just crazy amount of money, so I’m not even looking there.”

“I’m looking at a guy like, I mean I don’t even know if he’s on the blocks, but a guy like Brandin Cooks would fit in here nice,” Kaboly said on The Fan Morning Show. “He’s in the final year of his contract in Dallas. They’re trying to dump everybody for money. If you can somehow make a move, I would do that. I would imagine there’s a plan in place to add a receiver. I mean these are smart guys. They know they can’t go with Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins. They know it and they can’t rely on the draft right now.”

Cooks, 30, was a first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2014. He’s been traded four times during his career, so it would be the fifth time if Kaboly’s theory comes to fruition. In 10 seasons with five different teams, Cooks has recorded 684 receptions for 9,273 yards (13.6 average) and 57 touchdowns. In 2023 with the Cowboys, Cooks caught 54 passes for 657 yards (12.2 average) and eight touchdowns.

The Steelers have been in the market for a wide receiver since trading Johnson to Carolina in March. They’ve struck out on free agents Mike Williams and Tyler Boyd, missing on Williams, who signed with the New York Jets, and reaching a negotiating impasse with Boyd.

Pittsburgh brought in six wide receivers for pre-draft visits — Adonai Mitchell of Texas, Ricky Pearsall of Florida, Malachi Corley of Western Kentucky, Xavier Legette of South Carolina, Tahj Washington of USC and Luke McCaffrey of Rice. LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. is also a name to watch in Round 1 for the Steelers.