2. No team is going to want to take on Cooks after his 2020 season
Now, it is a bit unfair to judge a player after one season after they were really good in their career up until that point. This is not to say that Cooks is a bad receiver because of one disappointing season, but that disappointing season does impact his trade value.
Heading into 2019, Cooks was actually one of the most undervalued wide receivers in the entire league. He had over 1,000 receiving yards in every season from 2015 to 2018 with a combined 30 touchdowns — 29 receiving and one rushing.
2019 was not as good to Cooks as he only hauled in 42 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns. He simply became less of the offensive gameplan for the Rams, as his targets went from being 117 in 2018 to only 72 in 2019.
Some of that has to do with the shoddy offensive line and Jared Goff’s regression without a full-strength Gurley, but Cooks still did not have the kind of year that is going to appeal to other teams.
This does two things: first, it lessens his value, which makes his absorbing his contract seem even worse for another team if they are not certain of him being a true number one option. Second, it takes away some of the leverage from the Rams, as opposing teams know that they are practically doing the Rams a favor by taking on the contract.
Plus, the trade market for Cooks is even smaller after DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs got traded to teams that need a wide receiver in an offseason where the draft class is deep in wide receiver talent.