It looks like the New Orleans Saints are willing to trade wide receiver Brandin Cooks. That leads to one question – why?

There must be more to the Cooks story than the public knows. He’s been a very productive receiver for the three seasons he’s been in the NFL. It doesn’t make sense for New Orleans to be considering moving him.

Can't question Saints' Cooks on-field production

After a decent rookie season in 2014, Cooks has put up some very strong and consistent numbers over the last two years. In 2015-2016 combined, Cooks has had 162 receptions for 2,311 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Those are big stats and have led to him being a very high draft choice in fantasy football leagues.

It’s understood the Saints have some receiver depth, especially with the breakout performance of Michael Thomas in his rookie campaign. Thomas had 92 receptions for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2016. Willie Snead added 72 catches and tight end Coby Fleener snagged 50 balls as quarterback Drew Brees continued to spread around the wealth.

One can argue Cooks is expendable because of the play around him, but some of the play around him is because of the defensive coverage he’s been drawing.

Also, in a game where injuries play a major role, outside of getting an offer that’s simply too good to refuse – like two first-round draft picks – why deal a star, young player?

Is Cooks a good Saints teammate?

Perhaps the reason behind the reports of Cooks even being mentioned in trade talks has to do with the unhappiness he expressed last season at a very strange time.

In Week 12, the Saints demolished the Los Angeles Rams, 49-21. However, after the game, Cooks took to Instagram in a post that seemingly expressed frustration that he wasn’t targeted during the game.

This creates a catch-22 situation, no pun intended. On one side, it’s very disappointing to have a player express frustration about his role following a 28-point win.

On the flip side, teams want players who care about being involved, and Cooks showed he cares. However, maybe he took it too far and this should’ve been an internal-only discussion, not something for the national media to make into a bigger story.

It appears the New England Patriots offered their first-round pick (the last one of the opening round) to the Saints as part of a deal for Cooks, but New Orleans passed. Rumors include the Tennessee Titans and the Philadelphia Eagles among the teams interested in Cooks, and that’s no surprise with both teams looking to upgrade at the position for their young, developing quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota and Carson Wentz.

With free agency starting this week, it’s possible a Cooks deal could happen quickly.

If the Saints do really want to move him, they might pull the trigger on a deal before free agency begins so that teams interested don’t turn to free agency instead.

It also wouldn’t be a surprise for the Saints to wait as teams that don’t land a star wideout in free agency might come calling with an even better offer near draft day. Then again, the least surprising option would be New Orleans heading into the 2017 season with Cooks on its roster. At the end of the day, the Saints should love having him on the team, unless there’s more to the story than we all know.