Sean Pendergast

Potential Trade Values for Every 2021 Houston Texan

Brandin Cooks has been great the first three weeks of 2021, but would he be viewed as a tradable asset in the right deal?
Brandin Cooks has been great the first three weeks of 2021, but would he be viewed as a tradable asset in the right deal? Photo by Jack Gorman
Earlier this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to deal their first round pick from the 2020 draft, cornerback C.J. Henderson, to the Carolina Panthers, in a deal that brought back a third round pick and a reserve tight end named Dan Arnold. It was a significant deal in that Henderson was a top ten pick in the draft just 17 months ago.

From a pure talent standpoint, there are fewer players more talented than Henderson on the Jags' roster, but the combination of Henderson's being difficult behind the scenes, along with early evidence that the Jaguars' 2021 season is going nowhere meant that Jags head coach Urban Meyer thought it was best to move on from Henderson, and load up on more draft capital for next spring.

This is the world the NFL has turned into, where the teams that KNOW they will be near the bottom are looking to "fire sale" things earlier and earlier every year. Some Texan fans would argue the trade of Bradley Roby for a third round pick several weeks ago was done in the same spirit as the Henderson trade. I would agree with those Texans fans.

So, with that in mind, with the NFL trade deadline set for Tuesday, November 2, just after the end of Week 8, what exactly are the trade values on the players the Texans would consider moving? To be clear, I think Nick Caserio would CONSIDER moving anybody on the roster, but I think with some of the REALLY young players, those drafted in 2020 and 2021, he will hang onto the ones who've now made the team to see if the Texans' coaching staff can develop them, so this particular post won't include prices on any 2020 or 2021 draftees.


The easiest currency to use to translate for purposes of this project is draft capital. In other words, the question we need to ask about each player is "How high a draft pick, by round, can we get for this guy?" So what does the Texans' "menu" look like for opposing general managers looking to make a deal? Here is how I would categorize it, starting with the one guy we KNOW will be dealt someday (good lord willing, and the creek don't rise):

Multiple 1st round picks and THEN SOME
QB DESHAUN WATSON
This is the draft pick menu equivalent of "Lobster, Market Price" at a fancy steakhouse. If and when Watson is traded, it should still be for a bonanza.

1st round pick
LT LAREMY TUNSIL
Tunsil is one of the few truly attractive assets on the roster, and he plays a position in which his game should age fairly well, but depending on the suitor, and the availability of a new, younger solution at left tackle, Caserio might consider getting a high pick for Tunsil, with the added fiscal benefit of opening up a TON of cap space, too.

2nd round pick
WR BRANDIN COOKS
Cooks was acquired for a second round pick before the 2020 season, and has been traded three times in his career already for high picks. He hasn't done anything this season that would diminish his value around the league, as he is third in the league in catches (23) and yards (322). (in case you're wondering, DeAndre Hopkins has 13 catches for 158 yards, through three games, good for 47th and 52nd, respectively.)

3rd round pick
LB ZACH CUNNINGHAM, LG TYTUS HOWARD, S JUSTIN REID
Cunningham is a former second round pick, and Pro Bowl alternate, whose most noteworthy occurrence this season was a benching in Cleveland for violating team rules. His contract would be REALLY tough to swallow in a trade also, as it is laden with dead cap money from his extension he signed a year ago. Howard would be tough to deal, but depending on how the staff views him as a future piece, getting a pick for him could make sense.

4th round pick
S JUSTIN REID, DE CHARLES OMENIHU
In two games, Reid was off to a great start this season (three turnovers caused), but he got dinged up with a knee injury in Week 2. Also, he's in the final year of his deal, making him a true rental piece. Omenihu is an enigma, as I had no idea where to set his price, so I just dumped him into the "fourth round" bin.

5th round pick
TE PHARAOH BROWN, TE JORDAN AKINS, RG MAX SCHARPING, C JUSTIN BRITT
Now we are getting into the "draft pick hoarding" part of the menu. In other words, these are guys who may fit all the cultural criteria of being a Texan, but are completely expendable as players for the right price. The toughest ones to see go here would be Brown and Britt, who've become fan favorites in their brief time here.

6th round pick
RB DAVID JOHNSON, RB PHILLIP LINDSAY, RB MARK INGRAM, LB CHRISTIAN KIRKSEY, CB DESMOND KING, DT MALIEK COLLINS. LB KAMU GRUGIER-HILL, DE WHITNEY MERCILUS
Yeah, pretty much the whole offensive backfield, and a chunk of the front seven defensively, belong here. We are getting to the depressing parts of this roster.

7th round pick
PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE ELSE (not including 2020 and 2021 draftees)
If you can get a seventh round pick for anybody that I haven't named yet, then you are a better GM than, well, than Bill O'Brien for sure!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast