The Dallas Cowboys are acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirms. Houston will receive a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth-round pick in 2024 as part of the trade, per ESPN.
Cooks, 29, had 57 receptions for 699 yards and three touchdowns despite missing four games last season. He slides into a Dallas pass-catching group that also includes CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and T.Y. Hilton. Since arriving in the NFL, Cooks has registered at least 42 receptions in each of his nine seasons. Six of his seasons have ended north of 1,000 receiving yards.
The former No. 20 overall selection has now been traded four times in his career, after New Orleans traded up to take him in the 2014 NFL Draft. He played for the Saints in his first three NFL seasons before being traded to the Patriots. After one year in New England (2017) he was dealt to the Rams, where he played two seasons, then was shipped off to the Texans, where he's played since 2020.
Cooks has two years remaining on his contract with an average salary cap hit of $25.5 million during that period. The Texans will be paying $6 million of Cooks' contract for the 2023 season, according to reports.
Houston is left with Robert Woods and Nico Collins at the position. The Texans are loaded with draft picks as part of the Deshaun Watson trade, so general manager Nick Caserio has even more flexibility following the Cooks trade. First-year Houston head coach DeMeco Ryans is making some changes after the team went 3-13-1 last season. The Texans hold the No. 2 and No. 12 overall selections in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
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Cooks' numbers last year were his lowest totals since the 2019 season, the year before he was traded to Houston. Cooks was frustrated with the organization after not being dealt by the deadline, sitting out a game for personal reasons. Now the receiver will get yet another new start, this time in Dallas.
This is the latest move in what has been a savvy offseason for Dallas. Cooks is a player that they've been eyeing dating back to the trade deadline this past season and now get him for a song. Not only do the Cowboys only give up a pair of Day 3 draft selections over the next two seasons, they also have the Texans paying $6 million of Cooks' contract for the 2023 season. Cooks is an ideal speed threat who will complement CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in Dallas' offense. The 29-year-old receiver has been able to put up numbers over the course of his career even when he was given inconsistent play at the quarterback position, so pairing him in a Cowboys offense with Dak Prescott could bring with it a very high ceiling.
It became pretty clear that Cooks no longer wanted to a part of the Texans organization, so it's admittedly difficult to try and maximize a return. While the Day 3 draft picks over the next few years are glorified lottery tickets, the more egregious aspect of this trade from Houston's perspective is the team paying over a quarter of his salary for next season. That's an unneeded expense for a rebuilding team that needs as much capital as it can get to surround whoever their rookie QB will be with talent. Speaking of that, the Texans are pretty thin at the position going forward as they roll out Robert Woods, Nico Collins and John Metchie III.