The Dallas Cowboys should explore every avenue this offseason to improve their receiver room. A trade feels like the path least likely to be traveled, but it wasn’t long ago that the Cowboys explored making a big splash for an impact wideout before the 2022 trade deadline.
That player? Disgruntled Texans star Brandin Cooks.
Reports indicated the Cowboys were “close” to acquiring Cooks from Houston. However, Dallas balked at Cooks’ $18 million guaranteed salary for the 2023 season, and talks fell by the wayside. The understanding is that Dallas and Houston were on the same wavelength in terms of draft compensation.
Fast forward to the present, and the Cowboys are still starving for more receiving talent. CeeDee Lamb is an ascending superstar, but Michael Gallup regressed coming off ACL surgery, and 2022 third-round pick Jalen Tolbert didn’t sniff the field.
Lo and behold, Cooks could be on the move this offseason.
Per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, “multiple” teams have expressed interest in the veteran wideout. Cooks wanted out before the trade deadline, and reiterated after the season that he’s still seeking a trade to a contender.
Cowboys must trade for Brandin Cooks after latest NFL rumors
At some point, the Cowboys are going to have to swallow their pride and absorb an expensive receiver contract. Cooks is on the books for a $18.38 million cap charge in 2023, and a $16.6 million cap hit in 2024. That’s not cheap by any means, but Cooks is a legitimate difference-maker at the position.
A nine-year veteran, Cooks has posted six 1,000-yard seasons in his career, including four straight spanning 2015-18 with the Saints and Rams. His production fell off in 2022, but that can be attributed to his trade request and frustration with the direction of the franchise.
In 2021, Cooks flourished amid the Texans’ dysfunction and lackluster quarterback play, compiling 90 catches for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns.
Over the last three seasons, Cooks ranks in the top 25 at the position in yards per route run, 17th with 66 explosive receptions and eighth with 30 catches on balls thrown 20 or more yards downfield, per Pro Football Focus. That proves Cooks is still one of the game’s best deep-ball trackers, and we’re all aware how badly the Cowboys’ passing game needs an injection of deep shots.
There are whispers from Sports Illustrated that the Texans would accept as little as a fourth-round pick for the former first-round pick. Still just 29 years old despite being a nine-year veteran, Cooks is on an affordable contract would represent a multi-year solution to one of the roster’s weakest positions.
Come on, Jerry Jones. Don’t let him get away again.