It always felt like the Dallas Cowboys were going to add one of three wide receivers this offseason: Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, or Brandin Cooks.
In the end, Dallas acquired Cooks from the Texans for a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick. Before the 2022 trade deadline, Houston asked for as much as a third or second-round pick and for the Cowboys to inherit the remainder of his salary.
Not only did Dallas get a bargain for Cooks in terms of draft compensation, but the Texans will eat $6 million of his next season’s salary.
While Hopkins was open to a trade to North Texas, the Cowboys seemingly were never going to meet Arizona’s demands of a second-round pick and a player. The same can be said for Jerry Jeudy, whom the Broncos purportedly wanted for a 2023 first-round selection or a high second-round pick.
Once regarded as the favorites to land Odell Beckham Jr., acquiring Cooks takes Dallas out of the running for the coveted free agent.
Here’s why that’s a blessing in disguise for the team.
Cowboys no longer pursuing Odell Beckham Jr. after they acquired Brandin Cooks.
Let’s preface this by saying that Beckham would’ve been a great pickup for the Cowboys. He wouldn’t have costed any draft capital, and his history as a dominant slant route-runner made him a perfect fit on paper in Mike McCarthy’s offense, which historically has had a heavy utilization of slants.
With that said, there would’ve been great risk in signing Beckham, who’s coming off his second ACL surgery to the same knee. He’ll turn 31 in the middle of next season, and while his recent workout was jaw-dropping, there’s no telling how he’ll fare playing a 17-game season.
Beckham hasn’t played a full season since 2019, which is the last time he posted numbers that resembled a true WR1. Yes, the Cowboys have CeeDee Lamb as their top receiver, but Beckham is asking for WR-equivalent money.
While the reports claiming he wants $20 million seems exaggerated — Odell himself admitted as such in a tweet) — you have to think he’ll still get $12 million per year or more after Jakobi Meyers, who’s half the player, inked a three-year, $33 million deal with the Raiders ($11 million annually), including $21 million guaranteed.
Beckham might have higher upside than Cooks, but the latter is the much safer acquisition for Dallas. He seldom misses time with injury, and has two 1,000-yard seasons (six total in his career) in the last three years.
At this point in their careers, it’s fair to argue that Cooks is the better and more reliable player. He only cost two low-round draft picks, will be on the books for $12.8 million in 2023, and has no guaranteed money left after next season.
This isn’t our version of copium, either.
As we stated earlier, Beckham would’ve been an awesome signing for the Cowboys and it’d be better for the NFL if he becomes relevant again (hopefully in the AFC). Given the risk involved, though, we’re more than content with Cooks coming in as the Robin to Lamb’s Batman.