Veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks is being traded by the Texans to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for fifth-round and sixth-round draft picks, according to league sources.
Cooks’ standing trade request was met Saturday as the Texans agreed to send him to the NFC East franchise after nearly trading him to Dallas at the NFL trade deadline last fall, according to sources.
The Texans are paying $6 million to trade Cooks as that amount of his $18 million guaranteed base salary was converted into a bonus, per sources.
Cooks didn’t want to be a part of an ongoing rebuilding process and reiterated that desire to the team. He drew interest from multiple AFC and NFC teams, according to league sources.
This is the fourth time Cooks has been traded in his career.
Acquired by the Texans from the Rams in a 2020 trade for a second-round draft pick, Cooks has now tied Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson for the most trades involving an individual player in NFL history. The former New Orleans Saints first-round draft pick from Oregon State was previously traded to the Patriots and then the Rams before joining the Texans.
Cooks reiterated his trade request to the Texans after DeMeco Ryans was hired as head coach.
“I’ve spoken with Brandin and that process will have to, it will play itself out,” Ryans said at the NFL scouting combine. “We’ll do what’s best for our team. I have spoken with him. Great guy. I would love to work with him. I’ve spoken with him.”
Cooks wanted to join a playoff contender after going 11-38-1 with the Texans over the past three seasons since being acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Rams.
“I’d say we’re kind of in the team building process here,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said at the combine. “Every player, every individual situation we’ll look at it. Then, ultimately we’ll do what feels best for the team and the organization moving forward.”
Cooks caught 57 passes for 699 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Cooks walked onto the Texans’ practice field before the final game of the season, joining his teammates before pausing along his path to shake hands and hug Caserio days before the last game of the season Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
It was a friendly exchange between two men whose strong relationship and mutual respect goes back to their shared tenure with the New England Patriots. Cooks was nearly dealt at the NFL deadline to the Cowboys, then missed one game against the Philadelphia Eagles for personal reasons stemming from his disappointment and frustration after not being traded to the Cowboys.
“I think my agent and Nick and I, we have a good working relationship and, after this game, we’ll be able to discuss what the future looks like,” Cooks told KPRC 2 at the close of the season. “This situation, obviously has got to be a win-win for both sides. I think Nick understands that. We understand that. I think he’s trying to grow something here. As a guy going into Year 10 of my career, I want to be a part of a vision where everyone is on the same page and has a stable vision.
“That’s my hope as a player. As a player, I’ve worked too hard and seen too many different situations here. I know they’re trying to get it right and get it going. I know Nick has a big job in front of him. I think we’ll discuss it after the season. Both sides will have a good understanding.”
Ultimately, no deal could be worked out for Cooks to be traded at the trade deadline. It was an extremely complicated situation due to financial reasons with Cooks’ $18 million guaranteed base salary in 2023 along with the Texans’ high asking price in terms of draft capital. The Texans, ideally, wanted a second-round draft pick and other compensation in exchange for Cooks, per league sources, and teams, including the Cowboys, wanted them to pay a large portion of his salary to make the trade work.
Cooks drew trade inquiries and interest from several teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and Cowboys, according to league sources.
Signed to a two-year, $39.6 million contract extension last year, Cooks caught a career-high 90 passes in 2021 on 134 targets for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns. In his first season with the Texans while playing with three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns last offseason, Cooks caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns.
Cooks is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL with a 4.33 time in the 40-yard dash. A former track standout growing up in Stockton, Calif., and in college, Cooks, said he knows he gave the Texans what he had. It’s unfortunate that didn’t translate into a longer tenure or more victories.
“In every way, I gave everything I had for three years,” Cooks said. “Regardless of the situation and a lot of things that was going on, I always worked my tail off and tried to be the best player and the best leader I can be.”