FRISCO, Texas — The way the Dallas Cowboys have been cooking these past few days, you'd think it was the week of Thanksgiving. Following a quiet start to 2023 NFL free agency last Monday, they've since made not one unexpected (and electric) trade, but now two in less than a week's time — acquiring veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
In a deal struck with the Houston Texans, the Cowboys will receive Cooks in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth-round pick in 2024, low-risk compensation for a potentially still-explosive drum of gunpowder.
Cooks, 29, is a former first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints (2014) who has blown past 1,000-yards receiving in six of his nine NFL seasons, and that includes twice for a Texans team that lacked stability at quarterback.
To date, Cooks has racked up a total of 8,616 receiving yards and 49 receiving touchdowns — 8,925 scrimmage yards in all. What Cooks brings to the table for the Cowboys is speed, and gobs of it, his 4.33s 40-yard dash time proving that point in spades.
It's no secret Dallas needed a speedster to help take the pressure off of CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, and it's Cooks who gets the nod after a very public courtship in December with a still-healing Odell Beckham, Jr.; and this likely means they're now out on Beckham (though time will ultimately tell).
Initially set to hit the Texans salary cap in 2023 for $24.4 million — $18 million being base salary — it's currently unknown if the current deal will be reworked to allow for some relief toward the Cowboys' salary cap, but they've restructured several deals recently (e.g., Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Michael Gallup) to free up room for such a move. The Texans have agreed to consume $6 million in guaranteed money to make the deal go through though, per multiple reports, and that certainly helps the situation on Dallas' end.
Cooks spent time with both the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams before his stretch with the Texans, but he's hoping the short drive up I-45 North will be for a more permanent home.