HOUSTON – The Texans have agreed to trade veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Dallas Cowboys, league sources told KPRC 2.
The trade nets the Texans a fifth-round pick this year and a sixth-round pick in 2024 and financial considerations with the Texans paying $6 million of his $18 million guaranteed contract, according to sources.
After news of the trade broke, Cooks expressed his gratitude to Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones and his excitement about joining the Cowboys, a playoff team and Super Bowl contender.
“Man, honestly, I just feel blessed really for this opportunity to contribute to something that’s already special,” Cooks told KPRC 2 in a telephone interview. “For the Jones family believing in me and the coaches and players, I look forward to joining something that’s special and to help bring that mindset everywhere I go.”
Cooks emphasized he has plenty left in the tank and has maintained his speed and playmaking ability with a dedicated workout and diet regimen.
“No doubt,” Cooks said. “If you know me, I don’t really talk about it. I feel better at this age than I’ve ever felt. With the way I take care of my body, there’s no slowing down anytime.”
Cooks’ standing trade request was met 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.
Cooks, 29, 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.
Cooks complimented Texans general manager Nick Caserio and his agent, Ryan Tollner, of Rep1 Sports, for their work in facilitating the trade.
“Nick, at the end of the day, we’ve got respect for one another,” Cooks said. “While it may have been a long process, he kept his word and worked with us and ultimately put us in position. I wanted to go to Dallas. I thank them for believing in me. Both parties did right by each other. I’ve got respect for Nick for keeping his word.
“Shout-out to my agent, Ryan, thankful. I know it’s been a process, but for him staying at it and doing everything professionally. I think that speaks for my camp and my side. We do things professionally.”
This marks 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 New England Patriots and then the Los Angeles Rams before joining the Texans.
This trade gives Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott a speedy wide receiver to work in tandem with CeeDee Lamb. Cooks is a former track and field standout from California who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds.
Cooks wants to achieve the ultimate team goal, winning a Super Bowl.
“That’s always the goal,” Cooks said. “Not going to talk about it, just trust the process and that’s the ultimate goal.”
Cooks wanted to join the Cowboys before they start their offseason conditioning program.
“I think that’s huge, especially during this time to establish myself and build with my teammates when the offseason gets started and get submerged in the culture,” Cooks said. “That’s very important and I’m thankful.”
The Texans have acquired former Rams and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Robert Woods and former Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown in free agency and return Nico Collins and Amari Rodgers with John Metchie III expected to be back after missing his rookie season while undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Cooks reiterated his trade request to the Texans after new head coach DeMeco Ryans was hired. Ultimately, the Texans accommodated his request and sent him to the Cowboys after discussing trade scenarios with multiple NFL teams.
“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 Rams.
“I’d say we’re kind of in the team building process here,” 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 on 93 targets. He has caught 699 career passes for 8,616 yards and 49 touchdowns.
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 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 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. Now, his trade request is being met.
“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 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 was of interest to multiple teams this offseason, including the Denver Broncos, who are coached by Sean Payton, his former Saints coach.
Cooks drew trade inquiries and interest from several teams, including the Rams, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and Cowboys at the trade deadline, 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. At Oregon State, he ran the 60-meter dash in a personal-best 6.81 seconds.
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.”
Aaron Wilson is a Texans NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and click2houston.com