One of the most prominent names on the trade market leading up to last week’s deadline was Brandin Cooks. The Texans were deep in talks with several teams regarding the veteran wideout, but no deal took shape in time for him to join a contender.
Cooks was absent from the team during their loss to the Eagles in Week 9, but returned to their facility the following day. When speaking to the media for the first time since the deadline came and passed, the 29-year-old confirmed his frustration over the situation.
“I want to win,” he said, via KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. “That’s not the case as to what’s going on. That’s the way I expressed my emotion… Being in the league in general, when you suit up, you want to compete and win games. That’s not going on, so the frustration stems from that and a lot of things.”
Among the interested teams for Cooks were the Cowboys, who made a late push for the six-time 1,000-yard wideout. They, like all other suitors, saw Houston’s asking price (reportedly second- and fourth-round picks) as too much to overcome considering the $18MM in guaranteed money on Cooks’ deal in 2023. The lack of a trade last week was not the only sticking point for him, however.
Cooks noted changes within the organization which have taken place this year, and the resultant impact it has had on his desire to remain with the team. One of those was the parting of ways with controversial former EVP Jack Easterby, with whom Wilson notes Cooks has a close personal relationship.
“I think we were on the same page at a point in the offseason and training camp and having fun” Cooks added. “A lot of things changed, right? I don’t know everything that goes through [general manager NickCaserio’s] head.”
With an obvious disconnect existing between Cooks and the Texans – who, at 1-6-1 are likely years away from contending – this situation will be worth watching in the offseason. For the time being, though, both parties will look to move forward with the status quo.
Waller, 30, signed a three-year, $51MM extension with the Raiders in September, but he is dealing with serious injury issues for the second straight season. The 2020 Pro Bowler was limited to 11 games in 2021, and he is expected to miss his third consecutive game on Sunday as a result of a hamstring ailment. Plus, after catching 10 balls for 129 yards and a score in the first two games of the 2022 campaign, he was limited to six catches for 46 yards in the next two contests. He played just eight snaps in Week 5 before injuring his hamstring.
Still, a healthy Waller is one of the game’s better receiving tight ends, and assuming he gets back to full strength soon, he would have been a nice weapon for a Packers offense that is just outside the bottom-10 in passing yards per game. Part of that disappointing ranking is due to a rash of injury problems that have impacted the club’s pass-catching contingent; Allen Lazard missed Green Bay’s Week 8 loss to the Bills due to a shoulder injury, Randall Cobb is on IR with an ankle injury, Sammy Watkins has missed time with hamstring troubles of his own, and Christian Watson exited the Buffalo game with a concussion. Injecting another player with health concerns into that mix might have been something of a risk, but GM Brian Gutekunst was clearly hoping a bold move might save Green Bay’s season.
Indeed, while Claypool was, according to Schefter, Gutekunst’s “primary focus,” the team also called the Panthers to discuss D.J. Moore, per Rapoport and Pelissero (though Schefter says the Packers were not interested in Texans receiver Brandin Cooks). Carolina, which rebuffed a massive offer for DE Brian Burns, also turned away the Moore inquiries, even though Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports the Packers were willing to deal a first-round pick (via Marcus Mosher of Pro Football Focus on Twitter). Schefter adds that, in an effort to close a Claypool trade, the Packers added a late-round pick to the second-rounder it was prepared to send to the Steelers, but apparently Pittsburgh valued Chicago’s Round 2 choice over Green Bay’s two-pick proposal.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who could be in the midst of his final season, publicly expressed his appreciation for the front office’s efforts. “The compensation for whatever players we were going after just didn’t make sense,” Rodgers said. “So I trust [Gutekunst]. We had some good conversations. We were in on some things. It just didn’t pan out.”
Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes the ESPN and NFL.com reports, which were both published early Sunday morning, were based on leaks from the team designed specifically to appease Rodgers, and that the Green Bay front office did not actually want to make a deal. Regardless of the veracity of that claim, the end result is the same: if the 3-5 Packers are to salvage what could be Rodgers’ last stand, their existing talent will need to get healthy and turn things around in a hurry, as the only receiving help they can add at this point is free agent Odell Beckham Jr.
As an interesting aside, this is the second time this year the Packers and Raiders have discussed Waller, who was part of the talks that culminated in the blockbuster Davante Adamstrade in March.
The Cowboys ended up keeping their wide receiver corps intact as this week’s trade deadline came and went, despite their reported interest in making an addition at the position. That had them connected with one player in particular, but the team cast a wide net in seeking trade partners.
Dallas was listed amongst several teams calling the Texans about the availability of veteran speedster Brandin Cooks. That led to negotiations taking place deep into Tuesday afternoon, but no deal materialized. The $18MM in guaranteed money on Cooks’ deal next season proved too much to overcome (as was the case with other interested parties), along with Houston’s asking price.
Speaking about the Cowboys’ talks regarding other available wideouts, EVP Stephen Jones said, “You’re never there until you’re there. It was an intense day and [it] really felt like we had some things that might work out but unfortunately they didn’t and on several fronts we just weren’t able to get it done” (Twitter link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
In the build-up to the deadline, it came out that the Cowboys were open to a move aimed at augmenting their receiving corps. The team has struggled to replace Amari Coopersince moving him out this offseason. CeeDee Lambhas made the expected transition to the Cowboys’ undisputed No. 1 wideout, but secondary production has been lacking. Dallas ranks 28th in the league in passing yards (201 per game), a figure skewed in part by the absence of quarterback Dak Prescott, of course, but one which also explains their interest in making an addition.
It remains unclear which receivers in particular the Cowboys were targeting at the deadline, one which saw the Bears acquire Chase Claypoolfrom the Steelers, and Atlanta send Calvin Ridleyto the Jaguars. The latter transaction was aimed exclusively at 2023 and beyond, but Dallas’ current receiving corps will be counted on in the second half of this campaign to carry the load offensively.
The Rams’ success after in-season trades for Jalen Ramsey and Von Miller likely impacted other teams’ plans at this year’s deadline, but the defending Super Bowl champions sat out this year’s final stretch of trading. This was not due to roster contentment or lack of trying, however.
Los Angeles has seen its offense crater this season. No Sean McVay-led Rams team has finished outside the top 11 in total offense; this year’s iteration ranks 30th. Injuries at almost every offensive line position, to starters and backups, have limited the Rams considerably. Allen Robinson not following the likes of Brandin Cooks or Odell Beckham Jr. as quick studies in McVay’s attack has also affected the Rams, who rank 28th in scoring. The team opted not to swing a deal before Tuesday’s deadline, however.
McVay has attempted a few backfield solutions this season, but none has done much to help the reigning champs’ cause. The Rams rank 31st in rushing and have not seen Cam Akers (three yards per carry) return to the form he showed before his July 2021 Achilles tear. They have seen left tackle Joe Noteboom, third-round rookie guard Logan Bruss and backup guard Tremayne Anchrum suffer season-ending injuries. The team has also played extensively without center Brian Allen, who has since returned, and left guard David Edwards (who has not). Right guard Coleman Shelton also remains on IR.
Akers, who said this week he did not request a trade, became a trade chip for the Rams. But they could not reach an agreement to unload the third-year back. Akers returned to practice this week and is not on L.A.’s injury report, clearing a path to an unexpected return to the Rams’ offense.
The Rams have made big moves at the deadline under McVay. Their Dante Fowler acquisition in 2018 helped that edition to Super Bowl LIII. Ramsey and Austin Corbett (2019) made big differences in the 2020 and ’21 teams advancing in the playoffs, and Miller significantly moved the needle last season. The Rams have not replaced Miller, whom they aggressively attempted to retain in free agency, leading to the Burns pursuit.
The Rams did “everything they could” to try and land Burns, a GM informed the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. It is somewhat surprising the Panthers would turn down an offer of two first-round picks for a one-time Pro Bowler who has yet to post his first 10-sack season, the Rams would have needed to include 2024 and 2025 first-rounders. GM Scott Fitterer, who was hired during the Matt Rhule period, may not have been too keen on not picking up a prime 2023 asset in the deal. Reports of L.A.’s Burns offer being rebuffed will only bolster the fourth-year Carolina edge rusher’s extension value, when that time comes.
After seeing their Burns push fail, the Rams have not been mentioned as being involved in the Bradley Chubb sweepstakes. While they may well have been one of the 10-plus teams to call the Broncos on the then-contract-year pass rusher, the Dolphins including a first-round pick would have given the Rams — who again are without their 2023 first-rounder — an uphill battle.
Barring a long-rumored Beckham reunion, the Rams will attempt to defend their NFC West title without a splashy addition. They will enter their post-deadline stretch 1.5 games behind the surprising Seahawks.
Cooks is set to return to the team’s facility today, as detailed by KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. That would mark an end to at least the immediate nature of the disconnect between player and club in this saga. The 29-year-old was a well-known trade candidate leading up to the deadline, with several teams showing interest in adding a vertical element to their passing attacks.
One of those was the Cowboys, who were in negotiations late into Tuesday afternoon regarding a Cooks acquisition. They, like all other potential buyers, were unable to overcome the Texans’ asking price (believed to be include a second-round pick) within the context of his fully-guaranteed $18MM salary next year. Cooks had reportedly been willing to forgo some of his compensation to facilitate a move back to the Rams, where he spent two seasons prior to his Texans tenure. Now, though, he appears destined to remain in Houston for at least the remainder of the 2022 campaign.
“I told you last week he was excused for personal reasons,” head coach Lovie Smith said of the Cooks situation, including his absence last night. “Part of the personal reasons was some of the things that was going on. I made a coach’s decision. I didn’t think he was ready to play. [If] you don’t practice during the week, I don’t think you’re ready to play in the game.”
The 1-6-1 Texans further demonstrated their commitment to the running game on offense last night, albeit in a game without Cooks and fellow starting wideout Nico Collins. With the latter still nursing a groin injury, a Cooks return would be welcomed by Houston, though his production has fallen off this season compared to his previous two with the Texans. Assuming he is back with the team moving forward, both sides could move forward at least for the time being.
3:55pm: The Texans asked for second- and fourth-round picks for Cooks, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Although Cooks fetched first-rounders in 2017 and ’18, with the Texans sending the Rams a second-rounder for Cooks in 2020, his value has dropped since. The Texans did not even pay this for Cooks that year, with Los Angeles also sending Houston a fourth-round pick in that trade. The $18MM guarantee became a no-go for teams at the deadline. This stalemate is not expected to be resolved easily, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets.
10:52am: Disappointed he was not traded at this week’s deadline, Brandin Cooks has not practiced leading up to the Texans’ Week 9 matchup with the Eagles. The disgruntled wide receiver will not play against Philadelphia on Thursday night, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets.
Cooks is not at the team’s facility today, though Mike Garafolo of NFL.com adds (via Twitter) the team will try to circle back to this issue Friday. After not being traded by Tuesday’s deadline, Cooks sent out a tweet appearing to indicate frustration with the Texans.
Houston’s options are limited with Cooks, until trading resumes in 2023 at least, but we did see a similar situation play out between Odell Beckham Jr. and the Browns last year. After the Browns did not trade Beckham at last year’s deadline, Beckham maneuvered his way out of Cleveland via release. Cooks, who joined Beckham in the 2014 draft class, missing a game may be the start of him attempting a similar strategy.
While this is a fluid situation, Werder adds a release is unlikely (Twitter link). It would cost the Texans $27.3MM in dead money to move on from a lucrative contract they agreed to in April. Cooks, 29, has gone from signing a two-year, $39MM Texans extension in April to being a healthy scratch by midseason.
This issue does indeed stem from Cooks wanting to be traded to a contender, with Tom Pelissero of NFL.com adding (video link) the Rams joined the Cowboys in being involved in talks with the Texans. Houston discussed Cooks trades up until the deadline; the Cowboys talked to Texas’ AFC franchise in the final hour of 2022 NFL trading. The Giants also called on Cooks, who was linked to the Chiefs, Packers and Vikings as well. No deal transpired, leading to this strange chapter of the oft-traded wideout’s career.
Months before Cooks signed a new deal with the Texans, he said he did not want to be traded for a fourth time. The Saints sent Cooks to the Patriots in 2017, while trades to the Rams (2018) and Texans (2020) later commenced. It is worth wondering if Cooks would be elsewhere now if he did not sign a Texans extension. That deal calls for an $18MM guaranteed base salary in 2023; that figure dissuaded teams from acquiring Cooks. The Rams viewed that salary as a non-starter, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets, adding that the team came to the conclusion that $18MM figure was not changing in the days leading up to the deadline.
The six-time 1,000-yard receiver was linked to a willingness to give up guaranteed money to facilitate a trade to the Rams. That would indicate a desire to be moved, but Cooks received $36MM in guarantees from the Texans upon signing that extension. He seems to have changed his mind about alignment with this franchise, despite the Texans not being in position to be a 2022 contender when he signed the deal in April.
Beckham ended up sacrificing cash to be cut, leading to a successful Rams partnership. Cooks has been one of the great receiver mercenaries in NFL history, joining Brandon Marshall in posting 1,000-yard seasons for four teams. It will be interesting to see how Cooks and the Texans proceed from here, with this Thursday absence signaling this issue is not going away.
Although the Texans engaged in discussions with teams about what would have been the fourth trade of Brandin Cooks‘ career, the ninth-year veteran remains on the rebuilding team. This may be a point of contention now, but with the trade deadline passed, Cooks’ options are limited.
Pre-deadline reports connected Cooks to several teams — the Rams, Giants, Vikings, Packers and Chiefs — but Ed Werder of ESPN.com notes the Cowboys were in on the ninth-year pass catcher as well. Dallas and Houston discussed Cooks leading right up to the deadline, but the previously reported stumbling blocks derailed an intra-Texas swap (Twitter link).
Cooks’ $18MM 2023 salary — an amount fully guaranteed via the April 2022 extension he signed — was an issue the Cowboys could not move past, per Werder, who adds the Texas teams could not agree on draft compensation as well.
The Texans were reported to be seeking a second-round pick for Cooks — the same price they sought in the spring — but the nomadic wideout was never considered likely to fetch such compensation considering the terms of his new contract (two years, $39MM) and the slight production dip this season. So Cooks (32 receptions, 354 yards, no TDs in 2022) remains with the Texans, though he was not at their Tuesday practice due to a personal reason.
Cooks, 29, sent out a tweet appearing to indicate frustration with his employer. With the trade deadline passed, the Texans have limited options with their top receiver. It cannot yet be assumed the Cooks situation will devolve an Odell Beckham Jr.-level place, but the star pass catcher’s path out of Cleveland could be a blueprint for Cooks. Then again, Cooks just signed a through-2024 extension to stay with the Texans this spring. It is not like the Texans were ever poised to compete in 2022, either, so it will be interesting to hear what has changed regarding Cooks’ situation since April.
The Cowboys have CeeDee Lamb locked in as their No. 1 wide receiver, but the team misses Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup, whom Dallas re-signed on a five-year deal this offseason, has only 135 receiving yards in five games since returning from his ACL tear. Sixth-year wideout Noah Brown (339 yards) is Dallas’ second-leading pass catcher. This crew could stabilize with Dak Prescott back at the controls, but the Cowboys were on the lookout for receiving help in the days leading up to the deadline.
The Cowboys are no stranger to in-season receiver trades, having sent a first-rounder for Cooper in 2018 and having dealt a first-rounder and change for Roy Williams in 2008. Unlike the Williams swap, the Cooper trade produced immediate dividends and helped Dallas to the playoffs that year. Two years after Cooper’s five-year, $100MM extension, however, the Cowboys decided he was not worth the cost and shipped him to the Browns for a low-level return. Considering where the receiver market went in the coming months, the Cooper pick-swap trade did not age well for the Cowboys.
Dallas balking at Cooks’ high salary is not unique; other teams did the same as the deadline neared. A report indicated Cooks was willing to give up some guaranteed cash to facilitate a trade back to the Rams, but would he follow Beckham’s lead in doing so to be released? Like OBJ, Cooks has already played several seasons on lucrative contracts. This season will bump him past $90MM in career earnings. Barring a release, however, Cooks must finish this season with the Texans. The team could reassess this situation in 2023, if a trade — almost certainly for far less value compared to Cooks’ first three trades, which collectively involved two first-rounders and a second from 2017-20 — is to go down.
Brandin Cooks is available, and Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) the Texans are in discussions involving the ninth-year receiver. But Cooks’ $18MM guaranteed 2023 salary — which came to pass after Houston re-signed him on a two-year, $39MM pact in April — has proven to be an impediment here. Teams are not moving on Cooks unless the Texans pick up a chunk of that salary. Cooks, 29, was linked to giving up some guaranteed money to facilitate a trade back to the Rams. But it is unlikely he will give up too much cash to be moved. The Giants and Vikings have also been connected to the thrice-traded Cooks. For what it’s worth, Cooks was not at Texans practice Tuesday. Personal reasons — not an imminent trade — are believed to be behind Cooks’ absence, NFL.com’s Garafolo tweets.
With the deadline in less than three hours, here is the latest from the trade front:
The Broncos have told teams they are not conducting a fire sale, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes. A Bradley Chubb trade still could commence, but NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo hears (video link) the team is holding out for a better offer. Denver has been linked to not only wanting a first-round pick for Chubb but two firsts. With the latter price range unlikely to take shape, the Broncos figure to be put to a major decision today. Jerry Jeudy remains unlikely to be moved, per Garafolo.
No Cam Akers trade is imminent, Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweets. The Rams have been looking for a trade partner to unload their 2020 second-round pick. This situation may not be as icy as previously believed, however. Akers was once rumored to be done with the Rams, but he is now prepared to return to the team if no trade occurs this afternoon.
Prior to acquiring James Robinson from the Jaguars, the Jets looked into Kareem Hunt, Breer notes. The Browns have dangled Hunt for the price of a fourth-round pick, but the former rushing champion may now be set to stay in Cleveland for at least this season’s remainder. Hunt, 27, should be expected to hit free agency if no trade goes down today.
The Lions may not be done dealing. After sending T.J. Hockensonto the Vikings, the rebuilding NFC North squad has informed teams it remains open for business. Defensive back is one of the areas in which Detroit is willing to deal, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweets. Contract-year cornerback Amani Oruwariyewould appear to be one name available. While Jeff Okudah arrived before the Brad Holmes regime took over, it would still be surprising if Detroit moved on from the former No. 3 overall pick.
In addition to making defensive end Tarell Basham available, the Cowboys are open to moving defensive tackle Trysten Hill, Breer adds. Dallas has not seen the former second-round pick develop into a starter but has used him as a part-time player throughout this season. The team just added Johnathan Hankins via trade and has rookie-contract performers Osa Odighizuwa and Quinton Bohanna ahead of Hill. Basham has only played in one game this season (Week 1) and remains on IR. The Cowboys designated the former third-round edge rusher for return late last month, however.
Having seen offseason trade candidate Darius Slayton become Daniel Jones‘ top target in recent weeks, the Giants have a need at wide receiver ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. How much are they willing to give up to acquire one?
Recently linked to Brandin Cooks, the Giants have indeed called the Texans on the oft-traded pass catcher, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports tweets. Cooks will not cost what fellow Giants target Jerry Jeudy would, but the ninth-year veteran has been connected to other destinations — most notably the Rams — as well.
Cooks, 29, has been mentioned as being willing to give up some guaranteed money to facilitate a trade. That arrangement may only apply to the Rams, and it would surprise to the thrice-dealt wideout agree to give up too much cash. Cooks signed a two-year, $39MM extension with the Texans, and while they are amid a rebuild, the veteran receiver did well to score $36MM fully guaranteed. The former Saint, Patriot and Ram is not quite on pace for a seventh 1,000-yard season, as he has 32 catches for 354 yards, but he still carries some value ahead of the deadline. Regardless of Cooks’ status, the Rams join the Giants as parties interested in receiver help.
Jeudy remains a Giants target as well, per Vacchiano, but ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan adds (via Twitter) the Broncos’ asking price is steep. Unlike fellow Broncos trade chipBradley Chubb, Jeudy is under contract through 2023 and can be kept through 2024 via the fifth-year option. The Giants should not be expected to part with more than a Day 3 pick for a wideout, Vacchiano adds.
The Giants entered the season closer to rebuilding than contending, and the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy adds that indications are GM Joe Schoen does not view his team as a receiver away from serious contention. Schoen is interested in an upgrade, per Dunleavy, but it appears Jeudy — a player the Broncos do not appear eager to deal — will likely cost too much for the Giants’ liking.
New York’s decision to shipKadarius Toney to Kansas City does well to illustrate a belief one receiver addition will not be something that vaults the team onto the Super Bowl-contending tier. The Giants did collect an extra third-rounder for Toney, giving them four Day 1 or Day 2 picks in 2023. But those selections are more likely to be used on college talent than sacrificed to help a surprisingly successful 2022 squad.
The Giants have Slayton and second-rounder Wan’Dale Robinson as their top receiving assets, but journeyman Marcus Johnson played 86% of Big Blue’s offensive snaps Sunday in Seattle. The team has Kenny Golladay rehabbing an MCL sprain; the free agency bust has not played since Week 4. Golladay, whom the Giants dangled in trades this summer, has two receptions this season. The Giants will almost certainly make the $18MM-per-year player a 2023 cap casualty.
It will be interesting if the Giants’ weeks-long goal of acquiring receiver help will come to fruition, and while the team did make a buyer’s trade at the 2019 deadline (Leonard Williams), big-name assistance probably should not be expected by Tuesday. In 2023, however, the Giants — who have Slayton and the injured Sterling Shepard on expiring contracts — will undoubtedly be busy at the position.
The Rams certainly bolstered the team which ultimately won the Super Bowl with their midseason moves last year. They are once again being looked at as potential buyers in the 2022 trade market, but appear unlikely to make major additions in the coming days.
The name most closely linked with the team has been Texans wideout Brandin Cooks. The 29-year-old spent two years in Los Angeles, after the Rams traded a first-round pick to the Patriots to acquire him in 2018. He posted a career-high 1,204 receiving yards in the regular season that year, playing a large role in the team’s postseason run to the Super Bowl as well. His numbers dropped off considerably the following year, and he was then dealt to Houston.
Over the past two years with the Texans, Cooks has proven himself to still be one of the top vertical threats in the league (2,187 yards, 12 touchdowns). With Houston residing in the basement of the AFC, though, the Oregon State product also represents a logical trade candidate. He is reportedly willing to lower his 2023 salary (currently a fully-guaranteed $18MM) to facilitate a move back to Los Angeles.
Peter King of NBC Sports notes that the Rams are indeed a candidate to add a speed receiver such as Cooks (provided the financial burden of taking on his contract is lessened). Notably, though, King adds that a move to upgrade the WR room could involve the Rams trading away Allen Robinson. A free agent signing from March, the 29-year-old joined Los Angeles on a three-year, $46.5MM deal. Seen as a Robert Woodsreplacement to complement Cooper Kupp, Robinson has yet to eclipse 63 yards in a game so far and has scored just two touchdowns.
Elsewhere on offense, King reports that the Rams have little-to-no interest in two other players who could be on the move today or tomorrow: Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsiland Browns running back Kareem Hunt. Both positions have emerged as sore spots for Los Angeles this season; Joe Noteboom is out for the season with a torn Achilles, while Cam Akershas fallen out of favor with head coach Sean McVay.
The Rams currently have just under $5MM in cap space, so a deal of some kind could be coming soon. Outside of a reunion with Cooks, however, the defending champions could have a much quieter trade deadline than last season.