Brandin Cooks

Cowboys’ Brandin Cooks Suffers MCL Sprain

SEPTEMBER 17: Cooks will indeed miss today’s game against the Jets, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. There is not yet any confirmation that Cooks will be able to suit up next week.

SEPTEMBER 14: The early part of Brandin Cooks‘ Cowboys tenure may involve an injury-driven absence. The veteran deep threat is dealing with an MCL sprain, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telgram’s Clarence Hill.

Although Cooks played through his recent injury to close out the Cowboys’ 40-0 romp over the Giants, his Week 2 status is up in the air. This injury commonly causes players to miss at least multiple games, though timetables vary. Cooks sustained a grade 1 sprain, the Dallas Morning News’ David Moore tweets, adding the team does not view it as a multiweek injury.

Cooks played 39 offensive snaps Sunday night and, per the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken, was walking without favoring the knee ailment this week. While Cooks said he feels good, it would not surprise to see the Cowboys exercise caution here. The team sent fifth- and sixth-round draft choices to the Texans for Cooks in March. Two years remain on the accomplished wideout/trade mainstay’s contract.

Dallas did not need much in the way of receiver contributions in Week 1, but the Week 2 Jets matchup will present tougher assignments for the team’s set of pass catchers. The team has starters CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup healthy, the latter now being nearly two years removed from a career-sidetracking ACL tear. The team also saw offseason improvement from 2022 third-rounder Jalen Tolbert, who struggled to make an impact as a rookie. Tolbert caught just two passes last season.

Injury absences have not been common for Cooks in his career. A calf injury sidelined the well-traveled veteran briefly last season, following his short time away from the team after trade talks did not produce an in-season deal. From 2015-21, however, Cooks combined to miss only four games. A two-concussion 2019 season proved concerning, and the Rams dealt the former first-round pick to the Texans months later. But Cooks has otherwise not needed to navigate much on the injury front.

Joining Brandon Marshall in totaling 1,000-yard receiving seasons for four franchises, Cooks is trying to make NFL history by clearing that bar for a fifth. The most recent of Cooks’ six 1,000-yard years came in Houston with Davis Mills as the primary triggerman. Seventh-round rookie Jalen Brooks and return man KaVontae Turpin are the other receivers on Dallas’ 53-man roster. Brooks was inactive Sunday night. Veteran Tyron Johnson resides on Dallas’ practice squad.

Cowboys Acquire WR Brandin Cooks From Texans

MARCH 20: Upon acquiring the oft-traded wideout, the Cowboys restructured his deal. They moved $8MM of Cooks’ $12MM 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, Todd Archer of tweets. Cooks’ cap number will drop to $6MM in 2023, per Archer. It had resided at $12.4MM. Two void years are now attached to the 10th-year receiver’s deal, Archer adds (on Twitter). Cooks’ 2024 base salary is now $8MM — down from $13MM.

MARCH 19: Wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been traded once again. The Texans have agreed to send the 29-year-old to the Cowboys, as Adam Schefter of reports (via Twitter). Schefter’s ESPN colleague, Jeremy Fowler, first reported that the two sides were working on a deal, and Ian Rapoport of adds that Dallas is giving up a 2023 fifth-round choice (No. 161) and a 2024 sixth-rounder in the swap (Twitter links).

Cooks is under contract through 2024, and he is due a fully-guaranteed $18MM base salary in 2023. That number — along with the Texans’ ask of a second-round pick — became an obstacle in trade talks involving Cooks at last year’s trade deadline, as interested clubs wanted Houston to pay down a significant portion of Cooks’ salary. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, the Texans will pay $6MM of Cooks’ $18MM salary to facilitate the deal (Twitter link).

Cooks, a first-round pick of the Saints in 2014, was traded to the Patriots in March 2017, to the Rams in April 2018, and to the Texans in April 2020. In six of his nine professional seasons, the Oregon State product has topped 1,000 receiving yards, and his career 13.7 yards-per-reception rate is indicative of his status as a vertical threat. Over his first two seasons with the Texans, Cooks averaged roughly 85 catches and 1,100 yards per year.

However, things began to go south in 2022. Clearly frustrated by the Texans’ lack of competitiveness during his tenure in Houston, Cooks publicly expressed his frustration that he was not dealt to a winning club at the deadline, and he stepped away from the Texans for a week, missing the team’s Week 9 contest against the Eagles. At the time, he also made reference to organizational changes that upset him — which may have included the dismissal of former EVP Jack Easterby — and he said, “I don’t know everything that goes through [GM Nick Caserio’s] head.”

Even though Cooks remained on the Texans through the end of the 2022 campaign, it was reported in January that Houston was expected to accommodate his standing trade request this offseason. And the Cowboys, who made a push for Cooks at the deadline in an effort to supplement a WR corps that was clearly missing Amari Cooper — who was traded himself in March 2022 — finally got their man. ESPN’s Ed Werder says multiple teams were in pursuit of Cooks and appeared close to acquiring him, but Dallas was Cooks’ preferred destination (Twitter link).

Cooks, who has 58 receptions of 25+ yards downfield since he entered the league in 2014 — second only to Tyreek Hill during that span, as Werder tweets — should serve as a quality complement to CeeDee Lamb in a potentially explosive offense in Dallas. Although it appears that the team is parting ways with tight end Dalton Schultz, the Cowboys have 2022 fourth-rounder Jake Ferguson on the roster and could further supplement the position in a TE-rich draft. Lamb, Cooks, and Michael Gallup form a quality WR trio, and franchise-tagged Tony Pollard is a terrific weapon in the backfield.

The Texans, meanwhile, gain additional draft capital to aid in their rebuilding efforts in exchange for a player who wanted out. Houston — which coincidentally signed former Cowboy Noah Brown a few days ago — presently houses Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and 2022 second-rounder John Metchie III atop its WR depth chart.

Jimmy Garoppolo On Texans’ Radar

Potentially in place as the Jets’ post-Derek Carr backup plan to Aaron Rodgers and looming as a possible Raiders option, Jimmy Garoppolo will likely be connected to other suitors. Another AFC team stands to be in the mix for the five-plus-year 49ers passer.

Some among the Texans are behind adding Garoppolo and pairing him with a rookie quarterback, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports notes. DeMeco Ryans brought some former 49ers assistants to Houston, including ex-San Francisco pass-game coordinator Bobby Slowik as OC, so Texans-Garoppolo connections should be expected. The team also hovers near the top of the league in cap space, holding $40MM-plus as of Wednesday morning. Slowik confirmed Wednesday (via the Houston Chronicle’s Brooks Kubena, on Twitter) the team is looking into Garoppolo.

The Texans make some sense as a Garoppolo fit, given the 49ers ties and GM Nick Caserio‘s Patriots past. The team was connected to the 49ers trade chip during the draft last year. But the Texans also still profile as a rebuilding team. Garoppolo, 31, will likely pursue a winning situation in his first crack at free agency. A team that also is not planning to immediately draft a quarterback would seemingly appeal to the 10th-year veteran. Garoppolo is exiting a situation in which the 49ers kept him onboard as a bridge option.

But if Rodgers does end up on the Jets and the Raiders commit to a first-round pick with a cheaper veteran gatekeeper, Garoppolo’s options would narrow. Teams like the Falcons, Commanders, Panthers and Buccaneers have QB issues, with none in immediate position to add at the position in Round 1. The Falcons hold the second-most cap space, at $66.4MM, as well. The Commanders discussed a deal for Garoppolo in 2022, but Ron Rivera has said the team is not looking to spend as much at the position this year. The Bucs are at the bottom in cap space, and the Panthers are one of the teams mentioned as a trade-up candidate in Round 1.

Garoppolo landing in Houston with Ryans and Slowik would inject some familiarity into his third NFL destination, though the team coming off three-, four- and four-win seasons since 2020 will not help its cause. The Texans hold the Nos. 2 and 12 overall picks and will be connected to QBs up until the draft. They also profile as a team willing to trade up for a passer. Garoppolo coming in would put the Texans in better position to stand pat rather than send the Bears assets to make sure no QB-needy team outflanks them.

Additionally, the Texans did not seem too close on a deal that would accommodate Brandin Cooks‘ wishes, Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Cooks has a standing trade request in place since before last year’s trade deadline. A few teams are interested, and with Tee Higgins and Keenan Allen being taken off the trade market, the values of Cooks and DeAndre Hopkins would go up. Cooks being moved would not make the Texans’ pass catcher situation particularly attractive, but the team is on track to have John Metchie back and should be expected to make other moves at the position if/once a Cooks trade commences.

Teams Interested In Brandin Cooks; Texans Working To Move WR

After the Texans and Brandin Cooks regrouped in the days following the trade deadline, the veteran wide receiver may well find himself part of a fourth trade soon.

The Texans are going through the process of meeting Cooks’ still-standing trade request, Aaron Wilson of tweets, adding that multiple AFC and NFC teams are interested in the nine-year veteran wide receiver. With the Combine bringing the 32 teams together, a Cooks resolution could come quickly. Several teams are indeed interested, Wilson adds.

Cooks, 29, requested to be dealt last year, despite having signed an extension to stay in Houston during the 2022 offseason. But the Texans did not deem any offer satisfactory ahead of the deadline. Cooks has been expected to be moved this offseason, however, and the wideout who was traded in 2017 (New Orleans to New England), 2018 (New England to Los Angeles) and 2020 (L.A. to Houston) looks likely to be on the move again.

I have a great relationship with Brandin and his representation and we always have open dialogue,” GM Nick Caserio said Tuesday. “As we work through the course of the spring, we’ll try to do what’s best for the organization.”

Houston dangled Cooks in the days before the deadline, and had the former first-round pick not signed an extension, accommodating his trade request would have been easier. But Cooks’ about-face months after agreeing to the deal led to the rebuilding team resisting lower-end trade offers. The Cowboys pursued Cooks, who was also connected to the Giants and Vikings. Although Cooks was not able to put together a third straight 1,000-yard receiving season with the Texans and seventh overall, contending teams are likely to monitor this situation.

This year’s receiver market may drive trades, with Cooks and ex-Texan DeAndre Hopkins already at the forefront. Free agency is not expected to feature too many notable options, though there will be some starters hitting the market. Deviating from the receiver-rich drafts of recent years, this year’s crop has not generated the same level of hype. As such, a nice market could form for Cooks. Though, the Texans should not be expected to land a first-round pick — which the Saints and Patriots did in the first two Cooks trades — and the team’s 2022 ask of a second-rounder also may be a tad steep. Still, interest exists, and a fifth Cooks NFL employer is likely to emerge before too long.

It would cost the Texans $16MM-plus in dead money to trade Cooks before June 1. While the organization would save $10.3MM with a trade, it would still be a fairly costly maneuver. The Texans moving Cooks would further amplify their receiver need. Second-round pick John Metchie is expected to be with the team this year, after a leukemia battle sidetracked his career, but the team will be in need of more help at the position this offseason.

Texans Expected To Trade WR Brandin Cooks In Offseason

The Texans are expected to accommodate wide receiver Brandin Cooks‘ standing trade request this offseason, as Aaron Wilson of reports. Houston received trade interest in Cooks prior to the 2022 trade deadline, but no one was willing to meet the club’s asking price.

As Wilson confirms, the Texans wanted at least a second-round pick in exchange for Cooks, while interested teams wanted Houston to pay down a significant amount of the receiver’s fully-guaranteed $18MM base salary for 2023. Those same considerations will still be factors in trade talks in the coming months, and Cooks acknowledges that any trade will need to make sense for the Texans and GM Nick Caserio, with whom he has a strong relationship.

“This situation, obviously has got to be a win-win for both sides,” Cooks told reporters Friday morning. “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.”

Cooks, 29, used the word “stable” several times throughout the course of his remarks, and he said he would want to stay in Houston, “if the organization was stable in its approach and a stable operation, not just from a football standpoint, but from the every-day process.”

Clearly, he continues to be frustrated not just by the Texans’ lack of competitiveness during his tenure in Houston, but also by the team’s day-to-day operations. Shortly after the trade deadline passed, Cooks publicly expressed his frustration that he was not dealt to a winning club, and he stepped away from the Texans for a week, missing the team’s Week 9 contest against the Eagles. At the time, he also made reference to organizational changes that upset him — which may have included the dismissal of former EVP Jack Easterby — and he said, “I don’t know everything that goes through [Caserio’s] head.”

Despite those comments, Wilson’s report indicates that the mutual respect between Caserio and Cooks remains intact. However, Caserio himself may be on shaky footing with the franchise, and he may not be the one who decides whether to trade Cooks. Even if he is retained, it appears that the Texans are at least a year away from competing for a playoff spot, and the club could be looking for its third head coach in as many years in short order. As such, it is easy to see why Cooks wants out.

The former first-round pick of the Saints, who has already been traded three times in his career, has seen his production dip in 2022. After cracking the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first two Texans seasons, Cooks has just 52 catches for 593 yards this year. Of course, that can be easily explained by the club’s suboptimal quarterback situation — including a regression for second-year passer Davis Mills — the fact that Cooks is the clear-cut No. 1 option in an offense largely devoid of high-end skill-position talent, and the fact that he has missed four games.

Wilson still expects Cooks to have a healthy trade market, especially as teams are valuing WR talent more highly than ever.

AFC Rumors: Texans, Jeudy, Njoku

The Texans will be without two key players as they go up against their former quarterback and the Browns this weekend, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. Leading wide receiver Brandin Cooks and rookie cornerback Derek Stingley have been ruled out going into the weekend.

Houston has struggled mightily so far this year en route to a 1-9-1 record. Despite the promise heading into the year of the connection between second-year starting quarterback Davis Mills and Cooks, neither has quite lived up to their potential. Mills has officially lost the starting job he earned as a rookie, getting benched for Kyle Allen. Cooks, after cracking the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his first two seasons with the Texans, will be hard-pressed to reach that achievement this year as he currently boasts 520 receiving yards with only seven games remaining. Cooks will miss his second game of the season with a calf injury, and the Texans will be forced to lean on Nico Collins, Chris Moore, Phillip Dorsett, and Amari Rodgers to hopefully make up for the loss of Cooks.

Stingley is set to miss his third game in a row with a hamstring issue. Stingley has endured a rough transition to the NFL. So far in his rookie season, Stingley has only graded out as the NFL’s 107th-best cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Still, he is third on the Texans with five passes defensed and tied for second with one interception, showing that he makes an impact on a defense that has struggled for much of the year. In Stingley’s absence, Desmond King will continue to start opposite Steven Nelson with Tavierre Thomas getting some solid action, as well.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the AFC, starting with some potentially good news at Mile High:

  • Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy could be set to make a return to the field against the Ravens this weekend, according to Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. After a two-week absence, the third-year wide out is a game-time decision to play. KJ Hamler will miss a fourth straight game, after suffering a recent setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. Jeudy’s return would be a big boost for a Denver team that has been forced to rely on Kendall Hinton, Montrell Washington, and Brandon Johnson as its Courtland Sutton supporting cast over the past two games.
  • After returning for two straight games, Browns tight end David Njoku has been ruled out once again, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Despite a slow start to the season, Njoku had begun a streak of strong performances to justify his new contract. Unfortunately, his momentum came to a crashing halt when he missed two games with an ankle injury. Coming off a five-catch performance last week that included a game-tying touchdown catch with 32 seconds remaining, seeing Njoku sidelined once again, this time with a knee injury, is the last thing Browns fans were hoping to see.

Brandin Cooks On Trade Deadline Frustration

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 Nick Caserio’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.

Packers Attempted To Acquire Raiders TE Darren Waller At Deadline

According to Adam Schefter of, as well as Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of, the Packers attempted to acquire Raiders tight end Darren Waller prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. We already knew that Green Bay had offered a second-round choice for Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool — whom Pittsburgh ultimately sent to the Bears, as it believed the second-rounder it received from Chicago would be more valuable than the Packers’ selection — and we also learned previously that the team was interested in potential TE upgrades. We now know that Waller was one such TE target.

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 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 Adams trade in March.

Latest On Cowboys’ Trade Deadline WR Pursuit

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 Cooper since moving him out this offseason. CeeDee Lamb has 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 Claypool from the Steelers, and Atlanta send Calvin Ridley to 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.

Rams Pursued OLB, OL, RB Help; Team Was Not In On Cooks, Hunt At Deadline

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.

The 3-4 team is believed to have made a monster offer for Brian Burns and lost out to the 49ers for Christian McCaffrey, with a San Francisco fourth-round pick potentially being the difference for Carolina. But the Rams also pursued offensive line and wide receiver aid at this year’s deadline, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required).

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.

Although the Browns discussed Kareem Hunt before the deadline, Rodrigue notes the Rams were not a serious suitor. The Eagles were believed to be the team that would have landed Hunt, if the Browns were legitimately interested in moving him. Shortly after a Monday-night blowout of the Bengals, the Browns seemed to back off on this front. Hunt is now set to play out his Cleveland contract ahead of free agency.

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.

Additionally, the Rams were mentioned as interested in a Cooks reunion. They did pursue this, per Rodrigue, but were not in the running for the oft-traded wideout in the days leading up to the deadline. The Texans made it clear they were not planning to eat any of Cooks’ $18MM 2023 guarantee. This and an asking price of second- and fourth-round picks — more than they gave up to acquire Cooks from the Rams in 2020 — cooled down the market. Cooks, who is tied to a two-year deal worth $39MM he signed in April, is planning to rejoin the Texans after a trade-related dispute led to his missing their Thursday game.

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.