The Cowboys have traded for wide receiver Brandin Cooks with the Houston Texans for two draft picks. NFL trade grades for both teams in the deal.
For weeks there were rumblings that the Dallas Cowboys were cooking up something big. Even after the Stephon Gilmore trade, that still seemed to be the sentiment among insiders as to what would happen. As it turns out, they were cooking up something with, as fate would have it, Brandin Cooks.
On Sunday morning, the Cowboys traded for wide receiver Brandin Cooks with the Houston Texans, as reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
The Cowboys, who had been connected to several big-name wide receivers this offseason, including DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr., got their guy. So now let’s hand out NFL trade grades for both teams in this deal after we look at the exchange in full.
Brandin Cooks trade details: Cowboys get WR from Texans for two Day 3 picks
Here’s a look at the full details of the trade:
WR Brandin Cooks
2023 Fifth-Round Pick
2024 Sixth-Round Pick
In addition to getting the receiver while sending two picks to Houston, the Texans are also paying $6 million of the $18 million that Cooks is guaranteed for the 2023 season, as reported by Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston. That’s a big deal given the cap constraints for Dallas at certain times, specifically the ones that led to them trading Amari Cooper last offseason.
NFL Trade Grades: Brandin Cooks gives Cowboys the WR they needed
Particularly with Michael Gallup struggling as he returned from his 2021 ACL injury, the Cowboys lacked something in their wide receiver corps last season. It’s no coincidence that, aside from the playoff loss, that the Dallas offense looked its most fearsome after they added TY Hilton late in the year after the failed Odell Beckham Jr. pursuit. Put simply, America’s Team needed a field-stretcher.
Cooks is every bit of that. While it’s been a fascinatingly mediocre career of production for Cooks, the times when he’s been in either high-powered offenses or paired with good-to-great quarterbacks, we’ve seen him be a big-time deep threat that can take the top off of opposing defenses.
Now he’s going to work with Prescott, who has seen success with deep passes in his career, but will more importantly have CeeDee Lamb demanding attention in the middle and intermediate areas of the field while a more-healthy Gallup can attack opposite him and in different areas of the field as well.
To only give up two Day 3 picks over the next two drafts — of which Dallas has plenty — and to not take on the entire Cooks salary as well, that’s a massive win for the Cowboys.
Cowboys Trade Grade: A
NFL Trade Grades: Texans get loose change for Brandin Cooks
It seemed as if the trade steam around Brandin Cooks from earlier in the offseason had worn off after the DeMeco Ryans hire. In fact, there was some word that the wide receiver was reconsidering his longstanding trade request and would give it a go under new leadership. That obviously is not true.
Given that it wasn’t true, it’s hard to really see where the Texans had any leverage in these trade negotiations. They had a high-priced receiver who was disgruntled, no quarterback of consequence on the roster until the draft, a roster that’s not ready to compete overall, and a left tackle in Laremy Tunsil who needed to get paid. Trading Cooks was always what they needed to do, so getting great value was never going to be in play.
Frankly, I considered giving Houston a B- for this, but with the news that they are paying one-third of his salary, I had to knock it down a bit.
Texans Trade Grade: C+