Here’s everything you need to know about trading cowboys for Brandin Cooks

The Dallas Cowboys have been allergic to free hands for the past decade. Apparently nothing has changed and everyone knows the reasons for this. Dallas considers big signing bonuses and guaranteed money as rewards for employees who have done a great job for them. When the work has been done in other teams, they are less inclined to pay the usual price.

This offseason, however, they’ve finally realized there’s a third method of talent acquisition that they’ve largely ignored. Dallas operates in the veteran trade market. First, they acquired Indianapolis cornerback Stephon Gilmore for a comp five-rounder. Now they’re again using late-round picks to acquire WR Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans.

Contract, cap details

Cooks has two years, $35 million left on the contract, including $18 million for this season. Dallas currently has just over $21 million in Cap Space, with another $11 million available once Ezekiel Elliott’s salary comes off the books in June.

The Texans will pick up $6 million of the $18 million, leaving Dallas with a $12 million salary and $500,000 in roster bonuses per game.

Since Cooks played 13 games last year, his cap hit is currently $12,382,353. Dallas can walk away from Cooks after this season and not have dead money; none of its $16.5 million cap hits in 2024 are guaranteed.

There remains a possibility that Cook’s new base salary will be converted into bonus funds, lest he consume almost half of the current slot.

This can be achieved simply by adding two empty years to the deal, which allows Dallas to reduce his base salary almost to $1 million and spread the other $11 million cap evenly across the four seasons. This would reduce his 2023 cap to under $3.75 million, leaving Dallas with over $17 million currently available.

There are countless variations of this type of movement.

who is chefs

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Chefs will turn 30 shortly after the start of the 2023 season. A former New Orleans first-round pick in 2024, he has traveled widely across the league. However, Cooks played at literally every stop.

He had 1,000+ yards in six of his nine seasons. He had two in three seasons with the Saints, then another in his only season in New England. He had another in his freshman year with the Rams, then ended up in Houston after a poor season and won 1,000 again.

Last season he gained 699 yards in 53 catches in 13 games against a bad team with a bad QB situation.

When you are surrounded by elite talent

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Cooks, like most NFL players, has found himself in countless situations. He’s performed well everywhere he’s gone, but when he’s surrounded by elite talent and doesn’t need to be the focus of an offense, he really thrives.

There have been a handful of seasons when Cooks has been on a team with a top QB and the offense had a primary weapon that eclipsed Cooks. When that happens, he was a notable second option.

That’s important because he’ll have that in Dallas when Dak Prescott throws to him and Lamb and Tony Pollard comes in from the backfield. This will be the most diverse offense Cooks has been involved in.

In 2020, with Deshaun Watson at quarterback and only Will Fuller to compliment him, Cooks had an 81 catch, 1,150 receiving yards and six touchdown seasons.

In 2018 with Jared Goff as his QB but on an offense with Todd Gurley at his heart, Cooks clinched 80 catches for 1,204 yards and five TDs, with Robert Woods posting similar numbers as his main compliment.

In 2015, with Drew Brees as his QB and in the prime of Mark Ingram, he thrived with 84 receptions, 1,138 yards and nine scores.

But the best comparison comes from the Cooks’ 2016 season when he was assisted by Michael Thomas. Though Thomas had 121 goals (compared to Cook’s 117), 1,137 yards and nine TDs of his own, Cooks still checked in with 78 catches, 1,173 receiving yards (15.0 average) and eight totals of his own.

With Brees leading and Ingram checking in with nearly 1,400 yards and 10 scores of his own, this is the grouping that most closely resembles the level of talent that surrounds Dallas Cooks. Of course he now has a lot more mileage on the tires, but the circumstances offer the best comparison.


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Cooks stands just under 5-foot-10 and weighs about 185 pounds. He’s a speed demon, completing a 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the combine in 2014. His 20-yard shuttle time of 3.81 seconds ranks in the 99th percentile all-time.

CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup ran 4.5 and 4.51 seconds respectively in 40 seconds.

In other words, he fits into the speed dealer role that the Cowboys were severely lacking among their receivers in 2022.

Cooks is the biggest threat of all, one of the best in the league. In the last three seasons he has distinguished himself as an elite in deep routes.

2022: 99.5 out of 100
2021: 97.1
2020: 99.1

Additional advanced analytics

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According to the PFF, Cooks have never had a bad year. All nine of his season grades are green, indicating above-average performance.

It is an external receiver that can also play indoors. Over the course of his career, 70% of his snaps have been widely shared. Since 2016, his senior year in New Orleans, he hasn’t spent more than 34% of his time in the slot.

Cook’s career dropout rate is just 5.6%, though he’s skyrocketed to 9.7% in 2022, the second-highest of his career.

His career average aiming depth is 12.8 yards.

To put these numbers in Cowboys perspective, Lamb’s career aDoT is 10.5 and his drop percentage is 8.0; Gallup’s aDoT is 13.1 and he has a career loss percentage of 10.9.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire

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