Houston Texans star Brandin Cooks hints he’ll demand trade this offseason

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

The Houston Texans kept wide receiver Brandin Cooks past the 2022 NFL trade deadline, backing away from a deal with the Dallas Cowboys and leaving their star disgruntled. Months later, Cooks became the reason why Houston lost out on the No. 1 pick.

Facing the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18, Cooks finished with a season-high 106 receiving yards and scored only his third touchdown of the season. He saved his biggest moment for late in the game, hauling in a 30-yard reception on 4th-and-12 that set up the game-winning score.

  • Brandin Cooks contract: $26.6 million cap hit (2023)

Houston slipped to the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft order, putting itself in a position where it will likely need to trade up for quarterback Bryce Young.

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As the Texans launch a coaching third for the third consecutive offseason, Cooks is very aware of what direction the team is taking. Even with two top-12 picks, Houston is likely at the early stages of a rebuild.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Cooks was honest about what he wants. After watching the Texans win a combined 11 games over the last three seasons, Houston’s veteran wideout wants out if the team isn’t committed to winning.

“I’m not looking at it as far as being a part of a rebuild, however that looks. That’s why I trust my camp and my representation to be able to get a map from here to there and to see what that looks like to be a part of something that has a trusted plan.”

Brandin Cooks on desire to pursue an offseason trade (H/T Aaron Wilson)

It’s saying something that he is willing to ask for a trade. Cooks has been traded three times in his NFL career, leading to him announcing in January 2021 that he won’t accept being moved around the NFL anymore. Just two years later, Cooks would now welcome an opportunity to be listed on the transaction wire.

The Texans put themselves into this situation. When Houston committed to a rebuild heading into the 2021 season, it knew some of its veteran players would want out. While general manager Nick Caserio might not have liked the return teams offered in a trade for Cooks, keeping him might have ultimately proved more costly.

  • Brandin Cooks stats (Houston Texans): 228 receptions, 2,886 receiving yards in 44 games

There is one positive for the Texans. The 2023 free-agent class at wide receiver is weak, with Odell Beckham Jr., Juju Smith-Schuster and D.J. Chark the best options. It makes Cooks an appealing trade target, someone who will have plenty of suitors despite his large cap hit.

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