Evaluating 4 best Brandin Cooks trade destinations in 2023

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks has already been traded three times during his NFL career. With the Texans rebuilding and multiple teams in the market for impact weapons, Cooks could become just the third player in NFL history to be traded four times.

Eric Dickerson and Kiko Alonso are the only two players who have been traded four times during their careers. While Cooks signed a contract extension in April 2022 a year after saying he won’t accept any more trades, the veteran receiver now wants out of Houston.

Related: Brandin Cooks hints he’ll request a trade this offseason

Cooks became even more expendable for the Texans after they signed Robert Woods. For a team still in the early stages o overhauling its roster, the draft picks it would acquire by dealing Cooks are far more beneficial long-term to the organization than keeping the Pro Bowl offensive weapon.

Keeping all of that in mind, let’s dive into the best landing spots for Brandin Cooks.

Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Giants
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The Dallas Cowboys are already in the market for Odell Beckham Jr. and any good front office will always prioritize the free agent over drafting a similar player at the cost of a draft pick. However, Beckham Jr. is seeking a lucrative contract and that may push Dallas back to Cooks.

  • Dallas Cowboys acquire: Brandin Cooks, 187th overall pick
  • Houston Texans acquire: 90th overall pick

Cooks was almost dealt to the Cowboys before the 2022 trade deadline, but the deal fell through because of Cooks’ salary. Houston should now be far more willing to cover a portion of his contract and Cooks’ desperation to leave the rebuilding organization might incentive him to take a restructured contract.

  • Brandin Cooks contract: $26.463 million cap hit (2023)

Michael Gallup raised doubts about his ability to be a No. 2 receiver this past season had the Cowboys’ depth at wide receiver evaporated within a year. Dallas needs that second go-to receiver for quarterback Dak Prescott and Cooks fits the mold the franchise likes.

Related: Multiple NFL teams interested in Brandin Cooks

Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

After losing JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Kansas City Chiefs once again find themselves in the market for another wide receiver. It’s obviously a team every offensive weapon, including Cooks, would love to play for because of two-time MVP Patrick Mahomes. While Kansas City certainly like many of the young pass-catchers on its roster, versatility and depth are paramount to winning.

  • Brandin Cooks advanced stats: 19 deep targets (25th in NFL), 561 unrealized air yards (28th in NFL), 43.8% route win rate (27th in NFL0, 40.1% win rate vs man coverage (20th)

The Chiefs can’t realistically rely upon Sky Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling if they want to win a third Super Bowl. Moore’s size greatly limits his ceiling and Valdes-Scantling has proven to be far more flash than substance.

  • Kansas City Chiefs trade: 95th overall pick
  • Houston Texans trade: Brandin Cooks, 187th overall pick

Cooks is just a year removed from being one of the best deep threats in the NFL. For Mahomes – who posted the fourth-highest passer rating (110.1) and the fifth-best completion rate on deep throws in 2022 -it’s difficult to find a more appealing fit.

New York Giants

NFL: Houston Texans at New York Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Signing Parris Campbell and acquiring Darren Waller isn’t nearly enough to move the needle for the New York Giants’ offense. If a franchise is willing to commit $40 million per season to quarterback Daniel Jones, it needs to surround him with playmakers.

  • New York Giants receive: Brandin Cooks
  • Houston Texans receive: 2024 third-round pick

Cooks would instantly become the No. 1 receiver in New York. Just as important, he provides a vertical threat that this offense lacked in 2022. Just look at what happened in the NFL playoffs because of the Giants’ limitations. The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense geared everything toward short throws because New York couldn’t beat them deep. Jones is a capable and fairly accurate quarterback throwing deep, he just needs the receivers who can do that and Cooks fits.

Carolina Panthers

NFL: Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers made the right decision to trade DJ Moore in a package deal for the No. 1 overall pick. Teams can get stuck in quarterback purgatory for a decade-plus and sacrificing a Pro Bowl wide receiver to secure a potential franchise-caliber quarterback is a worthy trade-off.

  • Carolina Panthers trade: 2024 3rd, 147th overall pick
  • Houston Texans trade: Brandin Cooks, 187th overall pick

Carolina’s depth chart at wide receiver is currently led by Terrace Marshall Jr., Shi Smith and Laviska Shenault Jr. As of now, none of those options appear to be anything more than a third option in an NFL-caliber passing offense.

Whether the Panthers draft Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, they must find playmakers for their rookie quarterback. Cooks offers plenty of experience working with young passers and Carolina could offer him a prominent role that he could turn into a new contract a year from now.

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