Does Brandin Cooks want out of Houston?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gary McCullough/AP/Shutterstock (13452188ci) Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) stretches during warm-ups before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville, Fla Texans Jaguars Football, Jacksonville, United States – 09 Oct 2022

Does Brandin Cooks want out of Houston?

For the second year in a row, Cooks’ social media activity indicates he is not happy with Texans.

Reports surfaced before the Texans’ Week 7 game in Las Vegas that multiple teams had contacted Houston to inquire about the availability of WR Brandin Cooks.

Cooks, 29, has recorded six 1000+ yard seasons as a receiver, and with an NFL record four different franchises (tied with Brandon Marshall). He has shown himself to be essentially quarterback-proof, reaching the receiving yard milestones with quarterbacks both noteworthy and average.

Cooks did not play in the preseason this year, and his usually reliable hands have been somewhat less so than usual. Cooks four dropped passes this season are tied for the second most in the league and are double his number of big plays this season (30+ yards).

Cooks was a trade target for teams last year, but the Texans declined to trade him citing his value as a leader as well as a top player on the team.

However, there was an incident last season on social media where Cooks posted on Twitter what appeared to be derogatory statements towards the team in the wake of the Texans trading RB Mark Ingram to New Orleans. In the aftermath of the deal, Cooks posted to Twitter, “This is (BS). Such a joke.

It stood out because Cooks has a reputation for being a “team first” player, often extolling positives in negative situations to the media, backing up questionable decisions by players or coaches with confidence in them, etc. It seemed to be out of character for Cooks and was treated as such.

However, in the aftermath of the reports of teams calling about his availability and another Texans loss in Week 7, Cooks was again on social media making some interesting decisions, to say the least.

Cooks recently made a bunch of cryptic tweets, often invoking God and faith. He also liked multiple tweets with articles about potential trades that would involve him, one of which had a rendering of him in a Green Bay Packers jersey.

Cooks was given a rest day from practice Wednesday by Texans head coach Lovie Smith but skipped out on his scheduled media availability. The excuse he gave was that he had a lift scheduled. That excuse holds up as well as the Texans’ run defense.

While the Texans clearly missed out on an opportunity to trade Cooks last season for a potential second round pick, there is still a need for high-end wide receivers among some teams at or expected to be near the top of the league. The Texans could still potentially get a strong return for Cooks, considering how many teams are in need of WR help.

The Chiefs, Packers, and Rams are reported to have already contacted the Texans on Cooks. While no deal is imminent, it is worth noting that since all of these teams are expected to have lower draft positioning, there’s the possibility of getting a higher round pick because it would be later in the round.

The Chiefs have one second-round pick, two third-round picks and two fourth-round picks in the 2023 draft. The Packers have one pick in each the second, third, and fourth rounds. The Rams have their own second and third round picks, with their first-round pick controlled by the Lions and their fourth-round pick controlled by the Patriots. The Rams are also on record for not really caring about trading picks.

With the team sitting at 1-4-1 and the potential for WR Nico Collins to miss at least one game and maybe more with a groin injury suffered in Week 7 against the Raiders, it would seem to be a bad time to consider trading Cooks as it would leave the WR room very short on talent. If the Texans decide to pack it in for the season and go for the best draft position they can, it would be a great time to make the deal.

While the Texans are badly struggling with a lack of depth this season in large part to nearly $70 million in dead cap money leaving them barely $3 million under the cap (per Spotrac) and the lack of high draft capital due to trades made by former HC/GM Bill O’Brien, that will not be the case next season. In addition to having all of their own picks for 2023, they also hold the Browns first-round pick, another third-round pick from the Browns, and a total of four picks in the sixth round. The team will also have between $47-$50 million in cap space for the 2023 season as well. The Texans rebuild could get a serious boost next year, and an additional second or third round pick would certainly help.

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