The Dallas Cowboys have had a problem dating back to the day they traded Amari Cooper. It’s a problem that got worse as the 2022 offseason progressed, an issue that plagued them throughout the 2022 regular season, and an issue that threatened to carryover into 2023.
At least until the Dallas Cowboys traded for WR Brandin Cooks.
The Cowboys began the 2022 season without three of their top-four WRs from a season before and expected it to all work out. It did not. With Cooper in Cleveland, Cedrick Wilson in Miami, and Gallup on the mend, Dallas opened the season season last year with CeeDee Lamb and their long-time WR5, Noah Brown, as the primary targets on offense.
It’s safe to say, it did not go well.
This offseason the Dallas Cowboys took on the task of filling the need they aggressively neglected last year. They were repeatedly linked to DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr, but eventually decided on the veteran speedster, Brandin Cooks.
Brandin Cooks is a brilliant addition who should go down as the best option available for the Dallas Cowboys in 2023
Cooks didn’t come out of nowhere. The Dallas Cowboys were linked to Cooks at the trade deadline last season. Houston reportedly was asking for too much (some speculate a second rounder) and Dallas opted to sign free agent T.Y. Hilton instead (who could still come back in 2023).
Fast-forward to 2023 and Houston’s price appeared to drop drastically. The Cowboys sent them a 2023 fifth round pick and 2024 sixth round pick and Houston even offered to pick up some of the tab in money due ($6M).
Cooks didn’t require a top-100 pick, he’s paid less than current market prices, he brings the speed the Cowboys are desperately lacking, and Dallas can get out of the deal in 2024
The Dallas Cowboys got a veteran WR who is still operating at peak levels. They do it with him playing far below market values ($12,382,353 in 2023 and $16,500,000 in 2024) and at a trade compensation far below what DeAndre Hopkins would have commanded. Hopkins, arguably the better pure receiver, was said to cost a second round pick.
Dallas notoriously relies on their top-100 picks to play significant roles on their teams. Sending one away as trade compensation wasn’t ideal for their team building strategy even if it did bring in a star player.
By trading for Cooks they were able to retain all of their top draft picks and significantly upgrade the WR spot in the process.
Cooks also brings a level of speed to an otherwise plodding Cowboys offense. Gallup and Lamb aren’t generally regarded as fast players and in the past, defenses haven’t needed to respect Dallas’ deep speed. That changes with Cooks.
Odell Beckham Jr would have theoretically brought the same deep speed component to the Cowboys, but based on reports of his demands, he was looking for a longer-term deal with longer-term commitments than what Cooks brought over.
Cooks can be cut after this season with no financial ramifications. OBJ would have required a much longer commitment.
At the end of the day, Brandin Cooks looks like the best answer to the Dallas Cowboys questions at WR. He required a small return in trade compensation, he’s paid less than current market prices, he brings the speed the Cowboys are desperately lacking, and Dallas can get out of the deal as early as next offseason if they want to.