Houston, TX

Money Moves

Joe Grist

Photo of Brandin Cooks by@HoustonTexans/Twitter

With the departure of David Culley, and the remaining $17 million in his contract guaranteed, the Houston Texans are feeling the squeeze when it comes to financial mobility.

They aren’t strapped for cash like other organizations—such as the Saints, Packers, Vikings, Cowboys or Giants—but they are still among the bottom half of the league with an estimated $20.57 million in cap space (per Over The Cap.)

So, what can the Texans do to lessen the dent in their pocketbook? One man: Brandin Cooks.

The veteran wide receiver is slated to earn a base salary of $12.5 million, with bonuses adding up to a potential cap hit of up to $16.23 million (per Over The Cap), but there’s a catch—none of that money is guaranteed. Being freed of that much cap space would lift the Texans quite considerably.

A trade or release prior to June 1 would have their cap space at an estimated $29.31 million and a post-June 1 trade or release would bring the organization up to $34.31 million, putting them in the top half of the league.

After posting his sixth 1,000 yard season with 90 receptions (a career high) and 6 touchdowns, the receiver still has considerable value on the market. A market that has several teams who are anemic at the wide receiver position.

Brandin Cooks PFF performance@PFF_Texans/Twitter

Even with Cook’s impressive performances, the Texans ranked dead last in offensive production, both in total yards and yards-per-game.

A merciful move for the wide receiver, and draft capital for the team, would likely be in everyone’s best interest, but it is likely the Texans wouldn’t depart with their most productive offensive weapon without at least a second round pick.

Cooks stated in Jan. 2021 that he didn’t want to be traded and that the team would have to let him walk and choose his destination. Stating his desire to grow alongside quarterback Deshaun Watson.

"... a team thinking they could trade me for draft capital, I would caution them to think twice, because quite frankly, I'm not going to accept any more trades…if you want me off your team, you've just got to let me walk and choose my destination,” stated Cooks,“...I've got a newborn son at home and he's looking for someone to set an example. So I think it's, for me, starting to stand firm when it comes to my career…playing with Deshaun, I would love to continue that growth. But that's out of my hands…”

This, of course, was before the off-field debacle that Watson would soon face after his accusers identified themselves in April later that year. With how things are progressing, it looks doubtful that the issues will resolve themselves any time soon, leaving another season at risk.

Then there is the matter of Cook’s frustrations with how management has handled roster decisions.

After the trade of veteran running back Brandon Ingram, a teammate alongside Cooks during his time in both Houston and New Orleans, the wide receiver took to Twitter and posted a noticeably frustrated tweet.

“This is bullsh*t. Such a joke.” Tweeted Cooks.

Cooks would later explain he didn’t fully understand the trade, and general manager Nick Caserio illuminated that Ingram himself requested to return to New Orleans, but nonetheless the receiver admitted to feeling “hurt.”

With such an uncertain future for a receiver still in their prime and the potential to reclaim financial and draft capital. This single move could be a boon for both parties.

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Writer and reporter for hire—Joe Grist covers the Chicago Bulls, New England Patriots, local sports, legal and criminal news, and tech related topics.

Austin, TX

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