Proposed Trade Sees Cowboys Unload $39 Million Veteran to Steelers

A proposed trade scenario would see the Dallas Cowboys part ways with one of their more experienced players.

In a proposed trade from Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport, the Cowboys would trade wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a 2025 third-round draft pick. Davenport attributes the Cowboys’ need to create salary cap space for CeeDee Lamb’s upcoming contract as a big reason to unload Cooks’ $8 million base salary for the 2024 season.

Cooks is on the verge of completing the final year of a two-year, $39.6 million contract extension he previously signed with the Houston Texans.

“But trading Cooks after June 1 would clear $8 million off the books for the Cowboys—money that could be used to help extend Lamb,” writes Davenport. “And while Cooks was quiet in terms of yards and catches last year, he found the end zone eight times and has six 1,000-yard seasons on his NFL resume. Best of all, Cooks would be easily the least expensive wide receiver on this list.”

Brandin Cooks Mentioned as Most ‘Realistic’ Option of Trade Targets

Not only is the 30-year-old Cooks extremely affordable, Davenport actually argues that Cooks may be the most “realistic” option of the six trade targets he mentions in his article. Along with Cooks, Davenport also mentions well-known receivers such as Deebo Samuel, Tee Higgins, DK Metcalf, Brandon Aiyuk and Courtland Sutton.

“On some level, this may be the most realistic potential trade on this list—after all, if anyone in the NFL knows what it’s like to be traded, it’s Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks,” writes Davenport.

The 5-foot-10 Cooks remains a productive receiver as he enters the 11th season of his career. He’s coming off of an eight-touchdown campaign in his first season in Dallas, the second-most receiving touchdowns he’s caught in a single season in his career. The number of touchdowns ranked second among all Cowboys players and he actually vastly outperformed ex-Dallas receiver Michael Gallup, who produced just 34 receptions and 418 receiving yards to Cooks’ 54 receptions for 657 receiving yards.

The Steelers are mentioned as a potential landing spot due to the fact that they’re in the market for another starting wideout after trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers. As reported by KOA’s Benjamin Allbright, the Steelers have inquired about Aiyuk, Sutton and Metcalf.

“They called about Aiyuk and Sutton and have been rebuffed, at least with opening talks,” reported Allbright on Tuesday, April 30. “Called about DK, I don’t believe a trade would get done there until after june first (if one got done at all).”

Why the Cowboys Are Unlikely to Trade Brandin Cooks

While the idea of trading Cooks makes sense from a salary cap standpoint, it makes little sense from a personnel standpoint. Dallas is already thin when it comes to their wide receiver depth chart, especially following the release of Gallup. They’re hoping that Jalen Tolbert can finally break out as the No. 3 receiver. Furthermore, they used just one draft pick on a wide receiver in Southeast Missouri State’s Ryan Flournoy during the sixth round.

It’s true that the Cowboys have been very cautious when it comes to spending money in free agency this offseason. This is due to planning around future contracts when it comes to not only Lamb, but also Dak Prescott and Micah Parsons.

However, as much as the Steelers would love to add Cooks as an affordable No. 2 option next to George Pickens, don’t expect the Cowboys to bite — they need Cooks as a complementary option to Lamb for the 2024 season.

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