Brandin Cooks, Texans Reportedly Agree to 2-Year Contract Extension amid Trade Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) runs past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin for a touchdown after a 22-yard reception during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Houston Texans agreed to a two-year contract extension with veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the deal is expected to average a little less than $20 million annually.

Cooks is coming off another productive season. He caught 90 passes for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns over 16 games in 2021. Pro Football Focus' Anthony Treash ranked him as the 22nd-best wideout:

"Houston still gave the speedy receiver plenty of downfield routes, but Cooks didn’t see as many catchable deep passes. Instead, he was presented with more shallow targets. Despite the offense being unable to fully tap into his deep speed, Cooks still managed a 77.3 receiving grade for the season, as he saw a career-high 24.6% target rate."

However, the signs appeared to point toward the 28-year-old suiting up for another team by the time the 2022 season was underway. Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reported the Cleveland Browns were interested in reuniting Cooks with Deshaun Watson.

The Texans are in the middle of a rebuild, a phase that was confirmed with the Watson trade. At least for one more year, they figure to be one of the NFL's worst teams.

Cooks, meanwhile, was due to be a free agent in 2023 since the final two years of his contract were originally due to void.

The financial details of the extension have not been reported, but new deals for Davante Adams (five years, $140 million) and Tyreek Hill (four years, $120 million) this offseason likely helped Cooks demand a little more than he would have a few years ago.

The fact that Houston is keeping Cooks around could point to the front office's plan for 2023.

Rivers McCown @riversmccown

Welcome to the 2023 Texans, who are an utter blank slate. <br><br>-They will likely have more than $100 million in cap space. <br>-Laremy Tunsil's $35 million cap hit can be extended off of or moved.<br>-Brandin Cooks' void year carries one of the highest cap figures on the team. <a href="https://t.co/iXHpr3qpCN">pic.twitter.com/iXHpr3qpCN</a>

The Miami Dolphins initiated a rebuild in 2019 and then spent more than $239 million on free-agent signings during the 2020 offseason. In the NFL, teams don't have to embark on long-term journeys back to relevancy.

As bad as the Texans figure to be in 2022, their outlook could change drastically this time next year, at which point having Cooks will certainly help.

Since arriving in the NFL, the 2014 first-round pick hasn't experienced the kind of breakthrough that put him in the elite tier at his position. He has yet to earn a Pro Bowl nod through eight seasons.

However, the floor for Cooks has always remained high. He has failed to crack 1,000 yards only twice. The first was when he was limited to 10 games as a rookie and the second came in 2019, when he had to compete for targets with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods on the Los Angeles Rams.

For his career, the Oregon State product is averaging 4.8 receptions and 66.5 yards per game, and he has a 65.8 percent catch rate, per Pro Football Reference.