The Houston Texans were unable to trade veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks ahead of the deadline, and now it may be clear why.
Houston wanted second and fourth-round picks in exchange for Cooks, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Teams were unwilling to part with the draft picks and also take on Cooks' fully guaranteed $18 million salary for 2023.
A number of teams reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Cooks, including the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.
The Cowboys and Texans were actually engaged in discussions "until the final minutes" leading up to the deadline, per ESPN's Ed Werder. The two sides couldn't agree on draft compensation and Cooks' 2023 salary.
After the Texans failed to trade Cooks at Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, he posted a cryptic tweet appearing to voice his displeasure about not being moved. He then tweeted on Thursday that he believes his path will be "straight."
Cooks did not participate in Tuesday or Wednesday's practices due to personal reasons, and Werder reported that he would not play Thursday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 29-year-old is in his third season with the Texans. In seven games, he has caught 32 passes for 354 yards and one touchdown.
Cooks' best season in Houston came in 2020 when he caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. He followed that up with a 1,037-yard, six-touchdown 2021 campaign.
Cooks isn't expected to become an unrestricted free agent until 2025.
However, it's possible his contract, including the $18 million fully guaranteed, could be voided. A copy of Cooks' contract obtained by ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio says his contract can be voided if he commits a "default."
"A default occurs if (among other things) the player, without 'prior written consent' of coach Lovie Smith or GM Nick Caserio, 'fails to practice with or play for Club' for reasons other than a football-related injury or illness," Florio wrote.
If Cooks' contract is voided, he'll become a free agent and eligible to sign with whichever team he pleases. However, it's important to note that, despite missing two practices and Thursday's game, it's unclear if Cooks has committed a default.