Report: Brandin Cooks' $21.8M Rams Dead Cap Hit Breaks Antonio Brown's Record

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 10, 2020

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21: Brandin Cooks #12 of the Los Angeles Rams runs a route in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams will absorb a $21.8 million salary-cap hit for former wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who was traded to the Houston Texans on Thursday, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

The Rams received the 57th overall pick in return, but they'll also be assuming the largest cap hit in NFL history, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap.

"I believe that the $21.8M cap charge for Cooks will be the largest single-year dead money charge ever taken for a player, surpassing the $21.12M the Steelers took for Antonio Brown last year," Fitzgerald tweeted.

The Steelers dealt Brown, who signed a four-year, $68 million extension with Pittsburgh in 2017, to the Oakland Raiders last offseason.

Cooks caught 42 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games for the Rams last season. He averaged 77 receptions for 1,149 yards in his four prior campaigns.

The 26-year-old has suffered five known concussions, including two within four weeks of each other last year. He missed two contests in 2019 as a result.

Cooks will be asked to help replace the production of the departed DeAndre Hopkins, who the Texans traded to the Arizona Cardinals in a deal that netted them running back David Johnson.

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That may be tough as Hopkins snagged 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven scores, marking his third year in seven seasons with at least 100 catches and 1,000 yards.

As for Los Angeles, the Rams aren't the only team taking on a boatload of dead money, but Fitzgerald wrote that only three teams have more dead money on their rosters than Cooks brings the Rams alone.

"Top two dead money charges this year will belong to Cooks ($21.8M) and [Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles] ($18.75M)," Fitzgerald said. "Only the Panthers, Jaguars and Patriots are carrying more dead money for their whole roster than Cooks' dead money number. The Rams, Lions, Vikings, and Dolphins have more than Foles."

The Rams are on the hook for quite a bit, however, in part due to the offseason release of running back Todd Gurley:

Draft capital is also sparse: L.A. now holds seven draft picks for 2020, but its newly acquired Texans selection at No. 57 is the highest.