Cowboys’ commerce for WR Brandin Cooks completely suits workforce — and philosophy

Whether or not they heard the cries of out of doors critics or drummed the concept up all on their very own, the Dallas Cowboys are lastly embracing one of many NFL’s strongest market inefficiencies.

Sunday noticed their second main transfer of free company, as they traded with the Houston Texans to amass Brandin Cooks. The transfer value them the tiny complete of a 2023 fifth-round decide and a 2024 sixth-round choice.

This commerce simply comes a number of days after they shipped one other fifth-round decide in alternate for former NFL Defensive Participant of the 12 months Stephon Gilmore.

Each choices occupy a candy spot that permits the Cowboys to perform each of their objectives. Neither commerce value them substantial draft capital, as it is a workforce that prefers to do the overwhelming majority of its workforce constructing in April — and is kind of good at it. On the identical time, a pair of confirmed veterans is much extra prone to make an influence for a workforce with playoff aspirations than whichever rookies would have been chosen late on Day 3 of the NFL draft.

Even the monetary finish appears manageable. Cooks has reportedly negotiated his deal to solely value the Cowboys $12 million in 2023 (the Texans can pay the remaining $6 million), whereas Gilmore has only one 12 months remaining on his deal at roughly $8 million.

Cooks fills what was beforehand the largest gap remaining on this roster. There was hypothesis that the Cowboys have been attempting to amass him from Houston again on the 2022 commerce deadline, so this could hardly come as a shock. However Cooks is the identify they’ve chosen out of a bunch that additionally included Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins, because it’s exhausting to think about both veteran touchdown right here now.

Cooks’ profile shouldn’t be as excessive as the opposite two, however this was certainly not a foul determination. Previously drafted No. 20 general by New Orleans, the 29-year-old has put up six 1,000-yard seasons throughout 9 years — and for 4 totally different franchises. 

He performed in back-to-back Tremendous Bowls as a key member of each the Patriots and Rams, and he is been producing at a excessive degree throughout three years in Houston regardless of the Texans being one of many worst groups within the NFL throughout that stretch.

With pace as his calling card, Cooks is an ideal complement to the likes of CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup — each dependable receivers however missing in top-end pace. Cooks possesses big-play potential that was non-existent in Dallas final season, which shouldn’t solely assist Dak Prescott, however all of his different receivers.

Lower than one week into free company, we are able to simply name this the busiest and most efficient early offseason in latest Cowboys reminiscence. Not solely did they swing trades for 2 high quality starters, however they managed to re-sign each of their largest in-house free brokers by securing Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch to new contracts.

No matter holes stay of their roster can simply be addressed with small veteran signings and 2023 draft picks.

For a workforce that is been so notoriously stingy presently of 12 months, what is the distinction? Clearly the trades.

And the gorgeous factor is that they basically value nothing. The Cowboys held three fifth-round draft picks initially of the week — their very own, in addition to the 2 compensatory picks they obtained for shedding Randy Gregory and Connor Williams to free company final 12 months. Two trades later, they’re nonetheless sitting on a fifth-round decide. The worth of buying two confirmed starters was a pair of picks they solely owned for per week, anyway.

Dallas has gotten fairly good at this mannequin, too. All the time preferring to concentrate on the draft, they don’t seem to be afraid to let expensive veterans stroll, as they did with Connor McGovern final week, and as they will presumably do with Dalton Schultz sooner or later throughout this free company window. It is a stable wager they will be working with a handful extra compensatory picks when the calendar turns to March subsequent 12 months.

That is the place the inefficiency comes into play. Between groups searching for to get youthful and groups searching for to get cheaper, there are at all times going to be veterans obtainable at a reduction. Simply ask the Cowboys, who know all too nicely the way it feels to obtain a fifth-round decide for a Professional Bowler, as they did with Amari Cooper simply final 12 months.

It is an inefficiency that good groups profit from yearly. The Chiefs acquired Tremendous Bowl hero Kadarius Toney for a third-round decide final October; the Eagles acquired league interception chief Chauncey Gardner-Johnson for a 2023 fifth and a 2024 sixth.

The Cowboys look poised to reap these advantages now. It is intriguing so as to add Brandin Cooks to what was already one of many league’s greatest offenses, but it surely may be much more intriguing to see what this implies for the team-building technique in Dallas shifting ahead.

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David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand spent 9 seasons protecting the Cowboys for the workforce’s official web site. In 2018, he received a regional Emmy for his function in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” in regards to the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Comply with him on Twitter at @davidhelman_.

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