Will Brandin Cooks negotiate a release from the Texans?
Last year, receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. wanted out of Cleveland, after the trade deadline. He agreed to a revised contract and negotiated his release, by agreeing to waive a significant amount of his right to ongoing salary as termination pay.
This year, receiver Brandin Cooks could try to do the same thing, now that he hasn’t been traded by the Texans before the deadline. The Cowboys, in remarks that come close to the tampering line if not cross it, admit they were talking to the Texans. The Rams were rumored to be interested in a reunion. So if Cooks could wriggle out of his contract in Houston, he could join one of those teams.
But it won’t be easy. He has a fully-guaranteed base salary of $18 million in 2023. Assuming the deal has offset language, the Texans could just cut him and pay the difference between whatever he makes elsewhere next year and the guaranteed amount. Cooks could also agree to carve away some of that guarantee, dropping it to $15 million or $12 million or whatever it would take to get the Texans to cut him loose.
The risk would come from waivers. Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, all players who are released must pass through the dibs process. If the Cooks contract is repackaged in a way that makes it attractive to another team, he could be claimed on waivers -- blocking his preferred path to Dallas or L.A. or wherever.
Or maybe Cooks will simply have to wait until the offseason, when a trade can be negotiated that entails the Texans paying some of the money, a new team paying some of it, Cooks maybe giving some of it up, the Houston getting a draft pick.
If the Texans try to kick the can through the next 10 weeks, we’ll see whether Cooks is happy and focused and motivated. His absence from practice on Tuesday, along with his tweet, make that an open question, at best.