Proposed Cowboys Trade Ships Off Expensive WR to Browns

Proposed Cowboys Trade Ships Off Expensive WR to Browns

The Dallas Cowboys have been linked to a variety of moves to revamp the WR group, and the latest features a trade with the Cleveland Browns. While Michael Gallup appears to be the likeliest departure, WR Brandin Cooks has also been linked to a move away.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks

On March 4, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox explored the idea of a Cooks trade with Cleveland. While Cowboys fans may be weary of prematurely trading a wide receiver to the Browns (looking at you, Amari Cooper,) it is still worth considering.

“Cooks would be a logical target for the Browns because he still possesses field-stretching speed and because of his prior experience playing with Deshaun Watson,” Knox wrote. “The two spent the 2020 season together with the Houston Texans. Cooks finished that year with 1,150 yards and six touchdowns, while Watson made his last Pro Bowl appearance.”

The connection with Watson makes plenty of sense. Knox believes the Cowboys can get a fifth-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft in exchange for Cooks, which may be worth it. After a mediocre season and a sizable salary, the opportunity to cash out on the veteran WR is closing.

Brandin Cooks to the Browns?

When Dallas brought Cooks in last offseason, the goal was to revitalize him after regression in 2022. While Cooks was approaching his 30th birthday, his consistent production pointed toward upside rather than stagnancy.

Instead, Dallas and Cooks experienced a mixed bag. Cooks totaled 657 receiving yards, less than his 2022 campaign. He did scored 8 touchdowns though, the highest single-season total of his career since 2016.

According to Pro Football Reference, Cooks has six 1000-yard seasons to his name. His chances of reaching a 7th feel like they’re dwindling, but a trade to the Browns may be best for all parties.

Dallas needs the cap space, and trading Cooks would free up $8 million. The Browns are trying to take advantage of their playoff window, and Cooks has that aforementioned connection to Watson. Finally, the receiver himself can continue being a primary weapon for a competitive team.

However, Dallas also will need WR help in 2024. Letting Cooks go could be a short-sighted move, especially considering who else might leave the Cowboys’ camp.

Cowboys Could Cut Michael Gallup for 2-Time All-Pro

Cooks didn’t quite live up to expectations, but it’s safe to say that he’s further up the totem pole than Michael Gallup. Gallup has failed to cross the 500-yard marker in his past three seasons, all while playing on a five-year, $57.5 million deal.

Now, the Cowboys can release him with minimal dead cap. That’s why Sports Illustrated’s Timm Hamm suggested the Cowboys sign New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas as Gallup’s future replacement.

By cutting Gallup, Dallas will immediately free up $9.5 million in 2024 cap space. Thomas could probably be signed on a yearly salary worth less than that. But like Cooks, Thomas has regressed in recent years and isn’t a sure-fire option.

Alternatively, the Cowboys could pool their resources and pursue a bigger free agent like Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley. Ditching Gallup and Cooks this offseason frees up at least $17.5 million, which goes a long way toward a marquee WR signing.

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