The latest Dallas Cowboys rumors and news indicates the team faces a decision on the future of wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The Cowboys traded for Cooks last offseason but have been unable to get the wideout consistent touches.
Through the first nine weeks, Cooks has just 17 receptions for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns for Dallas. ESPN’s Aaron Schatz notes the Cowboys could opt to move on from Cooks this offseason if things do not turn around for the playmaker.
“Cooks was supposed to improve the Dallas offense in two spots,” Schatz wrote on October 27, 2023. “He was going to give the Cowboys a strong, consistent No. 2 wide receiver to help take attention away from CeeDee Lamb, and that would in turn kick Michael Gallup down to the No. 3 spot to improve that position as well. It hasn’t worked out that way. The Dallas offense is 19th in pass DVOA this season [heading into Week 8], and Cooks has been part of the problem.
“… His low total of 23 targets is a demonstration of the trouble he’s having getting open. Cooks ranks 72nd out of 81 qualifying receivers in ESPN’s Receiver Tracking Metrics. His open score of 40 ranks 70th. Cooks does a little better in DVOA, which measures value per target, but even there he is 56th. Lamb, who is not part of the problem, ranks 12th.
“The Cowboys can move on from Cooks after this season if things don’t turn around. Designating him as a post-June 1 cut would put $2 million of dead money on their cap in each of the next three years but save them $8 million on the cap in 2024.”
Cowboys Rumors: Dallas Would Take a $6 Million Dead Cap Hit by Cutting Brandin Cooks in 2024
Mike McCarthy clears the air on Brandin Cooks’ role: ‘I don’t play fantasy football’ https://t.co/aWGHBLYUoR
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) November 7, 2023
Cooks has a $4 million salary and $6 million cap hit for 2023 as part of a two-year, $39.7 million contract. These numbers jump up to an $8 million salary and $10 million cap hit for next season.
According to Spotrac, the Cowboys would take a $6 million dead cap hit by releasing Cooks this offseason. As Schatz explains, Dallas could opt to spread this number out over the next several seasons.
Despite these Cowboys rumors, Dallas has publicly maintained their commitment to Cooks. Yet, the team likely expected more production from the veteran. Cooks has topped 1,000 receiving yards in six of the last eight seasons heading into 2023. The Dallas offense also deserves part of the blame for not finding ways to get the veteran involved.
Cowboys News: Both Brandin Cooks & Michael Gallup Have Struggled to Complement CeeDee Lamb
Brandin Cooks TD
Dak Prescott today: 25 of 31 for 304 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 133.7 passer rating pic.twitter.com/KYaOunegFw
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 29, 2023
Cooks has had four games this season with two or less receptions, more than half of his appearances for the Cowboys. It is not just Cooks who has struggled in the Dallas offense.
CeeDee Lamb has been the lone consistent Dallas receiver producing in 2023. Both Cooks and Michael Gallup have been unable to emerge as second and third receivers for the Cowboys. It will be worth watching to see if either Jalen Tolbert or KaVontae Turpin can overtake these veterans’ roles in the offense.
The lack of a receiving threat outside of Lamb is a red flag as the postseason approaches. There is some good news in Dallas with the emergence of tight end Jake Ferguson.
“It just feels like if CeeDee [Lamb] doesn’t catch 14 passes, then they struggle to outscore teams,” an AFC scout told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler heading into Week 10.