Sources: Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks won't play against Eagles

Texans veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks is not playing against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles for personal reasons after attempts to trade him at the NFL deadline were unsuccessful, according to league sources.

Cooks has been absent from the team since Monday, per sources. The Texans face the undefeated Eagles on Thursday night at NRG Stadium.

Cooks expressed displeasure on social media Tuesday when the NFL trade deadline expired with no deal reached despite the Texans holding discussions and drawing inquiries from multiple teams, including the Dallas Cowboys late in the process.

Cooks, 29, showed his frustration with a social media post as the deadline came and passed with no deal. Perhaps a trade can be revisited during the offseason. To trade Cooks, the Texans would likely have had to take on some of his 2023 salary to get the deal done, or Cooks would have had to restructure his contract.

"Don’t take a man’s kindness for granted," Cooks wrote Tuesday on his verified Twitter account." Covered for the lies for too long those days are done. Crossed the line with playing with my career "

On Thursday morning, Cooks, who is deeply religious, wrote: "He will make my paths straight. Trust trust trust him"

Ultimately, no deal could be worked out as it was an extremely complicated situation due to financial reasons with Cooks' $18 million guaranteed base salary in 2023 along with the Texans' high asking price in terms of draft capital. The Texans, ideally, wanted a second-round draft pick and other compensation in exchange for Cooks, per league sources.

Cooks drew trade inquiries and interest from several teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and Cowboys, according to league sources.

Now, Cooks, who signed a two-year, $39.6 million contract extension in April that includes $36 million guaranteed, is with the 1-5-1 Texans for at least the remainder of the season.

This has become an increasingly awkward situation as Cooks liked several social media posts Tuesday and recently involving him and trade speculation. Ideally, Cooks wants to play for a contending team and have a major role. The Texans made a good-faith effort to try to trade him, but it didn't work out.

Cooks, 29, showed his frustration with a social media post as the deadline came and passed with no deal. Perhaps a trade can be revisited during the offseason. To trade Cooks, the Texans would likely have had to take on some of his 2023 salary to get the deal done, or Cooks would have had to restructure his contract.

How the Texans proceed with Cooks, who has been traded previously three times, going forward will be interesting.

Cooks leads the Texans with 32 receptions for 354 yards and one touchdown on 53 targets one year after catching 90 passes for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns as he was targeted 134 times.

The Texans' offense has changed considerably with the emergence of rookie running back Dameon Pierce, an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, and the emphasis of new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton on a run-first, smash-mouth approach.

"If there’s somebody we’re going to trade, and we trade them, we’ll talk about it them," Texans coach Lovie Smith said hours before the deadline. "Brandin wasn’t out there today. He was excused for personal reasons.

"Brandin has a big role for us. He’s one of the best players on the team. Kind of simple as that. There’s a reason why he’s on the team. We like him here.”

Acquired in a trade from the Rams for a second-round draft pick, Cooks caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns two seasons ago.

His role has reduced this season, though.

One way to potentially improve Cooks' feeling about remaining in Houston would be to get him the football more frequently.

“This what we are going try to do," Smith said. "You’re right when you talk about production. We need production from our running game. That'll help the passing game."

Smith said he spoke with Cooks on Tuesday.

"Talked to Brandin today," he said. "You know, guys, when I say a guy’s excused for personal reasons, I never talk about something personal we were talking about behind closed doors. Like all players, have a conversation with most guys each day. Brandin is no different.”

Smith had no interest in commenting on the Cooks situation, especially since it wasn't resolved yet officially with no trade unfolding.

“No, I don’t," Smith said. "You know that I can’t and wouldn’t answer that question. The trade deadline is coming, correct? So, all teams are talking right now. When there’s something, some information we think you need to get, we’ll get it to you. What I’m up here for today is talking about, you watched practice out there today. I thought you’d want to talk about that.”

The chemistry between Cooks and quarterback Davis Mills hasn't been the same as last year. They were out of sync in several games, including Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans, on a 3rd-and-8 play where Cooks ran deep and Mills threw incomplete to him short. He caught four passes for 73 yards, but almost all of his production during the 17-10 loss happened late in the game with the outcome already decided.

"He's not here today for personal reasons," Mills said. "I love playing with him."

Cooks didn't conduct interviews prior to the Titans game.

He declined to discuss the possibility of tying Eric Dickerson with a fourth career trade after the Titans game.

Cooks has six 1,000-yard seasons.

"That's internal," Cooks said Sunday in the Texans' locker room when asked about a potential trade. "I'm not worried about that, ifs, buts, ands. It is what it is. .. We'll keep that internal. With all due respect, we're not going to talk about that right now in the media."

Unloading Cooks would likely have made the Texans a less competitive team as they continue to try to build their roster.

Financially, the Texans would also have taken on $8.782 million in dead money this year and $16.22 million in dead money in 2023 if they had traded Cooks. They would net just $967,533 in net cap savings immediately this year and $10.398 million in 2023.

The Texans already restructured Cooks' contract in September, converting $831,11 of his $2 million base salary into a signing bonus to create $554,000 in immediate salary cap savings.

Cooks' base salary is now $1.12 million after playing one game at the $2 million rate.

For his career, Cooks has 605 career receptions for 8,271 yards and 49 touchdowns. He's a pivotal part of the offense, especially with wide receiver Nico Collins sidelined another game with a groin injury.

Smith was asked if the situation would be different if Cooks was more heavily involved in the offense.

“I can’t speak for Brandin on that," Smith said. "We have a game plan. Try to get as many of the guys as possible into it. Kind of simple as that.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Houston Texans v Chicago Bears

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