Receiver Brandin Cooks will be back for the Texans today. His “C” won’t be.
NFL Media reports that the Texans have stripped Cooks of his captain status in advance of his first game back after he wasn’t traded at the deadline.
After the Week Nine loss to the Eagles, which Cooks missed two days after he wasn’t traded, coach Lovie Smith declined to say whether Cooks would remain a team captain.
“You know what, guys, I think we’ve talked enough about it,” Smith said when asked the captain question. “Brandin didn’t play, all right? I told you he will be back in the building tomorrow. If you want to talk about the game, we can do that. As far as the captain, we have two offensive captains each game. Today [Laremy Tunsil] was our captain. I thought he represented the team well.”
Tunsil apparently will continue to do so.
Per the report, Smith wasn’t happy with Cooks for airing his grievances publicly. Without knowing the whole story of what Cooks was or wasn’t told behind the scenes, it’s hard to know whether his frustration about not being traded justified lashing out. Was he promised he’d be traded? Did the Texans tell him they’d cover a specific portion of his $18 million fully guaranteed salary in 2023, and did they then not honor their commitment?
The 2023 salary ultimately is what kept Cooks in place. Although he shouldn’t have been expected to give up money that he already has earned, if the options were stay with a losing team and keep the guarantee or move to a new team and give some of it up, that’s a decision he has to make.
Ultimately, he decided to keep the $18 million and stay with a losing team. But he’s still unhappy that the team is losing.
“Man, I’m human,” Cooks said this week. “I’m frustrated, absolutely. I want to win. That’s not the case. That’s what’s going on. That’s the way I express my emotion. I think we all want to win. We’re all frustrated in some sense. That’s where I stand with that.”
He’s still with the Texans. And he presumably knows he needs to show up and avoid any issues in order to preserve his 2023 guarantee. Then, after the season, the Texans can try to trade him again — with the $18 million salary once again becoming an impediment to a deal.