Cooks and the Texans have agreed to a contract restructure that frees up $6.5 million in cap space for the team, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Cooks previously was scheduled for a $12 million cap hit, which was more than reasonable after he rebounded from a subpar 2019 to record the his fifth 1,000-yard receiving season of his career in 2020. This restructure likely converts most of his 2021 base salary into a bonus, reducing this year's cap charge by pushing some of it to the final two seasons of Cooks' contract (2022, 2023) instead. The Texans apparently intend to keep the veteran wideout, though he might end up playing for a young, overmatched team with a new coach and a new quarterback (TBD). Cook's fantasy value for the upcoming season partially hinges on the Deshaun Watson situation.
Cooks caught 11 of 16 targets for 166 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 41-38 loss to the Titans. The veteran receiver wrapped up a disappointing campaign for the Texans with his best performance yet in a Houston uniform. Cooks finished 2020 with 1,150 receiving yards, the fifth time in the last six seasons he's topped 1,000, and six TDs. With three years but no guaranteed money remaining on his current contract, the team could easily decide to part ways with Cooks if the new regime decides to clean house, but a return to Houston would put him in position for another very productive season as Deshaun Watson's No. 1 wideout.
Cooks secured seven of 10 targets for 141 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals on Sunday. Cooks paced the Texans in receptions, receiving yardage and targets in a spectacular effort that included his second-best yardage total of the season. The 27-year-old speedster's 25-yard touchdown grab came late in the second quarter and helped knot the score at 10-10, erasing an early deficit for Houston. Cooks now has at least five receptions in five of the last six contests and will look to finish off a successful first season in Houston with a strong showing against the Titans in Week 17.
Cooks recorded six receptions on seven targets for 59 yards in Week 15 against the Colts. Cooks returned to action after a one-game absence and tied for the team lead in targets. He was efficient in turning those targets into receptions, though he failed to get loose for any big gains. His longest reception of the day went for 16 yards, and he managed only two additional catches for double-digit yardage. Even so, his consistent volume bodes well for future weeks, particularly in a Week 16 matchup against the Bengals.
Cooks (neck) practiced fully Friday and doesn't have a designation for Sunday's game against the Colts, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports. Listed as questionable ahead of last week's loss to the Bears, Cooks initially appeared on track to play before his situation took a turn for the worse and the Texans opted to make him inactive. The week off appears to have done Cooks some good, as he practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday and Thursday before taking every rep in the Texans' final Week 15 practice. With his injury no longer a concern, Cooks should rank as the clear top target for quarterback Deshaun Watson in what could be a pass-happy game script for the Texans, who are sizable road underdogs for the divisional matchup.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/10||New England Patriots||10||20.63|
|8||10/31||Los Angeles Rams||1||16.67|
|12||11/28||New York Jets||18||23.13|
|16||12/26||Los Angeles Chargers||7||20.25|
|17||01/02||@San Francisco 49ers||15||21.50|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||103||68||979||4||47||14.40||125|