New Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been a guaranteed 1,000-yard pass-catcher at every stop in his nine-year NFL career. Cooks' six career seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards are tied for the third-most in the NFL since 2014, trailing only Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans (nine seasons) and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (seven) in that statistic.
He has achieved the feat with each of his four previous teams: the Saints (2015-2016), Patriots (2017), Rams (2018), and Texans (2020-2021). Doing so in 2021 with Houston is especially noteworthy, given he was catching passes from 32-year-old Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills. However, Cooks totaled the third-fewest receiving yards in his career (699) during the Texans' tumble to a 3-13-1 record in 2022. That's a scent the veteran is ready to shake off entering Year 10 with the Cowboys, whose 24 wins across the last two seasons are tied for the second-most in the NFL.
"It's time to get back," Cooks said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" Thursday. "A lot has to come with that. At the end of the day, like I said earlier, we've got some special guys throughout the offense, all the offensive weapons we have, I'm just going to do my best to the best of my ability, and when we look up at the end of the season, we'll see where we're at."
That's music to the Cowboys' ears as they added one of only seven players in the league since 2014 (when Cooks entered the NFL) with more than 8,500 receiving yards (8,616) and more than 45 receiving touchdowns (49). Alongside Cooks in that exclusive club is the Raiders' Davante Adams, Titans' DeAndre Hopkins, Bills' Stefon Diggs, Evans, Kelce and Antonio Brown.
Cooks' confirmed Thursday that he was "pretty close" to becoming a Cowboy last season when he Dak Prescott and the rest of the Cowboys offense a much-needed release value at their No. 2 receiver spot. Dallas' top wideout, 2022 Second-Team All-Pro CeeDee Lamb, accounted for 30% of the Cowboys' team catches last season, the second-highest figure in the NFL. With Cooks, the Cowboys passing game should have more balance, allowing for Prescott to operate more smoothly after throwing a league-high 15 interceptions in 2022 despite missing five games.. His offseason acquisition now provides quarterback
"I think just going into Year 10, being able to have special receivers around me like CeeDee, M.G. [Michael Gallup] and J.T. [Jalen Tolbert], not only from a production role that I'm expecting but also from a role of being able to lead," Cooks said. "So I think that's what I'm looking to bring. So obviously, I want to get back to winning, and however that looks, I'm willing to do it."
Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer affirmed Cooks' leadership prowess on the last day of the team's minicamp sessions on June 8, raving about the impact he's had on Tolbert, Dallas' third-round pick in the 2022 draft.
"Jalen Tolbert has had an incredible camp, and if you talk to Jalen, what Jalen is going to tell you is he spent a ton of time with Brandin," Schottenheimer . "So, here's a guy that's been there and done that and what Brandin wants to do, in addition to coming in and learning a system, is he wants to encourage and invest in the younger guys. So those guys spend a lot of time together. I see them before practice, in the weight room working together. So what Brandin brings us is way more than just speed, absolutely. It's really fun to watch him run whether it's deep routes or short routes, it really doesn't matter, but what I love is the competitor in the way he is encouraging that entire room of receivers. It's been awesome."
Cooks has also been around some awesome offensive coaches throughout his career, starting off under Sean Payton with the Saints, playing in Josh McDaniels' storied Patriots offense in 2017, and wunderkind Rams head coach Sean McVay. Now, he has a chance to be a key element in Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy's offense, which is set to move at a pace Cooks appreciates: pedal to the metal.
"I mean, obviously, we've just had spring to get going, but the biggest thing that I noticed is it's fast-paced," Cooks said. "Like we wanna get to the ball, coach McCarthy talks about attack, not waiting and sitting back, but going on attack, and that's what I noticed throughout practices, throughout throwing sessions this offseason. So the faster, the better, so I'm all for that."