The Dallas Cowboys offense and quarterback Dak Prescott, in particular, sorely missed Amari Cooper's presence opposite 2022 Second-Team All-Pro wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in 2022. Prescott became the first player in NFL history to lead or co-lead the league in interceptions despite missing five or games last season, and more than a few of his 15 picks were a result of being overly-reliant on Lamb and telegraphing throws.
However, Jerry Jones has remedied the issue by acquiring wide receiver Brandin Cooks via a trade with the Houston Texans in which the Cowboys sent a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick south to Houston. On Monday, Dallas' new number two wideout was welcomed to the organization.
Kitchen's heatin' 🆙🔥— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) March 20, 2023
Welcome to Dallas, @brandincooks! pic.twitter.com/HxS4LyuC3Y
This trade was months in the making as both the Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers were reportedly in talks at the trade deadline to acquire the proven pass-catcher.
"Better late than never," new Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks said Monday, via DallasCowboys.com, when asked about finally joining the team. "I'm extremely excited. ...I think it's going to be a special place."
Dallas' trade acquisition of Cooks marks the fourth time the 29-year-old receiver has been dealt, tying an NFL record. However, the well-traveled wideout doesn't see that as a bad thing.
"I've really never gotten upset because that means someone out there wants me to be a part of their group," Cooks said, per ESPN. "I think I'm just fortunate enough to be able to play with so many great organizations and make an impact in this league everywhere I've been. It excites me. I think it's special because that means I didn't get to free agency, so people jumping the gun to get me before I get there. So, that's the way I look at it. I look at it in a positive light."
One of the things Cooks already appreciates about his new quarterback Dak Prescott is his leadership as the two-time Pro Bowl passer was one of the first from the team to reach out after news of Cooks' trade broke.
"I look forward to getting started," Cooks said. "[Dak] was excited and can't wait to get to work. You hear his approach, his work ethic, and the leader that he is. And his story really. His perseverance, the way that he bounces back throughout his career. I think when you got a mindset like that at quarterback, it takes you a long way. So, I'm looking forward to having a leader like that."
The Cowboys, who have won 12 games in each of the last two seasons -- the first time the team has done so since their 1990's glory days when they won three Super Bowls in four seasons from 1992-1995--, will be a change in vibes from his Texans tenure in which they went 11-38-1, giving Houston the NFL's worst record over the last three seasons since 2020.
"I couldn't be hungrier," Cooks said. "The last three years, it is what it is. ...Definitely fueling the fire and that hunger to come out here, just show up, and help my team win. I can't wait. I truly can't."
That's music to the Cowboys' ears as they add one of only seven players in the entire league since 2014, when Cooks entered the NFL, with over 8,500 receiving yards (8,616) and over 45 receiving touchdowns (49). Alongside Cooks in that exclusive club is Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and Antonio Brown.
Cooks' six career seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards are tied for the third-most in the NFL since 2014, trailing only Evans (nine seasons) and Kelce (seven seasons) in that statistic. He has achieved the feat with each of his four previous teams: the New Orleans Saints (2015-2016), the New England Patriots (2017), the Los Angeles Rams (2018), and the Houston 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.
"It's not that hard," Cooks said when asked about his productivity with all four of the teams he has been a part of, per DallasCowboys.com. "I just pick up the playbook, learn it and keep it pushing."
Going forward, Cooks will be learning and developing a comfort with head coach Mike McCarthy's playbook against two All-Pro cornerbacks every day in practice in Trevon Diggs and his former New England Patriots teammate Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore, like Cooks, also joined the Cowboys this offseason via trade after spending a year with the Indianapolis Colts.
"Iron sharpens iron," Cooks said when asked about competing with Diggs and Gilmore on the practice field.
The reunion with Gilmore was years in the making as the two became close in their one season together in New England back in 2017. Their time together ended with the Patriots coming up just short in Super Bowl LII, 41-33, against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cooks said he "became like best friends" in New England with the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year.
"We literally talked, realistically, every single day during the offseason," Cooks said.
Gilmore, like many Cowboys fans, celebrated Cooks' arrival to Dallas on Twitter, tweeting out a picture of them at a Boston Celtics game. With the "Fambloski" of Cooks and Gilmore coming together again in Dallas, the Cowboys appear to have two of their biggest roster needs filled entering the 2023 season.
The Fambloski reunited @brandincooks 💯 ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/gq5JGAxyVs— The Gilly Lock (@BumpNrunGilm0re) March 20, 2023