The Dallas Cowboys have themselves a new wide receiver. When the team traded away a couple of late-round draft picks to acquire veteran wideout Brandin Cooks from the Houston Texans, fans were elated. Finally, the team was adding a little juice to the passing game.
Overall, the Cowboys have been a good passing team in recent years. In fact, in Kellen Moore’s first three seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator, Dallas finished in the top eight in passing yards, including two instances (2019 and 2021) where they finished second overall. That’s pretty good. However, last season, the passing game suffered a bit. While they finished with a respectable 14th in passing yards last year, you could tell something was missing. Most people pointed to the lack of receiving weapons for Dak Prescott as the main culprit of the decline.
Well, that’s in the past as the Cowboys have attempted to remedy this problem by adding Cooks to the equation. Throughout his career, Cooks has been a productive receiver. Ever since he was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he’s been making noise. Over his nine-year career, he’s reached 1,000 yards six times. In fact, every season that he hasn’t missed multiple games due to an injury, he’s hit the 1,000-yard mark. Marinate on that for a second. If he stays healthy and doesn’t miss more than one game, he’s been a lock for 1,000 yards for the season. That’s rather impressive.
Even more impressive is that Cooks has achieved that feat with every team he’s played for. He’s hit the 1k mark with New Orleans (2015 and 2016), New England (2017), Los Angeles (2018), and Houston (2020 and 2021). He has joined Brandon Marshall as the only wide receiver to have 1,000 yards receiving with four different teams.
Cooks will now join a Dak Prescott team that has occasionally been known for racking up the passing yards. The opportunity is there for Cooks to separate himself from Marshall and be the first receiver ever to have 1,000 yards receiving with FIVE different teams.
Can Cooks reach that mark with the Cowboys? Normally, these types of accomplishments are achieved late in a player’s career because bouncing around to so many different teams usually takes a while. Marshall hit 1,000 yards with four teams at the age of 31. Cooks reached it at 27 years of age and is only 29 right now. He has a career efficiency of 65.3 yards per game. If he played a full season at that rate, he would reach 1,110 yards.
If he’s to reach that mark again, he’s going to need the targets. Will he command enough volume in Dallas with CeeDee Lamb around? The answer should be yes. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup each had 1,000 yards in 2019 and Cooper and Lamb took turns hitting 1,000 yards the following two seasons with the other one close behind. Last year, no other Cowboys wide receiver was close as it was all CeeDee, but that will change with Cooks in town.
It is possible that Gallup returns to a better version of himself and that eats into Cooks’ volume or even that other receivers have a little bit of an impact (new rookie receiver or Jalen Tolbert growth?). I don’t think anyone will complain about that. But it’s also possible that Lamb and Cooks becomes one of the better one-two punches in the league and that another 1,000-yard season could do what Cooks does best… separate him from the pack.