New Dallas Cowboys receiver Brandin Cooks says he will put his numbers up against anyone
As long as Brandin Cooks has been waiting for this moment, no question was going to dampen his spirit.
And no outside perception can diminish his confidence.
After hoping to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys last October before talks broke down with the Houston Texans before the trade deadline, Cooks got his wish Sunday morning.
The Cowboys sent Houston a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth-round in 2024, ending what has largely been a three-year nightmare for Cooks.
The Texans were 4-12, 4-13 and 3-13-1 in 2020, ‘21 and ‘22.
“Before the deadline, obviously there was talk,” Cooks said. “It didn’t happen but great things happen better late than never. And I’m extremely excited. I really think is a great fit. You talk about a world class organization. I look forward to being a part of [it] and I think it’s gonna be a special place.”
Cooks did his part to help the Cowboys make it special by agreeing to restructure his contract after the trade was consummated.
The Cowboys turned $8 million of his $12 million base salary into signing bonus, per a source. His salary is now $4m. He will count $6m against the cap, clearing $6 million room for the Cowboys to add other players.
He is still making the $18 million he was guaranteed in 2023 with Houston paying him $6 million. His salary is $8 million in 2024.
And Cooks knows “places” as well as any.
The Cowboys are his fifth team in a nine-year career, including stops with the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams and Texans.
He was traded four times.
Cooks can’t explain why his journey has included four trades. But he says it has nothing to do with him as a person or his quality of play, which has included six 1,000-yard seasons with four different teams and blazing speed that team’s continue to covet.
“It means someone out there wants me to be a part of their group,” Cooks said. “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. So it excites me, especially because I didn’t get the free agency. People jumping the gun to get to me before I get there. So that’s the way that I look at it.”
Cooks has no Pro Bowls on his resume but his numbers stand up well among all wide receivers to come into the league since he picked in the first round by the Saints in 2014. He has 630 receptions for 8,616 yards and 49 touchdowns
Since entering the league, he is seventh in yards and eighth in receptions. That’s impressive when considering he has played the last three seasons with abject quarterback play in Houston.
“I let my playing talk for itself,” Cooks said. “You put my numbers up with anyone else they’re right there with them.”
His play and speed are what mattered most to the Cowboys.
And while the team had been linked to a number of receivers for possible additions since the end of the season, including Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins, Jerry Jeudy and Adam Thielen, the Cowboys continued to focus on acquiring Cooks.
Quarterback Dak Prescott was among the first people to reach out to Cooks after the trade was announced.
“He was excited,” Cooks said. “He said can’t wait to get to work. He got a lot of respect for my game. And he is looking forward to having me be part of the group.”
Cooks has caught passes from seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady in New England and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees in New Orleans.
He said he is excited to work with Prescott because of his mindset and leadership.
“You hear about his approach, his work ethic, and the leader that he is,” Cooks said. “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’ll be I’m looking forward to have a leader like that.”
It’s Cooks’ leadership as well as his play that could have the most impact on the Cowboys.
Not only has Cooks eclipsed 1,000 yards in four straight seasons and twice been traded for a first-round pick but he has played in back-to-back Super Bowls with Patriots and Rams.
Though he lost both games to the Philadelphia Eagles and Patriots, respectively, he’s been an integral part of two teams that made it and knows what it takes to get there.
“I think the biggest thing that you can preach is trusting the process and not talking about it,” Cooks said. “Letting your work and your actions talk about it throughout the throughout the week, taking it one day at a time. Keep your head down and grind and then when you look up, that’s when you’re there. But don’t don’t worry about looking too far out in the future.”
The future is now for Cooks in Dallas.
And after winning just 11 games the past three years combined in Houston, he plans to make the most of the opportunity.
“I’ll tell you I couldn’t be more hungry,” Cooks said. “Last three years was what it was. But stepping into a locker room like this and organization like this —after got those three years under your belt like that — that fuels you. Definitely feeling the fire and that hunger to be able to come out here and just show up and help my team win. I can’t wait, I truly cant.”