Skip to main content

Offseason | 2024

Cooks taking Tolbert under his wing in year two


FRISCO, Texas — Brandin Cooks has always considered himself a student of the game.

From spending time early in his career with Steve Smith Sr. in the offseasons for weeks at a time learning little nuances and strategies both on and off the field to putting the work in as an 11-year veteran to stay productive as a seasoned receiving option, Cooks has earned praise for how serious his approach is to the game and the position.

Heading into his second season in Dallas, Cooks is paying that knowledge forward to a young receiver that he feels has the same potential to be in the spot he is in years from now in third-year receiver Jalen Tolbert.

The product of South Alabama took a huge step forward in year two after a rookie season that mightily fell below expectations, and having Cooks in the building proved to be a big reason for why that jump was made.

"With Brandin Cooks coming in and being a mentor for me, it's helped me a lot in the game and the little things you need to be great in this league," Tolbert said. "He's done it for a long time, so having him in my corner is special. One thing for sure, he's not going to let me fail and I'm not going to let myself fail."

Keeping the young receiver confident and away from the thought of failure also stood out to Cooks, as he quickly reaffirmed Tolbert's belief.

"Absolutely not, the kid is special," Cooks said. "The ability, the talent is there. I'm just looking forward to him really getting his shot being out there. He's going to work for it, that's one thing he's going to do. He deserves this opportunity and I can't wait to see it."

After the departure of Michael Gallup – who Tolbert considers a brother at the end of the day – the opportunity in front of Tolbert has him in position to cement himself as the third receiver option behind Cooks and CeeDee Lamb.

"Having the opportunity to fill a role in the offense and be able to step up for the offense and the team as well, it's special," Tolbert said. "I'm looking forward to it and to grow each and every day to be where the team needs me to be."

On the other hand, Cooks' future in Dallas is not cemented as he enters the final year of his two-year deal with the team. Whether his future keeps him in Dallas or not, he wants his legacy to be what he leaves behind for his successor.

"He was out there [with me] for a little over a week in Oregon," Cooks said. "Just kind of show him the ropes…It's all about passing along. You get knowledge, you pass it along. That's what this game is all about."

"I'm looking forward to following in [Cooks' and Lamb's] footsteps to prove value to this team," Tolbert said.

Related Content