Ellis: If Trade For Cook Turns Out Like Holland Deal, Job Well Done

Ryaaan Cooook … he keeps on blockin' …. He keeps on blockin' … shake it Ryan. Shake, shake it Ryan.

Well, that remains to be seen, actually, but if the newly acquired swing lineman Cook can be as steady a role player as Montrae Holland was for the Cowboys, then Friday's trade will have to be considered a win, just like the 2008 deal that sent Holland over from Denver must now be seen, in full retrospect.

Cook won't be asked to start, at least for the time being, but once he learns the offense, will hold a valuable role as the backup for three positions, the two guard spots and center. A beefy veteran with six years in the league and 40 starts under his belt at only 29 years old, Cook gives the Cowboys more strength, athleticism and experience than a David Arkin. The Pro Bowl probably isn't in his future, but valuable contributions to the Cowboys' line should be.

A utility offensive lineman may not seem like an important role, but it is, because players get hurt in the trenches. The playing time Holland received over his Cowboys tenure, and Cory Procter before him, is evidence of that. So a seventh-round pick is not a high price to pay, at all, if the Cowboys believe they can trust Cook, just like a fifth-rounder wasn't too much to give for Holland, especially considering how dreadful the Cowboys have been in the fifth lately.

There was definitely a comfort zone with Holland, acquired just before the '08 season. He didn't immediately pick up the offense and replace Procter (the injury fill-in for Kyle Kosier), making the deal initially look like a bad one, but his consistency changed opinions over time.

Four seasons, 31 appearances and 14 solid starts later, Holland should be seen as a good backup for these recent Cowboys teams. After falling out of shape when he was hurt last summer, Holland worked his wide butt off to cut weight, and when the Cowboys needed him by Week 7, he was ready to help DeMarco Murray break the team rushing record, and went on to play well down the stretch. He's kept himself in great shape this offseason, and the Cowboys had interest in bringing him back, but he held out for more money and incentives.

Like Cook, Holland was 29 when acquired by the Cowboys, with a lot of starts under his belt, though Cook has the extra dimension of center experience, while Holland was a guard only. Holland had two years left on his contract, while Cook has only one. But, if the Cowboys like what he brings this year, they'll certainly have first dibs to re-sign him in March, just like they re-upped Holland in 2010.

Should they decide to do so, and Cook at least holds his own when his number is called, then Friday's trade will eventually be considered a slam dunk.

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