Maybe it’s not part of the Dallas Cowboys’ plan. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe.
But three of the Cowboys’ acquisitions thus far in the offseason have played in a combined six Super Bowls.
Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks were teammates when the New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. They competed against each other the next season when Gilmore’s Patriots beat Cooks' Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Ronald Jones led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in rushing when they won Super Bowl LV and was a Kansas City reserve in February when the Chiefs beat the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
While it might be a coincidence, there is also an actual benefit for the Cowboys, whose Super Bowl drought is at 27 years and counting.
“I think when you have guys that’s been in it, saw the process, I think the biggest thing that you can preach is trusting the process,” Cooks said, “and not talking about it, but more so letting your work and your actions talk about it 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 worry about looking too far out in the future.”
The trades for Gilmore and Cooks are the Cowboys’ biggest acquisitions of the offseason so far. Gilmore will line up opposite Trevon Diggs at cornerback and give the Cowboys perhaps their best secondary in more than a decade. The Cowboys hope Cooks’ speed at receiver is a difference-maker as coach Mike McCarthy moves into the playcalling role with Dak Prescott at quarterback.
When September rolls around, Gilmore will turn 33 and Cooks will turn 30.
“Obviously, I’ve been to the big dance before. But I just think at the end of the day it takes a team coming together, all playing as one,” Gilmore said. “Sometimes it may not look pretty, but us sticking together and having each other’s back and playing for each other, that’s what it comes down to.”
Gilmore and Cooks come to Dallas already as the best of friends. Despite being teammates for just one season, they've talked regularly during the offseasons. Their families are tight too.