The 2023 season will be career defining for CeeDee Lamb, the Dallas Cowboys' 24-year-old top receiver. He has a trustworthy sidekick for the first time in his role as the team's top receiver, thanks to the offseason trade acquisition of . And it couldn't come at a better time for Dallas' latest No. 88, as he is eligible for a second contract for the first time in his career ahead of his fourth NFL season.
"I always bring up his years, I'm only on Year 4, and he's on Year 10," Lamb said of Cooks on Thursday. "I feel like the best teacher in life is experience. Everything that he's been through, I'll ask him questions ... just picking his brain. His physical ability is amazing. Very speedy, confident guy. He takes care of himself well. I've learned a lot from him."
"With age comes knowledge now," Cooks responded. "I think at the end of the day, it's [impressive] seeing how smart [Lamb] is. The talent is out of this world. The way he sees the game of football and slows it down by reading defenses is actually pretty remarkable."
Outside of wanting to have his financial future in a secure state, like many people in and outside of the football word, Lamb said he isn't phased by this new stage of his career, especially since Cowboys COO and EVP Stephen Jones made it clear.
"I told him he has full range," Lamb said when discussing the power his agent has in negotiations with the Cowboys. "I just want the best of the best as far as the best for me and make sure everything is right. And when it's right, just come let me know something. Other than that, I'm just gonna keep working, keep building with my guys, and when it comes September, we're trying to start it off right."
Lamb, the team's former first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, set career highs across the board in 2022 with 107 catches, 1,359 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. That production earned him his second career Pro Bowl nod and Second Team All-Pro honors, his first All-Pro accolades in his career.
"I'm looking to exceed whatever you've seen," Lamb said about his production going forward. "I would say double, but I'm willing to be realistic and I want to be better. From catches to yards and touchdowns. I expect a lot. I know I haven't put my best out there yet. I'm going to do the best I can to improve as a receiver and get open, do my job. I'm here to help my man's [Dak Prescott's] numbers jump, and he's here to do the same for me."
After Lamb's 107 catches accounted for 30% of the Cowboys' team receptions, the second-highest rate in the NFL behind 2022 First-Team All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill's 32% figure of the Miami Dolphins team catches. Cooks has already earned rave reviews from teammates. No. 3 receiver Michael Gallup, the 27-year-old the Cowboys signed to a five-year, $57.5 million contract in the 2022 offseason shortly after tearing his ACL at the end of the 2021 season, feels "springy again" now that he is roughly a year-and-a-half removed from his knee injury. McCarthy also revealed Thursday that 2022 third-round pick wideout Jalen Tolbert "has made some really nice plays" in seven-on-seven and two-minute drills in OTAs, per The Athletic.
Like he said, all Lamb has to do is continue to produce. If his 2023 output continues on an upward trajectory, he'll have generational wealth sooner rather than later.