It’s unbelievable how quickly things can change in the NFL. Just last offseason, the Dallas Cowboys had what Wide Receivers Coach Derek Dooley called “probably the deepest” group “top to bottom” since he became the receivers coach back in 2013. One year and two UFA (unrestricted free agent) WR’s later, the position appears to be in flux.
The good news is the Dallas Cowboys have been here before and the team’s front office understand the importance of having depth at the wide receiver position. So when free agency officially begins at 4:00pm on March 9th, look for the team to be in the market for a receiver (or two).
Even though Executive Vice-President Stephen Jones has previously stated his desire to re-sign both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler, the decision will ultimately come down to dollars and cents. The Cowboy’s front office must weigh each player’s potential price tag with the team’s current salary cap space and then decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, “the Cowboys recently restructured the contracts of All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith and All-Pro Center Travis Frederick, freeing up roughly $17.3 million.” These moves leave Dallas just a few million dollars “under the proposed salary cap of $168 million for 2017.” With only so many resources to go around, and several positions needing upgrades, how much money can the Cowboys afford to devote to the wide receiver position? And how should the team go about addressing the position’s depth in the offseason? Here’s MY take on it:
Addressing the WR Position
1. Let both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler walk.
Allowing both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler to test the market in free agency is a smart move. It allows both receivers to gauge their market value, while giving the Cowboys a better understanding of what it’ll cost to retain each of the player’s services. Even though the Cowboys have a propensity to re-sign their own players (as of late), it’s been widely speculated that Williams could receive more money elsewhere. Butler should come a bit cheaper, and therefore could possibly be retained on a team-friendly deal. However, if it were up to me, I’d let both players walk and continue the search for depth at the receiver position.
2. Promote Andy Jones to the 53-man roster.
Seeing as I’ve already let both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler walk, it’s time to start re-filling the cupboard. Andy Jones looked solid throughout OTA’s and minicamp last offseason and came very close to making the initial 53-man roster. According to Bryan Broaddus, Jones “has taken to coaching well.” And spending the entire 2016 season on the Cowboys practice squad could only have helped him.
3. Draft a WR.
Deep class!! There’s at least 11 receivers that I’d consider taking at various points throughout the draft. The Cowboys should focus on drafting the BPA (best player available) and let their board come to them.
4. Keep the 6 best WR’s (relegate one to the practice squad).
Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Andy Jones and whichever receiver the Cowboys decide to draft should all be locks to make the team. That leaves Lucky Whitehead, Quincy McDuffie, Shaquelle Evans and Uzoma Nwachukwu all fighting for the remaining two roster spots available.
Whether you agree with my plan or not, the Cowboys must find a way to address the wide receiver position this offseason. The roster may be returning with a core group of receivers in place, but it’s the depth that’s most concerning. Have a better idea on how the Cowboys can solve their woes at WR?
As usual CowboysNation, your comments and opinions are welcomed below.
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