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3 Free Agent Wide Receiver Options for the Dallas Cowboys

John Williams

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Free Agent Wide Receiver options for the Dallas Cowboys 2
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys head into the 2018 offseason with some questions to answer about their team, and some difficult decisions to make. While the offense was good, at times, throughout the 2017 season, especially when Tyron Smith was in the game, there was a glaring need for this team. A wide receiver who could stretch the field and open up the underneath throws for players like Jason Witten and Cole Beasley.

There are definitely some intriguing names in this year's draft class, but Will McClay & Co. usually looks to address team needs in free agency so they can go into the draft without having to select players based on needs.

Before we look at the potential wide receivers on the free agent market, let's talk briefly about some of the guys on the team first. We can assume Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Ryan Switzer will be on the roster in 2018.

  • I don't think they are as down on Dez Bryant as much of Cowboys Nation.
  • Terrance Williams' contract, according to Spotrac.com, is such that Dallas can't move on until next offseason. The Dallas Cowboys would take on $7-million-and-change in dead money if they were to release Williams this offseason.
  • Switzer made some strides in the return game, and deserves a shot at a more substantial role in 2018.
  • 2018 is the last year of Cole Beasley's deal and would get you $3.25 million dollars in savings against the 2018 cap, with only $1 million in dead money. With Switzer waiting in the wings, Bease could be the odd man out. That's another discussion for another time though.

As we look through wide receivers in free agency, it's important to note the Cowboys don't want to spend a lot of money in free agency. They also prefer to go after younger veterans with upside than veterans who are in the late part or past their prime.

Therefore, we can cross names like Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry off the list because of the money they'll command in free agency. Names like Mike Wallace can be crossed off the list as well because of age.

There are three guys who I think could fit what Dallas likes to do in free agency.

Free Agent Wide Receiver options for the Dallas Cowboys

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson

WR Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks

Paul Richardson will turn 26 this offseason, and he posted the best season of his career becoming a tremendous downfield threat for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.

Richardson, who ran a 4.40 at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2014, posted career highs in targets (80), receptions (44), yards (703), yards per reception (16), and touchdowns (6).

According to Spotrac.com, he could command an average annual salary of $6.5-million, which could be a little rich for Dallas. But for someone who has the downfield ability and the hands to match, it could also be a bargain for the potentially missing piece to the Cowboys offense.

WR Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts

After a couple of sub-par seasons and difficulty staying on the field, Donte Moncrief is the polar opposite of Richardson.

While Richardson posted career highs across the board, Moncrief suffered the worst season of his career when it comes to receptions and touchdowns. He did have a career best 15 yards per reception this year, however.

Some of his struggles could be related to playing with Jacoby Brissett in 2017, and not having a healthy Andrew Luck in 2016. His best season was 2015, when he posted 64 receptions on 105 targets for 733 yards and six touchdowns.

Like Richardson, Moncrief flashed 4.40 speed at the combine at age 20, and will be only 25 in August. After a couple of sub-par seasons, his price tag shouldn't keep this front office from taking a look at him.

Free Agent Wide Receiver options for the Dallas Cowboys 1

Kansas City Chiefs WR Albert Wilson

WR Albert Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs

Another intriguing name is Albert Wilson of the Kansas City Chiefs, who put up career bests in every receiving category except yards per reception. He averaged 13.2 in 2017, and averaged 16.3 his rookie season in 2014.

After only playing in 13 games for the Chiefs, he had three touchdowns and 554 receiving yards for the season, which were good for third on the team behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

Wilson ran a 4.43 at the NFL Combine and, like Moncrief, shouldn't command a ton of money on the free agent market.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys won't make a big splash in the wide receiver pool of free agency, and I tend to think they won't draft a wide receiver early in the draft either. They need to add some speed to the roster to put more pressure on opposing defenses.

One of these three guys could be the missing piece to an elite running game and efficient passing game.



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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2 Comments
  • Keith Jones

    Richardson & Wilson lack of size discourage me richardson frame & wilson height but Moncrief has all the intangibles plus he played with Dak at Mississippi state but he can’t stay health to be a scary factor on the field because has Dez like abilities athletic, size 6″2, 220lb speed 4.40 but can he stay health and be a factor on the FIELD

  • Steve

    We definitely need some kind of change in our Wr’s group, I do think Williams and Beasley is on the way out and Switzer is Beasley’s replacement this year and I do see us drafting a Wr in the 2nd maybe 3rd round. Definitely not the 1st because I believe we could get a DT that we need or maybe another Offensive lineman who knows but we got to either do some trading of the draft picks to move up in some round or we get someone in free agency! I don’t think the latter is gonna happen because we should try our best to sign the free agents we have to maintain what skill set we have at the critical positions.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Falcons Week 11 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are both 4-5 and playing to keep their seasons alive. It's a mutual must-win game, and both will have to try to win it without some key players. Once again, we look at this week's injury reports.

Let's begin with your Cowboys, whose report is getting longer as the season wears on:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) - OUT
  • DT David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • DT Daniel Ross (calf) - OUT
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - OUT
  • DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) - Doubtful
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - Questionable
  • G Connor Williams (knee) - Questionable
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - Questionable
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - Questionable

The biggest news is the guy who won't miss tomorrow's game; All-Pro guard Zack Martin is expected to play despite his knee injury from last Sunday night. The Cowboys, already dealing with Travis Frederick's absence and now health issues at left guard, could ill afford to go without Martin in such a pivotal game.

Even if he was healthy, rookie Connor Williams might have a hard time getting in the game. Backup Xavier Su'a-Filo looked like an experienced former second-round pick last week, and he may be the better player for now.

The defensive line has been hit hard, particularly in the middle. With Irving and Ross out, Woods doubtful, and Collins uncertain, Dallas called up DT Christian Ringo from the practice squad. They will also be without Taco Charlton, who could play inside some. Veteran Caraun Reid will be seeing a lot of playing time.

Sean Lee's ongoing absence has become almost an afterthought now with the stellar play of Leighton Vander Esch. We've seen in the past when missing Lee meant disaster on defense, but Dallas' first-round rookie has helped mitigate the damage.

Atlanta Falcons

  • LB Deion Jones (foot) - OUT

It's a short list for Atlanta, but the one name on it is a big one. Arguably the team's best defensive player, Deion Jones will miss the game with a foot injury.

The Falcons' injury issues have been more in players suffering season-ending injuries. Both starting guards, Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, are on injured reserve. Star running back Devonta Freeman is also there, and those losses help explain Atlanta's 30th-ranked rushing offense.

Both starting safeties are also on IR; Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal. Atlanta has one of the league's worst passing defense this year without them, ranking 30th in yards allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating.

So yes, the Falcons injury report compared to the Cowboys' may raise some eyebrows. But in terms of who has most of their key guys, Dallas is arguably still better off.



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Dallas Cowboys

4 Best Candidates for Cowboys’ Next Offensive Coordinator

Shane Carter

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Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan

The big word around the Dallas Cowboys lately is about Jason Garrett and the future of the head coaching job. Some have speculated that either Quarterback Dak Prescott or Jason Garrett will get axed, and the other will stay.

Owner Jerry Jones was quoted on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas about his young quarterback, putting to bed at least half of the conflict.

"Dak is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s young and he’s going to get extended."

This shut the door on the idea of Prescott being replaced.

As far as Jason Garrett? Jerry Jones has been less than committed.

"I’m not in the business of backing anybody; the head coach, or offensive coordinator, I just don’t back them publicly." Jerry Jones said.

So it seems that Jason Garrett’s future is up in the air.

But what about offensive coordinator Scott Linehan? What’s held the Cowboys back this year has been the offense, and a lot of it can be contributed to their predictable play calling and inability to adapt to today’s game and its current players.

Whether or not Jason Garrett retains his job, Scott Linehan’s job doesn’t seem near as secure. His scheme doesn’t really mesh with Dak Prescott and how the offense could look. There’s only so many times you can run a three tight end set and not get furious.

Cowboys fans may want Garrett gone but they might have to settle for a new offensive coordinator instead.

The good news is that there are many options out there. Options that not only could work well with Dak Prescott, but could bring the Cowboys offense into the 2010s.

Shane Waldron

Jerry Jones once said how the Cowboys offense was like the LA Rams. If they are able to sign their Co-Offensive Coordinator, then they could be.

When Matt LaFleur left to become the Tennessee Titans OC, the job became a shared job between Waldron and Aaron Kromer. I wonder if Waldron would rather have the job all to himself?

What makes Waldron so appealing is he is also the Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator. Those are two areas where the Rams excel and where the Cowboys need help.

Teams are going to start copying the offensive juggernauts of the NFL and the Rams are definitely one of them. The Cowboys should do themselves a favor and get out in front before other teams beat them to it.

Scott Turner

Cam Newton is having one of his best seasons. Not only is he an MVP candidate but he’s set to have career highs in completion percentage and QBR, as well as a career low in interceptions. Cam Newton is a very talented quarterback but some of this has to be attributed to his new Quarterback Coach, Scott Turner.

The son of Norv Turner, Scott has seemingly helped mold Cam into a more accurate passer without compromising who Cam Newton is as an athletic quarterback. That has Dak Prescott written all over it.

He's got NFL lineage and a new, scary Cam Newton to add to his resume. He may not have as impressive a track record as others on here but he looks like he could be a chip off the old block and get the Cowboys where they need to be going.

Lincoln Riley

A popular head coach candidate, Lincoln Riley has shown his creativity and offensive innovation during his short time as Oklahoma’s head coach. It’s uncertain if he’ll get any real offers to be a head coach, but as an OC, he would be a serious grab.

Everyone has seen the work he’s done with Baker Mayfield and now Kyler Murray. How he’s able to incorporate different formations to open up the pass game and have the run game seem unstoppable. Just imagine what he could do with the weapons he would have at his disposal in Dallas.

It's likely that Lincoln Riley is a hot commodity for a head coach position, especially in Cleveland where he could reunite with Baker Mayfield. That shouldn’t stop the Cowboys from trying to lure him to Dallas, though. Lincoln Riley could be the real missing piece that Dallas has been looking for.

Eric Bieniemy

Another product of Andy Reid, Eric Bieniemy is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. The former running backs coach has the experience under Andy Reid on not only how to run an offense but to use your weapons at your disposal to the fullest.

Maybe I’m over-hyping this man but when you see the work he helped put in with Pat Mahomes and how he uses those weapons around him, it makes me imagine what he can do for the Cowboy offense.

The team has no shortage of weapons and could benefit greatly from a guy like this.

If the Chiefs make it past their first playoff game, Bieniemy could become a more attractive name when it comes time for new head coaches. However, if Jerry Jones comes calling and the right offer is met, who’s to say?

If Kris Richard can be lured from Seattle to fix the Cowboys defense, Eric Bieniemy can be lured from Kansas City to fix the Cowboys offense.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

The Dallas Cowboys play their next three games in 13 days, all critical to their hopes of winning the NFC East despite alternating wins and losses since week one. For the Cowboys to earn consecutive road wins, their first coming on Sunday night at the Eagles, they'll have to come out of Atlanta in much better shape than they did just a year ago.

As expected in the NFL, a lot has changed in this year. The Cowboys 27-7 loss at the Falcons in their first game without Running Back Ezekiel Elliott was the beginning of the end on a season that forced a multitude of coaching changes in Dallas.

The Cowboys stubbornness in allowing Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn to sack Dak Prescott six times by beating Chaz Green and Byron Bell is something they hoped to move past when new positional coaches were brought in at OL, TE, QB, and WR.

It took the team admitting that these moves below Offensive Coordinator Scot Linehan were not all correct two weeks ago for the Cowboys to see any real progress, but with their win last week there's hope that the Cowboys are the improved team expected weeks ago - arrived just in time for Thanksgiving.

Firing Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander was the first move, as the Cowboys named Marc Colombo OL Coach and Hudson Houck his assistant. Colombo told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week that he has injured Center Travis Frederick on a headset during games as well.

Colombo, Houck, and Frederick have the Cowboys offensive line confident in their ability to play to their strengths, rewarded with a renewed faith in the zone blocking scheme that was forgotten under Alexander.

If the Cowboys offensive line was their first problem in last year's Falcons loss (it was), it's becoming their biggest strength at the right time in the season.

The Cowboys necessary changes didn't stop here though.

In desperate need of a play maker on the outside, the Cowboys are seeing their investment into Wide Receiver Amari Cooper pay off so far. Cooper is averaging 3.2 yards of separation on his routes this season, ahead of Cole Beasley's 2.6 yards as the next closest pass catcher.

Cooper's presence was a big part of Ezekiel Elliott's 151 yard rushing performance at the Eagles. A player that can win on the outside with ease and dictate coverage has benefited Prescott and the Cowboys game plan on offense enough to send away a first round pick.

It will be up to this "rebuilt" Cowboys offense to match the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta is averaging 27.1 points per game this season, but a much more dangerous 32.2 at home. After a 1-4 start, the 4-5 Falcons are playing in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks, losing at the Browns in week ten.

The Cowboys felt they'd be prepared for games like this after their offseason moves, instead needing to show the type of in-season urgency that's been rare for Jason Garrett's team. The same can be said about a Falcons team that's experienced playing with their backs to the wall much sooner than the Cowboys have this season, setting up a big NFC match up in the early slot Sunday.

Dak Prescott will be thankful that Chaz Green nor Byron Bell are protecting him, wanting nothing more than to deliver another win for the Cowboys to take into Thanksgiving against the division-leading Washington Redskins. Not all of the coaches responsible for the lack of adjustment in last year's game are gone. What the Cowboys do have are tangible new ideas from coaches that understand they need more than a win at the defending Super Bowl champions to call this Cowboys season a success.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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