After spending the 2017 season plagued by a disappointing passing attack, the Dallas Cowboys might be in the market for wide receivers during free agency. Of course, there are a ton of different options for them to choose from, but narrowing it down to a couple realistic choices is necessary.
The Cowboys hired Sanjay Lal to coach their wide outs just a few weeks ago, and it would make sense for them to bring in personnel who Lal is familiar with. Lal was most recently the receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts, but spent time in Buffalo with the Bills as well.
Ironically, there are two free agent receivers who were both coached by Lal during prior seasons.
Colts Receiver Donte Moncrief enters the open market after a somewhat disappointing 2017 season. His production drop-off can mostly be attributed to injuries and shaky offensive talent around him, but Moncrief still could have been better.
Moncrief's best season came back in 2015 when he caught 64 balls for 733 yards and 6 touchdowns. This was also the last time he played a full 16 games.
What makes Moncrief so intriguing?
For one, he's just 24 years old. He's also 6'2″ and 216 pounds, which would fit the bill for a Cowboys' Z receiver. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine, has functional speed on the field as well, and has become known for creating big plays down the field while averaging 15 yards per reception in 2017.
Sammy Watkins is a bit of a controversial player throughout the league. The former first-round pick was drafted in the same class as elite receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans. But Watkins himself has never fully reached his potential. This has a lot to do with his injury history.
Watkins has played in all 16 games just once in his career, and has been hobbled throughout multiple seasons. What would give me hope in signing Sammy Watkins to the Cowboys?
Well, his best season by far came in 2015 where he caught 60 balls for 1,047 yards and 9 touchdowns. 2015 was also the last full season he was coached by Sanjay Lal, the current receivers coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Watkins credits Lal with molding him into the receiver he's become, stating Lal was the guy who “groomed me into running routes and doing everything the right way.” Considering how strong the relationship between Watkins and Lal seems to be, he may want to come to Dallas for the upcoming season.
The real question becomes, then, is Watkins the type of receiver the Cowboys need? They need to find someone who can create easy separation and has reliable hands. In some ways, Watkins may bring more questions to the passing game than answers.