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Could Dallas Cowboys Release WR Cole Beasley?

Jess Haynie

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Cole Beasley

Could the Dallas Cowboys release fan-favorite receiver Cole Beasley in the next few months? As crazy is that may sound to some, there are legitimate reasons that it might happen.

The notion of Dallas releasing Beasley would have been unthinkable this time last year. He was the team's leading receiver in 2016 and seemed to be Dak Prescott's favorite target in clutch moments.

But 2017 saw a major decline in Cole's production. He went from 75 catches in 2016 to just 36 last year, and 833 yards to just 314. He was fourth on the team in receptions, trailing third-place Terrance Williams by 17 catches.

That alone isn't reason to cut Beasley. Much of the decline had to do with increased focus to get the ball to Dez Bryant and other options, plus defenses focusing more on Cole than they did the year before. He still has plenty of value.

Is Ryan Switzer Being Mistakenly Used By The Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

The threats to Cole Beasley's job security are twofold; his own contract and the presence of Ryan Switzer.

Beasley will count $4.25 million against Dallas' salary cap in 2018, the final year of his contract. That isn't a bad number for a solid rotation player, but the Cowboys could get back $3.25 of that if he's released.

That's $3.25 million that can go to adding talent at other positions, or perhaps to keeping DeMarcus Lawrence around. Dallas has several needs this offseason, and they need cap space to address them.

The thought of losing Cole is made easier because of Switzer, last year's fourth-round pick who has been labeled as a Beasley clone from the moment he was drafted. Having already taken over as the return specialist on special teams, Ryan will be looking for a bigger offensive role in his second season.

If the Cowboys are confident in what Ryan Switzer could do with more opportunities, they will have a hard time turning down the cap relief from cutting Cole Beasley.

Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett, Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett with receivers Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams.

One factor that could help Beasley is the uncertainty around Dez Bryant.

If the Cowboys do actually wind up releasing Bryant, which has been a hot topic as of late, they would be far less likely to lose another veteran from the receiving corps. Brice Butler is already likely to depart as a free agent, so that would leave the WR depth chart awfully thin.

But even in this scenario there is still concern with Cole. He turns 29 in April and was taken out of games last season. If Dallas did lose Bryant, they may need Beasley's money to work on acquiring a new franchise receiver.

Obviously, this isn't a fun topic. Cole Beasley has been one of our favorite players for a while now. He's one of many veterans we'd love to see be a part of the team's future success.

But the salary cap is cruel, and teams often have to make tough decisions on the road to success. This may be one of those times.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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12 Comments
  • Nick Russo

    I don’t see any reason for releasing cole. His upside will likely outweigh his $4.25 million hit for this season. If Linehan was smart, he would find a way to get both Beasley and Switzer on the field together. I’d much rather see us get cap space back on a Terrance Williams with Noah brown on the roster or with Dez, with the potential to draft a receiver like DaeSean Hamilton from penn state in a mid round. Dak’s success with Beasley was no fluke and having a similar receiver like switzer on the field at the same time will make the offense more dak-friendly and take away from some of Beasley’s double teams. There’s no way you should get rid of a guy that has shown the ability to get open and actually catch the ball when we have two higher cap hits that struggle with those attributes.

    • Travis Diggs

      Well put. I agree with everything u said

    • John Williams

      Williams isn’t going anywhere. He’s on a bad contract and releasing him would not be wise at this point. You can get out from his deal with less of a hit in 2019.

      Beasley is a good receiver, but is he the 2016 guy we saw or the guy that we saw before 2016?

  • dallas1966

    Jess. I think the Cowboys is one step ahead of you. I think the reason the drafted Switzer, was to move on from the Beas. Being 29, and no extra gear, qualify for the pink slip.
    I have a question. I ran an article, where the read o why the Patriots aren’t leading the league in penalties, is because, they prepare their game plan around the individual officiating crews tendencies.

    Do coach garrett and his motley coaching staff, do they prepare their game plan around the individual officiating crews tendencies, as well? Maybe that could be an area of emphasis starting in OTA’s through the playoffs run to the ultimate game, the Super Bowl.

    Thanks.

  • Russ_Te

    Not every team has a talented slot WR and if Beasley were a FA he’d get good offers I’m sure. He and Williams should both have some trade value, even if it’s conditional picks for them.

    I’m all for WR churn because the unit was a top problem last year. It’s not known if Switzer can match Beasley’s ability to find the soft spots in the zones, but he brings a lot more straight line speed and it’s worth that risk if there is value available for CB.
    Much rather move on from Williams than Butler. This unit badly needs speed, and just drafting 1 WR who has it is probably inadequate.

    This is a career crossroads year coming up for Dak, and they have to give him a potent receiving corps. Which involves Gathers IMO also.

    • John Williams

      TWill’s contract will prohibit any teams trading for him. Beasley on the other could work for a team that wants to help out a young QB like San Fran or Cleveland. Given his expiring contract after this season, it wouldn’t be much of a risk for a team.

  • Homer Price

    Sure lets get rid of all our veteran players making over 3-4 million a season. Let’s get rid of Dez , he’s got to be the problem. Seems like getting a big contract from Dallas is the kiss of death now a days. Let’s get rid of our entire defensive backfield, we don’t need any veterans. There were several reasons the Cowboys lost last year. 1. Dak Prescott is inaccurate and not the quarterback of the future. 2. Zeke Elliott was suspended because Roger Goodell is a dictator! 3. Our young defensive backfield played better at the end of the season but blew several halftime leads. Sometimes they were in total disarray. 4. Shawn Lee was out 6 games and the Cowboys were 1-5 in those games. The Cowboys were 9-7 because Derick Carr fumbled the ball into the Dallas’ end zone trying to score the winning touchdown. If he just goes out of bounds Raiders are first and goal on the 1/2 yard line. In the last 8 games Dallas was 4-4 and scored 12 points or less in 5 of those games. 5. Jason Garrett is a mediocre coach 67-53 since he took over in 2010. All good teams have a good coach, quarterback and defense, the Cowboys will not win a Super Bowl without all of these elements.

    • Brandon Dixon

      So Dak isn’t the QB of the future because of a sophomore slump? Not having as solid run game is going to make the defense defend the pass more often, Dak had smaller holes to throw to thus leading him to be innaccurate on a lot of throws.

      As for Beasley, if he leaves Dallas I could see New England snagging him on a low deal and making him into the Wes Welker he was always known as.

      • Homer Price

        They had a good run game between Rod Smith and Alfred Morris filling in for Zeke. Dak can’t move the sticks and he is not going to get better next year. “Dream On”

        • Brandon Dixon

          Good run game? One time in the 6 games did Morris or Smith hit 100+ yards, if you combine their rush stats 112 yards against Philly, 109 against the Giants and 154 against the ‘Skins. Those aren’t numbers that are going to make a defense respect the run.

    • John Williams

      It’s not about whether they are good or not, it’s about managing the cap. And while there are ways to work the cap to keep everyone under contract, if you think that Switzer, who is younger, cheaper, and offers a similar skill set to Beasley, can be the slot guy, you take a chance and save $3 million. Switzer caught 96 passes in the ACC his senior year with 6 touchdowns. He’s a dynamic player who can beat teams in a variety of ways.

  • John Williams

    I think you’re onto something.

    2016 seems to be an aberration. Aside from 2016, Bease had only topped 50 catches 1 time. He also had topped 500 yards only once.

    HIs 2017 looks like he fell back to earth after his incredible 2016. Is he one of the best Slot receivers in the league, or did we overrate him because teams were so focused on stopping the run and Dez Bryant.

    I don’t know if they should move on from him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OL Fails To Crack NFL.com’s Top 10

Kevin Brady

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Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Often considered a top unit in football, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line seemed to take a step back in 2017. Mostly due to injuries and free agent departures on the left side, the Cowboys were unable to form the same solid unit we have seen in years past.

Despite their struggles, most would still consider them a top 5-10 offensive line in the NFL. At least, that's what I'd expect considering they still feature three All-Pro caliber players upfront.

Matt Harmon of NFL.com put together a list of the top 10 offensive lines in football based on performance in the 2017 season. The list was strictly developed through the use of next gen stats, which defined pressure as "pass-rushing play in which a defender gets within 2 yards of the opposing quarterback at the time of the throw or sack." In addition, "yards gained before close" was taken into account. This metric is meant to measure "the amount of rushing yards a running back gains before opposing defenders come within 1 yard of the player."

After compiling all of these stats, the Cowboys offensive line was left off of the list completely. Maybe even more surprising, however, was that the Philadelphia Eagles' line failed to crack the top ten as well. That's two lines with 3-4 Pro Bowl caliber players each missing the cut.

According to Matt Harmon the Cowboys allowed a pressure on 28.6% of Dak Prescott's dropbacks, 12th highest in the league. Dallas also ranked 20th in the league in YGBC in 2017.

While I do have some issues with the methodology of these statistics, the final result is actually hard to argue with. Down the stretch the Cowboys offense was downright pathetic at times. Regardless of how highly we thought of them prior to the year, the offense didn't perform to their standards, or the standards of a top ten unit.

Heading into 2018, however, I do expect this offensive line to begin to regain form. La'el Collins should continue to improve on the right side, and he is already an adequate starting right tackle regardless. I also expect Dallas to address their left guard spot, potentially within the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

In the end the success of this line may hinge on the health of Tyron Smith, though. When healthy, Smith is the best left tackle in all of football. But that "when healthy" caveat has certainly hurt the Cowboys offense.

The way the front office handles their offensive line this offseason will play a huge role in the success, or lack thereof, of the Cowboys in 2018.


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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere

After playing sparsely for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, veteran cornerback Bene Benwikere is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Could he stay in Dallas, or will he have to find work elsewhere?

Dallas was concerned about its CB depth with heavy reliance on young players and Jourdan Lewis barely participating in the offseason. Therefore, the Cowboys traded a sixth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Benwikere just before Week One.

After a stellar rookie season with the Carolina Panthers in 2014, Bene had suffered a steep fall before landing in Cincy. Injuries and poor play got him cut midway through 2016 by the Panthers, and then Benwikere bounced from Miami to Green Bay before finally signing with the Bengals in the 2017 offseason.

Though a few years removed from being an All-Rookie Team standout, Bene Benwikere is still just 26 and may still draw interest from scouts who remember his better days. He is likely counting on that, because the Cowboys' secondary is starting to fill up.

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: CB Bene Benwikere 1

Dallas Cowboys CB Bene Benwikere (#23)

The Cowboys currently have exciting sophomores Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis expected to start in 2018. Anthony Brown is back for his third season and will be active on game days.

Orlando Scandrick's future is cloudy, but Dallas won't get much cap relief from releasing him this season. They may elect to keep the veteran for one more year, which would all but fill out the CB depth chart.

Even if Scandrick leaves, talk that Dallas may move Byron Jones back to corner from safety would only leave Benwikere in the same disadvantaged position for finding work.

The best chance that Bene Benwikere has to stay with the Cowboys is if new Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard remembers him from 2014. Coaches often feel that can get more out of a player than the last guy, and Richard may see potential in Benwikere that his last few teams couldn't unlock.

Four years ago may be too long, though, and especially with a fresh new crop of young players coming into the league. Especially if they keep Scandrick, Dallas may want to use the rest of their roster spots on younger prospects.

As it stands, Bene Benwikere is unlikely to return to the Cowboys. However, given the flashes of potential he once showed in the NFL, you can't be certain that Dallas won't want to give him one more chance.


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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: OL Joe Looney

Jess Haynie

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Joe Looney, 49ers
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys backup offensive lineman Joe Looney was active for all 16 games of 2017 and never had to start. That is exactly what you want from a reserve player, and Looney has been relied on as security for the interior o-line for two years now. However, he enters 2018 as an unrestricted free agent.

A six-year veteran, Looney turns 28 years old in August. He has two years in the Cowboys system and is still in his physical prime. Able to play guard or center, "Jumbo Joe" is a nice value with versatility and familiarity.

Dallas got Looney on the cheap in 2016, signing him to a two-year deal at just $1.68 million. While he hasn't been seen much over the last two seasons, coming out of the Cowboys' offensive line could raise his profile in this free agent market compared to last time.

For example, the last guy to hold Joe's role in Dallas was Mackenzy Bernadeau. Dallas paid him $5.7 million from 2014-2015 to be the versatile backup at guard and center. Looney is at a comparable point now in his career.

Joe Looney

Dallas Cowboys G/C Joe Looney

Dallas may not want to give Joe Looney that kind of raise, but they may have to given other issues on the line. Starting guard Jonathan Cooper is also a free agent and was injured in Week 17. Chaz Green was tried at guard last year and failed.

Even if they didn't need Loooney to play guard, he is also the backup center and the currently the best candidate on the roster for that role.

While nobody wants Looney as the starting left guard in 2018, but Dallas may not want to give Cooper a new deal given his injury history. La'el Collins appears locked in at right tackle, so the Cowboys may feel the need to pay more to keep Looney in case the offseason doesn't provide a better option.

If the Cowboys are inspired to retain Joe Looney, it could mean raising his annual salary from about $800k to close to $3 million. Even with more cap flexibility than they've had in recent years, that's still a big jump that Dallas won't take lightly.

Clearly, Joe Looney's return in 2018 is not an easy decision. He could be a solid veteran depth option for some teams and might even find starting work if someone's desperate enough.

With Dallas facing some uncertainty on the offensive line, that gives Looney the leverage in any upcoming contract negotiations.


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