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Follow The Leader: Who Will Be Cowboys Next-Best Receiving Option?

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract Cowboys: Terrance Williams 1

The 2015 season exposed the Dallas Cowboys in ways we didn't know were possible.

Injuries to starting quarterback and leader Tony Romo and star wide receiver Dez Bryant left the Cowboys offense in absolute shambles, with backups and "second-tier" players trying to pick up the pieces.

All of a sudden we were forced to look at the Cowboys offensive unit much differently than we ever have during the Tony Romo era. With Romo healthy, the passing game has never been in question, and most of Dallas' receivers looked like quality players. Terrance Williams looked to be ready to take the next step and solidify himself as the best compliment to Bryant, Cole Beasley seemed to be on track to be the next top slot-guy, and everyone else fit their roles perfectly.

2015 changed our perceptions of all of this.

But hopefully Romo and Dez will both be back for all of 2016, and the rest of the receiving corps can re-fill their 2014 roles perfectly.

We all know that Dez Bryant is the first option in this team's passing game, and is so for good reason. But the question we all have to ask ourselves is, who's next?

Who will be the 2nd-leading receiver for the Cowboys, and help to alleviate some of the pressure off of Dez's shoulders?

The Candidates

Terrance Williams

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Vs Saints: A Look Back In History

(G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News)

It was all good just a week ago for Williams. After phenomenal performances against Detroit and Green Bay during the 2014-15 playoffs, expectations for Williams skyrocketed going into last season.

Then, when Bryant went down, we all looked to Williams to fill in the number one role and shine in ways we haven't seem him do before. Unfortunately, Williams didn't seem up to the task and he had a rough 2015 campaign.

But he should be back to his normal number-two role for the entirety of this season, a role where he will be more comfortable and more ready to perform under.

That is only if he can keep the number two job after training camp, however.

Brice Butler

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Mini-Camp: Dez Bryant's Recovery Benefits Young WRs

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler (19) celebrates a Cowboys touchdown against the New York Giants, Sunday, October 25, 2015, Secaucus, NJ. The Giants defeated the Cowboys 27-20. (Al Tielemans via AP Images)

Brice Butler seems to be everyone's "sleeper" pick to have a breakout year in 2016. After being traded from Oakland to Dallas during last season, Butler showed off his size, athleticism, and pass catching abilities when given the chance to do so.

With a full year in the system under his belt, Butler should be ready to compete for the number two wide receiver job when training camp opens up later this month.

Even if he is unable to de-throne Williams, Butler will have much more opportunities during the season than he did last year to assert himself as a force in the offense.

Cole Beasley Cowboys Headlines - Is Cole Beasley Looking At A Lesser Role In 2016?

While Butler and Williams fit the stereotypical "next-best option" with their size and traditional position, Cole Beasley could very well make himself the number two option from the slot.

With more attention being given to Bryant on the outside, Beasley should be able to exploit one-on-one mismatches over the middle, create separation, and come up with some big receptions.

Beasley was a serious threat in the passing game during 2014, and with this offense fully healthy and prepared once again, he should be able to return to that form this season. Out of the wide receivers, Beasley was third in receiving yards in 2014 and second last season.

He may be ready to take that next step and assert himself as an every-down pass threat this season.

Who do you got?

Who will be the second leading wide receiver this season? Brice Butler, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, or another candidate who wasn't mentioned above? Let us know in the comment section and let's start the debate!

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • Cris

    Wouldn't be surprised at all if Butler is the leading WR. Simply because he's a little taller and a lot faster than Dez. Dez will be soaking up double coverage and he'll be left open for huge plays. I think he averaged 22 ypc last year? It takes only like 3 catches a game to be in the 1000 range at that rate.

    • Kevin Brady

      Butler seems to be the popular pick, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he came through and delivered.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick

Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.

Jane Slater on Twitter

C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed

Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.

Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.

Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.

With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys Place 2nd Round RFA Tender on DL David Irving

Jess Haynie



David Irving

One of the more anticipated Cowboys free agency moves has finally happened. Defensive lineman David Irving has been given the 2nd-round Restricted Free Agent tender, which would result in a $2.91 million contract for 2018.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: the Cowboys have used a 2nd round tender on DT David Irving. The cost is $2.91 million.

If another team offers Irving a contract, that would have to send their 2018 second-round draft pick to the Cowboys.

There was no doubt that Dallas would extend an RFA tender to Irving, one of the bright young stars on their defense. The question was at what amount; they could have gone with the $4.1 million tender which raises the compensation to a first-round draft pick.

With a difference of only about $1 million, some might argue that the Cowboys went lower to entice other teams to try to sign Irving. Perhaps they don't foresee giving him a big long-term deal next year, so want to get something for him now.

It's a logical argument, and one that means there may be more to this story before the offseason ends. For now, though, David Irving's closer to remaining a Cowboy than he was yesterday.

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