With a report coming out of Philadelphia that the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t going to be offering a contract to Golden Tate prior to the start of NFL free agency on March 13th, there have been many in Cowboys Nation clamoring for the former Detroit Lions Wide Receiver to be a free agent target for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys may have a need in the slot in 2019 with speculation raging about the future of Cole Beasley with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s possible that Golden Tate could fill that void if Beasley were to depart. Here’s my internal debate about why the Cowboys should and shouldn’t pursue him.
Why the Cowboys Could Pursue Golden Tate
Other than Amari Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys don’t have a player on the roster for 2019 that has any extensive experience working out of the slot in the NFL. Cole Beasley’s potential departure leaves a hole on the wide receiver depth chart. Dak Prescott loves Cole Beasley. When he was able to run the offense the way he wanted to, Beasley flourished. Dak enjoys the benefits of a good slot receiver because he likes to throw the ball on crossing routes over the middle of the field. Golden Tate could be that guy.
Golden Tate has long been one of the best in the NFL with running routes out of the slot.
Per Pro Football Focus, in 2018, Golden Tate had 49 receptions in the slot, which ranks him tied for 10th in the NFL with Larry Fitzgerald. His 504 yards from the slot ranked 16th in the NFL, which was only 63% of his receiving yards on the season. On the season he had three of his seven touchdowns in the slot, good for 16th in the NFL.
As I mentioned above, Tate has been one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, and has also been effective on the outside as well.
Prior to this last season where he was traded midseason from Detroit to Philadelphia, Tate had recorded 90 catch seasons in each of the previous four seasons. With Detroit those four years he had at least 1,000 yards and he’s averaged 4.2 receiving touchdowns since his second year in Seattle.
Golden Tate’s price point could drop heading into free agency. He was supposed to be a player that helped Philadelphia get over the hump in the NFC East, but he didn’t work out. There’s a good chance that Tate finds the market for his services to be pretty shallow given this is a decent draft for slot wide receivers.
NFL teams could opt to draft an Andy Isabella or Deebo Samuel in the second or third round as opposed to pay Tate for two to three years in the twilight of his career.
Why the Cowboys Won’t Pursue Golden Tate
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t typically a team that is going to pay an aging player. If Cole Beasley doesn’t resign a deal with the Dallas Cowboys, it won’t be because of the money or the opportunity, it will be because Dallas declined to pay age. Golden Tate will turn 31 in August as he enters his 10th season in the NFL. Tate has now played 137 games.
Players don’t usually get better with age.
Free Agency and the Draft
As I mentioned above, this is a decent draft class for wide receivers, especially those who operate or could operate in the slot. The Dallas Cowboys have shown for much of the last decade that their preferred avenue of team building is through the draft.
They’d rather take a guy like Isabella or Samuel in the second or third round and have his rights on a rookie deal for the next four years. Golden Tate doesn’t fit the Cowboys free agency M.O. When they pursue players in free agency it’s the young players with a solid to elite trait that have yet to prove themselves, or it’s the veteran who has had some nice years in the NFL that’s in their mid-twenties that is coming off of a down year. Like Allen Hurns.
If the Cowboys are going to go into free agency to replace their star slot receiver, it’s going to be with someone who is younger and may not be as proven as Beasley or Tate.
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In summary, the Dallas Cowboys aren’t going to target Golden Tate in free agency. Why do that when they could resign a player they like and know in Cole Beasley or draft someone and have them under team control on a rookie contract for the next four years.
There are a lot of players who have done a lot in this league that are going to be released or not extended in the next few weeks. Some of them should be names of interest to the Dallas Cowboys, but many of them will be just names.
Free agency is less than a month away, so make sure you continue to come by InsideTheStar.com for all the latest on Cowboys free agency.