After playing out his rookie contract the last four seasons, Wide Receiver Noah Brown got a one-year deal to return to Dallas in 2021. But given the Cowboys' numbers at WR and his place on the depth chart, how secure is Brown's place on this year's roster?
A 7th-round pick in 2017, Noah is already a success story just for making an NFL roster and making it to his fifth season. To have spent all of this time with the same team so far, especially getting a second contract, is something a late-round pick can only hope for when entering the league.
Brown has stuck around thanks primarily to his special teams work. Though never a big factor in the passing game, Noah has made some good plays on his rare targets and has always been a solid blocker.
Noah has managed to provide enough value to cling to the bottom of the WR depth chart. He's been given a chance to do it again in 2021, but it may be a bit more complicated now.
We all know who the top-three receivers are in Dallas. Beyond them, Cedrick Wilson feels like a lock as the fourth WR given his experience and extra value as a return specialist.
But now there's Simi Fehoko to consider; the new rookie receiver taken with a 4th-round pick. Depending on how deep Dallas chooses to go at the WR position, that could leave Brown, Fehoko, and perhaps even Wilson competing for those bottom spots.
The Cowboys could keep six receivers and make it easy on all involved. That's especially plausible with the special teams work that Brown and Wilson put in; a virtual prerequisite for making the bottom of any roster.
No, even 4th-round guys aren't guaranteed roster spots. But the there's a general expectation that Fehoko will at least get one season with Dallas before they'd really consider discarding him.
That puts the real competition, if any, between Brown and Wilson. And at this point, just based on what we've seen from both, it's hard to imagine Cedrick losing that battle.
That leaves Brown hoping the Cowboys go long at WR and keep six guys; perhaps foregoing a third QB, an extra TE or offensive lineman to make the math work. That sixth spot may be the only way Brown makes the 2021 roster.
Of course there are also the undrafted prospects from this year, and a few from 2020, who could also try to fight their way on. Noah is still a young guy at just 25 but, after four years, may be seen as more of a finished product than having untapped potential.
Without question, Noah Brown will go into this 2021 camp and preseason as one of the bubble guys for the 53-man roster. He has proven skills which can keep him on the team, as they have up to this point, but time and competition may finally get the better of him.