I hate to keep bringing up the 2015 season, but it is the last reference point that we have to judge the production of the Dallas Cowboys and their players.
In all honesty, I would like to wipe it from memory in hopes of forgetting all about the disastrous season last year, but since that's not possible we just have to take comfort in the fact that a new season kicks off in the not so distant future.
There has been one area of the Cowboys offense that has continued to haunt me ever since Dez Bryant went down with an injury early in the 2015 season against the division rival New York Giants.
I knew then that the Cowboys wide receivers would struggle without Bryant in the lineup. There really isn't another receiver on the roster that could step up and become that #1 WR, but there was one player that I thought might be able to take on a larger role.
After nearly walking away from the game as a rookie, Beasley has really established himself as a player to look for in clutch situations.
I really thought that after Bryant went down with injury early in 2015, Beasley would be the player that quarterback Tony Romo would look to more often.
Of course, Romo himself ended up getting injured and forced the Cowboys into playing a number of backup QB's the rest of the season. That could possibly have had something to do with the production of the receivers.
Still, Beasley managed to have the best season of his career in 2015 and if you take a look at his statistics since his rookie year, you will notice he has improved each year.
Despite the fact that Beasley continues to be more involved in the offense each year, there is reason to believe he could be looking at a lesser role in 2016.
Let me try to explain why this may happen…
Reason #1-The return of Dez Bryant
I know what you're probably thinking. Why would the return of Bryant have any effect on Beasley's role?
Well, it's not just the return of Bryant, but also the emergence of Brice Butler.
I have a feeling that Butler will have a much larger role in the offense in 2016, which might actually help Bryant because they could play him more out of the slot to keep him away from the opposing defenses best cornerback.
If this is the case, then Terrance Williams and Brice Butler will more than likely be the two outside receivers with Bryant playing out of the slot, where Beasley has found a home for himself.
We all know that Bryant will be the number one target once he is back on the field, and I truly believe that Butler could possibly this year's breakout player. That leaves Beasley looking for targets wherever he can find them.
Reason #2- A dominant running game
They didn't invest the #4 overall draft pick on running back Ezekiel Elliott to put more emphasis on the passing game. They drafted him to become The Butcher and get all the meat off the bone.
If you've forgotten, Joseph Randle said last year that DeMarco Murray left a lot of the meat on the bone after the 2014 season, but Randle never even came close. Elliott however, will get every scrap of meat off the bone with the precision of a butcher, hence the nickname.
The Butcher, Ezekiel Elliott, will more than likely be the engine that powers the offense, so I'm thinking that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will probably want wide receivers on the field that can help block for Elliott down the field. That might lead Beasley watching from the sidelines a little more.
Due to Beasley size (5'8", 180), he is never going to be considered a physically imposing player and he might be one of the last wide receivers on the Cowboys roster that you would want blocking for your bell cow running back. I'm not saying he can't do it, but I do think that there are better options on the roster.
All in all, there is really no way of telling for sure if Cole Beasley's role in the offense will increase or decrease in 2016, but there are reasons to believe we could be seeing less of the diminutive wide receiver.
Where do you stand on Cole Beasley's role in 2016?
Feel free to use the comment section below or hit me up on Twitter @bmart0204 so we can discuss this topic further.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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