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What’s the Dallas Cowboys Plan at the WR Position?

Brian Martin

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Dez Bryant

As if the offseason wasn't frustrating enough, the Dallas Cowboys have further complicated things by the way they are attempting to upgrade the wide receiver position.

First, they attempt to acquire Sammy Watkins through free agency, but luckily that never materialized. Then they sign not one but two free agent WRs, Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns.

Things have definitely gotten a lot more interesting and confusing at the WR position for the Dallas Cowboys. Surprisingly enough, it's looking as if things could get even more frustrating because the Cowboys are doing their due diligence in scouting this upcoming 2018 WR draft class as well.

The overabundance of WRs on the roster is of course a good and bad thing for the Dallas Cowboys. They can pretty much pick and choose who they want to carry on the team for the 2018 season, but that would mean making some tough decisions.

As a Cowboys fan, on the outside looking in, there seems to be no clear plan about how the Cowboys want to deploy their WRs for next season. The coaching staff surely knows what they're doing, which means we have to remain patient until decisions are finalized.

But until then, we can speculate and try to sort through the confusion in order to try and figure out exactly what the Dallas Cowboys have in mind for their wide receiver position heading into 2018 season.

Below is how I personally have the WR depth chart. I also tried to share with you what I think the Cowboys could be thinking with each player, plus my personal opinion.

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys still haven't really confirmed what they plan on doing with Dez Bryant, and the recent Allen Hurns signing only further complicates things. There has already been speculation that Hurns is Bryant's replacement, but apparently the Cowboys like the idea of keeping them both as well.

There are several things the Cowboys can do. They can choose to keep him on the roster in 2018 at his current salary, ask him to take a pay cut, or possibly extend him a few more years. They could also outright cut him if they are ready to move on and willing to absorb his $8 million cap hit this season. A trade is also a possibility.

As you can see, until the Dallas Cowboys finally announce what they intend to do with Bryant, the WR position will continue to be a hot topic this offseason. Personally, I don't think they should move on yet. I think Allen Hurns' addition will actually help Bryant this season.

Cole Beasley

Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Cole Beasley is another unknown right now. Many fans around Cowboys Nation have speculated that Ryan Switzer is ready to surpass him on the depth chart, which would mean Beasley becomes expendable for the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys could save $3.25 million by releasing or trading Cole Beasley. It makes sense in a way because Beasley is entering the last year of his contract, but then the offense is relying on Switzer, who didn't receive a lot of offensive snaps last year in his rookie season. It's a gamble.

I personally believe it would be a mistake to move on from Beasley right now. He is the most "Dak friendly" WR currently on the Cowboys roster. But, he has a few things working against him though. The Cowboys can create more cap space without him and his heir apparent might already be on the roster.

Allen Hurns

Allen Hurns

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns

There is no denying it, the Allen Hurns signing was a huge one for the Dallas Cowboys. His addition gives the Cowboys more leverage in any negotiations they may have with Dez Bryant, something they didn't have before hand. He's also an upgrade at the WR2 position.

The Dallas Cowboys pursuit of Sammy Watkins in the first week of free agency luckily failed, and it ultimately led to the signing of Hurns. Strangely enough, Hurns has nearly the same kind of production as Watkins throughout their careers in the NFL. Hurns however cost a fraction of what the Cowboys would have had to pay for Watkins.

I think this was a really good addition for the Dallas Cowboys offense. If nothing else, he is a WR2 upgrade, but could end up being the WR1 if the Cowboys move on from Dez Bryant.

Terrance Williams

Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

I'm not ashamed to admit it, but I've been a fan of T Will, despite what the majority of the Cowboys fan base believes. I think he is underrated for what he does for the offense, but it definitely doesn't go unnoticed by the coaching staff. That is why they re-signed him last offseason.

Unfortunately, I think it's time to move on. As much as I like Williams, I didn't think re-signing him last year was the right move for the Cowboys. I think his skill set would be better suited in a different offensive scheme, but that's neither here nor there now.

I don't think the Cowboys will outright release Williams. It would just create too much dead money this season. A trade on the other hand is a possibility, although a small one. It would reduce his cap hit a little bit. I'd personally explore T Will's market value and try to work out a trade.

Ryan Switzer

Ryan Switzer

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Ryan Switzer should be much more involved in the offensive game plan in 2018. It should have probably happened last season, but the Cowboys thought it best to simplify things for him as a rookie and make him return specialist.

Switzer's roster spot is secure. There is no way he is going anywhere and he could take the biggest jump up the depth chart. He has already shown how dangerous he can be when the ball is in his hands, now he just has to do it as a receiver rather than a returner.

I think he could adequately replace Cole Beasley as the Cowboys slot receiver. He doesn't have the advanced route running skills as Beasley, but he is bigger and more explosive. There may be a little bit of a drop off in production, but I don't think it would be all that much.

Noah Brown

Noah Brown

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown

I personally have Noah Brown ahead of Deonte Thompson on the depth chart right now. I really like how he contributed to the offense last year as a rookie and wish he would have received more opportunities in the passing game.

Brown fits the Cowboys prototypical parameters they look for in their outside WRs and can do the dirty work Terrance Williams is so highly regarded for doing. He is still a work in progress, but someone that shows a lot of promise. I don't think it's time to give up on him just yet.

Not only can Brown provide depth at the WR position, but he has the skill set to play a little tight end as well. He may look like a WR, but he blocks like a tight end. That could come in handy next season, especially for a team who has a run first mentality.

Deonte Thompson

Deonte Thompson

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson

Deonte Thompson has to prove himself before he is able to secure a roster spot. He does provide the speed element that is lacking from the Cowboys offense after Brice Butler departed via free agency, but he's still an unknown.

I believe he is an upgrade over Butler however. He is a better route runner and looks more comfortable catching the ball. It will be interesting to see what kind of role the Cowboys have in mind for him, but he's not exactly a lock to make the team yet.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys have a plan for their wide receivers?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Reynaldo Laporte

    March 28, 2018 at 8:46 am

    The FO would be fools to move on from Dez this season. No rookie and anyone on our roster now can replace his production. I agree Mr. Martin after 2018 we can cut bait and draft his replacement.

  2. oneputter

    March 28, 2018 at 9:33 am

    1. Dez has to stay. Just imagine him and Hurns out there together.
    2. I, like you have been a fan of 83 but I also think it is time to move on, find a trade partner.
    3. Beasley should probably be offered in a trade as well.
    4. Switzer, IMO, is a stronger Beasley and should be used more (should have happened last year)
    5. Noah Brown, can do what 83 was doing.
    6. Thompson, as the “older” vet he will find himself in a fight to stay on.
    7. Don’t forget about KD Cannon. Cannon was/is a tremendous athlete at BU and should be considered in this WR fight. Big play and deep threat abilities.

    5 WR’s – Dez, Hurns, Switzer, Brown and Thompson/Cannon
    6 WR’s – Dez, Hurns, Switzer, Brown, Thompson, Cannon

  3. Mr. Jaguar

    March 28, 2018 at 10:30 am

    My gut feeling is that Dez options with the Cowboys will be either take a pay cut or good bye. Putting Dez in a corner, so to speak.
    Reason for one if the Cowboys really wanted to keep the talk would have happened prior to free agency.
    Now that free agency has pass and the focus is the draft.
    Furthermore with the news that Garrett is headed to Alabama. Ridley will be the focus. My gut feeling is the Cowboys are revamping the wide receiver position, like they did the secondary in 2017. Imo the Cowboys will make the decision on Dez b4 April 16, the 1st day of OTA’s. Just my two cents worth.

    • oneputter

      March 28, 2018 at 11:55 am

      or they are going to see evans and payne work out?

      i don’t think ridley is option at 19, we have to go defense.

  4. Travis Diggs

    March 28, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Terrance Williams contract keeps him on the roster but i think he automatically loses his spot to Hurns. You trade beasley because you drafted his replacement already and you draft Ridley, DJ Moore, or Christian Kirk at 19.

  5. Reggie Boutte

    March 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Leave Dez alone. It would be great if he took a paycut tho or add another year. TWill bye body catcher. Hurns will go and get it with his hands. And as said Noah will block and thinks he’s solid. Linehan get more creative. Tired of the 11 personnel. Give me some bunch, rub routes, hit dez off the line when def playing off coverage. Simple. 1st n goal just run Zeke 4 times please.

  6. D Dummy

    March 28, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Good stuff. Keep Dez with Hurns is no bueno for the bad guys each week. Other than that, you hear offers for positioning, then rank and file the rest when necessary.

  7. Russ_Te

    March 28, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Hurns was cut for $7 million cap relief, and Coughlin is a proven football man. So I am skeptical he is an impact-level FA signing.

    I think you offer Dez a deal with less cap hit – and don’t kill your out years for it – or release him. Then get your lead WR in this draft if there is a way to do so.

    Beasley should have trade value, I bet on Switzer as my slot WR if I can get fair value for C.B.

    I bet on Gathers, unless a TE falls to me that cannot be passed up.

  8. EverybodyTalks

    March 28, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    How I’d like to see the WR corp in 2018. Dez & JJ reworked his contract with a one or two year extension. Money reduction spread over a couple more years with incentives laced into the contract. Dez may not be elite, but there is still talent in those bones. T.Will stays in Dallas unless he is traded in this draft. Dez (8million) and T.Will(7.25 million) in dead money – it’s a lot to eat. Hurns is talented, but injury prone. T.Will isn’t. He has missed 4 games, current broken foot aside. T.Will can be a 2, if Hurns goes down, just like Hurns can be a #1 if Dez goes down. Beasley is the most likely to go. I like that guy’s play and personality. Our WR corp is now about 30 million, 2nd in the league. If he leaves it is a 1 million dead money hit. Therefore, Switzer needs to step into Beasley’s spicy shoes. The rest of them will devour each other, even more furiously, if we actually draft a WR.

  9. Alex Southern

    March 28, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I would love to see them trade Dez! Am I the only one here who remembers ALL the dropped passes over the past two seasons? The only person who remembers all the turnovers he had lay season? The only one who remembers the temper tantrums he through and him emotionally taking himself out of games? Plus THE SALARY?!?!

    There are too many teams in desperate need of wide receivers who would STILL be glad to talk trade at this point in FA for Dez. Even if we only got a second or third (of maybe a third AND a fourth) and had to pay $3-4 million of his salary, it would be worth it… especially if Ridley came on board.

    I would also like to see Baylor-boy (what we call Williams in our house … my wife is a Baylor girl) gone. His replacement is here. There’s not enough production consistency on his part for my tastes. His a low end number two making too much Dinero. I think Ridley and/or Hurns at one and two would be awesome.

    I’m still partial to Beasley, only BC there were mitigating circumstances to his drop in production (see Dez drops, double teams keying on him, poor line play causing Dak to get the yips late in the season and Zeke bbeing gone). He’s got a friendly contact, is the BEST route runner on the team and, as stated in the article, is a Dez-friendly offensive talent.

    My starting receivers: Ridley/Hurns, Beasley, Brown, Switzer and Thompson.

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Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo Won’t Be the Next Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator

John Williams

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It Is Time for the Dallas Cowboys to Move on From Tony Romo

The pipe dream has been going on since former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback-turned CBS Analyst Tony Romo hung up his cleats for the black blazer. Fans from all corners of Cowboys Nation have clamored for a return to the field or at worst the sideline as the Cowboys offensive coordinator.

Let me stop you right there. It's not happening.

First of all. He's never been a coach at any level of football, so to assume that he could leave the broadcast booth and step into coaching an NFL offense and doing so at a high level is a huge leap of faith in number 9. Sure, Jon Gruden left the Monday Night Football booth for his lucrative deal with the Oakland Raiders, but he had won a Super Bowl and had been an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL for years before joining the broadcasting ranks.

Tony Romo has an excellent understanding of football. He displays it on a regular basis during the CBS broadcasts. But doing from the broadcast view, seeing what the defense is trying to do, and calling the plays to counter what the defense is trying to do are very different things.

Secondly, the coaching job would be a major time commitment that at the moment he doesn't have. Even if he's working a 40 hour work week in preparation for his three-hour time slot, the demands on NFL coaches are easily twice that with many coaches putting in 100 hour work weeks in preparation for Sundays. Tony Romo has a family that even he's talked about as part of the reason that he went into broadcasting instead of looking to hop on with another NFL team.

Finally, the job would mean a significant pay cut from what Romo is already making. It's estimated that the former Cowboys quarterback is making anywhere from $5-10 million dollars a year with CBS. Jason Garrett is making $6 million per year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, so even if the Jones family was willing to pay first-time NFL coach Tony Romo a ton of money to come out of the broadcast booth, there's zero chance they pay him what he's making as a broadcaster. To do so, would be to undercut the head coach. Jason Garrett is Jerry Jones' guy. The owner and general manager wants Garrett to be the guy that leads the Cowboys to Super Bowl success, so there's zero chance he'd pay a coordinator close to Garrett's money, which would lead to constant speculation about the head coach and his future with the organization.

I love Tony Romo. His jersey is one of only two Cowboys jerseys that I own -- along with Darren Woodson -- and I think he could make a good coach one day, but I'd be hard pressed to see him come out of the coaching booth to take a coordinator job and have immediate success. The guys that are offensive coordinators in the NFL have been grinding for years to earn their jobs. Most started as position coaches -- see Sean McVay as Redskins TE coach. The Dallas Cowboys will spend the next few days, and perhaps weeks, identifying their replacement for Scott Linehan, but let's put to bed the dream of Romo as offensive coordinator.

It's just not going to happen.



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Player News

Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams

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Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.



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