As much as everyone is focused on defense or quarterback right now for Dallas' first-round pick in April, I'm becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of them taking a wide receiver. The overwhelming favorite right now would be Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss so I'm not going to spend time debating the value of various prospects. This is more about the merits if the idea that Dallas would add another offensive weapon over their other needs with the fourth-overall pick.
Dallas will go into next year with Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley locked into their positions and the number-one and slot receivers. The number-two spot will likely be Terrance Williams' to lose but he may face good competition from Brice Butler. Some are probably fine with that group and don't think any additions, especially with the fourth pick, are necessary.
No matter who emerges from the Williams-Butler battle, I'm pretty confident that neither of them could step into that number-one spot if Dez were to miss time. Both are adequate second receivers with Dez healthy and active but neither can be trusted yet for more responsibility if needed. We saw that clearly with Williams last year, his third NFL season, and it would take a surprising fourth-year bump in his play to convince me otherwise.
It's also worth noting the importance of the second receiver position has been negated for a long time in Dallas thanks to Jason Witten. He has not only taken care of the volume and production throughout seasons but has been the go-to target on critical plays when Dez is getting double coverage. Sadly, Witten can't play forever and is already slowing down. With his age and mileage, that decline could become pretty sharp at any given point. What's more, Gavin Escobar has yet to prove he can fill even one shoe of Witten's.
An elite talent added to that receiver corps accomplishes several things in just 2016 alone. It's insurance against another injury-filled season for Dez. It's someone who might be able to pick up some slack as Witten's twilight years continue. It's a different wrinkle in your offense that, after several seasons and a lot of game tape with the same key players, would help with strategy against the league's best defenses.
A major reason I'm liking this idea is what it means for the team's financial future. Last year's fourth-overall pick, Amari Cooper, got a four-year deal for about $22.6 million. There is a fifth-year team option that would pay him roughly the same as what a franchise tag would cost, the same option that Dallas declined on Morris Claiborne this year. When you line up what a 2016 rookie's deal (using Cooper's deal for comparison) would be next to the remainder of Dez Bryant's big contract, it makes a lot of sense.
|Dez Bryant||Rookie WR|
|2016||$13 million||$4 million|
|2017||$17 million||$5 million|
|2018||$16.5 million||$6 million|
|2019||$16.5 million||$7 million|
Dez Bryant will have turned 31 years old by the 2020 offseason. If the rookie pans out and is ready to be your new number-one, if he hasn't become it already, you can make a seamless transition from one big money deal to the next. What's more, if Dez body starts breaking down early, you have a decent option 2019 to cut him for $12 million in cap savings (provided they don't restructure between now and then). Having an elite talent ready to take over gives you the leverage to make that move if needed.
Obviously, there are plenty of reasons for Dallas not to do this and to take a defensive player. I'm not sold on any of these quarterbacks yet but maybe one of them will emerge in the next few months, too. None of this is to say that Dallas would be wrong not to take a receiver.
The bottom line is that any draft pick, and especially one in the top five, is about more than just filling your biggest needs. I am a firm believer in the "best player available" philosophy. History has proven that feeling secure at any position in the NFL can go away in a moment; one injury and suddenly you're ineffective. Dallas's receivers did not step up in Dez's absence, or even with Dez active but hobbled, to help make life easier for the backup quarterback carousel in 2015. There's little reason to think they'd be able to do it now.
If they're on the clock that Thursday night and Treadwell, or any other receiver, is the top player on the board then I hope they won't be too worried about the defense to make the pick. As the NFL continue to become a passing league and legislates to help offensive production, more talent in your receiving group can have an exponential benefit to your overall production and success.
After the year we just had, Cowboys fans need to see plenty of both in 2016.
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.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog18 hours ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog2 days ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Do the Dallas Cowboys Have Any Trade Assets?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?