Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Will Brice Butler’s Inconsistency Create More Opportunity For Young WRs?

Brian Martin



Many of us have been anxiously awaiting to see the offensive debut of a few of the Dallas Cowboys young wide receivers. That hasn't happened as of yet, but with the inconsistency Brice Butler has been showing catching the ball, it could happen sooner rather than later.

The one term tossed around the most when discussing Brice Butler is inconsistency. It was the way he was described during his time with the Oakland Raiders and probably one of the contributing factors why they were willing to trade him to the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. And now, Cowboys Nation fully understands the frustration Raiders fans felt about Butler.

Since joining the Dallas Cowboys, a lot of us have wanted Brice Butler to overtake Terrance Williams on the depth chart. Butler possesses all of the talent he will ever need to become a starting WR in the NFL, but the only thing still holding him back is his inconsistency catching the ball.

It's absolutely infuriating at times because in one instance Brice Butler will make an outstanding acrobatic catch, and in the next he drops an easy completion that hits him right in the hands. There is nothing more frustrating for coaches and especially quarterbacks then to have a WR who they can't truly depend upon to come through when it matters.

Brice Butler's inconsistency could unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your point of view) create more opportunities for a couple of the Dallas Cowboys young wide receivers.

WR Noah Brown

WR Noah Brown

Both Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown could start seeing more playing time if Brice Butler doesn't start becoming a more consistent WR. Of course, it may already be too late for Butler, but only time will tell.

Switzer and Brown were both active in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos and could start seeing their playing time increase as the season progresses. They both have an advantage of over Butler because they play special teams and #19 doesn't. But, at this point in their careers they aren't quite as polished in the receiving game as Butler.

A lot of Cowboys fans have already been chomping at the bit to see Ryan Switzer utilized more on offense. The idea of using Switzer and Cole Beasley on the field at the same time is really intriguing and could put opposing defenses at a disadvantage. But, so far we have only seen Switzer in on a couple of offensive plays, being utilized in the return game mostly instead.

WRs Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley, and Dez Bryant

WRs Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley, and Dez Bryant

Switzer doesn't the size or speed like Bryce Butler, but the Cowboys other rookie WR, Noah Brown, is pretty similar. Brown is 6'2", 225 pounds, about an inch shorter and 5-10 pounds heavier than Butler. But, he doesn't have the deep speed like Butler does either. Brown does however have an intriguing skill set that could be utilized in several different areas.

Even as a rookie, Noah Brown is already arguably the best blocking WR the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster. He would be a tremendous asset in the running game, while also providing a receiving threat in the passing game. Plus, let's not forget he plays special teams as well.

I would honestly love to see Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown see more playing time on offense, but I'm not sure if the Cowboys coaching staff is ready to move on from Brice Butler just yet. But, if Butler's inconsistency catching the ball continues, we could see the rookies earn more playing time sooner rather than later.

Do you think Brice Butler's time is running out?

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.

  • Tony Farthing

    Silly notion! The whole offense is inconsistent right now. Beasley gave zero effort to catch a very “catchable” pass on 3rd and long… there’s plenty blame to go around. From what Butler showed in pre-season and last year… He’s a keeper! We should be patient with him. He stretches the field vertically and horizontally… something the “little guys” can’t do.

    • Brian Martin

      The Cowboys coaching staff have remained patient with Butler for nearly 3 years now. His inconsistency catching ball is apparent, which is why I think we could start seeing some of the young WRs receive more playing time.

      • Assassin

        I would add that Beazley and Switzer compliment Dak’s style perfectly, short to mid-range passes. He can dink you to death and keep the change moving. I would love to see both of them in the game at the same time on a regular basis.

        • Brian Martin

          Exactly! It’s not that Bryant has lost a step, it’s more that Prescott prefers to throw the underneath routes. Those are higher percentage completions.

          • Cris de Campos

            That’s the sort of play that will end up giving you what you got this week. You simply can’t combine a run dominant scheme with a dink and dunk passing offense and expect it to work out well. This is because the defense only has to worry about covering short and intermediate zones. Which also makes it a lot easier for the defense to tee off and be extremely aggressive at the line of scrimmage. I fear that the coaching staff in Dallas is not aware of this phenomenon. There shouldn’t even be a question… Butler should be lined up opposite Dez for the simple fact that he is 6’3, runs a sub-4.4, and wins 50-50 balls. They should be taking 3-4 deep shots to Butler per game to make safeties and the defense have to respect the deep zone of the field and account for a guy that can take a WR screen or a short crossing route all the way to the house. That would open up the field for Dez and Zeke and allow a Beasley or a Switzer to contribute important chain moving conversions when necessary. Until Dak can dissect and read a defense somewhere near the level of a really good QB, 10 passes to a Beasley per game is going to typically yield you about 7 receptions for 50-70 yards. Great, but it doesn’t make the defense worry, they still just play the short and intermediate part of the field. In a system where you probably want to throw the ball around 30 times… You’re just not going to get enough production out of that kind of game plan.

          • Assassin

            Butler is a proven non-entity. Not sure why you feel he is more than that. I gave you all his numbers. The defenses simply pay him little mind. Remember Dallas went 13-3 without a speed demon stretching the D last year.

          • Assassin

            This is the way a lot of the better teams win these days. Tom Brady has been dinking folks to death for years. We’re set up pretty well for doing this right now with Dez, Beaz and Switzer. I would expect that we set our sites on a speed receiver in the 2018 draft unless they think Terrance can handle it to stretch the field as we dont have a viable option there now. I would prefer a “hands receiver” over Terrance right now though. (and I’m a Baylor guy).

      • Tony Farthing

        Last point- Butler is a “young guy”… isn’t he? Either way, I’m sure we’ll be in position to grab a stud during draft… time to consider drafting Dez’ replacement. (Hate to say).

        But, don’t see Bease being resigned or extended unless he’s a deep discount
        Was overpaid on last contract… and SwissBeats might be a little more tougher than Cole… will snag those slants crossing the field with “max effort” at a fraction of cost. 🙂

        Use some of that $$ to upgrade Butler’s spot as well.

    • Assassin

      Wow. Of all the guys on the team, Beazley is about the last one to accuse of giving zero effort.

      Butler is exactly what we thought when we got him, a deeply flawed, deeply talented WR. He has hands of stone on some easy catches and then turns around and lays out catching the ball inches off the ground. There’s only so long you can keep a mercurial receiver on the field.

  • Assassin

    Q – did you ever play football? There are about a million different variances that come into play rather than if he can dunk a basketball – or jump whatever you feel he should jump. This guy is one of last guys on the team to accuse of giving zero effort. Let me add – not a single one of them would be in the NFL if they werent giving every bit of effort they could.

    • Tony Farthing

      Yeah… I played high school and walked-on at collegiate level… I know a little something-something… and I’ve been coaching the position (along w/DBs) for quite a few years now at the 12U-14U level.

      And every athlete experience games like DALvDEN at some point.

      I invite you to look at play… Not exaggerating to belittle Bease… Just an observation that allowed me (as a diehard fan) to accept the defeat heading into 3rd quarter… LOL!

      Bease is asked to use his quickness, not range or toughness to contribute… Butler is required to do everything we expect from a possession WR… which is extremely hard to do consistently in NFL (see Julio Jones, Green, Dez, etc.).

      On the flip-side… I have seen Butler make extremely difficult catches under/into coverage… not even 2 weeks ago. No way that ability have diminished to deem him useless.

      And last note on effort… although I’m rooting for him… He may be only player on this roster who’ve quit football (recall? DannyAmedolla outworked him and he quit.).

      Fact of the matter, he won’t be resigned… we over-paid… drafted his replacement already. Hard to find value (skill vs cost) like Butler.

      • Assassin

        The reason I ask is understanding the value of players to specific teams. Butler can certainly made plays, but he’s also cost us plays, last year percentage wise, he was at the bottom of Cowboy WRs at less than 50%. Meanwhile Beaz caught more than 3 out of every 4 that came his way.

        Beazley led the NFC’s best team last season in catches. Meanwhile Butler was 7th on the team, behind TEs and RBs. Add in the fact that nobody signed Butler when he was on the free market this offseason.

        For Butler’s career, he’s right at a 50% WR. Thats near the bottom of WRs on 53 man rosters in the NFL. Beaz is about 72%. Terrance, who has an extremely small catch radius as a body catcher, is still substansially better than Butler at about 62%. Dez gets doubleteamed nearly every play over his career and he’s still about 60%.

        Butlers value to the Cowboys is marginal at best. He’s just too undependable. And throwing long is not Dak’s regular forte. Brice was signed on a one year deal and if any of the young turks had came through, he’d probably be sitting on the curb.

        And btw – Butler is anything but a “possession receiver”. A possession receiver is one that doesnt drop balls and moves the chains, especially on third. Somebody like Cole Beazley who led the Cowboy WRs last year in first downs gained…

        • Tony Farthing

          You nailed it! Same position, different role.

          If you’re evaluating how well Butler/Bease is executing their respective roles within offense… I agree Bease is definitely most productive.

          However, I’ll argue… relatively speaking… Bease have a niche role and won’t fit onto traditional NFL roster. Same as Wes Welker… he capitalize off of any defense unwilling to take a LB out of the box and go nickle/dime with the extra DBs.

          He’s not an every down WR… and won’t have any of the success he’s enjoyed as a wideout… if he’s asked to be matched up against another fast-twitch athlete like DBs.

          He’s the latest “dink & dunk” WR.

          Despite leading team in receptions… he’s not asked to run into or manipulate coverage (pushing DBs) like Butler. He’s not a primary WR beating double teams or opponents best DBs.

          For perspective, he’s no where close to being a Wayne Chrebet, Steve Smith Sr or Terry Glenn.

          He will easily be replaced… perhaps this year by a rookie. Mainly, because playing slot in this offense is “low hanging fruit”.

          Butler have a much tougher task… He actually have to “beat” the defense.

          • Tony Farthing

            “easily replaced” is subjective…

        • Tony Farthing

          Butler showing up tonight! Happy for the kid! Hope he continues!

          Zeke too! 🙂

          • Brian Martin

            Hopefully his inconsistency is a thing of the past. The Cowboys offense could definitely use his deep speed.

  • Cris de Campos

    These arguments are such nonsense. Every… WR… Has…These…Drops. What drives me nuts is that players who have been cloaked in entitlement never hear such knocks, even if they have a long list of horrible drops. The difference is that guys like Butler have a net positive effect on the offense. Even if he had one bad drop per game, even 2, if he had 8 targets opposite Dez he’d probably fall in the neighborhood of 4-7 receptions. Those receptions would be impactful though. They’ll be big plays. He can take the top off… but he can also take a short screen to the house. That makes a defense have to worry (this is what KC does that makes them so dangerous… any of the guys they keep getting the ball in the hands of can take it to the house if one defender is out of place). Nobody on the Dallas squad has the combine numbers of Butler, and he’s simply not so bad that he shouldn’t be out there opposite of Dez. It’s nuts.

  • Tony Farthing

    Can’t be afraid to take a hit! Especially, when team need a spark. #PutSomeSauceOnIt

  • Assassin

    I’m gonna leave this conversation with an analogy. Depending on Brice Butler to become a dependable deep threat is like depending on winning Texas Lotto. Yes, there’s a chance… but infinitesimal. Butler was signed in case they couldnt get Terrance Williams signed (which if they had waited a couple of days, Butler probably wouldnt have happened). A one year band aid. Butler will make a spectacular catch or two before the year is over. He will also drop several passes which will ultimately cost us game(s).

  • Spoonydawg

    Bring on the young guns while its still early.. come play off time.. they will be ready to go…

    • Brian Martin

      I think you may get your wish this week. At least, that’s what I’m hoping anyway.

      • Spoonydawg

        We will see… Lets see if Scott is worth the money…

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision 1
Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News

There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.

Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.

Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.

Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.

Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.

Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.

Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.

If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.

Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.

Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, 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.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

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.

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

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.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here