After the Dallas Cowboys drafted Dez Bryant this past April, Dia Wall of DallasCowboys.com has said she overheard just two words from receiver Patrick Crayton: "That's interesting."
Crayton instantly began to worry about his future with the Cowboys, declining to attend voluntary OTA's while claiming he wanted to either be assured of a roster spot or just be traded or released immediately. His fear, a very legitimate one, is that he would spend all of camp with the Cowboys and then be released just a week before the regular season. He said during several interviews over the summer he'd be content with whatever role the Cowboys wanted him to fill this season but the last thing he wanted was to be searching for a job at the last minute.
If the reports coming out Dallas today are true, then that fear could very well become a reality.
First reported on the Ben & Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan, the word is that the Cowboys are reportedly actively seeking a trading partner for Crayton; if they can't trade him he'll likely be released before Saturday. Now, I don't put much faith into a random report on the Ben & Skin Show, but since then both ESPN Dallas and the Dallas Morning News have commented on the "whispers" from Valley Ranch that Crayton's future with the team is in doubt. I won't believe these rumors until something concrete emerges but when there's enough smoke...sometimes there's fire.
During Wade Phillips' time in Dallas, both he and Jerry Jones -- for the most part -- have made nothing but the right decisions. We can moan about the Roy Williams trade all we want, but this current regime's personnel decisions have tended to be the right ones.
If the Cowboys cut or trade Crayton, this would easily be the worst one.
While we don't know if any of these reports are remotely true, Crayton did go on the air this morning in Dallas to discuss his future. He didn't anything, but he did sound like a very despondent player who feels his time with the team is coming to an end. It's not a fair way to treat the veteran either, as he's had a great camp and good preseason and now could be having to scramble to find a job just days before the season starts.
I understand that the Cowboys are heavy at wide receiver this season and that they really love Sam Hurd and Kevin Ogletree. It's very likely that Crayton would be just a fourth receiver and a backup option on special teams, and that generally those players are a dime a dozen in the NFL. Yet with Crayton, the Cowboys would be losing a player that is so much more than that.
While the fans don't like his propensity to talk trash -- and he'll never live down his drop against the Giants -- it's arguable that the Cowboys would be losing their most dependable receiver. This is a guy that has spent nearly his entire career catching passes from Tony Romo, a receiver whom Romo turns to time and again on third down, in the second half and in the red zone. They have incredible chemistry and 98% of the time Crayton is going to catch what is thrown his way.
For a team that is hoping to make a Super Bowl run this season, Crayton is invaluable. He's a dependable veteran who can play any of the receiver positions, he is a dependable option on the return teams and he's willing to do whatever is needed to help the team.
Every Super Bowl team has a player like Crayton, a player that the quarterback can turn to at any time to make the play. He may not be the fastest, but he gets the job done.
We won't know for certain if Crayton is on his way out until tomorrow or Saturday, but personally this leaves me feeling a bit empty inside. For Patrick Crayton's sake, hopefully the Cowboys trade him -- if only for a very, very low draft pick -- so one of the most dependable players for the Cowboys over the past six years isn't looking for a job next week.