On Monday, we took a shot at zeroing in on some possible free agent candidates. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the team will do as they look to put together a couple new contracts to round out their position group, but today - it’s time for our guess. When we last left off, these nine candidates were placed on the table.
If we apply a rotisserie matrix to each category (best =9, worst = 1) and add up the collective score we get a new set of rankings:
Disclaimer: the cost numbers are completely related to how they are ranked from Walter Football. These values are subjective and not extremely reliable, but they do serve as a guide that approximates their price.
This past season was actually sort of a breakout for Stills and his best season since he’s been in the NFL in terms of playmaking ability. He finished the 2016 season with 43 receptions, 726 yards, and nine touchdowns (led team). Though he’s not the prototypical number one guy, a spot reserved for Jarvis Landry, Stills showed that he can be a great complement to Landry.
He mentioned several great points to support this choice, but you can now add solid run-blocker to the list. If the market dries up and Stills is still there when the costs become relatively cheap, he looks like a great choice.
A name that might be foreign to most of us is Russell Shepard from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He only played 433 snaps, which is comparable to Brice Butler so he’s not a player that sees a lot of action. The Bucs also used him for 154 snaps on special teams so he would have some value there as well. His score is boosted by the fact that he’ll most likely be the cheapest player of this group, but he still meets the other three requirements. He’s an under the radar type of player, but that falls in line with how Dallas works in free agency. “Who is that guy?” is something we are no stranger to hearing.
And it looks like he catches the ball with his hands.
LaFell was solid filling in for A.J. Green when he got hurt. He logged over 1,000 snaps and graded out as the 12th-best run blocker in the NFL last season. He was able to essentially match his 2014 16-game season playing with the New England Patriots offense. He could be equally effective in an offense as good as the Cowboys.
When Floyd was released by the Arizona Cardinals, many Cowboys fans wanted the team to snag him as is the norm whenever a former big-name player gets dropped. And when New England signed him, more frustration mounted as many associate any move they make as a brilliant one. But the change of scenery hasn’t done much show any indication of resurrecting his career. Maybe it’s being new to a system? Maybe he’s just falling out of the league?
At one point Floyd was looking like the heir apparent to Larry Fitzgerald after a great 2013 season where he had over 1,000 yards receiving, but those days are over. Could he still be a valuable contributor to the receiving group?
Inman was a late bloomer as he spend his first two seasons in the CFL. Shout out to all you Toronto Argonauts fans. During his three seasons with the Chargers he has shown some nice growth and had 58 catches for 810 yards last season. While he emerged as Philip Rivers main target when Keenan Allen went down, he fits better as the number two WR.
He’s got that TWilly toe-tap down.
The Cowboys love players who have that first-rounder upside despite struggling to live up to their draft price. Mostly because they come cheap and have the talent to still be decent even if they never reach their full potential. Britt has been so-so during his first seven years in the league, but then broke out last year when he surpassed the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. At 6’3” 215 lbs, he’s even bigger than Williams’ frame.
His recent success could drive up his price, but that’s the only thing working against him as he possesses many attributes that would fit in nicely with the Cowboys.
The Redskins Duo
Either of the free agent receivers would be nice to have on the Cowboys. Pierre Garcon is a great run blocker and DeSean Jackson is a top-notch deep threat. Both have reached the 30-year-age mark so they have that going against them, but they are proven commodities and should get a decent deal from someone other than Dallas. These are two players whose price Cowboys fans wouldn’t mind seeing elevate as it would then mean one of two things - either Washington had to pay out a hefty penny to keep them or they’ll be catching passes elsewhere next season.
I’m still on board the TWilly train. He’s a great fit for the team and retaining him would be good for the offense. The problem however, is that his price will most likely be too high. It’s possible he doesn’t have enough suitors and the Cowboys luck out and keep him. But it’s more possible that another WR on this list goes for cheaper. Since he’s at the top of the scoring matrix, I’m aligned with my colleague, Mr. Sisemore, that Kenny Stills would be a great addition. If the price of Kenny Britt falls a bit, he would be a great replacement for Williams.
But it all comes down to which of these players slide down the price scale. Between Williams, Stills, and Britt - the most affordable of these options will be your Cowboys wide receiver.
And don’t be surprised if Shepard sneaks in as a low cost replacement for Butler.
Which WR do you think the Cowboys will sign in free agency?