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Will Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb all top 1,000 receiving yards?

If they do, the Cowboys would be only the sixth team in league history to accomplish that feat.

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

If you had to take a guess, how many NFL teams do you think had three receivers with more than 800 receiving yards last season? Would you be surprised to find that only two teams did, and one of those was the Cowboys?

Of course you’re not surprised. After all, the simple fact that you’re on this site in the doldrums of the offseason qualifies you as a hardcore football fan, and is proof that you are able to recite football stats like other people are able to recite lyrics from 80’s hair metal bands.

Amari Cooper (1,189 receiving yards), Michael Gallup (1,107) and Randall Cobb (829) accounted for 64% of the Cowboys’ receiving yards in Kellen Moore’s first season as offensive coordinator. This represented a marked departure from the previous three seasons when the Cowboys liked to spread the ball around, and a return to the halcyon days when Dez Bryant was tearing up opponents and Jason Witten was still a 1,000-receiver.

Percentage of total passes targeted at Cowboys' top three receivers
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
67% 67% 66% 58% 61% 59% 51% 64%

1,000+ receiving yards in a season is a stat that is correctly labeled as a season milestone for a player who achieves it. When a player puts up those kinds of numbers, he was at least very successful, perhaps even dominant against most opponents. And perhaps if the Cowboys hadn’t thrown the ball to Jason Witten so often last year, the 2019 Cowboys could have featured three 1,000+ yard receivers.

Cowboys top receiving targets 2019
Player Targets Receptions Yards
Amari Cooper 119 79 1,189
Michael Gallup 113 66 1,107
Randall Cobb 83 55 828
Jason Witten 83 63 529
Ezekiel Ellliott 71 54 420
Blake Jarwin 41 31 365

It’s probably fair to assume that CeeDee Lamb will step into the role vacated by Randall Cobb and receive a similar number of targets. With such a pedigreed receiving unit, it’s not a stretch to assume that at least some of Witten’s targets will be redirected to the receivers, and that could put 1,000+ yards within reach for each of the three Cowboys receivers. If that happens, the Cowboys would be only the sixth team in league history to accomplish that feat.

The previous five teams with three 1,000+ receivers in the same season were the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, with Kurt Warner throwing to Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston. Before that, the 2004 Colts, 1995 Falcons, 1989 Redskins, and 1980 Chargers achieved the feat.

But the 2020 Cowboys would be the first team to achieve it with a rookie 1,000+ yard receiver.

That in itself would be quite an achievement for CeeDee Lamb. Since the league moved to 16 games in 1978, only 18 receivers eclipsed 1,000 yards in their rookie seasons, an average of about one every two years.

Only time will tell how the 2020 season unfolds, but with the personnel the Cowboys now have, there is little doubt who their top receiving targets are going to be. When your opponents know exactly who your main receiving targets are and can’t do anything to keep them in check, then you’ve probably got some very special receivers, or a very special quarterback - and probably a combination of both.

Over to you: do you think the CeeDee Lamb-enhanced 2020 Cowboys be the next team to feature three 1,000+ receivers?

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