The 17th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft netted the Cowboys one of the elite players in this year’s draft class: former Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. As a result, Dallas is now home to, arguably, the best wideout trio in all of football in Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup.
As Dak Prescott still awaits a new deal from the Cowboys, he has to be excited to get to work with the talented big three and all of his weapons at his disposal. Prescott has been working with last season’s quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna this offseason, and it exciting to think about what Mike McCarthy will be able to do with the rising fifth-year signal caller.
Expectations are high for the Cowboys passing offense, but a hole still remains behind the big three. Cedrick Wilson appears to be the front-runner for that fourth spot, but Wilson has struggled to stay healthy during his young career. There is a lot of mystery regarding who will be that WR4, especially considering McCarthy will likely lean on 11-personnel and both Cooper and Gallup have missed time with injury before.
Free agency is a route worth considering for Dallas. The likes of Devin Smith, Aaron Parker, and Jon’Vea Johnson should have good shots to make the team, but there are some intriguing veteran options still available on the market that would make sense for the Cowboys to add.
It is more important than ever to put your resources into the passing game. The Cowboys have largely done just that — aside from still not paying Dak Prescott — but adding more speed to the roster would be a smart move. Taylor Gabriel, formerly of the Chicago Bears the past two seasons, has yet to sign with any team and could provide a cheap option in the slot.
Gabriel, a Mesquite native, spent a pair of seasons in the Windy City after suiting up for both the Browns and Falcons previously. The 29-year old caught a combined 96 passes for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns from quarterback Mitchell Tribusky in 2018 and 2019.
The veteran out of Abilene Christian played in just nine games last season, missing time due to “lingering issues from concussions”. If Gabriel is recovered, though, he would instantly provide Dallas with an impressive route-runner that can create plays down the field — supported by his 12.5 yards per catch average for his career.
Gabriel would give Dallas a legitimate speed threat with the ability to stretch the field for Prescott.
Like Gabriel, Paul Richardson is a veteran receiver that has produced on multiple different teams across the league. Cowboys fans should be familiar with Richardson, as he was in the division with Washington each of the past two seasons following a solid stint with the Seattle Seahawks.
Also like Gabriel, however, Richardson is on the smaller side for receivers and has missed games due to the injury bug. After a 700-yard and six-touchdown campaign in 2017, Richardson has totaled just 502 yards and four touchdowns in the two years since. Some of that can be attributed to the quarterback play in the nation’s capital.
Still, Richardson has enough talent to gauge interest — especially considering the overall lack of talented WR3s and WR4s across the league. He put together three consecutive seasons with at least 13 yards per reception from 2016 to 2018, catching nine touchdowns in that span. Richardson would likely be a cheap, low-risk choice should Dallas want a little more proven and experienced depth behind the three names at the top of the depth chart.
Paul Richardson makes the gritty look pretty. pic.twitter.com/7W5n8ZSR64— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 9, 2018
Other names of note:
- Tavon Austin
Austin has been in Dallas for the last two seasons after being sent in a trade by the Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 NFL Draft. Austin has never lived up to his top-10 draft billing, but the speedster from West Virginia is a solid option on the roster to be in the mix in a receivers rotation as well as be the return man on special teams. The veteran wideout has played in 21 games for the Cowboys, catching a total of 21 catches for 317 yards and a touchdown. Similar to the other two names listed above, Austin provides experience and should be a low-cost option to round out the position room.
Last time the New York Giants visited AT&T Stadium Dak Prescott found Tavon Austin for a 64-yard touchdown.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 5, 2019
Will there be a Cowboys touchdown at least as long as this one on Sunday? (via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/Vkwhkjaluz
- Jaron Brown
Any time that you are mentioning adding free agents in the middle of the summer, most of the time you are talking about a rotation player that can provide depth on the roster. Jaron Brown fits that bill and would be a quality add to the Cowboys receivers corps.
Brown, 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds, possesses good size, has experience contributing on special teams, and carved out a nice role as a red zone threat for Russell Wilson in Seattle. The 30-year old comes with experience playing with a big time quarterback in a winning culture and could be a valuable add to deepen the wide receiver unit in Dallas.
Taylor Gabriel appears to be the top option available and bringing back Tavon Austin makes some sense as well. Adding any other name mentioned could say a little more about the team’s concerns about the other wideouts on the roster than anything else. Gabriel provides speed and experience, while Austin already has familiarity within the locker room and with Kellen Moore’s offense.
Regardless, the battle for that fourth wide receiver spot in the Cowboys offense should be fun to watch. We have written a pair of articles detailing the contenders for the role — one of which named undrafted free agent Aaron Parker as one to watch, while the other broke down the contenders into tiers.
Do any of these free agent wide receivers interest you for the Cowboys, BTB?