It’s not often you trade away one of your top players at a position during an offseason. However, when the Cowboys dealt Amari Cooper to Cleveland in March, they did just that.
Even after re-signing Michael Gallup and bringing in James Washington, the Cowboys still seem interested in acquiring another wide receiver to help replace Cooper’s production. According to reports, the Cowboys were interested in acquiring Devante Parker from the Miami Dolphins before he was dealt to the New England Patriots.
One of the teams that expressed interest in acquiring WR Devante Parker before New England ultimately did was the Dallas Cowboys, per league sources. Dallas not done looking to add another WR.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 4, 2022
While there’s no way to know just how interested the Cowboys really were in acquiring Parker, it does seem to indicate they believe their wide receiver room is still a work in progress. With the current circumstances of the group, it makes sense they would be thinking this way.
Michael Gallup, fresh off a big-money deal, could start the season on the PUP list. The 26-year-old has a chance to miss at least the first few games of the regular season, and potentially more.
Without Gallup, the Cowboys would be left with either Noah Brown, who had just 16 catches for 184 yards last season, or Simi Fehoko, who’s never caught a pass in a regular-season game, as their number three wideout. That certainly isn’t an ideal situation.
The easy solution would be to select a receiver with an early pick in this year’s draft. The Cowboys could use their first-round pick on a wideout for the second time in three seasons, but it seems far more logical they’ll use pick no. 24 to select an offensive lineman or defensive player.
If they don’t take a receiver at pick no. 24, they’ll certainly consider taking a wideout with their second-round pick at no. 56. While that wouldn’t be a bad solution, it comes with some risks. As you can see below, not every wide receiver enters the league ready to produce. Here are the rookie year stats for every wide receiver drafted in the second round since 2020.
(#33 overall) Tee Higgins - 67 catches, 908 yards, 6 TDs
(#34 overall) Michael Pittman Jr. - 40 catches, 503 yards, 1 TD
(#42 overall) Laviska Shenault Jr. - 58 catches, 600 yards, 5 TDs
(#46 overall) K.J. Hamler - 30 catches, 381 yards, 3 TDs
(#49 overall) Chase Claypool - 62 catches, 873 yards, 11 TDs
(#57 overall) Van Jefferson - 19 catches, 220 yards, 1 TD
(#59 overall) Denzel Mims - 23 catches, 357 yards, 0 TDs
(#34 overall) Elijah Moore - 43 catches, 538 yards, 6 total TDs
(#49 overall) Rondale Moore - 54 catches, 435 yards, 1 TD
(#56 overall) D’Wayne Eskridge - 10 catches, 64 yards, 1 TD
(#57 overall) Tutu Atwell - Did not record a catch.
(#59 overall) Terrace Marshall Jr. - 17 catches, 138 yards, 0 TDs
While some of these players, like Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, and Laviska Shenault Jr. had very solid rookie seasons, some were extremely disappointing. In last season’s draft alone, the last three wideouts selected in the second round combined for just 27 catches, 202 receiving yards, and one touchdown last season.
If the Cowboys are looking to win now and be a true Super Bowl contender in 2022, taking a risk that their second-round wideout could end up like Eskridge or Atwell is not a chance they should be willing to take.
Instead, the Cowboys should look to acquire a proven wide receiver via trade. Lucky for them, a perfect fit seems to be available. That guy would be 28-year-old wideout Brandin Cooks. The Texans have been rumored to be looking into moving the wideout, with the asking price reportedly being a second-round pick.
With Brandin Cooks entering the final year of his contract, his future with the #Texans appears uncertain.— Kevin Tame Jr. (@Kevin_Tame) March 30, 2022
In my opinion, Cooks is an intriguing trade target for the #Patriots.
2020 81 rec, 1150 yds, 6 TD.
2021 90 rec, 1037 yds, 6 TD.
Who remembers this performance? pic.twitter.com/bll0CmRVnI
While the price may seem steep, acquiring Cooks would help the Cowboys in multiple ways. First, it would give them a proven commodity at the wide receiver position that is extremely capable of starting in place of Michael Gallup while he recovers from his injury. Cooks wouldn’t need time to adjust to the NFL game like any receiver not named Justin Jefferson does, he’d come in and immediately be ready to produce.
Second, it would make wide receiver not a pressing need in the draft, allowing the Cowboys to focus their first- and third-round picks on offensive line or defensive help, which they desperately need.
It isn’t in the Cowboys' M.O. to be aggressive, but in this case, they should be. If the price tag is pick 56 and a late-rounder, the Cowboys should jump at the idea of acquiring Brandin Cooks. The wideout would give immediate production and help them be as competitive as possible in 2022.