The Dallas Cowboys are by no means weak at wide receiver. However, for the last two years, they have boasted a roster of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Cedrick Wilson when healthy. With two of those players departing over the offseason, Dallas no longer boasts one of the best wide receiving corps in the league.
To put it into perspective, the Cowboys possessed the second-best receiving unit in the league heading into the 2021 season, according to Pro Football Focus. But just one year later, PFF now has them at 12th.
12. DALLAS COWBOYS
The losses of Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson hurt, and they’re the reason Dallas slides just outside of the top 10 on this list. But there’s still reason to be excited about this unit. CeeDee Lamb could be in for a monstrous 2022 season after raising his PFF grade from 71.6 as a rookie to 84.1 last year. He’s joined by Michael Gallup at the top of the depth chart — an underrated X receiver returning from a torn ACL in 2022. Free agent acquisition James Washington and rookie Jalen Tolbert will compete for snaps as the No. 3 receiver and vertical threat in Dallas’ offense.
There is no shame in 12th. The only NFC East team that is higher than them is Philadelphia at fourth, and that assessment is primarily a result of the Eagles willingness to deal a first-round pick for A.J. Brown. But at this stage in the offseason, the Cowboys can shop through the abundance of options remaining to bolster the receiving room.
The Cowboys can easily add depth at wide receiver
In the early stages of the free agency, few expected Dallas to be buyers in the WR market. This was partially due to their cap situation and their general unwillingness to bring in marquee free agents. However, as of July, neither of those obstacles hold true.
Let’s start with their cap situation. At the beginning of March, the Cowboys were set to enter free agency $21.2 million over the cap. But between restructures, cuts, and trades, Dallas is now $20.3 million under the cap, the third-most amount of remaining cap space in the NFL.
Simply put, the Cowboys have a lot of money to spend if they choose to do so. Now, the projected cap situation is not as favorable in 2023 ($12.7 million under the cap). Even from Stephen Jones’ perspective, that future cap space should not prohibit Dallas from adding players now. They can easily sign players to one-year contracts that will expire before 2023 free agency.
There is room to move if done right. And if they finally come to life in the player acquisition market, receiver is the best place to start.
As a quick summary, here are the players currently on the Cowboys’ depth chart at WR:
- CeeDee Lamb
- Michael Gallup (will likely miss time due to his torn ACL)
- Jalen Tolbert
- Noah Brown
- James Washington
- Simi Fehoko
- T.J. Vasher (Undrafted Free Agent in 2021)
- Ty Fryfogle (UFA in 2022)
- Brandon Smith (UFA in 2021)
- Dontario Drummond (UFA in 2022)
- Dennis Houston (UFA in 2022)
- Jaquarii Roberson (UFA in 2022)
Two things are true about the wide receiving corps: they are young, and they are not deep. With Gallup set to miss time, James Washington and Noah Brown will see a decent amount of meaningful minutes. It is not an ideal situation to be in.
But what if Dallas changes both of those things by adding a cheap, veteran receiver who can help during the first few weeks? Well, with their $21 million, the Cowboys can shop from the following list:
- Julio Jones
- Antonio Brown
- Odell Beckham Jr. (would not help during the Gallup injury as he is also dealing with a torn ACL)
- Will Fuller
- Cole Beasley
- T.Y. Hilton
- Emmanuel Sanders
- Willie Snead
- DeSean Jackson
- Anthony Miller
- Adam Humphries
That is a list of 11 remaining players that would almost assuredly make the roster. There are issues with all of them, primarily age or injury history, but Dallas can likely snag any of them and still be in a favorable cap situation this year. At the very least, these players would add a veteran presence to a young positional group.
The Cowboys are under no obligation to add another wide receiver. The 12th-ranked unit in the league is nothing to laugh at. And it is not as if any of the above players would step in and completely alter the trajectory of the season. Most of them are decent, but Dallas can afford to stick with their guys are receiver.
But it also makes a lot of sense to add at least one of the players listed above. With an abundance of cap space, a looming Gallup injury, and a pool of receivers who could make the roster, why not? Camp is only two weeks away, it is time to act.