The Dallas Cowboys remodeled their wide receiver position this offseason, there’s no denying it. While they did make a surprise move bringing back Michael Gallup, Dallas replaced five-time thousand-yard receiver Amari Cooper with veteran James Washington and rookie third-round pick, Jalen Tolbert.
While Tolbert does have the potential to become a solid player, and Washington is a decent third or fourth option, the two combined do not equal what Cooper was at his best. In Washington’s four-year NFL career, he has totaled fewer receiving yards (1,629) than Cooper (1,712) has in his last 28 games.
Michael Gallup is still recovering from his torn ACL and he seems likely to miss at least the first two or three games of the regular season, and potentially more. With that in mind, the Cowboys could benefit from bringing in a veteran wideout to help lessen the load that the newly-acquired Washington and Tolbert will have to carry.
If the Cowboys want to add a wide receiver before the start of the regular season, they should take a flyer on five-time All-Pro Julio Jones.
At age 33, the Cowboys wouldn’t be getting the Jones we saw from 2014-2019 when he was arguably the best wideout in football. Over that six-season span, Jones totaled almost 10,000 receiving yards, scored 37 touchdowns, and was an All-Pro five times.
That version of Jones is in the rearview mirror, but if the former first-round pick is able to stay healthy, the Cowboys could get a much-needed boost at the wideout spot.
Health has been Jones’ biggest roadblock to contributing since his last 1,000-yard season in 2019. The wideout was able to play in just nine games during his final season in Atlanta in 2020, and then was limited to playing in just 10 games with the Titans last season, catching 31 passes for 434 yards and a touchdown.
While 31 catches for 434 yards certainly isn’t anything close to the numbers we saw Jones produce in the past, even if he could produce only at that mediocre level it would still be a solid contribution to Dallas’ wide receiver group.
The Cowboys have the third-most cap space in the NFL ($22M) according to OverTheCap, so they have plenty of room to make Jones a competitive one-year deal. Even if the cost was a bit higher than they wanted, without a team at this point of the offseason you have to imagine Jones would jump at a deal guaranteed for just one season.
Worst case scenario, Jones is bit by the injury bug once again and is unable to stay on the field enough to contribute. You let him walk at the end of the season and move on. There really is no downside to bringing him in if you can do it on a one-year deal.
It does not fit Dallas’ usual M.O., so they most likely won’t do it, but taking a flyer on Julio Jones and betting on his upside could be a move that pays off great dividends down the road.