The Dallas Cowboys got some real attention when they made a very atypical move for them and traded for CB Stephon Gilmore. That really shores up their secondary, leaving them with one less pressing problem to address. However, they still have others, and one of the most glaring is wide receiver. After the way things went last year, they still have a thin group. CeeDee Lamb is very good, but Michael Gallup never was quite what they needed last season. They signed T.Y. Hilton midseason, but he, too, was not an adequate answer, and is a free agent now. That leaves WR as another position where they need to get creative. Relying on the draft is how they prefer to do things, but they would have to invest a high pick to get someone that could step in as an immediate starter.
But what if there was another way to use draft capital for a nearly sure-fire starter, someone who might give them one of the most potent one-two punches in the league? A player whose team is shopping him?
Jerry Jeudy has been a hot name this week. The Broncos’ asking price on Jeudy has been at least a first-round pick, per sources. @TheAthletic https://t.co/0hdzR8vV3D— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 15, 2023
Jeudy was drafted with the fifteenth overall pick of the 2020 NFL draft, just ahead of Lamb. His career has not gone as well, with yard totals of 856, 467, and 972 yards, and just nine touchdowns in all. He missed part of his second year on an IR stint, lowering his production. Those are not overly impressive numbers, but it is worth noting that his quarterbacks during those seasons were Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien, Teddy Bridgewater, and, last season, a clearly struggling Russell Wilson. With those QBs, he was the Bronco’s best receiver.
It is not unreasonable to think he could do a lot better with Dak Prescott. Even if Gallup is 100% this year, Jeudy would challenge for the WR2 spot.
If the Cowboys are thinking about using a high draft pick on wide receiver this year, why not look at a veteran rather than betting on a player to make the leap from the college ranks? With the Denver Broncos “assessing his value,” that price should go down. If a second-round pick could get him, it might be a good investment. If it goes lower, then Dallas really needs to get involved. As Matt Holleran discusses in another article here, the team actually has a bad history with their second-round selections. This could be a way to get more benefit with this year’s.
Since he is still on his rookie contract, his cost is low for this season, about $2.7 million. However, the Cowboys are not likely to invest much draft capital unless they plan to keep him longer than one year. They could exercise his fifth-year option, or negotiate an extension that would spread his cap cost out, just as they can with Lamb for the same effects.
And even if he were to cost their second-round pick, they are not locked in to him. The odds of him staying with the team beyond his rookie deal should not be worse than any day two selection. It also is worth remembering that they spent a first-round pick to trade for Amari Cooper, who was much better once he was on the field with Prescott than with the then Oakland Raiders. Jeudy seems no more a gamble than that.
He is a sort of mirror image of Gilmore, who cost little in draft capital but comes with a big cap hit of nearly $10 million. Gilmore was pretty clearly brought in on a one-year plan. Jeudy could be a much longer answer for the team, and a second contract would be the goal.
Before the Gilmore deal, this was not really something on the radar for the Cowboys. But even before free agency officially began, they showed more aggressiveness this year in improving the roster than we have seen in a long time. Trading for Jeudy, if it involves less than their first-round pick, seems like a smart investment.