We asked the Cowboys to attack their needs and improve the roster this offseason and they surely have done that in spades. The way the Cowboys have smartly approached their roster construction since the season ended deserves nothing but praise. To bring in Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore at the value they did was nothing short of masterful and the type of things we’ve asked for this front office to do for years now. Add in the fact they were able to re-sign guys like Leighton Vander Esch, Jonathan Hankins, and Donovan Wilson among others, and it’s very hard to not feel really good about what has been done so far.
As the league year continues to fly by, the days of the impactful trade moves and free agent signings have halted, or at least have come to a slow crawl. All eyes are on the young prospects and the draft at the end of the month with the bulk of the remaining work to be done for the league in that area of roster building.
While we are excited about the new pieces added and the new ones to come, this Cowboys roster is loaded with intriguing prospects that can help this team, some of whom either were limited, or had no role to speak of, but could very well make an impact on this roster going forward if given the opportunity.
With that in mind, here’s a dark horse prospect to be WR4 in 2023:
We are all in agreement that if given the opportunity the Cowboys should, and most certainly will, continue to add pieces to the wide receiver room to upgrade the spot, but within the room now is a very intriguing prospect in Antonio Callaway who may be able to provide some production if called upon.
Callaway’s NFL journey hasn’t been an easy one, with the story of self-inflicted off the field issues starting back when he was in college and continuing into his professional life. Callaway has been suspended for a total of 18 games in his career due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and last saw action in an NFL game in 2020 as a member of the Miami Dolphins where he played in five games, starting one. The Cowboys are Callaway’s fourth NFL team in six years with a stop in Tampa Bay to be a member of the XFL’s Vipers in 2019.
The talent is noted and undeniable, and seems like the only person or thing in Antonio Callaway’s way to success has been Antonio Callaway. Coming into his draft, the talent was well-documented but many around the league understood the buyers beware tag associated with him. It made him slip to the fourth round as a result.
Antonio Callaway pre-draft scouting report according to Lance Zierlein:
Make no mistake about it, if Callaway had put together a trouble-free 2017 with even average production, he would be one, big Combine performance away from being one of the more buzzed about talents at the receiver position in this draft. However, his character concerns are at a point where they could derail any opportunity for a career. His talent and explosiveness gives him a good shot at making a roster at some point, but being able to stay on track and reach his potential is starting to feel unlikely. If he pulls it together, he could become a dangerous NFL talent.
The Browns tied the game on this absurd Antonio Callaway TD... and then missed the PAT to take the lead #CLEvsNO pic.twitter.com/mW1SDBzbDQ— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 16, 2018
However, despite all of his past transgressions, he flew under the radar with no issues for the Dallas Cowboys in 2022 after he was signed to be a member of their practice squad on November 15th. Callaway never saw game action, but has been with the team since then and has an opportunity to carve out a role for himself on this roster heading into 2023.
Although he came in late and never got a chance to showcase it himself, he has a history of production and playing time as he not only has 14 career starts under his belt, but he has played in 25 games and has been productive while doing so. Callaway’s best season by far was his rookie year. In 2018 as a member of the Cleveland Browns he tallied 11 starts, 16 appearances, 43 receptions, 586 yards and five touchdowns.
The situation for the Cowboys and Callaway is a rare win-win for both parties involved. If Callaway doesn’t workout and doesn’t find a way to stick on this roster, it cost the Cowboys little to nothing to take a shot on the talent. The team in that scenario will move on and they will just look elsewhere to find the production. For Callaway it’s a chance to find solid ground with a franchise and an opportunity to come in and compete and let the on-field performance be the storyline.
Nobody is mistaking this as a needle-mover at this time. There will be bigger camp battles and more pressing issues to address, but maybe what the Cowboys have been looking for to fill out the backend of the wide receiver room is already here.