The Dallas Cowboys’ offense lost a key contributor to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Laurent Robinson led all Dallas receivers with 11 TD’s last season. More importantly, there were times when QB Tony Romo looked more comfortable with the 3rd WR (Robinson) than either Miles Austin or Dez Bryant.
Robinson signed a 5 year, 32.5 million dollar contract with the Jaguars. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys were not interested in paying that much for a receiver who would only be #3 on the depth chart.
The Cowboys have been looking for a reliable 3rd wide-out for several years. Now that Robinson is gone, that search will continue.
Remember that the 3rd WR position is an extremely important position in today’s NFL. The Cowboys offense is based on the passing game. In order to have an effective aerial attack, the team needs 3 capable receivers. Having a 3rd receiver who Romo trusts allows him to take advantage of defensive coverages that double Austin and/or Bryant.
The 3rd WR must also be capable of assuming a larger role in the offense; both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have missed games in recent years due to injury. This means that the #3 WR could very well be the #2 receiver for at least part of the season.
The Cowboys could sign a WR in free agency, but given their salary cap restrictions, it seems more likely that they will look for a replacement in the draft or in the stable of young inexperienced receivers already on the roster.
It is unlikely that the Cowboys will spend a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round pick on a WR because they have too many other holes to fill, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Similarly, they have two top-tier WR’s already in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, so it is unlikely that they can afford to pay for another top-notch receiving prospect.
If they do draft a WR in the 4th round or later, it is very unlikely that the player would be ready to start in September 2012. It is therefore possible that the Dallas Cowboys 3rd WR may already be on the roster.
Remember that Jerry Jones decided not too tender a contract offer to restricted free agents Kevin Ogletree or Jesse Holley. Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones had to have known that Laurent Robinson might leave in free agency, but they still decided not to extend an offer to Holley or Ogletree. This suggests that they believe that they can fill Robinson’s spot with someone better than either Ogletree or Holley. Jerry Jones was quoted as saying that he believes the “next Laurent Robinson is already on the roster.”
When asked about whether the Cowboys would try to sign a free agent WR, Jerry Jones said:
“You never rule out getting better. I will say this: We’re very comfortable with the young players we have coming. Andre Holmes, Radway, Harris, those are guys who have a bright future with us. Yet, we still have other ways we can acquire talent.” (from dallascowboys.com)
All of that begs the question: which WR on the current roster is most likely to become the 3rd WR?
The Cowboys currently have 4 very young and inexperienced (none of them have a reception in a regular season NFL game) receivers under contract: (to read the rest of this story, click here to go to SportDFW)