Why Cowboys May Part With Harris and Beasley in 2015


The Dallas Cowboys surprised me by drafting wide receiver Devin Street from the University of Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft. There’s nothing wrong with drafting a receiver that set a school record with 202 receptions.

Street also received second team All Big East in 2012 and All ACC honors in 2013. While he started 16 games for the Cowboys in 2014, he failed to make an impact as the fifth wide receiver with two catches for 18 yards.

The Cowboys were thinking about the future when they drafted Street. You can never fault a team for acquiring quality depth.

The Cowboys officially have four wide receivers becoming free agents: Dez Bryant, Dwayne Harris, David Little and Cole Beasley. Little was signed during the Cowboys rookie minicamp in 2011. He is a restricted free agent but never made the final roster.

The following wide receivers were on the Cowboys roster:






Cole Beasley



5′ 8”


Devin Street



6′ 3”


Dwayne Harris



5′ 10”


Terrance Williams



6′ 2”


Dez Bryant



6′ 2”


Reggie Dunn



5′ 9”


Chris Boyd



6′ 4”


Reggie Dunn and Chris Boyd are on reserve / futures contracts (explained here). Williams and Street are locked under their rookie contracts. Beasley is a restricted free agent. Bryant and Harris are unrestricted free agents.

It’s automatic that Bryant will either sign a long term contract or get the franchise tag. Teams rarely allow their number one receiver to leave. Let’s start with Harris our special teams ace who may pursued by other teams.

There was a time when punt and kick off returners were a prized and specialized possession. Harris will learn if that is still the case. His free agency status will answer the following: How much are teams willing to pay a return specialist?

Harris had the ninth most kickoff return yards (742) and the 13th highest average (24.7). He had the ninth most punt return yards (275) and ranked ninth in average too (9.2).

He’s the fourth receiver on our depth chart. It’s possible that Harris is replaced by Chris Boyd in the active roster and his return duties handed to running back Lance Dunbar.

That was hard to write because I have been a fan of Harris’ since he broke out in a preseason game against the Denver Broncos in 2011.

There’s always the talk of a hometown discount with free agents. The Cowboys drafted Harris and perhaps he takes less money to avoid relocating his family. Perhaps there aren’t any guarantees and the Cowboys offer something every player should want – a fair chance to compete for a roster spot.

There’s the chance that a team decides to over pay for the services of Cole Beasley. While the Cowboys do have the “right of first refusal”, it’s possible they could attempt to replace Beasley and Harris. It is doubtful, but stranger things have happened.

Just because a player is a restricted free agent doesn’t mean they will automatically return to their team. The Cowboys might also use Dunbar to fill Beasley’s shoes. Dunbar is a restricted free agent too, but shouldn’t command attention from other teams the way Beasley will.

There’s always quarterback / receiver chemistry to consider, but the bottom line is the bottom line. How much will the Cowboys pay for Beasley as a third down slot receiver?

The lion’s share of the receiver’s purse will go to Bryant.  If the purse strings get tightened as a result, another tall receiver in the fourth round could be an option. This would mean the Cowboys may not have a receiver under 6′ on the roster next year.

Next: Dallas Cowboys: Potential Free Agents To Keep An Eye On

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