Dallas Cowboys 2018 Positional Breakdown: Wide Receivers
One of the most debated positional groups for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason will be their wide receiver corps. Let’s breakdown this controversial group.
The Dallas Cowboys wide receivers in 2017 can best be described in one word: underachievers. With massive expectations placed on them and the rest of the Cowboys high-octane offense coming off a 13-3 season, last year’s version of America’s Team failed to live up to the considerable hype.
At the core of their offensive struggles was their wide receiver corps. This group of veterans did little to help second-year Dak Prescott, as their inability to gain consistent separation from defenders put their young quarterback in several difficult situations this past season.
Let’s breakdown the Cowboys current roster at the position and attempt to project some of the changes that might come this offseason.
Dez Bryant, WR
Cole Beasley, WR
Ryan Switzer, WR
Noah Brown, WR
Lance Lenoir, WR
Brian Brown, WR
K.D. Cannon, WR
2018 Free Agents
Brice Butler, WR
Bryant is scheduled to make $12.5 million in 2018, and then again in 2019. It is clear Dez will not be making that amount moving forward. Dallas must ask Bryant to take a pay cut this offseason, as his lagging production for the past three years hasn’t lived up to his massive contract. If he refuses, Dez will try his luck on the open market. And he is unlikely to see an offer anywhere close to $12.5 million if he does so.
But the Cowboys have to tread carefully here. Bryant can still be a valuable asset in Dallas. And if he is willing to work things out financially, Dez should stay in Big D. Bryant is a talented receiver that can still make big plays.
Williams signed a team-friendly four-year, $17 million deal last offseason and figures to be on the team at least another year. Beasley has one more season left on his deal in Dallas and is scheduled to make a modest 3.25 million in 2018. Although he posted near career low numbers last season, I believe there is a feeling Cole can return to form in a contract year.
Butler all but exited Dallas’ plans the minute he threw his teammates under the bus last week through various media outlets. Although he possesses the size and speed to be a unique talent, his poor hands, lack of consistency and mental errors plagued him during his time in Big D. The Cowboys should simply move on.
Rookies Switzer and Noah Brown figure to have bigger roles in 2018. Lenoir and Brian Brown were standouts in training camp and in the preseason. They’ll attempt to somehow squeeze onto the already packed active roster this upcoming season. Finally, Cannon is a speedster who might find himself in a niche role on this rather pedestrian wide receiver squad.
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The biggest offseason question mark for this positional group will be whether the Dallas Cowboys elect to spend a high draft selection on a wide receiver with eyes on replacing Dez Bryant as the team’s top receiving option or not. Although I’d love to see Dallas bring in at least two receivers to play in the top three spots within this group, the more realistic outcome is that the Cowboys keep a majority of their current players, draft a wide receiver in the top three rounds and develop him behind their veterans in his first season.