Dallas Cowboys sign a deep threat at wide receiver

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Deonte Thompson
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Deonte Thompson /

The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver need an infusion of speed. They got just that with the signing of veteran speedster Deonte Thompson on Thursday.

Just last year, the Dallas Cowboys receiver corps was considered one of the team’s best positional groups. Today, a flurry of free agent receiver visits signals that times have changed.

The biggest storyline surrounding the Cowboys’ offseason has been the future of number one wide out Dez Bryant. Whether Dallas decides to keep Bryant at his current salary, ask him to take a pay cut or simply outright releases him has been the subject of much speculation. A week after the official start of free agency and just over a month before the draft, we still are no where closer to an answer.

As for the receivers behind Bryant on the depth chart, no one feels safe anymore. Terrance Williams signed a very team-friendly four-year, $17 million contract last year. But he also failed to score a single touchdown afterwards and his job as “number two” feels less secure than ever.

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Cole Beasley led the the Cowboys in receptions in 2016, recording 75 receptions for 833 yards and five touchdowns. But Beasley’s production took a serious dip last season, posting just 36 catches. Fourth round rookie slot receiver Ryan Switzer could end up being more of a replacement for the veteran than a complementary player. Beasley is in the final year of his current contract in Dallas.

Finally, there’s Brice Butler and Noah Brown. The latter is a seventh rounder whose main use last season was as a run blocker. Butler is currently a free agent and has likely already played his final game as a member of America’s Team.

Although the core of this receiver group remains intact, that has not stopped the Cowboys’ front office from feverishly pursuing veteran wide outs in free agency.

Most publicly, Dallas tried to sign former Los Angeles Rams’ receiver Sammy Watkins. But the three-year, $48 million contract Watkins inked with the Kansas City Chiefs was too expensive. They were rumored to be interested in signing free agent Allen Robinson as well.

This week, the Cowboys have hosted visits from free agent wide receivers like Allen Hurns, Dontrelle Inman, Justin Hunter and Deonte Thompson. On Thursday, Dallas inked Thompson to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with a $1 million signing bonus.

A six-year veteran, Thompson has spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills during his professional career. The 29-year old deep threat actually won a Super Bowl as a member of the Ravens back in 2012. Primarily a special teams returner, the speedster was the Bills’ top receiver last season, recording 27 receptions for 430 yards and a score. That’s despite the fact he didn’t join Buffalo until five games in.

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The signing of Deonte Thompson gives the Dallas Cowboys a solid replacement for Brice Butler, who struggled to find his place in the offense at times. Thompson is a more polished, experienced deep threat who made some big plays for the Bills in 2017. He averaged 15.9 yards per catch last season.