The Dallas Cowboys will ask a lot of Allen Hurns early
The signing of wide receiver Allen Hurns by the Dallas Cowboys this offseason has suddenly changed in light of recent events in drama-filled Big D.
The Dallas Cowboys always have a major question to answer in the offseason. In 2016, it was wondering who the Cowboys were selecting with the fourth overall pick in the draft. Last year, the lingering question was about the future of longtime quarterback Tony Romo in Dallas. This year, it was months and months of talk about wide receiver Dez Bryant.
In fact, the latter’s future was still in question when the Cowboys signed free agent wide out Allen Hurns in late March. Hurns was added to the roster hoping to play alongside Bryant in Dallas.
After four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Hurns was released this offseason as a salary cap causality after signing a five-year, $41 million deal two years ago.
The Cowboys quickly scooped the free agent up, signing Hurns to a two-year, $12 million deal. The 26-year old had a breakout season in 2015, recording 64 catches for 1,031 yards and 10 scores for Jacksonville. Unfortunately, injuries have plagued Hurns the past two seasons.
Then, the Cowboys released Bryant in mid-April. Then, Terrance Williams was arrested while still recovering from a broken foot. Suddenly, Hurns has become the top receiving option in Dallas.
Throw in the unexpected retirement of tight end Jason Witten, the down season slot receiver Cole Beasley is coming off of and the fact Dallas waited until the third round to draft rookie wide out Michael Gallup; and the signing of Hurns is now cast in a drastically different light.
Hurns wasn’t added to this roster to be “the man”. But now it appears he is. Whether it was the Cowboys original intent or not, Hurns will play a significant role in passing offense in Dallas. And the team will be forced to rely on him early.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on a free agent who was released by his former team for not living up to his previous contract. But according to Hurns, he feels no pressure to have to replace anyone in Dallas.
"“I don’t feel any pressure at all,” Hurns told the Star-Telegram. “Pressure comes when people have high expectations of you. I have always held myself to a higher standard. I felt it was a big opportunity to come to Dallas to play with Dez. But with him not being here, it’s a bigger opportunity. It’s a matter of me making the most of the opportunity.”"
In the midst of all the questions circling the Cowboys’ wide receiver corps this offseason, how quickly Hurns will be asked to bare the weight of the passing game isn’t being talked about enough.
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Although Allen Hurns may have not come to Dallas to replace Dez Bryant, in many ways he is being asked to do just that. And how the veteran wide receiver responds to that opportunity could have a major impact on the Dallas Cowboys’ upcoming season.