Dallas Cowboys: Who will step up at slot receiver in 2019?
By Jack Baker
The Dallas Cowboys now veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley in free agency as he signed a four-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. Who can take Beasley’s place?
Cole Beasley wanted to get paid. And he did. The Dallas Cowboys wanted to keep the veteran wideout but in the end, the Buffalo Bills struck a deal with Beasley on a new four-year, $29 million contract.
As the departure of Beasley was not unexpected, the Cowboys’ front office must fill the void of slot receiver this offseason. Let us take a look at a few options that are on the roster right now,
The Cowboys’ receiving corps has a few options for a slot receiver that is on the roster. Wide receiver Tavon Austin fit the slot receiver mold as a short, speedy receiver that relies on his quickness to get open a regular basis.
The Cowboys decided to re-sign Austin on Thursday, so he could be the option for the slot receiver for 2019. But it will not just be handed to him. Tavon made most his plays in the wide receiver position while being lined up on the outside.
While being on the outside, Austin got his money’s worth being a deep threat burning by corners. But he must prove in training camp that he can get open on a consistent basis while being lined up on the inside.
The second option for the slot receiver position would be star wideout, Amari Cooper. Some may question Cooper in the slot but hear me out. He would not be the every-down slot receiver that Beasley was. But if the Cowboys can commit to putting Amari in the slot on a consistent basis, it could greatly benefit both him and the Cowboys’ offense.
With Cooper being the tremendous route runner he is, he could get open from the slot time and time again. Moving him inside would create consistent mismatches for opposing defenses.
The Cowboys featured Cooper in the slot position at times in 2018, but with Beasley now being gone, look for Amari to potentially be playing in the slot more often while receivers Michael Gallup, Austin, and Allen Hurns on the outside.
The final in-house option is wide receiver Allen Hurns. Hurns signed a two-year deal last offseason. After a disappointing 2018 season where he only caught 20 balls for 295 yards and two touchdowns, the veteran receiver suffered a gruesome leg injury in the Wild Card round versus the Seattle Seahawks. But surprisingly Hurns is projected to be back by training camp.
Cowboys’ executive vice president, Stephen Jones, has even hinted at Allen Hurns being an option at slot receiver. No matter if Dallas decides to stay in-house or look into the draft or free agency for a slot receiver, I believe the Cowboys’ offense will not struggle due to the lose of Cole Beasley.