Dallas Cowboys fans and analysts expressed their concerns about wide receiver depth, and the front office finally listened. With the departures of both Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, the Cowboys knew they were headed into 2022 without key pieces of the 2021 WR corps. Add to that the fact that Michael Gallup will miss an unknown amount of games due to his ACL tear, and the worry was palpable.
While some hoped for names like Odell Beckham Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.Y. Hilton, Julio Jones, or other star names, the front office delivered an answer for WR depth from outside the NFL.
On Thursday, the team announced they’d be signing WR KaVontae Turpin out of the USFL. The Cowboys released fullback Nick Ralston in order to make room for the former New Jersey General. Dallas brought the 5-9, 155-pound athlete to the Star in Frisco before training camp for a workout, and they were clearly impressed with what they saw.
The 26-year-old was the 2022 USFL MVP thanks to his playmaking speed and agility. In the USFL’s inaugural season, Turpin led the league with 540 receiving yards and 316 yards after the catch. This now marks the second USFL MVP the Cowboys have added, with the other being Herschel Walker back in 1985.
Perhaps the biggest upside to bringing Turpin onto the roster isn’t necessarily his WR play, but rather his punt and kickoff returning skills. He was the only player in the USFL to score a punt return touchdown. At TCU, the former Horned Frog had six return touchdowns to go along with an average of 14.3 yards per punt return and 28 yards per kick return.
Cowboys add USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin to the roster to help with WR depth
With James Washington still appearing to be dealing with injury and Jalen Tolbert never having played a game in the NFL, the Cowboys certainly need help in the first couple of weeks, and CeeDee Lamb can’t do it all.
The question about who will be returning kicks for the Cowboys may finally be solved. Turpin’s punt return ability can give Lamb and Tony Pollard more rest to do the heavy leg work when Dallas is on offense.
However, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. If you’re wondering why Turpin has had a hard time making it into the NFL, it’s likely because (and this seems to be a common issue with Cowboys additions) of some very serious off-the-field issues he had during his time at TCU.
In 2018, he was released from the team after two domestic violence charges. In March of 2018, he was charged with battery assault against his girlfriend. Six months later, he was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge against the same girlfriend. He pled guilty and now has to serve two years of deferred adjudication probation as well as complete a 27-week Partner Abuse Intervention Program.
Hopefully, his off-field issues are behind him, because the staff seems excited about his talents. Mike McCarthy said Turpin is a “dynamic with the ball in his hands” and has “Tony Pollard-type traits.”