The Dallas Cowboys made a seemingly minor move with the signing of wide receiver KaVontae Turpin who spent time in the USFL, the Spring League, and the European League of Football. However, what may seem though like a small signing to some is quite a big move by this Dallas front office.
For starters, the Cowboys are able to fill a position that they have been testing out during every offseason workout program — a return man. Plus, his speed and playmaking ability with the football in this hand and open field in front of him is quite a site to behold and should be a concern for special teams coordinators the Cowboys face this season.
The reigning MVP for the USFL led the league in punt return average. During his time with the TCU Horned Frogs, he returned 71 kickoffs for 1,985 yards, averaged 28 yards per attempt (with two touchdowns), and had 52 punt returns for 741 yards with a 14.3-yard average and 4 touchdowns. These are all impressive numbers and something that John “Bones” Fassell will gladly utilize on special teams.
Why signing KaVontae Turpin is a bigger deal than some Cowboys fans may think
But that’s not really the most interesting reason why the Cowboys signed Turpin, in my opinion, and head coach Mike McCarthy may have hinted at the second reason for this signing when he said the USFL WR has “some Tony Pollard type traits”. Pretty high praise for a player that hasn’t taken a snap in the NFL.
What if this signing by the Cowboys is as much of an insurance policy as it is the signing of a potential special teams ace? Turpin can give the Cowboys some offensive wiggle room if he is able to perform at a high level for this team.
They could have the ability to protect themselves down the line this offseason with Pollard becoming a free agent and Ezekiel Elliott’s future with the team coming into question after the season thanks to his massive contract. We’ve seen how banged up the RB1 has been over the past few seasons for the Cowboys, and we also know that the Cowboys coaching staff is focused on getting the ball in Pollard’s hands more this season than ever before.
With the signing of Turpin, it seems like Dallas is protecting themselves if either Elliott or Pollard goes down with an injury this season as well. Turpin showed in college that he can make plays in the passing game as well as on the ground when called upon. That versatility gives the Cowboys avenues to fill injury holes quickly.
If Elliott goes down, Pollard can slide into the starting running back role and Turpin can fill in for Pollard as the scatback/slot receiver and vice versa. If Pollard goes down, Turpin steps right in to fill his role and the offense can keep clicking without missing a beat.
This signing also gives the Cowboys the ability to put two speedy receivers on the field, making this offense even more dangerous with their matchup potential with both Pollard and Turpin on the field at the same time.
Now, it is up to Turpin to learn as much of the playbook as possible so he can make more of an immediate impact on this offense and solidify his place on the roster.