The Dallas Cowboys’ 2022 offseason wasn’t as dreadful as fans made it out to be at the time. That’s no surprise, but fans were absolutely justified in voicing their concerns over the front office’s conservative approach. Instead of pinching pennies, why not push all your chips to the table to win a Super Bowl?
In fairness to the front office, it wasn’t a total failure. While trading Amari Cooper was unforgivable, letting Randy Gregory walk doesn’t seem so bad. While signing James Washington to be the No. 3 receiver was questionable, entrusting Terence Steele as the full-time RT was unequivocally the right call.
Perhaps nothing frustrated Cowboys fans more than the management of the wide receiver position. Trading Cooper might never be forgiven, and they bypassed countless quality free agents to before inking Washington to a one-year deal on March 18, nearly a week into the legal tampering period.
Washington marked Dallas’ first external free agent signing. Incredibly, his Cowboys tenure is already over, as the team waived Washington on Wednesday after he played just 15 combined snaps over the last four games.
The Cowboys released wide receiver James Washington.
On a positive note, Washington’s release speaks to Dallas’ conviction in TY Hilton, who’s made several clutch grabs over his first two games with the team, including a bomb on 3rd and 30 with the Cowboys trailing late vs the Eagles.
In 34 snaps, Hilton’s hauled in five catches for 102 yards. That’s good for 20.4 yards per reception, and four of his grabs have moved the chains. At least three of his first downs came on third down, too, so the four-time Pro Bowler has quickly emerged as a security blanket for Dak Prescott in high-leverage situations.
On a negative note, though, Washington’s release is a huge indictment on the 2022 offseason — more specifically the handling of the WR position. While Washington suffering a broken foot in training camp upended his season, it speaks volumes he hasn’t gotten on the field in the four games he’s been back.
The fact the Cowboys pegged Washington as the de facto No. 2 receiver behind CeeDee Lamb while Michael Gallup completed his ACL rehab is almost criminal. And that’s nothing against Washington. It’s on the front office.
While Lamb has blossomed into a legit WR1, that doesn’t paper over the fact the rest of the receiver room, including Gallup, has major question marks for 2023 and beyond.
Between DJ Chark, Zay Jones, and Russell Gage, among others, the Cowboys had ample other (cost-effective) options to choose from in free agency.
The “hindsight is 20/20” argument doesn’t apply here, either. The Washington signing didn’t move the needle at the time. While nobody expected it to blow up in Dallas’ face to this extreme, it’s not exactly a huge surprise it didn’t pan out.
Just be thankful the front office convinced Hilton to join late in the season. If not for him, the front office would be getting crucified right now.