The topic of the Dallas Cowboys‘ wide receiver corps has been a major area of concern this summer. That after the team parted ways with both Amari Cooper (traded) and Cedrick Wilson Jr. (free agent) in the offseason. Throw in the fact Michael Gallup is still working his way back from an ACL injury, and the depth chart behind starter CeeDee Lamb is worrisome heading into Week One’s regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday night.
But based on his usage in the preseason, it was presumed 2022 third-rounder Jalen Tolbert would be assuming No. 2 wide receiver duties in place of Gallup. Or, at the very least, be heavily involved in the passing offense with the Bucs’ defense undoubtedly focusing their efforts on limited Lamb.
Now, there could be a reason to believe Tolbert might be deemed inactive for the matchup against Tampa Bay. And that his up-and-down performance this preseason may have been an indication he’s not ready to contribute on the level many had hoped.
The rumor of the possibility that Tolbert could essentially be benched Week One comes from a Tweet by Bryan Broaddus, formerly of DallasCowboys.com (still appearing on the Cowboys Break podcast) and now a part of GBagNation over on 105.3 The Fan. Broaddus explained that he’s hearing it could come down to two rookie wideouts vying for the final spot on the active roster.
If this is true, there could have been a wide receiver depth chart shake up in Dallas … or we were simply wrong about the order. In any case, if Tolbert is indeed made inactive for Week One, it’s a disappointing start to his career but certainly not the end of it. Starting against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in prime time on Sunday Night Football is a big stage to ask anyone to perform under, much less a Day Two rookie playing in his first regular contest.
It makes sense that the Cowboys might choose to go with veterans like Noah Brown and Simi Fehoko over Tolbert due to their experience alone. Fellow rookie wideout KaVontae Turpin secured his spot on the active roster with his two touchdown performance on special teams in the preseason as a returner.
Perhaps undrafted rookie Dennis Houston won the favor of quarterback Dak Prescott over Tolbert this summer. Houston might also be considered a better fit in the slot, although there’s a chance running back Tony Pollard could also be filling in there as well.
In the end, it’s only speculation at this point. But the idea makes sense considering the rookie’s inconsistent preseason performance. Regardless, we’ll have the answer soon enough with the Dallas Cowboys’ home opener being only a day away.