The Dallas Cowboys recently made a trade to improve their run defense with the acquisition of former Las Vegas Raider defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. Now, will the Cowboys brass do the same to improve their passing offense?
With the NFL trade deadline next Tuesday, Nov. 1, many are speculating about a potential addition the Cowboys could make to address their lackluster wide receiver corps. This offseason, Dallas parted ways with former number one wide receiver Amari Cooper. And it now appears their passing game is suffering for that decision.
Entering Week Eight, the Cowboys’ passing attack rank 27th in the NFL averaging a meager 183.3 passing yards per game. Albeit all but two of those contests had backup quarterback Cooper Rush starting under center, anyone who has actually watched the team this year has witnessed first hand the inconsistent receiver play in Dallas this season.
The Cowboys simply don’t have anyone who has stepped up to be the dominant receiver threat that opposing defenses are actually scared of. And the oerall depth at the position is also a concern.
Current No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb figured to step up his game after the Cowboys traded away Cooper this offseason. But so far Lamb failed to do so. The third-year wideout has suffered from drops, an inability to get separation from defenders, and a near refusal to high point or attack the ball in the air.
Wide receiver Michael Gallup is still working his way back from an ACL injury that forced him to miss the first three games of this season. He’s coming off a disappearing act against the Detroit Lions that saw him only targeted twice by quarterback Dak Prescott, and posting zero receptions against the NFL’s worst defense.
Wide out Noah Brown has shown flashes of his delayed potential with Rush at quarterback, but now figures to fade more into his primary blocker role with Prescott starting under center. Brown had a chance to get the Cowboys near the goal line on a big play against the Lions at the end of the first half, but he fumbled it away after being flipped upside down, costing the team critical points in a close contest.
Simi Fehoko, Jalen Tolbert, James Washington, and KaVontae Turpin round out the rest of the receiver depth chart in Dallas. Fehoko was recently placed on Injured Reserve with a suspected shoulder injury.
Tolbert is a third-round rookie who apparently isn’t ready to contribute yet. Washington has yet to play for the Cowboys due to a foot injury. And Turpin’s diminutive size (5-9, 153 lb) makes his nothing more than a gadget player in this offense.
Based on the current status of their receiver corps, Dallas would be wise to explore a trade to add quality depth at the position. And the best overall option may be a very familiar name. And that’s Cedrick Wilson Jr.
When the Cowboys traded away Cooper this offseason, they also lost Wilson to free agency. The former sixth-round selection out of Boise State that played his first four seasons as a pro in Dallas, signed a three-year, $22.8 million deal to join the Miami Dolphins earlier this year. That contract included $12.75 million guaranteed.
Unfortunately, Wilson has struggled to find a role in Miami and is averaging just 15 offensive snaps per game through his first half of the season with the Dolphins. He’s been targeted just seven total times so far, recording four receptions for 40 yards.
Last season, Wilson had a breakout performance in Dallas. He posted 45 receptions for 602 yards and six touchdowns. His elevated performance helped Prescott also record career numbers as one of six Cowboy players to be targeted 60 or more times by Dak in the passing game.
Wilson returning to Dallas makes sense on several fronts. He obviously has an already established connection with Prescott and knows the offensive scheme very well. Wilson would likely take over as your No.. 3 option and provide instant help at a position of need.
The soon-to-be 27-year old receiver also has experience as a special team returner, posting 11 punt returns for the Cowboys in 2021. And Dallas just lost their backup punt returner for the rest of the year as cornerback Jourdan Lewis suffered a season-ending Lisfranc fracture foot injury this past weekend against Detroit.
As for trade compensation for Wilson, Marcus Mosher of the Locked On Cowboys podcast shared the idea of giving up the exact same compensation the Cowboys are expected to get for losing Cedrick to free agency in the first place.
” … when I asked PFF Brad about what would be the cost to go get [Cedrick Wilson], he said ‘Why don’t you just give Miami the compensatory pick that you are going to get for Cedrick Wilson, which is like a sixth-round pick, right? Basically just swap it back.’ I was like, you know what, that’s great. If it costs me a sixth-round pick to improve my wide receiver corps, I’m doing that in a heartbeat.”Marcus Mosher via the Locker On Cowboys podcast
While fans of the Dallas Cowboys likely want the team to make a move for a much bigger name like D.J. Moore or Odell Beckham Jr., Cedrick Wilson Jr. checks a lot of the boxes the team needs without the massive contract or trade compensation it might take to acquire the others. And Wilson’s return could right a wrong that the Cowboys made in letting him hit free agency in the first place.