Dallas Cowboys: Arrelious Benn

Eight in the Box: WR status check

March, 30, 2013
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How do the Cowboys look at wide receiver and what still needs to be done?

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant broke out in a huge way in the second half of his third NFL season and finished the year with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. If he can keep himself in one piece, he's one of the top wideouts in the league. Miles Austin is the perfect complement on the other side -- good enough that defenses have to pay attention to him but not the kind of guy who's going to complain if Bryant gets more catches. Austin has to keep his hamstrings healthy, and if he does the Cowboys have a top one-two wide receiver combo. Dwayne Harris came on strong last year as a No. 3 wide receiver, and guys such as Cole Beasley and Danny Coale could provide intriguing depth. Dallas could look to add a veteran wide receiver to its mix heading into training camp in case the young guys don't produce, but it's not a high-priority issue.

To see what the other NFC East teams look like at WR, click here.

Eight in the Box: FA winners or losers?

March, 22, 2013
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» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at whether each NFC East team has been a winner or a loser in free agency:

Dallas Cowboys: Loser. The only significant free-agent move the Cowboys have made is the franchising of Anthony Spencer, who will be one of the starting defensive ends in their new 4-3 defensive alignment. Even if you like that move, you have to acknowledge that its $10.6 million cost has worked as a detriment for a team that had no cap room to start with. The Cowboys still need a lot of help on the offensive line and at safety but have been unable to maneuver around the cap. Their inability so far to reach agreement on a long-term deal with quarterback Tony Romo -- a move that would reduce his 2013 cap cost -- has also deprived them of the ability to address needs so far. The Cowboys haven't lost any significant pieces in free agency, but a lack of flexibility compounded by $5 million in leftover cap penalties has kept them from adding where they need to add.

New York Giants: Winner. I mean, not in the same way that teams like the Seahawks or the Chiefs have been winners, but in their own, Giant-like way. Replacing tight end Martellus Bennett with Brandon Myers at low cost, re-signing left tackle Will Beatty before the market opened, signing Keith Rivers and Dan Connor at linebacker ... nothing that's going to knock your socks off, but some targeted, low-financial-impact moves designed to keep the program winning. The Giants still could turn out to be losers if they don't do at least some work on the offensive line. And I think it's possible they'll end up missing safety Kenny Phillips more than they think. But to this point, they're operating their offseason the way they like to operate it. Low-key but productive.

Philadelphia Eagles: Winner. Again, we're operating on a curve here. This division in general has not been the league's most exciting since the start of the free-agency period. But the Eagles have added two starting safeties (Patrick Chung and Phillips, on a low-risk/high-reward deal), two starting cornerbacks (Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher), pass-rusher Connor Barwin, a versatile fullback/tight end type in James Casey and a big, 24-year-old wide receiver in Arrelious Benn. The Eagles still have plenty of cap room with which to pursue the right tackle they need, and they've addressed enough positions to allow them flexibility with the No. 4 pick in next month's draft. No one can predict how their new additions will play, but they do seem to have targeted and acquired the players they wanted.

Washington Redskins: Loser. They've actually done well to hold together as much of their division-champion team as they have, considering the $18 million in cap penalties they're still dealing with this year. But they had to cut cornerback DeAngelo Hall, lost special-teams captain Lorenzo Alexander, and have yet to re-sign tight end Fred Davis. More importantly, though, they still have major needs in the secondary and have been unable to land the free safety or the starting cornerback they need. E.J. Biggers is probably better as a No. 3 cornerback, though at this point he may project as one of their starters. The good thing is that the safety and cornerback market still has lots of options, and the prices aren't going up. But the Redskins have no first-round pick next month, so they have some challenges ahead.

More shuffling at WR for Buccaneers

September, 21, 2012
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The revolving door at wide receiver continues for the Buccaneers.

The team just announced it has placed receiver Sammie Stroughter on injured reserve and signed receiver Chris Owusu.

That comes in a week in which the team signed receivers Tiquan Underwood and Jordan Shipley and released Preston Parker. Stroughter was used as a backup receiver and punt returner in the first two games, but suffered a foot injury.

Owusu comes from San Diego’s practice squad after spending the preseason with San Francisco. Owusu was an undrafted free agent out of Stanford this year.

The Bucs are set with Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson as their starters and are hoping Arrelious Benn can stay healthy and be the third receiver, but the Bucs need some of the new guys to step up and provide depth.

Believe it or not, WR is a priority

April, 1, 2010
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When it comes to roster moves involving wide receivers, Jerry Jones ought to be considered the opposite of E.F. Hutton.

When Jerry talks, don’t bother listening.

He’s fibbed – or maybe just changed his mind – too many times when talking about receivers. Recent examples include raving about the impact Terry Glenn would make before releasing him as training camp opened, shooting down Roy Williams trade rumors before pulling the trigger on the blockbuster deal and all but guaranteeing the return of T.O. before breaking up with him via tablecloth.

So when Jerry said the week after the season ended that he’d sleep well if the Cowboys didn’t draft a receiver, it was reasonable to believe that receiver ranked near the top of the team’s list of priorities.

Judging by the Valley Ranch visits, that certainly seems to be the case. Four of Scouts, Inc.’s top 10 receivers – Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant, Illinois’ Arrelious Benn, Ohio’s Taylor Price and LSU’s Brandon LaFell – were guests of the Cowboys this week. Two more in the top 15 – Kansas’ Dezmon Briscoe of Cedar Hill and SMU’s Emmanuel Sanders – are expected to contribute in Dallas Day at Valley Ranch next week.

And if Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas is still available at No. 27, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys grab him.

This has nothing to do with Miles Austin’s status as a restricted free agent. The Cowboys plan to keep Austin for a long time. When was the last time Jerry failed to lock up a guy he was determined to keep in Dallas? The Austin deal will get done, whether it happens before the season or not.

Using a premier pick on a receiver is about providing Tony Romo with an array of weapons throughout his prime. It’s also about preparing for the departure of Roy Williams.

Jerry has publicly and repeatedly expressed confidence that Williams will morph into the star they thought they were getting from Detroit. Once again, believe anything Jerry says about receivers at your own risk.

Drafting a wide receiver in first round

March, 19, 2010
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There is speculation regarding what the Cowboys will do in the first round of the draft.

Drafting a wide receiver in the first round appears doubtful, seeing the Cowboys haven't done it since they took Alvin Harper in the 1991 draft, as the 12th overall selection. (That same year, the Cowboys took Russell Maryland, No. 1 overall.)Dez Bryant, according to his agent, Eugene Parker, will visit Valley Ranch on April 1. Now this doesn't mean the Cowboys will draft him in the first round. Bryant is projected as the first wideout taken in 2010. But taking a wide receiver in the first round has its issues.

"On wide receivers there are more busts in the first round than the majority of other positions," ESPN's Todd McShay said. "That’s reason No. 1. Reason No. 2 is almost more important to me, is that it is not one of the positions of value. If you’re drafting in the first round, especially high in the first round, when the money is so overwhelming and can cripple you if you make a mistake. Or even if you get a solid player in a position that’s not one of ‘the big fours’ as I like to call it, I really think it can set your organization back."

Jerry Jones doesn't like to do it for financial reasons, we understand that. Why kick out big money to a wide receiver when you can't get a return on it until three or maybe four years down the line.

Now this not to say the Cowboys are not interested in drafting a wide receiver. Arrelious Benn, Demaryius Thomas and Carlton Mitchell are some of the names being thrown out among agents that the Cowboys are targeting.

Will it happen in the later rounds of the draft? Stay tuned.
Jerry Jones has this deal about using a high-draft pick on a wide receiver.

He doesn't like it because too much money would get spent on a wide receiver who can't develop until three or maybe four years down the line.

That's just the way he sees it.

But that could change, slightly. Now, I don't believe the Cowboys will use a first round pick or even second round pick on a wide receiver. The third round might be a spot where the Cowboys expend a draft pick on a wide receiver.

A trio of juniors, Illinois' Arrelious Benn, Georgia Tech's Demaryius Thomas and Carlton Mitchell from South Florida have talked to Cowboys officials the last few weeks.
It seems as if the Cowboys have more success in signing wide receivers instead of drafting or trading for them, look at Miles Austin and Roy Williams as the latest example of this.

The last time Dallas drafted a wide receiver was last year, Manuel Johnson in the seventh round, and he didn't see the field. He was on the practice squad. Before that, 2007, Isaiah Stanback, a quarterback at Washington, was converted to wideout and he struggled with injuries in his brief time with the Cowboys.

In 2006, Dallas drafted Skyler Green in the fourth round, but he didn't stick around long because the team never found a real spot for him on the oster.

In 2004, Patrick Crayton was a seventh-round pick out of Northwest Oklahoma, and guess what, he's still around.

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