Dallas Cowboys: Braylon Edwards

Finding vet WR help not as easy you think

September, 29, 2011
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IRVING, Texas -- After what happened Monday night against Washington with so much miscommunication between Tony Romo and his young wide receivers there has been a hue and cry for the Cowboys to go get a veteran wide receiver.

Some have asked for Randy Moss. Others have asked for T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Some even Terrell Owens, which is incredibly ridiculous if you think back to how he left here following the 2008 season.

Jason Garrett was asked about the possibility on Wednesday.

“At this point, no,” Garrett said. “We’re always on the lookout to find guys that can help our football team. That’s been an area where we have been banged up. We’ll continue to do that [look] and if there’s somebody who comes across our path that we like and we think might fit and help us, we’ll certainly look at it.”

Now, you could say the “at this point, no,” part of the quote leaves the door open. Maybe it does, but I think that would only happen if Miles Austin or Dez Bryant is lost for the year due to injury.

Finding a real contributor at this time is difficult.

I submit to you Quincy Morgan, Peerless Price and Roy Williams.

In 2004 the Cowboys acquired Morgan from Cleveland. In nine games he caught 22 passes for 260 yards and no touchdowns.

In 2005 the Cowboys signed Price, who was on the street at the time. In seven games he caught six passes for 96 yards from Drew Bledsoe, with whom he excelled in Buffalo.

In 2008 the Cowboys traded for Williams from Detroit. In 10 games he caught 19 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown.

Bringing in a veteran is not the greatest solution.

In 2007, Chris Chambers was traded from Miami to San Diego and caught 35 passes for 555 yards and four touchdowns. That’s pretty good production there. Chambers is available, too.

In 2009 Braylon Edwards caught 35 passes for 541 yards and four scores in 12 games after his trade from Cleveland to the New York Jets. That’s OK production, too, but Edwards never delivered as much as the Jets had hoped.

And let’s look at Moss. Last year he was dealt to Minnesota by New England. In four games he caught 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns before then-coach Brad Childress got tired of him and cut him. Moss then went to Tennessee and he caught six passes for 80 yards and no scores in four games.

Position Series: Wide receivers

February, 16, 2011
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Our offseason Cowboys Position Series continues with a look at the wide receivers.

Players:Roy Williams (signed through 2013), Sam Hurd (free agent), Manuel Johnson (free agent), Miles Austin (signed through 2016), Jesse Holley (free agent), Dez Bryant (signed through 2014), Kevin Ogletree (signed through 2011), Troy Bergeron (free agent)

[+] EnlargeRoy Williams
Brett Davis/US PresswireReceiver Roy Williams likely will be back with the Cowboys next season.
Top free agents:Braylon Edwards, New York Jets; Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers; Santonio Holmes, New York Jets; Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers; Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings

Top draft prospects: A.J. Green Georgia; Julio Jones, Alabama; Randall Cobb, Kentucky; Torrey Smith, Maryland; Tandon Doss, IndianaAJ

2010 review:This was a talented group. It has speed in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant along with the big play ability of Roy Williams. Williams scored five touchdowns the first five weeks of the season then disappeared. Austin had over 1,000 receiving yards and earned another Pro Bowl berth. What was telling for Austin was his 10 droops, fifth most in the NFL and he was tied for 28th in fourth quarter receiving with 18 catches for 255 yards. What can you say about Bryant? He was fantastic. He had more third down catches than Williams and more fourth quarter touchdowns than Austin. Once he masters the playbook he could be an unstoppable force. A lack of playing time hurt Sam Hurd and Kevin Ogletree last year. Hurd is a free agent and he could play for another team. Ogletree will get a chance to emerge as a receiving threat.

Offseason preview: It might be time to cut Roy Williams, but it appears he’s going to be here in 2011. The lack of a No. 3 receiver if he should go, gives him the security. But the Cowboys need to make him productive for an entire season. Bryant has to master the playbook, something he didn’t do last year and Austin was a steady threat in the passing game. Ogletree was a good route runner now he has to get more chances to do it in games. If so, he could move past Williams up the depth chart. Drafting a wide receiver isn’t out of the question, but you wonder if Jesse Holley will get opportunities to play on offense in 2011.

Need meter (1-5): 2

Free agent series: Miles Austin

March, 1, 2010
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Today we begin a five-part free-agent series on the Cowboys and what they should be doing at key positions.

First stop is Miles Austin, who is a restricted free agent wide receiver.

Should they keep him? Yes. Austin emerged with 81 catches for team highs of 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. There was a three-game stretch where Austin didn't have a catch in the first half. In that same stretch, he went two games without a catch until the fourth quarter.

[+] EnlargeMiles Austin
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesMiles Austin recorded 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 TDs last season.
Austin did produce down the stretch, with 23 catches for 321 yards in the last three weeks of the season. His speed and ability to break tackles make him a trusted receiver for quarterback Tony Romo. While Roy E. Williams struggled to find chemistry with Romo, Austin developed it, making him the No. 1 wideout on the team. The question is, can he do it again?

What to pay him? The Cowboys did not franchise Austin, which would have cost them $9.5 million. The next option is whether to place a tender offer or work out a long-term deal. Dallas could place the highest tender offer -- a first- and third-round tender -- that would net Austin $3.168 million for the 2010 season.

Another team, however, could offer Austin a contract and give up the two picks if the Cowboys decide not to match it.

The deadline for signing offer sheets for restricted free agents is April 15. If the Cowboys want to exercise the right of first refusal to Austin, they would have until April 21.

Austin could then sign a long-term contract with the Cowboys, but talks between the sides haven't started.

If the 2010 season is uncapped, it could complicate things in terms of what the Cowboys do with Austin.

"It’s all about what is in the best interests of the Cowboys as it relates to that given player," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said. "That's the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way we look at it."

Other free agents worth a look at his position: None who interest the Cowboys due to the fact they're trying to take care of Austin long-term and Williams will make just less than $13 million this season. Restricted free agents Braylon Edwards and Brandon Marshall are the top of the class, and Terrell Owens, who is unrestricted, will have a few teams interested.

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