Dallas Cowboys: Lee Evans

Free-agency series: Wide receivers

March, 10, 2013
3/10/13
11:30
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Ninth in a 10-part series breaking down the Cowboys' free-agency needs, position by position:

Wide receivers


SportsNation

Who will lead the Cowboys in receptions next season?

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    2%
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    62%
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    36%
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    0%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,953)

Who’s on the roster: Anthony Armstrong, Miles Austin, Cole Beasley, Tim Benford, Dez Bryant, Danny Coale, Jared Green, Dwayne Harris and Carlton Mitchell.

Analysis: Bryant emerged last season as one of the top weapons on offense. It will be interesting to see how his relationship with new receivers coach Derek Dooley develops. Bryant had solid relationships with previous receivers coaches Ray Sherman and Jimmy Robinson. Austin continues to frustrate the Cowboys with his nagging leg injuries, but he's a force when healthy. Austin coming up with zero catches in both Washington Redskins games last season is puzzling and can't happen again against an NFC East rival. Harris gained more playing time late in the season when Kevin Ogletree dealt with injuries and inconsistent play. Beasley has a solid chance to become a slot receiver who makes plays.

NFL free agents of interest: Ogletree, Lee Evans and Kassim Osgood.

Need meter: 3. The Cowboys don't need a veteran receiver to stunt the growth of their younger players. If the team wants a veteran, maybe Ogletree returns and perhaps Osgood can be picked up and contribute on special teams. But with talented players like Bryant, Austin and Harris improving, there shouldn't be a big need at this position. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to draft a receiver as a safety net in case Harris doesn't develop as hoped or Austin's injury issues crop up again.

SMU's Sterling Moore talks about Super Bowl

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
3:10
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Sterling Moore's journey to the NFL is testament to his commitment to fulfilling a dream.

Now that dream has Moore in the Super Bowl as the New England Patriots' safety.

Moore, who got spot duty during the season and finished with seven tackles and two interceptions, made the play of the postseason in a sense when he knocked a potential touchdown pass out of the arms of Baltimore's Lee Evans in the AFC title game.

"I don’t think about it," Moore told reporters this week at the Super Bowl, where the Patriots will play the New York Giants. "I think there’s a lot of plays that helped us get here. [Brandon] Spikes’ interception and the way Vince [Wilfork] played that game; I’m just glad I had an opportunity to make a play."

Moore's road to the Patriots and SMU, where he played college football, started in California.

He played at Laney Junior College in Oakland, and after being named a California All-JUCO selection, hr accepted a scholarship to play for Hofstra in New York.

"It was about four years ago, I was working at Best Buy and playing junior college football at the same time," Moore said. "Four years have gone by fast. It’s been a long road and I’m grateful for the opportunity."

But Hofstra terminated its football program and Moore went to SMU. He suffered a knee injury his senior season but still had a goal of making the NFL.

Moore, who went undrafted, signed with the Oakland Raiders practice squad but was cut after a few weeks.

"I was just hoping I’d get another opportunity," he said. "I called [SMU coach June Jones] as soon as I got cut and he told me not to worry about it and that I was good enough to play in this league. I’m sure he put some calls out, which has something to do with me being here. All I needed was an opportunity."

In early October, Moore signed with the Patriots practice squad. He was cut, re-signed to the practice squad again and then moved to the active roster in Week 10 after safety Patrick Chung injured his foot.

After that, he remained on the active roster and became a contributor.

"It’s been a roller coaster," Moore said. "I just try not to think about it right now, especially with this game Sunday. It’ll be something I’ll think about definitely after the season and kind of reflect on how I got here. But now I’m just looking forward to the Giants."

Random Thoughts: Giants tougher than Cowboys

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
10:00
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We're a work week away from the NFC and AFC title games and it's amazing what we've learned in just two weeks of the postseason. Here are my thoughts.

1. The Giants are a mentally tough team. More so than the Cowboys. Do you really believe the Cowboys could have gone into Lambeau Field and beat the Green Bay Packers like the Giants did on Sunday? Really? The Giants never gave up hope during their late-season dive, and still believed they could beat the Cowboys, which they did twice in a 30-day span to close the season. The Giants have an elite quarterback, Eli Manning, and a pass rush that isn't centered around one player, much like the Cowboys' and DeMarcus Ware. Moving forward, the Cowboys need to improve the offensive line, secondary, pass rush and find depth at wide receiver. Things the Giants already have. That tells you how far the Cowboys are from the Giants.

2. It's good to see Laurent Robinson wants to return to the Cowboys. What do you pay him? Robinson should be a highly sought after wide receiver when free agency starts in March. You have to look at a few salaries of some No. 3 receivers and see if the Cowboys want to pay Robinson something similar. Earl Bennett of Chicago singed a five-year, $18.5 million deal with $9 million guaranteed. Is Robinson better than Bennett? What about Jacoby Jones of Houston, who signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with $3 million guarantee with Houston? Jason Avant of Philadelphia inked a five-year $18 million contract with $8 million guaranteed in 2010. Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers signed a four-year, $13.9 million deal with $5 million guaranteed including $3.5 million to sign. I wonder if the Baltimore Ravens are interested in Robinson? The Ravens might not pick up Lee Evans' $1 million roster bonus, due March 17. The Cowboys have a big decision to make here at wideout because the depth is lacking.

3. Todd Archer wrote a good post last week about the interior of the Cowboys offensive line. The hiring of Bill Callahan last week confirms the Cowboys think he can help younger players improve more so than previous line coach Hudson Houck. Houck's ability to work with young linemen was questioned, but you must give him credit for the development of Doug Free and Tyron Smith. While Free regressed in 2011, Smith emerged as a talented player who must play the left tackle spot in 2012. Callahan has some young talent to work with at guard/center from Kevin Kowalski, Phil Costa, Bill Nagy and David Arkin. It appears the Cowboys might draft a guard/center in the draft. If so, it should make for an interesting competition in the middle in 2012.

4. If the Cowboys don't re-sign Robinson, this is the depth chart at wideout: Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Andre Holmes, Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway. Think the Cowboys have a better group of receivers than say the Eagles? Giants? Packers? Saints? Robinson has the leverage here which could mean a contract which benefits him. If you're wondering, Kevin Ogletree and Jesse Holley are free agents and it doesn't appear they will return in 2012.

5. If the Cowboys don't re-sign Abram Elam at strong safety, Gerald Sensabaugh isn't the answer. He seemed to play better at free safety. If the Cowboys move him back to strong safety, he could have problems especially if the Cowboys have a younger player at free safety. The Cowboys tried Alan Ball at free safety in 2010, and were met with major, major issues.

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