IRVING, Texas -- In what has to qualify as the most publicized third-receiver controversy of the NFL's modern era, Patrick Crayton continued to be a no-show at the Cowboys' organized team activities Tuesday. The good folks at NFL Live, which is anchored by Trey Wingo, even asked the NFC East blog to comment on the Crayton situation for today's show.
In short, Crayton's worried that he won't be given an honest chance to beat out rookie Dez Bryant or veteran Roy Williams for playing time based on how much money (and attention) the organization has invested in those players. And by the way, Crayton's absolutely right. There's no question that he's a better receiver than Williams, but then, he's not guaranteed $9 million this season. The Cowboys could use Crayton as an extra body in training camp and then decide to dump him and his $2 million salary before the regular season.
So you can see why Crayton's in no hurry to participate in voluntary practices when he'd basically serve as an insurance policy for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. As he told ESPN 103.3's "Ben and Skin Show" on Friday, Crayton's hoping the Cowboys will simply release him and allow him to sign with a team that has an obvious need at receiver. And that's what other teams around the league are waiting on as well. On Tuesday afternoon, I reached out to Crayton's agent, Fred Lyles, to see if he'd shed some light on the situation.
"This is like interviewing for a job, and the positions already being filled," said Lyles of Crayton's situation. "Dez is going to be on the team no matter how he performs. Roy's going to be on the team no matter how he performs. And it's the same thing with Miles [Austin]."
Lyles said that Crayton doesn't want his family to be in limbo in terms of where they'll be living this September. Honestly, I can see both sides of this issue. The Cowboys know that Crayton's a very reliable receiver who could help them in a pinch, so they don't want to give him up for nothing. Other teams look at the Cowboys' depth at receiver, and they don't feel the need to move a draft pick for him.
Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com thinks that Crayton could hurt the club's chemistry if he remains on the roster while not receiving much playing time. I disagree with that assessment. Crayton fell under the spell of T.O. when he was with the team, but now that's not an issue. If Crayton's on the roster, I think he'll conduct himself in a professional manner. And given Williams' penchant for dropping balls and the inexperience of Bryant, I think the Cowboys would eventually get Crayton back in the rotation.
Now I'm curious to hear what you guys think. Are you tired of the Crayton saga? If I decided to write the definitive Crayton biography this offseason, would you wait in line at Barnes and Noble to buy it?