Nate Burleson could make sense for Dallas

February, 14, 2014
Feb 14
1:15
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- When the Detroit Lions released safety Louis Delmas and wide receiver Nate Burleson on Thursday, most of the attention of Dallas Cowboys' fans went to Delmas.

It makes sense. The Cowboys need safety help. Delmas is young, though a bit injury prone. He had a career-high three interceptions in 2013 and was set to make $5.5 million in 2014.

Burleson
Burleson
When considering any free agent, you always have to factor in cost. There will be a team with more cap space than the Cowboys willing to pay Delmas more. I wouldn’t expect the Cowboys to be huge players in the free agent market.

To me, however, Burleson makes more sense.

Let’s go with the premise that Miles Austin will not be around in 2014. We have talked about that a few hundred times already. The Cowboys have Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams ready to be their top two wide receivers. They like Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley, but both of those players have limitations. They could look at a receiver early in the May draft, like they did in selecting Williams in the third round, but most of the time receivers don’t hit the ground running. Williams and Bryant did, however, hit the ground running in their rookie years.

To me, adding a veteran receiver makes sense should the Cowboys lose Bryant, who has had back troubles no matter how minor they have been, or Williams for a good stretch.

Burleson caught 39 passes for 461 yards and a touchdown in nine games last season. He suffered a broken forearm in a car accident when he was attempting to stop a pizza from sliding off the seat. He suffered a broken leg in 2012.

Burleson’s defense of Calvin Johnson last year came at the expense of Bryant before the Cowboys and Lions made some headlines, but it meant little.

He is 32, which might be too long in the tooth, but the connection with Scott Linehan, who is the Cowboys’ new passing game coordinator and playcaller, is interesting.

Burleson and Linehan spent five years together with the Lions, and Burleson caught 194 passes for 2,083 yards and 12 touchdowns.

His price might be a lot more palatable to the Cowboys, especially compared to what Delmas should get.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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