The Dallas Cowboys are still on the hunt for a receiver.
Following an offseason in which the Cowboys parted ways with Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, Dallas could use another veteran receiver to add to the fold. According to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, the Cowboys are considered a potential landing spot for seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones.
“After dealing Amari Cooper and letting Cedrick Wilson Jr. walk, Dallas is expecting more from CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, which is fine,” says Benjamin. “But Jones has the big name that’ll appeal to Jerry Jones, and he’d still be a red-zone weapon for Dak Prescott.”
Cowboys Lack Depth at Receiver
At the current moment, the Cowboys’ wide receiver depth chart after No. 1 option CeeDee Lamb looks like this: Michael Gallup, James Washington, Simi Fehoko and Noah Brown.
Gallup is expected to miss the first two-to-three games of the season as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered at the end of last season. Meanwhile, Washington is a new addition after a disappointing four-year run with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a second-round draft choice. Lastly, Fehoko doesn’t have a single reception to his career resume and Brown has just 39 career receptions for 425 yards and zero touchdowns as a reserve receiver for the Cowboys since 2017.
Jones is coming off of a disappointing one-year stint with the Tennessee Titans in which was he was limited due to injuries. The 33-year-old receiver had his worst pro season to date, posting just 31 receptions and 434 yards for one touchdown, all career-lows.
The veteran receiver was limited to just 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The Titans ended up releasing Jones at the start of free agent in March.
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Why Jones Should Appeal to the Cowboys
Adding Jones to the mix would give the Cowboys an insurance policy of sorts in a couple of different ways. For one, Jones would give Dallas that big-bodied threat in the red zone that they’re currently lacking. Lamb is no more than 200 pounds, Gallup is barely over 200 pounds and Washington is best used as a slot receiver due to his smallish frame (5-foot-11).
While Jones shouldn’t be leaned on as a go-to receiver anymore, he won’t have to play that role with the Cowboys. Both Lamb and Gallup will receive more targets in the passing game than Jones and Dalton Schultz will also be considered above the veteran receiver on the pecking order.
The injuries and age may finally be catching up to Jones, but you can’t teach size — Jones is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.
Furthermore, even during his worst season statistically, the advanced analytics paint a different picture. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones posted a 74.2 offensive grade, ranking 37th among all receivers last season. His 74.9 receiving grade actually ranked him 33rd last season.
For perspective, Jones’ advanced numbers are better than Gallup (73.4 offensive grade, 73.1 receiving grade) and Washington (52.9 offensive grade, 53.4 receiving grade). Jones would represent an insurance policy for Washington, who statistically ranked as one of the worst receivers in the NFL in 2021 (111th out of 115 receivers in offensive grade, 113th out of 117 in receiving grade).
Considering the lack of interest in Jones in the free agency market due to his age and recent production, the Cowboys could sign him to a bargain deal.
There’s no reason Dallas shouldn’t take a flier on the most accomplished receiver of the previous decade.