‘Notable’ WR With Dallas Ties Deemed Potential Cowboys Replacement

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could target free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders.

The Dallas Cowboys could be looking at a suitable veteran replacement for James Washington.

As noted by RJ Ochoa of SB Nation’s Blogging the Boys, three-time Pro Bowl receiver Emmanuel Sanders is a potential option for the Cowboys. Ochoa argues that despite Sanders’ advanced age — he’s 35 years old — he remains productive and is clearly signing with only contending teams towards the end of his career. Sanders played for the Buffalo Bills during the 2021 season and the New Orleans Saints in 2020.

“The last few years have still seen legitimate levels of production for Sanders despite playing for so many different teams and quarterbacks,” says Ocohoa. “In 2020 he caught 61 passes for 726 yards and five touchdowns with the New Orleans Saints meanwhile last season he hauled in 42 for 626 and four scores with the Buffalo Bills.

It is clear that Sanders is trying to latch on to teams who can have success. He played collegiately at SMU so he has familiarity with the Dallas area. This fit might make sense for all parties involved.”

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Cowboys Have Major Void After Washington’s Injury

The Cowboys will be without one of their top veteran receivers (Washington) for the next couple of months. As Todd Archer of ESPN reported on Monday, August 1, Washington will be sidelined for six-to-10 weeks due to a Jones fracture in his foot.

“The Cowboys will be without WR James Washington for 6-10 weeks because of a fractured right foot suffered Monday, according to multiple sources,” says Archer. “He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday in Dallas.”

Signing Sanders would not only fill Washington’s void, it would represent an upgrade. Although Sanders is on the verge of entering his 13th season, he remains one of the more capable secondary receivers in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, Sanders posted a 65.6 offensive grade and 67.7 receiving grade last season. Not only are those above-average grades, they’re substantially better than Washington’s numbers. Washington posted a 50.5 offensive grade and 51.1 receiving grade last season.

Among all receivers with at least 50 targets, Sanders ranked 63rd in receiving grade. On passes thrown to the veteran receiver in 2021, quarterbacks posted a 105.4 rating. Meanwhile, Washington’s quarterbacks posted an 83.9 rating on passes thrown to him.

Sanders May Be Best Free Agent Option

It’s hard to find a free agent receiver who has carved out a better all-around resume than Sanders. Not only has the veteran receiver been a No. 1 option — he posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Denver Broncos from 2014 until 2016 — he has won a Super Bowl, played in another and has appeared in the postseason on seven different occasions.

Washington was competing with rookie Jalen Tolbert for the No. 2 receiver spot for the season opener due to Michael Gallup’s injury. Projected No. 2 starter Gallup is still recovering from an ACL injury and has ruled himself out for Week 1.

With the Cowboys appearing real thin at receiver — CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown are the only receivers on the roster who have caught passes from Dak Prescott — it would only make sense for Dallas to target a receiver like Sanders.

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