The Dallas Cowboys are pursuing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency, but they should at least consider a former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver instead.
The Cowboys are now 8-3 on the season after a Thanksgiving win over the New York Giants, and the view of the playoffs is starting to come into focus. But if Dallas is looking to add reinforcements for a playoff push, there are other options than Beckham.
The Atlanta Falcons turned heads on November 25 when they released wide receiver Bryan Edwards, who they had traded a fifth-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders just this past May. Now, the third-year receiver is a free agent and without a team.
Beckham is obviously the much more prominent name, plus the experience of winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams last season. That being said, OBJ will be more expensive and is also coming off a major ACL injury.
Should Dallas decide a different route or lose the Beckham sweepstakes to the Giants or another NFL team, Edwards’ first few years in the NFL have shown a player with major upside going forward.
Edwards Shines with Raiders, Stumbles with Falcons
After four years at South Carolina and 3045 receiving yards, Edwards entered the 2020 NFL draft as a well-respected prospect, but not a guy that was going to be lighting up draft boards. But the Raiders liked what they saw in the 6’3″ receiver and took him in the third round.
Edwards worked his way into the Raiders’ plans over the course of his rookie season, but played a fairly minor role. According to Pro Football Reference, the 24-year-old played in 12 total games and brought down 11 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown.
2021 was a different story. Edwards took the opportunity to move up a lackluster receiver group in Las Vegas, becoming a major factor with 571 receiving yards and three touchdowns over 16 appearances.
Edwards averaged a whopping 17 yards per catch while in Las Vegas, but they elected to bail out as they pivoted for the 2022 season and trade him to Atlanta. His time with the Falcons was far from what either side hoped, as Edwards appeared in seven games and made three catches for 15 yards.
Cowboys Can Make a ‘Steal’
There’s no doubt that Edwards’ time in Atlanta is a red flag. After his best NFL season, he has completely flopped in a new environment. But another fresh start is likely what the wide receiver needs, and the Cowboys won’t be risking much by signing him.
Edwards was on his rookie contract with both Atlanta and Las Vegas, making an APY of $1.55 million according to Over the Cap. After his disastrous time with the Falcons, his next NFL contract will either be the minimum salary or something just a little bit above it.
Compared to Beckham who is asking for a multi-year, high-value contract, signing Edwards for cheap makes more sense from a financial perspective.
It’s a gamble to sign a player when his stock is at his lowest, but Edwards is less than a year removed from a very impressive season with the Raiders. If OBJ isn’t available or his contract demands are too high, the Cowboys could do much worse than Edwards.