The Dallas Cowboys may be walking into the perfect opportunity to sign a new starting receiver in free agency, should the Minnesota Vikings release him.
Dallas has been looking to upgrade the wide receiver group for some time, even adding veteran WR T.Y. Hilton as a stop-gap in 2022. But with the free agency window approaching, they need a long-term option. That’s where Vikings WR Adam Thielen comes in.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Minnesota and Thielen could be parting ways in the near future.
“There’s a real possibility that the Vikings and Adam Thielen will part ways in the coming days, allowing the two-time Pro-Bowl WR to become a free agent, per sources,” Schefter wrote on Twitter. “The two sides will talk in coming days, but his time in Minnesota could be coming to an end.”
Thielen has two Pro Bowls to his name and has been one of the marquee receivers in the NFL over the past decade. In his early 30s and Justin Jefferson’s arrival on the Vikings has drawn attention away from his play, but Thielen would make a ton of sense as an addition to the Cowboys’ offense.
Thielen Rises with Vikings
Very few NFL fans even knew who Thielen was when he entered the league in 2013. Coming out of Minnesota State, the now 32-year-old was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vikings.
It was a slow burn for the receiver, who rode the practice squad as a rookie and didn’t total more than 150 receiving yards in either 2014 or 2015 according to Pro Football Reference. It all led to 2016 when Thielen established himself as a serious threat with 967 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Thielen followed up 2016 with back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, putting up 1276 and 1373 receiving yards in 2017 and 2018 respectively. And while that was 5-6 years ago, it’s not like Thielen hasn’t been producing in his 30s.
Over the last three years, Thielen caught 30 touchdowns, five more than the 25 he totaled in the previous five seasons. Further, he has surpassed the 700-yard mark in the last two years.
Thielen is no longer in his prime, but he has grown and adjusted his game with his age.
Cowboys Could Afford WR
The main issue with Thielen joining the Cowboys would be his cost. His latest deal from the Vikings is due to pay him $19.97 million in 2023, which is due to the restructuring of an initially large $64 million deal.
Obviously, Dallas should not be looking to pay him anywhere close to that money. However, a cut rate to better match his production from the past couple of seasons seems like a shrewd move.
There are no projections of his market value yet, but even if the salary was somewhere in the $7-9 million range, the Cowboys need to consider a move. That’s a sizable investment but does not lock them up further financially, leaving funds for elsewhere. If Thielen wants anything beyond that, it becomes a dicey decision.
Considering Thielen will be 33 in August, any deal would need to be a short one, probably a max of two years. But it would be an immediate injection of quality and experience, which are both things that Dallas needs.