There were already question marks surrounding the Dallas Cowboys receiver core, but James Washington’s injury could add a sense of urgency to the team potentially making an additional roster move. There are plenty of available veteran free-agent wideouts, but one name to watch is longtime Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton. Heavy.com’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo labeled Hilton as a potential fit for the Cowboy noting the playmaker would be “an instant infusion of veteran leadership.”
“Hilton is a high-quality and productive receiver, who could be an instant infusion of veteran leadership into the Cowboys’ offense,” Lombardo wrote on August 1, 2022. “Last season for the Indianapolis Colts, Hilton caught 23 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns. Colts quarterbacks had a whopping 118.2 passer rating on his 37 targets.
“The fact that Hilton didn’t drop a single pass, and his consistency as a route-runner, could give Prescott a real boost in the passing game, and a steady second option behind Lamb in his target hierarchy.”
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Stephen Jones: ‘We’re Always Looking for Upgrades to Our Roster’
Heading into training camp, the Cowboys appeared reluctant to make additional signings despite having more than $22 million in remaining cap space, per Over the Cap. Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones offered his company line about “always looking for upgrades” after Washington’s injury.
“Stephen Jones gave his standard line when asked about adding a free agent at WR, but it carries even more weight now that Washington is out,” Dallas Morning News’ David Moore tweeted on August 1, 2022. “’We’re always looking for upgrades to our roster,’ Jones said after confirming Washington’s injury.”
Hilton Has Played All 10 NFL Seasons With the Colts
Hilton’s days as a star receiver are likely behind him, but the veteran could still be a valuable member of the Cowboys offense. The challenge for Hilton continues to be his health as the wideout missed seven games in 2021 and six contests in 2019. Hilton posted 23 receptions for 331 yards and three touchdowns in 2021. The playmaker has not notched more than 1,000 receiving yards since 2018.
Hilton has played all 10 of his NFL seasons with the Colts, so it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys would be able to lure the former Pro Bowler away from Indianapolis. Dallas already has CeeDee Lamb who is expected to step into the WR1 role this season with Amari Cooper being traded to the Browns over the offseason.
Rookie Jalen Tolbert also may be asked to play a more expanded role in the Cowboys offense sooner rather than later with Washington expected to miss up to 10 weeks with a fractured foot. Prior to the injury, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy expressed confidence in the receivers who are already on the roster.
“Yeah, I’m extremely comfortable [at wide receiver] and I think really it goes back to what we talked about earlier,” McCarthy noted during a July 26 media session. “There’s always a jump that you have to have with every team that you put together. So, there’s always going to be a void of experience where your youth has to step up and contribute, and I have great confidence in that. I have a lot of experience at it, and I think when you see a leader such as Dak, because it’s always the extra.
“It’s the workouts away from the offseason program, whether it’s in Miami or at his home. It’s the details and the extra reps and so forth because that’s just the climate that we work in now. And I think our players are definitely of the right mindset. These guys spend a tremendous amount of time together away from the facility.”