The Dallas Cowboys appear set with their WR group, but one of their former weapons is in the free agency market after being released by the New Orleans Saints. It marks another departure for James Washington as the wide receiver has struggled to find steady ground over the past two years.
The Saints announced they were releasing Washington on August 15 alongside the arrival of running back Darrel Williams.
“The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have signed free agent running back Darrel Williams and terminated the contract of wide receiver James Washington,” the official site reads.
Washington landed with the Saints in free agency this past offseason after what can be considered a disappointing year with the Cowboys and then the New York Giants in 2022. The former Steelers WR has failed to secure a team for the long haul after his departure from Pittsburgh, and it seems he will have to keep searching after being released mid-training camp.
Washington Finding Next Step in NFL Career
There’s no question that Washington can perform at the NFL level, but a difficult end to his Steelers’ stint, his time with the Cowboys and now being released by the Saints makes it feel like it’s been quite some time since his stock was rising rather than falling.
At the beginning of his NFL career, Washington quickly made an impact with Pittsburgh. After being drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft and having a small role during his first season, Washington became a key weapon for the Steelers in 2019.
According to Pro Football Reference, the former Oklahoma State star totaled 735 receiving yards on 44 receptions. That 16.7 yards per reception showed the explosive side of his game, but he has yet to match that average in the years since.
At that point, the Steelers boasted a wide receiver group that featured JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, the latter of which had ascended above Washington on the depth chart. That led to Washington’s production dropping over 2020 and 2021, with his final season being his least productive (24 receptions, 285 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns) since his rookie year.
Needing a change of scenery, Washington joined the Cowboys last offseason. However, a broken foot hindered his season before it started, forcing him to miss the first 12 games of the 2022 season. By the final week of the year, Washington was released and picked up by the Giants. They then released him 10 days later after their divisional round exit from the postseason.
Washington Owns Ranch in Cowboys Territory
When the Cowboys brought Washington to the club, it meant a Texas homecoming as the Stamford, Texas, native had played his high school ball in the Lone Star State. After reaching the NFL, Washington actually bought a 40-acre ranch in the Merkel area, as ESPN’s Todd Archer reported in March 2022.
Washington spoke to Dallas’ official site about the “ranch life” and how coming back to Texas was a benefit of signing with the Cowboys.
“I usually go work out at like 8:30, 9:30 in the morning. Come back, feed horses, feed cows, check everything. Make sure everything’s good,” Washington said in March 2022, according to Fox Sports Cowboys reporter David Helman. “Go back and work out in the afternoon from 3:30-5:30. If I’ve got a little time I’ll come home and sometimes rope — I rope on the weekend sometimes. Come back and dock the cattle, check on the horses again and make sure everything’s fed. Other than that, I just hang with my wife here at the house. Just enjoying the ranch life out in the middle of nowhere.”
Washington hasn’t updated the state of his ranch since being released by Dallas, but his commute to New Orleans certainly added some extra time on the road.