The Dallas Cowboys could be looking within their conference for some wide receiver help.
As the Cowboys continue to progress through training camp with an injury-plagued receiving core, their depth is suddenly looking thin. Outside of No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb, the Cowboys don’t possess any viable healthy receivers. Michael Gallup continues to recover from ACL surgery and has been ruled out for Week 1, while James Washington could be sidelined into the month of October due to a Jones fracture.
According to Brian Martin of SB Nation’s Blogging the Boys, the Cowboys could upgrade their wide receiver depth chart by targeting New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith.
“Smith is arguably the most seasoned receiver on this list, but also currently finds himself buried on the depth chart as the Saints WR4 or WR5. He is a former third-round pick by New Orleans in 2018 and is currently playing under a one-year contract,” says Martin. “The 6’2”, 210-pound WR has only averaged a little over 30 receptions for around 400 receiving yards the past couple years, but if given more opportunity there is reason to believe he could be more productive.”
Smith Could Carve Out Role As Touchdown Threat
The former third-round draft pick has never posted more than 34 receptions for 448 receiving yards in a single season. However, the 26-year-old possesses good size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and has shown a penchant for touchdowns, catching five touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons in 2018 and 2019.
For perspective, Smith caught five touchdown passes on 28 receptions during his rookie season in 2018 and five touchdown catches on 18 receptions during the 2019 season. That means Smith caught a touchdown pass once on every 5.6 receptions in 2018 and once every 3.6 receptions in 2019. By comparison, Gallup caught a touchdown pass once every 17.5 receptions last season, while Washington caught a TD pass once every 12 receptions in 2021.
Smith is currently battling for one of the last receiver spots in New Orleans, with the top three spots cemented by Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave. Considering Smith could very well be a roster cutdown casualty before the start of the season, the Saints might as well recoup some value by trading the red zone threat.
Not only is Smith is a big-bodied threat, he’s a capable run blocker. As Kristen Wong of FanSided notes, Smith makes a “crucial impact” in the run-blocking game and has experience in the slot.
“Tre’Quan Smith is the more obvious trade or cut candidate after his inconsistent performances in the last four years, yet Smith does make a crucial impact in run-blocking and also has experience playing in the slot,” says Wong.
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Why Cowboys Should Target Smith Via Trade
The four-year veteran is currently on a two-year, $6 million deal and could be released with a $1.5 million dead cap hit during the 2023 offseason. In other words, he’s a high upside/low risk type of receiver.
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith posted a 62.7 offensive grade and 62.0 receiving grade last season. He’s lined up in the slot on at least 52 percent of his snaps over the past three seasons. By comparison, Washington posted a 52.9 offensive grade, while reserve receivers Noah Brown (60.0 grade) and Simi Fehoko (60.0 grade) posted lower grades than Smith last season.
Smith may not emerge as a starting receiver, but he’s a more-than-capable red zone threat who excels in the blocking game. Outside of Lamb and Gallup, Smith probably enters Cowboys as their third-best receiver.
Considering Smith would only cost a late-round draft pick, it’s a chance worth taking.