The Dallas Cowboys are making an intriguing roster addition signing USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin, per Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. Turpin is signing a rare three-year deal with the Cowboys, per KNOE 8 sports director Aaron Dietrich.
Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher labeled Turpin as the “best unemployed return man on the planet.” Turpin posted 44 receptions for 540 yards and four touchdowns for the New Jersey Generals last season in the USFL. The playmaker combined for 921 all-purpose yards which includes his incredible impact in the return game and also notched a rushing touchdown.
Turpin had a standout collegiate career at TCU notching 145 receptions for 1,748 yards and 13 touchdowns. The receiver was dismissed from the TCU program in October 2018 after being arrested on assault charges.
Turpin later pled guilty in April 2019 to assaulting his longtime girlfriend. The wideout’s off-field issues likely played a role in Turpin going undrafted in 2019. Given some of the uncertainty the Cowboys have at wide receiver, it will be interesting to see if Turpin can carve out a role in the Dallas offense, or if the speedster will simply be used on special teams.
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Can Turpin Unseat Lamb as a Returner?
Turpin’s multi-year deal shows the Cowboys have confidence that the playmaker potentially has staying power in Dallas. The receiver ran a blazing fast 4.31-second 40-yard dash time in 2019, per Pro Football Talk. Fisher suggests that Turpin has a good chance to take CeeDee Lamb’s return responsibilities.
“As a rookie, Lamb returned 24 punts for 172 yards,” Fisher wrote on July 27. “That’s 7.2 yards per return. Is that ‘effective’? Not exactly. Among everybody who returned an NFL punt in 2020, Lamb’s 7.1 yards ranked him 40th. Among guys who returned at least four punts, Lamb ranked 32nd.
“In 2021, Lamb jumped up to 9.9 yards per return; that placed him around No. 20 in the NFL. Again: Why subject Lamb to the wear and tear and risk of special teams? So he can average numbers that are highly mediocre in the NFL? Wanna bet Turpin can average seven or nine yards or more per punt return … while Lamb is utilized in almost infinitely more important ways?”
Will the Cowboys Make Additional Roster Moves?
Turpin’s addition means the Cowboys will have to release one of their current players on the roster. The Cowboys have been linked to several veteran free agents throughout the offseason, but owner Jerry Jones hinted that the team does not currently intend on making another major roster move.
“If we could have spent everything we have available in the cap, and we could have spent it and mortgaged some more if I thought it was the best way to win this year or win in the immediate future, then we would have done it,” Jones stated during a July 26 press conference. “Logic shows you that, and I have done it and anybody here realizes that I’m a risk taker, and I’ll take ’em with the best of ’em.
“And so, my point is, what you see’s the best I got here. And what you see with what we’ve got available to us in our cap, that’s the best spot to be, in my mind. And I’m a risk taker, so we’ve got a little dry powder. That’s not necessarily for this season. That cap room is available for [the] future as well. We all know that. And so, you sum all of that up, and you got our best shot [with] what you’re seeing right here today as we go.”