The Dallas Cowboys are already feeling a strain at wide receiver, and a trade for a proven Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-catcher could be the solution.
Free agent signing James Washington will miss significant time after suffering a fractured foot in training camp, and now Dallas has to figure out how to move forward. The team was already expecting to miss Michael Gallup for the beginning of the season, but now two starting receivers are recovering from injuries.
While there are options in free agency, the possibility of a trade opens up the pool of options, including Buccaneers WR Scotty Miller. During the 2020 campaign, Miller made himself a valuable member of Tom Brady’s offense, but injury derailed his 2021 season.
Miller is entering the last season of his rookie deal, which means he could be brought in for cheap, especially if he’s a fringe option in Tampa Bay. Considering that the Buccaneers brought in Russell Gage and then Julio Jones, Miller is being pushed further down the depth chart.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones has publicly said after Washington’s injury that the team is happy with their WR group, but it also wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Cowboys decided to make a move and shore up depth at the position.
Miller Breaks Out with Buccaneers in 2020
Coming out of Bowling Green, the No. 1 thing to like about Miller was his speed. As NFL.com broke down in his draft profile, Miller has “legitimate track speed,” running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in 2019.
Tampa selected Miller in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft, and he paid dividends in his initially limited opportunities. Pro Football Reference shows that the 25-year-old receiver averaged 15.4 yards per catch as a rookie, but only had 13 receptions and 200 receiving yards.
Then, Brady came to town. The legendary QB found a liking for Miller, connecting with him 33 times for 501 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 2020. That culminated in Miller making a few big catches in Tampa’s run to a Super Bowl title, including the touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game seen below.
However, Miller never seemed healthy in 2021, battling turf toe to the point of being put on the injured reserve. The former Bowling Green star played just nine regular season games, catching just 5 passes for 38 receiving yards.
Cowboys Could Likely Pull Trade Off for Cheap
The timing of a trade for Miller is actually pretty solid. Dallas needs a receiver and teams like the Buccaneers know that, but Tampa Bay shouldn’t be able to ask for a ton for Miller due to his contract situation and his disappointing 2021 campaign.
For the Cowboys, they get a “WR5” that can still provide explosive upside with his speed. There’s less pressure on Gallup and Washington to recover and perform, while giving Miller a new platform.
Tampa can “cash out” on Miller considering there’s a real chance he could miss the roster and they’d have to cut him, likely leading to him being picked up on the waiver wire. Getting something instead of nothing is always worth considering.
It may not make initial sense to trade for a player that’s on the bubble, but Dallas should be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to addressing team needs. A late-round pick, maybe the 2023 6th or 7th round selections, could be enough to move Miller to Dallas.