Cowboys Could Sign High-Ceiling Free Agent WR After Quiet Trade Deadline

Kenny Golladay

Getty Former New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay

The Dallas Cowboys remained silent during the NFL’s trade deadline, but there are still free agent options including a former New York Giants receiver. Dallas has been adamant that they didn’t need or want to make moves at the trade deadline, but it feels as if other teams got better while the Cowboys stayed at the same level.

In terms of cheap but high-ceiling options, there’s not many left at any position. But former Giants WR Kenny Golladay is worth considering. At one point circa 2019, Golladay was considered one of the best pass-catchers in the league. Now, he’s just looking to play as a free agent.

Dallas could essentially take a flyer on Golladay. There’s certainly no guarantee that he would find his previous form, but the Cowboys would likely be paying the veteran minimum for a player who just turned 30 and has twice crossed the 1000-yard mark as a receiver.

The Cowboys’ No. 2 and No. 3 options, Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup, haven’t been a consistent presence opposite of CeeDee Lamb. The idea of signing Golladay isn’t necessarily about consistency either, but he just the chance of reigniting his career would drastically boost the capabilities of the Dallas offense.

 Golladay Flames Out with Giants

As a 2017 third-round pick out of Northern Illinois for the Detroit Lions, there were expectations that Golladay could be a week-in, week-out NFL receiver and with the potential to be a starter. He soared past those expectations by Year 2 with the Lions.

After 28 receptions for 477 receiving yards and three touchdowns as a rookie, Pro Football Reference shows that he exploded for 70 receptions, 1063 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2018.

Golladay had announced himself in a big way, but 2019 was when he was at the peak of his powers. Averaging a whopping 18.3 yards per catch, the former Husky racked up 1190 receiving yards and an NFC-leading 11 touchdowns.

But as quickly as his career exploded, it almost as quickly deflated. Injuries hampered his 2020 season as he only played five games. Finally at the end of his rookie contract, Golladay signed with the Giants in free agency on a four-year, $72 million contract.

In 14 starts, he only totaled 521 yards and zero touchdowns in his first New York season. The following campaign in 2022, he started just four of his 12 appearances. He made six catches for 81 yards and was released this past spring.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones Downplays Trade Deadline

Dallas had made huge trade deadline moves in the past, such as the trade for WR Amari Cooper. But for the 2023 season, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it clear that the team was never going to make a move at the deadline.

Jones went on 105.3 The Fan on November 3 to speak on the matter. He explained that the Cowboys determined their own trade deadline was before the season began.

“We’ve really had our trading deadline, we had our trading deadline before the season started,” Jones said. “That’s why we traded for Stephon Gilmore and that’s why we traded for Brandin Cooks. And so I know there’s been a lot of talk there lately about trading deadline but thank goodness, we had the opportunity to get that trading deadline done back before we started the season.”

Jones may be hiding some of his thinking, but the actions match the comments. The Cowboys never made a trade despite several teams around the NFL doing so.