Cowboys Cut Underperforming Playmaker Prior to Showdown vs. Commanders

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks on during an NFL game.

The Dallas Cowboys are releasing James Washington who was believed to be a key wide receiver addition last offseason. The decision comes amid the emergence of T.Y. Hilton who the team is already relying upon in crucial situations. It has been an unfortunate season for Washington who sustained a fractured foot during training camp, playing in just two games without notching a reception for the Cowboys.

“With the emergence of newly signed WR TY Hilton, the Cowboys are releasing WR James Washington, source said. He’s healthy and has played in two games this year for Dallas,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on January 4, 2023. “He heads to waivers and could be claimed.”

Hilton’s role with the Cowboys has already increased less than a month since the four-time Pro Bowler signed with the team. According to, Hilton played 28% of the snaps against the Titans in Week 17, up from 16% during the previous game versus the Eagles.

Cowboys Plan to Play Starters vs. Commanders in Week 18

With a chance at the NFC East title at stake, Dallas plans to play the team’s starters against Washington during the regular-season finale. The Cowboys need a win over the Commanders along with a Giants’ victory against the Eagles in order to win the NFC East. Dallas also has a slight chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC if San Francisco also loses to Arizona in addition to the above scenario playing out.

“There’s too much to play for,” Jones said during a January 3 interview with 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan & RJ.” “We should go out and play and know that we’ve got two weeks before we have a playoff game.”

Dallas Has Yet to Find a Permanent Replacement for Cooper

The Cowboys opted to trade Amari Cooper last offseason, in part, to move on from the veteran’s annual $20 million salary. Washington was expected to help replace Cooper, and injuries unfortunately derailed his time with Dallas. The receiver’s best season came with the Steelers in 2022 when the playmaker posted 44 receptions for 735 yards and three touchdowns.

Hilton represents a temporary solution for the Cowboys but the release of Washington leaves lingering questions about the wide receiver position moving forward. Cowboys third-round pick Jalen Tolbert has been unable to make an immediate impact during his rookie season.

“So the Cowboys released receiver James Washington, the guy signed in the spring to help replace Amari Cooper,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr. tweeted on January 4.

Could the Cowboys Make Another Run at Beckham in 2023?

The Cowboys appear to have closed the door on signing Odell Beckham Jr. this season, but it would not be a surprise if the franchise rekindles contract talks this offseason. Heavy also recently explored additional veteran free-agent receiver options including Jarvis Landry. Jones left the door open to signing Beckham down the road despite indicating talks have been tabled for the current season.

“Well, I think the big thing is me or whoever has let enough time go as we get toward the end of the season that it’s not realistic to think about having him in any meaningful way for the playoffs,” Jones noted on December 24, per Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “That’s not dismissing [signing Beckham in] the future, but it is dismissing, for the most part, the reality of him getting in here and helping us in the playoffs. That was a big part of the equation.”