Dallas Cowboys: 3 Veteran Free Agent WRs Available Now

Sep 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) practices before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) practices before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys WR corps is extremely thin behind Dez Bryant. Here are 3 proven veteran WRs that could help the Cowboys now.

The Dallas Cowboys were exposed last season when Dez Bryant was lost to injury. Without Dez Bryant pulling the defense’s attention his way, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley struggled to get open. Even against single coverage, the Cowboys’ receiving corps proved impotent, leading many to list receiver as an offseason need.

When free agency first opened, the Dallas Cowboys shied away from making any offers. When the draft arrived, the Cowboys passed on the receiver position as well. Only afterwards, when signing rookie undrafted free agents, did the Cowboys address the position that struggled so mightily one a season ago.

But there is good news for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. The WR market is flush with veteran talent and finding an inexpensive insurance policy at WR is more attainable than it’s ever been. After looking at the available options, here are three veteran free agent WRs who could help the Dallas Cowboys now.

Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson, 34, isn’t exactly the dominant force he once was. After being drafted third overall by the Houston Texans, Johnson went on to have 13-year career rife with dominance. But last season the 6’3” 230lb future Hall of Famer had a career low season with the Indianapolis Colts, losing his starting job, and hitting the free agent market with something to prove.

With the passion to play one more season, Andre Johnson will be a motivated man in 2016. He doesn’t have the speed he once had but he still runs crisp routes, can execute a full route tree, and can play either outside receiver spot (x or y).

Despite the low receiving numbers, the scouts at Pro Football Focus rated Johnson as the 60th receiver in the league. 60th isn’t great but it makes him a legitimate #2 WR in this 32-team league and gives a team like the Dallas Cowboys a pretty good insurance policy should something happen to #88 again.

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James Jones

James Jones, 31, has made a name for himself in the frozen tundra of Green Bay. After rejoining the team in 2015, Jones collected 50 receptions for 890 yards and eight touchdowns, making him one of the highest producing WRs to hit the market this offseason.

With the Packers looking, once again, at going younger at WR in 2016, James Jones is a free agent with something to prove. He wants to prove he doesn’t need Aaron Rodgers to succeed (he was cut by the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants last season before re-joining the Pack).

"“I plan on playing a good three-four more years,” Jones said. “I just want to get my opportunity to make some plays. Hopefully this free agency is good for me and someone thinks I can help their team win and be productive at the wide receiver position.”"

Rated as PFF’s #45 receiver last season, James Jones certainly has the traditional stats and advanced stats to back him up. He can play all the receiver positions, run all the routes, and make all the catches. When things break down, he has a knack for always getting open.

Tony Romo’s game isn’t unlike Aaron Rodgers’ either. Both QBs look downfield first and progressively check down as the play develops. Both QBs also have a knack for surviving in the pocket and creating something out of nothing.

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Anquan Boldin

Anquan Boldin, 35, is another over-the-hill receiver looking to play at least one more time before hanging up the cleats. But Anquan Boldin isn’t your normal grey-bearded  pass catcher. After collecting 69 receptions for 798 yards while playing a whopping 776 snaps for the San Francisco 49ers last season, Boldin doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

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Boldin is what they call a natural receiver. He understands the routes, makes clean cuts, and can make difficult catches look easy. Even in tight coverage Boldin has a way of always coming down with the ball. It’s that quality that has endeared him with his various signal callers over the years.

Boldin isn’t the kind of player begging for a chance. He has opportunities around the league and he’s going to have to pick the best one for him. Rated by PFF as last season’s 33rd rated receiver in the league, Boldin would be a significant upgrade to Terrance Williams.

While the other two receivers may be happy serving as an insurance policy behind Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, Anquan Boldin would demand a starting role. And that may take the Dallas Cowboys completely out of the running.

"“I’m taking my time right now,” Boldin said. “It’s the first time in 13 years I’ve been a free agent, so I get to pick where I want to go right now. I’m definitely going to take my time and make the best decision for me and my family.”"

The Dallas Cowboys have some young and exciting WRs on their roster. Brice Butler, Chris Brown, and Lucky Whitehead are all younger, more preferable options to move forward with. But should they falter, it would be nice to know a cagey veteran is waiting in the wings.

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If the Dallas Cowboys want to compete for a Super Bowl in 2016, they best cover themselves at WR because after Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are thin. If something were to happen to Dez again, veteran free agent WRs like Anquan Boldin, James Jones, and Andre Johnson may be just the types of players to save the Cowboys’ season.