Dallas Cowboys: Could Cole Beasley be traded?

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Cole Beasley
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 19: Cole Beasley /

With Allen Hurns joining the Dallas Cowboys receiving corps, one 2017 starter will have to go. Could Cole Beasley be that man?

It’s been a busy week for the Dallas Cowboys. After starting free agency with a whimper, the Cowboys are finally starting to pick up steam. Only days after adding the speedy Deonte Thompson to the receiver depth chart, the Cowboys picked up the best receiver on the market, Allen Hurns.

Allen Hurns comes to Dallas as a shoe-in for a starting role. The debate over where he fits best is raging as we speak. Some say the Dez Bryant clone fits best at the X. Others say he’s a Z. And a strong case can be made he’s at his best when lining up in the slot.

But wherever Hurns eventually lands, it will likely come at the expense of Cole Beasley.

Note: This all assuming the Dallas Cowboys are not going to release Dez Bryant. I believe the Hurns signing was not made to replace Dez, but rather complement Dez. If I’m ultimately wrong, and Dez is released, then the logjam at receiver is solved and there is no immediate need to trade Cole “the paperboy” Beasley.

So assuming Dez stays (as we discussed this morning in “Is Dez the odd man out?”), this is why Beasley gets bumped:

Why Beasley gets bumped

You’re not going to find much of a bigger supporter of Beasley than me. I think he’s fantastic in the slot and his down year in 2017 had more to do with coaching and scheming than it had to do with Beasley.

The problem was, Cowboys coaches only like to run Beasley on a few specific routes (predominantly out-breaking routes) and opponents took note of this. And after establishing himself as a top-5 slot receiver in 2016, opponents focused on taking those out-breaking routes away. Teams schemed to stop Beasley more than they schemed for Dez and it showed up on the stat sheet.

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Running Beasley on a few deep routes could have kept the opposition on their heels and made his routes less obvious. But Beasley’s diminutive status and relatively small catch radius presumably kept the coaching staff from considering this option.

So since we know Cowboys’ coaches like to typecast their receivers and pigeonhole them each into “specialist roles”, we can assume they have no intention of being any less transparent with Beasley in 2018 than they were in 2017. And that’s what makes him expendable.

Whether the Cowboys decide to use Hurns or Williams in the slot is a topic for another day. The topic now is how tradeable Cole Beasley is.

Beasley is tradeable and valuable

Cole Beasley, 28, is entering the last year on his deal. At $4.25 million, he’s not a very cheap player to have as your fourth receiver. Especially as a guy who only fits inside at the slot. But for a team looking for reliable starter in the slot, but hesitant to commit to a multiyear deal, Beasley is well worth his salary.

Only a year ago, Pro Football Focus called him the third best slot receiver in the NFL. His skills didn’t erode but rather Dallas’ coaching got exposed.

The truth is Beasley’s unlikely to garner more than a Day 3 pick in the draft. He’s only under contract for one season so it would be difficult to get much more in return for what is potentially a one-year rental. But considering Dak Prescott was once a Day 3 pick, they are nothing to scoff at.

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The Cowboys could also cut Bease. The dead money incurred would only be $1 million. But Beasley is a valuable asset at an affordable price. He could be used as a trade chip come what draft time.