Dallas Cowboys: Does the signing of Allen Hurns change draft plans?

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 14: Wide receiver Allen Hurns
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 14: Wide receiver Allen Hurns /

The Dallas Cowboys have made a lot of moves in free agency over the course of the last week. But do any of these moves change their draft strategy?

The Dallas Cowboys did something last week most fans did not expect, they signed five free agents. Not only does this speak to the Cowboys potential draft strategy but it shows their hand in regards to what kind of talent they would like to bring in during the offseason. So far we have seen a heavy influx of offensive linemen and wide receivers. The biggest free agent acquisition so far has to be the addition of Allen Hurns.

Hurns is not your traditional free agent, he was only released when the Jacksonville Jaguars felt it in their best interest to not pay him the seven million dollars he was owed as they could release him without accumulating any dead money. It was a fairly shocking release as Hurns has been one of the Jaguars best wide receivers in recent memory.

He also was not a free agent to begin with, it is often said the best free agents are the ones released because of cap issues so Hurns could easily be the steal of the offseason. Not only is he a productive player his contract was not as inflated thanks to the timing of his release. The Dallas Cowboys got a top-tier complimentary receiver on a great deal.

His signing also sparked some questions, is he replacing Dez Bryant (a silly question from the start), why are the Cowboys signing so many wide receivers, and finally will the signing of Hurns take wide receiver off of the table in terms of draft-worthy positions early in the 2018 NFL draft?

The main answer is of course no. The Dallas Cowboys have 30 pre-draft visits and Dallas Day to get through before we have the clearest picture possible of who they want to select with their first-round selection. So far wide receiver seems like the biggest need of the offseason.

The offensive linemen the Cowboys have signed should help get them back on track in terms of protection but the wide receiver position is more complicated than that. First off, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley will all have contracts that are ending relatively soon.

Now either these contracts will be reworked or the players in question will be released. Bryant and Williams both have hefty cap hits for the role that they play while Beasley’s contract is up in a year. Just because it looks like Dallas has a ton of wide receivers right now, that all could change in a year or two.

The Cowboys would never find a Dez Bryant replacement in free agency as he is just too much of a talent to replace with a guy like Sammy Watkins. The ultimate “writing is on the wall” move would be if the Dallas Cowboys followed up their Hurns acquisition by selecting Calvin Ridley or D.J. Moore in the first round.

That would truly say we are looking at life beyond Bryant as he does not want to rework his deal. When fans complain about this offseason plan, one thing is clear, they are not thinking ahead.

Until Bryant reworks his deal, he could be a potential cap casualty every season unless he is being insanely productive (which he has not). The Dallas Cowboys have simultaneously safeguarded themselves from there being a run on the wide receiver position in the draft and any potential posturing made by Bryant in an effort to not take a pay cut. 

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Hurns is a younger, taller, and cheaper option who seemingly wants to play for the Cowboys as an organization. If Bryant wants to continue his career with the star on his helmet that means paying the eventual Cowboy price and either taking a pay cut or reworking his deal.

If anything, signing Hurns means that the Dallas Cowboys are looking to rebuild their wide receiving corps, something that most fans will likely be happy to see happen.

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