The NFL’s free agency begins next week, and the Dallas Cowboys are in need of several solutions at several positions. Unfortunately, Dallas rarely signs notable players and usually sits the first few days out while the market cools. Cowboys Nation will inevitably moan and groan about the front office’s bargain bin approach to signing free agents and all hope will once again fall on teh draft.
Sound about right?
But maybe the Dallas Cowboys throw the league a curveball? Maybe they make add a player via trade and satisfy their needs this way? Trading is something they rarely do during the offseason, even though Jerry Jones saying do not dismiss the Cowboys doing something special. Cowboys Nation has heard that sermon so many times it rings as a false hope alarm.
The Dallas Cowboys need more offensive weapons on offense to support CeeDee Lamb, so will the Cowboys trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins?
The Dallas Cowboys made one of the most egregious moves in franchise history when they traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth round pick and a pack of cigarettes. Trading Coop was one thing, but NOT replacing his production, came back to bite the offense like a mosquito in that humid Texas heat.
The beauty of adding Hopkins is that Lamb can play in the slot, a position where he thrives the best. Lamb is almost unstoppable in the slot, just ask those pesky buzzards known as the Philadelphia Eagles.
Thankfully, CeeDee Lamb took the right steps and developed into a true WR1, catching 107 passes for 1,359 yards, nine touchdowns, and averaged 12.7 yards a reception. As Lamb improved throughout the season, it was clear he was the only good receiver contributing to cause. Never one to admit their mistakes, Jerry and Stephen Jones say the team needs another dominant receiver to complement Lamb, so the question is – should this team trade for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins?
I pose this question because it has circulated on sports shows and other platforms about Dallas acquiring the former 5x All-Pro (3x first team, 2x second team), and Dallas desperately needs more pass catchers. With so much uncertainty with the young rookie wide receivers on the roster, Dallas will have to make a move one way or another to upgrade the position.
Pros for the Dallas Cowboys
Going into his 11th season, Hopkins is still considered a top-10 wide receiver and an argument can be made the veteran is still a top-5 receiving threat when he is on the field. For his career, Hopkins has 853 receptions for 11,298 yards, 71 touchdowns, averaged 13.2 yards per reception, and has played in 145 games.
Despite missing the first six games of the 2022 season for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Drug Policy (PED), the former Clemson Tiger recorded 64 receptions for 717 yards and three touchdowns. In his first game back against the New Orleans Saints in a 42-34 victory, Hopkins returned to familiar territory with a team-leading 10 receptions for 103 yards on 14 targets.
Imagine Hopkins’s numbers had he not missed those six games. Surely, Hopkins would have either received his sixth Pro Bowl bid or at least eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the seventh time in his career, along with recording 100 receptions for the fifth time in his illustrious career.
In comparison to Dallas’ second-best wide receiver, Michael Gallup, Hopkins’s numbers shows you how much of an upgrade he is over Gallup (who missed the first three games of last season recovering from an ACL injury). Gallup was targeted 74 times, caught 39 passes, had four touchdowns, averaged 10.9 a reception, and basically caught 2.8 passes a game.
Yes, those Joneses signed an injured Gallup to a five-year $57.5 million dollar contract that included a $10 million signing bonus with $27.5 guaranteed. Gallup’s averaged salary will be $11.5 million a year. It is not like Gallup was an awful player who did not deserve a nice payday, but after a subpar season that is in line with his overall declining numbers/production each year, trading for Hopkins or a player of his ilk is a no-brainer
Pairing Hopkins with Lamb will, once again, give Dallas a top receiving corps because they are both WR1 caliber players. The beauty of adding Hopkins is that Lamb can play in the slot, a position where he thrives the best. Lamb is almost unstoppable in the slot, just ask those pesky buzzards known as the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hopkins has range as a receiver in that he is a deep threat, bona fide route runner, great hands, a speedster, plays bigger than his 6’1 frame, and more importantly, can be a leader/mentor to Lamb and the rest of the young receivers.
But here is the most important reason why trading for Hopkins is a realistic option: Hopkins said he is flexible on the last two years of his contract and is not seeking his market value. According to the same article, Hopkins cap hits would be $19.5 million this upcoming season and $14.9 million in 2024 with an average salary of $27 million. However, we already know “Cap Boy” Jones ain’t going for that, meaning “Cap Boy” will get him for a cheaper price.
Sidenote: The other wildcard in this scenario is Odell Beckham, Jr, a player Jerry covets and a potential offseason acquisition. OBJ did not come visit Frisco last season to sight see. He came with full intentions on becoming the latest superstar to actually wear the star enroute to winning a Super Bowl and making millions.
I know most Dallas Cowboys fans sit on opposite sides of the fence whenever it comes to trading for a player like Hopkins or signing a free agent like OBJ. Regardless of where you sit, the front office will add another dynamic play maker to the offense via a trade or a straight up free agent signing.
Not too long ago, having a Pro Bowl WR1 with a strong supporting cast was all a team needed on its offense, but that has changed where teams actually have two WR1’s on their roster-look at the Eagles, Bengals, and Vikings for example. The Eagles and Bengals made it to the Super Bowl with their bona fide receivers and that is not by coincidence. And with Philly being a divisional rival, facing A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith twice a year is not an easy feat for any team.
Having two top-rated receivers is one of the best luxuries an offense can feature because it makes them so problematic for defenses to defend. Hence, why Dallas had top-5 offenses with Coop on the roster. Also, why Dak Prescott had his best seasons and why he had his worse without Coop because the supporting cast was less than.
You never know what Jerry will do when backed into a corner when facing a major football decision, but Jerry does know this offense needs another dominant receiver if it wants to have a successful 2023 campaign. And making a trade for Hopkins or any other elite player maker might be his only option to correct a self-inflicted wound!