The Dallas Cowboys need to address their receiving options issues this offseason if they want to become serious contenders again next season. The Cowboys missed out on top free agent wide receivers, and are still undecided about the future of veteran Dez Bryant in Dallas.
The Cowboys will have an additional option in the coming days after the Green Bay Packers released veteran wide receiver Jordy Nelson after signing Jimmy Graham. According to Peter Dawson of Star-Telegram, the 32-year-old might still be worth a look for Dallas in free agency.
Dawson said that Nelson could become an ideal target for the Cowboys depending on how they will handle Bryant’s contract situation. The Cowboys reportedly want Bryant to take a pay cut, but the latter does not want to accept a lower salary. If the situation does not improve, Dallas might eventually cut the 29-year-old wide receiver.
If the Cowboys decide to release Bryant, they might go after Nelson. He might turn out to be a cheap alternative this offseason after the top free agent wide receivers agreed to deals before the official start of free agency on Wednesday. Sammy Watkins will go to the Kansas City Chiefs, while Allen Robinson will move to the Chicago Bears.
Nelson is coming off the worst season of his career since 2010. Two years after undergoing ACL surgery, the veteran wide receiver tallied just 53 catches for 482 yards with six touchdowns. His numbers are not attractive, but it could work well in favor of teams interested in signing him.
Because of the decline in his stats last season, Nelson’s price tag will likely go down significantly. Dawson said that the realistic option for Nelson is to take a three-year contract that will pay him around $5 million per year.
This is where Dallas can come into the picture. If they can do some contract tinkering, they might be able to sign Nelson while also keeping Bryant on the roster. However, the most logical thing to do for the Cowboys is to decide on Bryant’s future first before pursuing a new wide receiver.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones met with Bryant on Tuesday. However, the two sides did not talk about a potential contract restructuring, which means there is a chance Dallas will just keep him in his current deal, or cut him late in the offseason if they fail to find a workable solution.
Bryant is slated to receive a base salary of $12.5 million next season with a cap hit of $16.5 million, according to Spotrac. The Cowboys wanted him to take a lower deal after failing to get at least 1,000 receiving yards for the third consecutive season. The eight-year veteran had 69 catches for 838 yards with six touchdowns last season.