INDIANAPOLIS – It'd be unwise to try to predict the future in February, but the Cowboys are willing to offer clues.
The new league year is still three weeks away, and a lot of dominoes have yet to fall. It's nearly impossible to know now who will have departed or joined the Cowboys' roster in a month.
In talking about his roster, though Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones dropped some hints – particularly about the wide receiver position, where the Cowboys have a decision to make about Cole Beasley.
"Certainly we want Beasley, and he's certainly going to have options because he's a free agent," Jones said on Tuesday.
Behind the obvious exception of DeMarcus Lawrence, Beasley is the Cowboys' most noteworthy free agent in 2019. The seven-year veteran caught 65 passes for 672 yards last season, and he has established himself as one of the NFL's best slot receivers since the Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent back in 2012.
It's entirely possible the Cowboys bring Beasley back on a new contract. But in the event that he leaves or another offer, Jones was ready with a suggestion for the Cowboys' contingency plan: Allen Hurns.
"Then you've got to take a look at Hurns. When you look at Hurns and what he was at Jacksonville, he was a slot," Jones said. "He's certainly an option if we lose Beasley in terms of filling that role, but we'll just have to see how that plays out."
Hurns caught 189 balls for 2,669 yards and 23 touchdowns during his four seasons in Jacksonville, including a 64-catch, 1031-yard season in 2015. To Jones' point, a lot of that work came from the slot.
That said, Hurns' final play of the 2018 season came during the playoffs, when he was carted off the field after dislocating his ankle in a gruesome injury.
The Cowboys signed Hurns to a two-year deal worth $12 million last spring, and he caught 20 passes for 295 yards – a much smaller role than many had envisioned before the season. That has been enough to prompt some outside speculation about his future, though Jones quickly put that to rest on Tuesday.
"I think he'll be here," he said. "I think he'll be ready to go for camp."
Again, none of this is to say the Cowboys are settled with their receivers. Beasley could return to the fold once he's had a chance to test the free agent market, or the front office could seek to upgrade the position in the draft.
But in recent years, the Cowboys love to have an insurance policy in place. The idea is to protect themselves against drafting for need. And if Beasley isn't in the plans to be their slot receiver in 2019, it sounds like Hurns could be.