IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys began the task of accounting for Dez Bryant's absence on Tuesday, as they traded a conditional draft pick to Oakland for wide receiver Brice Butler.
It's been expected that the team would address its wide out corps while Bryant recovers from foot surgery. The Cowboys worked out veteran receivers Nick Toon, Hakeem Nicks, Clyde Gates and Austin Pettis on Tuesday morning.
They ultimately opted to acquire Butler, who is in his third season with the Raiders after playing for both Southern California and San Diego State during his college career. If Butler is on the Cowboys' 53-man roster for six games this season, Dallas will exchange its 2016 fifth-round draft pick for Oakland's 2016 sixth-rounder.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday that, in the event the team adds a player from outside the practice squad, he's confident the coaching staff can get him up to speed quickly.
"We do believe we have a player-friendly system where players can learn quickly," Garrett said. "That's a big part of the NFL these days is you want to be able to have a guy, a young player, maybe a guy you drafted, maybe a guy you signed as a college free agent or a veteran player you're bringing in who has no history with you, you want them to be able to come in and learn and learn quickly."
At 6-3, 213 pounds, Butler could account for some of the size the Cowboys lost when Bryant was injured. The Raiders made him inactive for their Week 1 loss to Cincinnati, but he appeared in 15 games for Oakland last year and recorded 21 catches for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
That gives the Cowboys five healthy receivers to work with in Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Devin Street, Lucky Whitehead and Butler. They also still have Vince Mayle and Rodney Smith on their practice squad.[embeddedad0]
Between them, they'll have to figure a way to account for 273 receptions, 3,935 yards and 41 touchdowns Bryant has tallied in his past three seasons – an average of 6 catches, 82 yards and roughly one touchdown per game.
As daunting as it might sound, Garrett said the Cowboys will make do.
"Sometimes you have everybody available and you try to take full advantage of that, other times you don't," he said. "You just coaching and you keep playing. The guys on our football team have a responsibility to be accountable and be ready to go."