IRVING, Texas – When it comes to re-signing players, the Cowboys certainly have quite a list forming.
Tyron Smith is the top priority, in my opinion, with Dez Bryant a very close second. In fact, ranking them is really kind of stupid because they're going to be able to do both. And both of them will be among the highest-paid players at their respective positions here in the next few months.
DeMarco Murray is pretty interesting, too. His position, his injury history and his one year of good production will be factors. His 2014 performance will probably be the biggest one of all.
To me, much easier than deciding on Murray's future is to re-sign Cole Beasley. That's something I would do sooner than later. But I'm not sure the Cowboys organization feels the same.
Next year, Beasley will be a restricted free agent, and since he wasn't drafted back in 2012, the Cowboys won't get any compensation if they give him the lowest tender and he signs with another team. This past year, the minimum tender was $1.389 million and will probably be in the $1.5-1.7 million range next season.
While the Cowboys can ask themselves right now if Beasley will be worth that, I think that answer will change dramatically after this year.
And that's all the more reason to sign him to a deal.
You could probably get him on a modest three-year, $6 million contract with some up-front cash and some of that guaranteed. For a guy his size, not being drafted and even questioning whether or not he wanted to play football back in his first training camp, something like that might be worth signing for Beasley.
For the Cowboys, you're betting that his value will be higher than it is now.
Then again, they control that value in some ways. How often he plays, how often he gets the ball is not up to an NFL wide receiver. Sure, he can make enough plays that warrant more playing time and demand the football.
And that's something I'm predicting will happen here in 2014. Last year, I called Cole Beasley the unofficial "X-factor" of this team because he's the guy who can create so many mismatches. Dez calls himself the X-factor, but he's the best player. He's the guy everyone knows about and still can't stop. The true X-factor of this team is either Lance Dunbar or Beasley.
But for now, I like what Beasley is going to bring to this offense with Scott Linehan calling plays. I think you'll see a lot more spread-out formations because of Dunbar's ability, but that also will open it up for Beasley, too.
We heard last week they're moving Beasley to the outside some. The real reason it seems is to get Dez in the slot and move him around so he can get the football more. It'll be tougher for teams to isolate him in their coverage.
However, if Beasley wasn't good enough, then the Cowboys would just slide Dez inside and slide Beasley off the field.
I think the Cowboys realize how good he can be if the mismatch is there. Personally, I don't think the outside will be that favorable for Beasley, and that's why I wouldn't have him out there. I'm a believer of the phrase "play to your strength." Let the guys do what they do best, and for Beasley, it's working the middle of a defense and finding holes in the coverage.
Not a huge fan of his 9.2-yard career average per catch? Is it that different than the 11.7-yard average you'll get from Witten? [embedded_ad]
Beasley is pretty much giving the Cowboys a first down every time he catches the ball. With this offense, and playmakers such as Dez and Terrance Williams on the outside, I'll take that from Beasley all day, every day.
I really don't see a game where he doesn't have three to five receptions, if not more. That's why I'm predicting somewhere in the 60-75 catch range for him this year. I know that sounds like a lot, but that's where I think Beasley's career is headed.
Just 15 catches as a rookie. Then 39 last year in his second season. It wouldn't be a surprise to me if he gets close to doubling that again in 2014.
If that happens, the Cowboys will be sorry they didn't get a deal done in the offseason.