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High Low

High Low: Cowboys could address WR in NFL Draft


FRISCO, Texas — It feels like it was just yesterday when the Dallas Cowboys enjoyed the luxury of having Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup on the roster and all three of them lighting up opposing defenses in their own special way. Fast forward to now and two-thirds of that trio no longer exists in North Texas, leaving Lamb as the sole heir to the wide receiver throne.

In one of the more special circumstances you'll see in any NFL draft, Lamb was still available for the Cowboys to select when they went on the clock in the first round in 2020, and he's made more than good on his draft value.

But with Gallup the latest to be shown the door, and with Brandin Cooks on a contract year — along with ongoing contract talks with Lamb — could the Cowboys look to add more firepower for the long haul?

The brand-new series "High Low" dives into it, with each edition to follow focusing on a different position group leading up to draft week.

Odds: High

  • CeeDee Lamb: It's crystal clear that the Cowboys have several potentially market-setting contracts to try and nail down as soon as possible, and Lamb's is right up there in both priority and likely cost. His record-setting season in 2023 set the stage for the latest inductee into the 88 Club to be the face of the franchise at wide receiver for the foreseeable future, but he's currently heading toward a contract year (his $18 million fifth-year option year) unless something is agreed to before the season gets underway in September. And, lest ye forget, Lamb wasn't supposed to be available for the Cowboys to draft in the first place, and he doesn't intend on playing anywhere else.
  • Brandin Cooks: It was a slow start for Cooks in Dallas, but that changed once head coach and offensive playcaller Mike McCarthy started dialing up the number of targets toward the former 1,000-yard receiver. He ended the season on a strong upswing that more than justified the trade, and his chemistry with Lamb and Dak Prescott is as evident as the value of his mentorship for players like Jalen Tolbert. The problem is Cooks' contract, in that it is set to expire after the 2024 season, unless an extension is agreed to before then.
  • Jalen Tolbert: The steps taken by Tolbert in Year 2 were on full display whenever the opportunity came his way in the receiving game. As a rookie, he readily admits he was overwhelmed by the transition to the NFL and that it also impacted his self-confidence. But after attaching himself to Cooks all offseason, Tolbert was able to pull off a 180-degree turnaround and is now primed to step into a bigger role, particularly with Michael Gallup now released.
  • KaVontae Turpin: Speaking of someone stepping into a bigger role, that's precisely what Turpin was able to do in his second year with the Cowboys, even more so than Tolbert last season. The ace returner became a viable weapon for Prescott and McCarthy on offense, but there was still plenty of meat left on that bone. Will he see more reps in 2024? Or will it be capped by the emergence of Tolbert and other young talent such as Jalen Brooks, who is taking no time at all to acclimate to the big stage?
  • Jalen Brooks: One of the most impressive rookies was Brooks, who ironically was their final pick (seventh round) in last year's draft. He made some waves in training camp that led to a final roster spot, and that led to eventual regular season snaps when there was injury at the position. When targeted, Brooks didn't look like a rookie, but rather a seasoned veteran, and that bodes very well for what he might become in the next year or so.
  • Martavis Bryant, David Durden, Racey McMath, Jalen Cropper: This is the crop to keep an eye on going into minicamp and training camp, particularly Bryant, who was signed following the end of his indefinite NFL suspension but later released only to be re-signed to a futures deal to give him a very real shot at opening some eyes in July and August. He'll be pitted against Durden and Cropper, as well as a new addition in McMath, as this group of four fights for the right to remain in a Cowboys' uniform.

All told, the Cowboys aren't in dire straits at receiver entering the draft, but they're not exactly all set either, and that means the potential of Dallas grabbing one in late April is reasonably high.

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