*Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features wide receiver Cole Beasley.*
Name: Cole Beasley
Position: Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 5-8 / 180
Experience: 3 seasons
Key stat:His 45-yard touchdown catch against the Giants in late November not only sparked the Cowboys to a comeback win, but got him going the rest of the season. After that game, Beasley caught at least two passes in every game and 30 of his 44 catches came in the second half of the season, including all four of his touchdowns.
Contract Status:Signed through 2014 (Restricted Free Agent)
2014 Impact: It was clear watching the OTA and minicamp practices leading up to the 2014 season that Scott Linehan was interested in getting as many of these offensive weapons in the mix as possible. There were different packages for Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray. What wasn't as clear was the plan he had for Cole Beasley going forward. Beasley was a favorite of Tony Romo and I am sure that in some of his early meetings with Romo - Linehan was made well aware of that but it was a plan that we didn't see develop until we got to training camp. It wasn't until I saw Beasley taking snaps on the outside and not just in the slot that I knew this was going to be a different season for him. It was that willingness by Linehan that proved that they believed in Beasley more as a true receiver than just a guy that we would see on third downs. As the season progressed, we saw more routes from Beasley and the ball going down the field to him, which was something that we had not seen in the past. As positive as it was to see that type of development for Beasley, it still was the underneath and inside production especially on third downs that made him so valuable. Of all the current receivers on the Cowboys roster, his ability to find space is the best. Terrance Williams is outstanding in this area when the play breaks down but when it comes to finding it off the snap - Beasley is the guy. What also makes Beasley so difficult to defend is his ability to finish. For a receiver of his size his catching radius is rare. It is hard to throw a bad ball to him because regardless where it is, he is going to find a way to come down with it. When you start to talk about the clutch players on this squad whether it is on offense, defense or special teams - Cole Beasley's name will always be in the conversation.
Where He Fits: Beasley is a restricted free agent this off season so the front office will need to make a qualifying offer to keep his rights which I believe they will. He should receive a tender that will not only compensate him nicely but hopefully prevent another team from attempting to sign him. Once back on the roster I expected that we will continue to see him work out of the slot and be a "Go-To" target for Tony Romo but also get that work on the outside to keep teams from just playing his inside routes.
Nick Eatman: Before the season, I really thought Beasley would be even more of a difference-maker than he was in 2014. I had him pegged for a guy that could catch 4-5 balls a game and end up with at least 60 catches. Down the stretch, that's the type of player he was but it took some time to get there. No disrespect to Dez, but I've always said that Beasley is the true "X" factor on this team because he's such a mismatch nightmare. I think the Super Bowl only helped Beasley because New England's Julian Edelman and even Danny Amendola showed the value of a smaller, but yet great route-runner. To me, Beasley should be the team's third priority in free agency after the obvious two. I would sign him to a three-year deal now if possible and keep him in the mix.