Cowboys position profile: Wide receiver and tight end

2013 Stats: Dez Bryant (93 receptions, 1,233 yards, 13 touchdowns), Jason Witten (73 receptions, 851 yards, 8 touchdowns), Terrance Williams (44 receptions, 736 yards, 5 touchdowns), Cole Beasley (39 receptions, 368 yards, 2 touchdowns), Miles Austin (24 receptions, 244 yards), Gavin Escobar (9 receptions, 134 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Dwayne Harris (9 receptions, 80 yards, 2 touchdowns).

Salary: Jason Witten ($7.4 million per season, free agent 2018), Dez Bryant ($2.3 million per season, free agent 2015), Gavin Escobar ($1 million per season, free agent 2017), Terrance Williams ($724K per season, free agent 2017), Devin Street ($605K per season, free agent 2018), James Hanna ($551K per season, free agent 2016), Dwayne Harris ($545K per season, free agent 2015) and Cole Beasley ($480K per season, free agent 2015).

2013 Year in Review: Two Cowboys finished in the Top 40 in receiving yards, Dez Bryant (12th) and Jason Witten (36th). Third-round pick Terrance Williams finished 10th among rookies in receptions, third in receiving yards and tied for third in touchdowns. Those are very solid numbers for the seventh selected wide receiver in the 2013 draft.

Second-round pick Gavin Escobar, on the other hand, did not have the same value. Among rookie tight ends last season, Escobar ranked 10th in receptions, ninth in yards and tied for sixth in touchdowns despite being the third tight end selected.

Miles Austin was only able to play in 11 games (eight starts) due to injuries. The result was his lowest production since 2007 when he was primarily a special teams player.

Second-year player Cole Beasley made three starts and finished third on the team among wide receivers with 39 receptions.

Dwayne Harris made a name for himself on special teams as he had one punt return for a touchdown, finished second in the league in kickoff return average (30.6), fourth in punt return average (12.8) and also collected nine tackles.

2014 season: The offseason and training camp primary storyline was whether or not the Cowboys will get an extension done with Dez Bryant. I laid out the reasons last week why Bryant deserves to get paid.

In March, the Cowboys parted ways with Austin, and subsequently drafted Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. Street led the Big East Conference in receptions (73) in 2012 and had a career-high seven touchdowns in 2013 despite only playing in 10 games. He was the 22nd wide receiver selected and he finished the preseason 13th among rookies in receptions (7) and 27th in yards (65).

Who will be the third wide receiver the Cowboys were missing in 2013? Will it be Street, Beasley or even Harris? Both Beasley and Harris are in the final year of their contract so they have plenty of incentive to show they can handle the job.

Will Escobar show that he was worth a second-round pick or will he falter like another former second-round pick, Martellus Bennett? Third-string tight end James Hanna was the position leader for the Boys in the preseason with eight receptions for 62 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Escobar had four receptions for 84 yards.

With the season about to begin, will Bryant get his extension or will this be the 800-pound gorilla hanging over this team throughout the season leading into his free agency? Whatever dollar figures Jerry and Stephen Jones have in mind for Dez is definitely less than he can get on the free agent market. They need to get the deal done.

Bold Prediction: Bryant leads the league in touchdown receptions.

Eddie Middlebrook can be reached on Twitter @emiddlebrook.


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