DALLAS — It took just one padded practice for a serious injury to occur for the Dallas Cowboys. Training camp opened last week, but Monday afternoon saw the first real workout for the team in full pads, and as the day ended, the Cowboys saw one of their more important offseason acquisitions go down in pain.
Veteran wide receiver James Washington was carted off the field after taking an awkward fall on a deep pass from quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys were fearing the worst when it happened, and it wasn’t long until they got the diagnosis. Washington suffered a Jones fractured foot and will be out for the foreseeable future.
This wasn’t the news that the Cowboys needed. A receiver room that was already short on quality and quantity, is now down even more. Washington wasn’t a headliner signing for Dallas this offseason, but he was a key addition. Jerry Jones mentioned early in camp that Washington was someone that he was looking forward to helping the offense this season. That contribution will have to wait.
The Cowboys needed a veteran receiver who could hold down the fort until fellow wideout Michael Gallup returns from rehabbing the knee injury that occurred in Week 17 last season. Washington was supposed to bridge that gap and help ease the transition for third-round pick Jalen Tolbert.
Now, the Cowboys must accelerate the learning curve for Tolbert as they’ll be counting on him to have an immediate impact. That’s a lot to ask of a rookie, but it’s necessary and the hope is that Tolbert can handle the responsibility.
Without Gallup and Washington, the Cowboys are now down to just one receiver who can reasonably be relied on. Right now it’s CeeDee Lamb, and a handful of ‘guys’ at the position.
Lamb is the only receiver on the team that has caught an NFL touchdown and he has more receptions than all the other receivers combined. It feels like a dire situation for Dallas.
There is some positive news, however, as the wide receiver position still has some decent veteran options for the Cowboys to turn to for help. Among the WRs that could interest the team include Will Fuller, Emmanuel Sanders, Adam Humphries, T.Y. Hilton, and even former Cowboy Cole Beasley, who even before the Washington injury said he would be willing to catch passes from Prescott again.
There has been no word on if the Cowboys would welcome a reunion with Beasley, but he’s a possibility.
The Cowboys made this bed for themselves. The team traded WR Amari Cooper in the offseason, failed to re-sign WR Cedrick Wilson, and replaced them with an underachieving Washington and a third-rounder. This is not an ideal strategy, especially with Gallup expected to miss several weeks early in the season.
Washington’s addition was a start, but the Cowboys ideally needed to sign another quality receiving option before training camp and refused to do so. Now they’re feeling the sting of not having a strong receiver room.
There’s no question that the Cowboys need to find themselves another veteran WR to add to the group while they wait for Gallup and Washington to get healthy. Failing to do so could have a disastrous impact on the offense.
It isn’t a doomsday scenario, but wide receiver was a place where the Cowboys couldn’t afford an injury. Now it’s time to see how the front office responds to a rough start in training camp.
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