The Dallas Cowboys have an absolutely huge off-season decision to make, and it has nothing to do with a defensive move to the 4-3 or adding to an offensive line that sorely needs an infusion of talent. It has everything to do with a troublesome offensive skill position and will loom large against the backdrop of the never-ending question, “Can Tony Romo take this team to the Super Bowl?”
It’s obvious that the defense needs to play well and the offensive line needs to become a unit that provides consistency for both the QB and the soon-to-be mentioned offensive coordinator. It’s obvious that WR Dez Bryant needs to continue his maturation and RB DeMarco Murray needs to take the next step in becoming an elite every-down back. It’s also obvious and a given that TE Jason Witten will be the steady hand and safety blanket that Romo needs.
What’s not so obvious is the glaring hole that the Cowboys’ offense displayed in several games this past season. There were times, too many times, that the offense became stagnant and lacked explosiveness because of an inability to balance the field and make defenses respect each of Romo’s options. In order correct this deficiency and provide the missing ingredient for the Romo-led offense to reach its potential, the coaching staff must identify the elusive 3rd WR.
The options range from continuing to develop the mostly unproven, undrafted free agent WR Cole Beasley, who made a splash on Thanksgiving with a 7 receptions for 68 yards performance, to All Pro WR Wes Welker, the New England Patriots’ record-breaking dynamo who has helped to transform the Patriots offense into an almost unstoppable force. Welker is one of a few prime-time slot receivers who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this off-season.
The decision of whether the Cowboys will roll with Beasley, or take a chance on a free agent, could come down to simple economics. Hopefully, the brain trust can do some salary cap magic and see this as a possible opportunity to right a wrong. At the end of the 2008 season, the Cowboys made an ill-advised move when they allowed the contract of WR Danny Amendola to expire. Then a practice squad member, Amendola has since become an extremely productive member of the St. Louis Rams and a potential unrestricted free agent.
Conventional wisdom says that Beasley deserves a chance, but the ever-closing “window of Super Bowl opportunity” says a Cowboys’ move is warranted. The choice boils down to righting a wrong with Amendola or putting in all their chips with Beasley. It’s time to Cowboy-up and make a decision. The Super Bowl hangs in the balance.