With Dez Bryant being sidelined for a duration of four to six weeks, (Bryant broke a bone in his foot that will prevent him from playing) the Cowboys needed to acquire new talent to help carry the load at the wide receiver position. Tuesday, they did just that and maybe more when they traded a conditional seventh round pick to the Oakland Raiders for Brice Butler. Some do not know who Butler is, as he has been struggling to climb out of the depth chart in Oakland. Who is he and what can he bring to the Dallas Cowboys?
Brice Butler was a seventh round selection by the Raiders in 2013. He spent his senior season playing for the San Diego State Aztecs, as a teammate to current Cowboy Gavin Escobar. Previous to that, he played for the University of Southern California. Butler has not had the success that he had wanted, but works hard and has impressed in the little time that he does see. He looks the part of a go to guy, but has not pieced it together. While the Cowboys were in need of a receiver, Butler was in need as well of a change of scenery and a new opportunity to showcase his talent and skills. They had other options as veterans like Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks were available, but Cowboys chose to go with Butler.
Physically, Butler is a very gifted receiver. He stands 6’3 inches tall, weighs in at 215 pounds, possesses a 39 inch vertical and was clocked at his pro day at 4.36 in the forty-yard dash. Looking at his college and pro film, he shows that not only can he make tough catches, but he can use his speed to over the top of the defense and get yards after the catch. What I have seen is only a sample size, but it seems like what he needs is more touches. In Dallas, he will get every opportunity.
Terrence Williams will be your primary receiver. Cole Beasley will be in the slot. The question you ask is who will be opposite of Williams? Cowboys could utilize Escobar or Witten more and try to use their size to the Offense’s advantage. We saw Sunday what a weapon Lance Dunbar can be. And the coaches are still hoping that Devin Street can show what he is capable of doing under bright lights and in an actual game. So there are options. Consider this, though. Williams isn’t the playmaker that Bryant is. He doesn’t command double teams. In quick passing situations, Dunbar can be dangerous, but you don’t want to show that too much with a QB who has had some injury issues from a pass protection standpoint. You need another wide receiver who can come in and hold the defense accountable and be able to make a play if their number is called. With his size and speed, Butler could make an immediate impact on this team.
What exactly did the Cowboys give up for the young wideout? The conditions of this trade is simple. Brice, like any other player can be released at any point and time, but if he is on the roster for week 8 then the seventh round pick will turn into a fifth round pick. Interesting of note, the Raiders will send the Cowboys back a sixth round pick. If Butler doesn’t last that long, then it will just be a loss of a seventh round pick for the Cowboys. Basically, the Cowboys have a total of six games to see what they really have in him. Three good things about this is: 1) the window. Nothing but upside with little cost. Especially if you consider the compensatory picks the Cowboys will most likely get next year. If he doesn’t pan out, it is just a seventh rounder. The Cowboys cut their seventh round picks this year. Keep that in mind. 2) If he is on the roster, then he must be doing well for the team. Cowboys have depth at WR now, and when Dez comeback, they might have another weapon to put on the field with him. 3) You find serviceable talent and get an additional pick for the price of one as the Raiders would give the Cowboys their sixth round pick. Good dealing by Stephen Jones and front office. Hopefully this is another great find by Will McClay and his staff.
The show must go on. Dez Bryant will be missed. No one can replace his value to this team and his knack for making plays. One would hope; however, that this receiving corps rise to the challenge and gives Tony Romo enough windows and haul in enough passes to keep the Cowboys on track. The league doesn’t take a vacation because your star Wide Receiver is out. The Cowboys head to Philadelphia next week to play another NFC rival, then the Falcons come flying in to AT&T Stadium the next week followed by the Saints. This is going to be a difficult time, but true heroes turn trials into triumph. Lets see how heroic this Cowboys team can be.