Patrick Crayton’s Future in Dallas
Pro Football Talk recently published an article detailing their thoughts on Patrick Crayton’s future with the Dallas Cowboys. In their opinion, it will be very difficult for the Cowboys to either retain or trade Crayton. They believe his role–which is likely to be diminished in 2010– does not justify his $2 million salary.
Further, they believe (and we agree) that a trade is highly unlikely. First, the Cowboys had the last two days of the draft (after they selected Dez Bryant) to possibly ship Crayton out of Dallas, meaning if a trade was coming, it probably would have happened by now.
Secondly, if $2 million is too steep of a price for the Cowboys to pay for a slot receiver, why would another team dish out the cash? Any trade would include Crayton’s contract, and because he doesn’t figure to have an incredibly impactful role on any team, there just aren’t too many teams (perhaps none) knocking on Dallas’ door for Crayton’s services.
Despite Crayton’s contract, however, we disagree with PFT’s assessment that he has no value to the ‘Boys in 2010. Although he obviously won’t have the same role for the Cowboys as in prior seasons (he is likely to lose punt return duties and will see less offensive snaps), he still has the ability to play well in the slot.
Roy Williams is obviously not a slot receiver. Dez Bryant is an option, but if he ends up overtaking Williams in the starting lineup (which will obviously happen eventually), he will be playing outside as the X or Z receiver.
The Cowboys could also look at Kevin Ogletree, who we believe has the sort of skill set which most resembles that of the prototypical slot receiver (outside of Crayton). Still, Ogletree is an undrafted second-year player with very limited experience. Can he be trusted as a slot receiver just yet? We believe Crayton’s experience in the slot is alone enough to justify his stay in Big D, as he provides a skill set which we cannot be sure would be present following his potential release.
Another thing Crayton has going for him is that he could surely play special teams. He of course contributed on special teams as a returner previously (and he can still be a backup option as a punt returner), but we don’t see any reason why he couldn’t be placed in the lineup on kickoffs or as a gunner on punts.
Although he has asked for a clarification of his role in Dallas, Crayton says he will attend all mandatory team activities. That fact may not be the reason the Cowboys keep him, but it certainly won’t hurt. Crayton has shown and continues to show a loyalty to the Cowboys that the coaches (and fans) certainly respect.
Ultimately, we disagree with PFT’s idea that Crayton will not be on the Cowboys this season. We placed him on our 53-man roster projection for a reason–he still has value to the team. His $2 million salary is high for a receiver without a big-time offensive role, but not so much so that he is incapable of being retained.
Expect the Cowboys to be unable to find a trade partner for Crayton, but for the veteran to remain in Dallas this season. He isn’t a dominant, game-breaking sort of player, but the reliability he brings to Tony Romo and the offense is certainly of value to Dallas.