NFL Free Agency: Should Dallas Cowboys Grab WR David Nelson?

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NFL Free Agency: Should Dallas Cowboys Grab WR David Nelson?
Courtesy of www.sportsnet.ca

He was born in Dallas, and played high school football in nearby Wichita Falls.

He was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida following the 2009 college football season.

He stands 6'5'' and weighs 215 pounds.

He was even dating a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader as of 2012—I don't know the status of that relationship now, however.

His name is David Nelson, and he is a wide receiver believed to be on his way out of Buffalo.

You might recall his touchdown grab against the Cowboys a couple of seasons ago during a 44-7 blowout victory for Dallas.

Perhaps more well known was his ''jump pass'' completion from quarterback Tim Tebow in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game against Oklahoma. It put away the Sooners in a 24-14 victory for the Gators.

Everything above is cosmetic when asking this question: Should the Cowboys go after this three-year veteran receiver?

Well, the first question is actually whether Nelson will be available. The Bills are not expected to tender an offer to Nelson following a breakout season in 2011, but also a blown ACL to begin the 2012 regular season.

His 61 catches for 658 yards and five touchdowns two years ago must have really elevated the expectations for Nelson. Why else would Buffalo, a franchise in perpetual transition, already be moving on because those said expectations were not met last season due to injury?

I am not completely convinced that Nelson is done in Buffalo, but it sure looks like this is the case. We will know soon enough as the free-agent signing period begins on March 12. It's not like the Bills have a bunch of other options at the position and Buffalo still needs a quarterback—another problem that never seems to go away.

Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images
David Nelson in 2009 BCS National Championship Game

So, assuming Nelson really hits the market as expected, should Dallas go after an additional, homegrown pass catcher to complement a wide receiver corps that isn't particularly deep, reliable or proven?

It would have cost Buffalo a mere $1.3 million to secure the rights to Nelson for at least another year. But new Bills head coach Doug Marrone doesn't seem interested in either the offensive personnel or philosophy of former head coach Chan Gailey—understandable to most Cowboys fans older than 20 years old.

Earlier this month I discussed the idea of Dallas signing a veteran wide receiver during the offseason. But I wasn't referring to guys like Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings or Dwayne Bowe. These veterans will set the market at the position this winter.

Nelson is the type of player I was referring to.

In other words, a player with experience, youth and some physical presence that can help a group of pass catchers that has its share of questions.

Imagine Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Dwayne Harris all return as the top three wide receivers as expected. Adding Nelson to this group offers quarterback Tony Romo a tall target at wideout, and also a receiver that provides a little insurance if Austin's hamstrings keep taking time off from football—and those those hamstrings aren't going anywhere apparently, although they might get cheaper very soon.

A chain-moving receiver is something Dallas hasn't really had since either Keyshawn Johnson or Michael Irvin—although Bryant certainly has the ability to be every kind of receiver you need.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Keyshawn Johnson

Best of all, Nelson comes from Texas and might very well want to come back home to continue his career. Further, Nelson is not likely to command big dollars following his limited experience and knee injury.

The unknown is exactly how much money Nelson will be seeking and whether or not a veteran receiver is a priority to the Cowboys.

Names like Cole Beasley, Danny Coale and Anthony Armstrong are complete unknowns or long shots to either make the roster next season or an impact. And we can forget Kevin Ogletree at this point as he is an unrestricted free agent whom the Cowboys probably have zero interest in re-signing.

Quickly, it's likely that Dallas has its eye on the speed demons that lit up the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis over the weekend. The only problem with players like Marquise Goodwin of Texas or Tavon Austin of West Virginia is that the Cowboys don't know that they will have access to these players once selections begin in April.

Is David Nelson worth a 'prove yourself' contract with the Cowboys?

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But Nelson will be available, and since the Cowboys aren't likely at all to draft one of the more complete receivers that might be chosen before those mentioned above, free agency offers the best chance to add some experienced depth without breaking the bank.

Nelson has some upside, and he's done more in the NFL than anyone not named Bryant or Austin on the Dallas roster at this time.

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