Cowboys WR James Washington Sidelined Several Weeks With Fractured Foot; Where Does Dallas Turn?

james washington

On Monday, during the Cowboys’ first practice session with pads on, receiver James Washington fractured his foot and is expected to miss 6-10 weeks. Washington will return to Dallas to undergo surgery.

The injury occurred when Washington was running routes against Trevon Diggs. Washington was targeted on a deep pass, and when the two jumped to make a play on the ball, Washington landed awkwardly and sustained the injury. 

The fifth-year receiver tried leaving the field under his own power but went down after taking just a few steps. Washington then left the practice field on a cart.

How many regular season games will Washington miss?

If Washington misses a minimum six weeks to recover from the injury, he will only sit out the Cowboys’ opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If he sits for the maximum 10 weeks, he will miss the first five games against these opponents:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • New York Giants
  • Washington Commanders
  • Los Angeles Rams

What Washington’s loss means for Dallas

Washington has had an average NFL career to this point, but he does provide a veteran presence that is lacking on the Cowboys’ WR depth chart.

For the last four seasons, the Abilene-native has averaged 407 receiving yards and just under three touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Washington didn’t get many opportunities to showcase his skills because he was behind some talented Steelers receivers. On average, Washington was on the field for 53% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps throughout his career.

Now, Dallas will trot out a group of inexperienced receivers for its Week 1 matchup against Tampa Bay. CeeDee Lamb will lead the group, and last week Michael Gallup told the media it’s likely he misses the season opener. 

Behind Lamb is rookie Jalen Tolbert, Noah Brown, Simi Fehoko and T.J. Vasher. The receivers battling for a spot on the 53-man roster once the regular season begins are KaVontae Turpin, Brandon Smith, Ty Fryfogle and Dontario Drummond.

Brown is the only receiver on that list to have seen regular season action. In the last four seasons, he totaled 425 receiving yards on 39 receptions.

Wide receivers the Cowboys should consider adding

Before the Washington injury, there were concerns about the depth and experience among the Cowboys’ receivers. Now with Washington out, those concerns have increased tremendously.

Dallas has proven this offseason that they aren’t interested in signing another veteran receiver besides Washington, who was the Cowboys’ first external free agent signing. 

But now, they may not be left with any other choice unless the players on the roster really impress the coaches and front office during training camp and preseason games. Even if some players do stand out, it’s far from guaranteed that success transfers into the regular season.

Here are some wide receivers still on the market looking for a new team to ink a contract with:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. is far and away the biggest name left on the market, but signing him doesn’t make much sense as he’s coming off a torn ACL in the Super Bowl that will likely sideline him until the back half of the season.
  • Emmanuel Sanders will be entering his 14th NFL season in 2022. Last year, the 35-year-old proved he can still be productive. He posted 626 receiving yards and four touchdowns with the Buffalo Bills.
  • Will Fuller would be the riskiest signing of the bunch due to his inability to stay healthy.  In 2021, he appeared in only two games. But when Fuller does stay on the field, he’s proven to be a big-play threat.
  • DeSean Jackson in a Cowboys jersey would take some getting used to. The veteran played a small roles for the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Rams in 2021. In only four starts, he posted 454 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Jackson also earned some hardware after winning the Super Bowl with the Rams.