In case you’ve missed it, Cole Beasley is a slot superstar. In an off season filled with narratives such as Ezekiel Elliott breaking the rookie rushing record, Tony Romo‘s health, and Dak Prescott’s rise to stardom, it’s Beasley that is one of the most interesting story lines. Only 27 years old and on pace for a hundred catch season, Beasley is in the prime of his career and it’s showing. His exceptional ability to use his quickness on option routes creates an unstoppable dynamic on third downs.
Cole Beasley is a Slot Superstar
Beasley’s emergence should be enthralling to Cowboys fan’s everywhere for a few reasons. The first being that he’s one of the biggest mismatches in the NFL. The league has moved to trying to emulate the bigger corners Seattle has had so much success with. This has significantly helped Beasley, even though he’s excelled versus almost all body types. His 5’8 174-pound frame makes him a tough matchup for any corner. It’s not just his size, but rather his explosiveness and footwork that give him an advantage.
These are the same traits that have helped Julian Edelman emerge into a stalwart on New England’s offense. While Edelman is a bit more physically gifted and plays a different role, they profile similarly. New England will use multiple formations and line Edelman up everywhere both inside and out. Beasley really only operates out of the slot. However, that’s a direct result of the type of offense the Cowboys run. Dallas prefers to stick to its base offense. What this means for Beasley is that he will almost always be matched up versus the opposing team’s third corner. He will always have the benefit of playing against an inferior player making him an unstoppable force.
First and Beasley
Beasley has been a first down machine. Teams often focus their coverages on shutting down Dez Bryant or Jason Witten and Beasley has reaped the benefits of relaxed underneath looks or man coverage. Think you are going to cover him with a safety? Good luck. There just aren’t a lot, or really any teams for that matter, that have three solid corners who can cover. This puts Beasley at an inherent advantage in almost every match-up he’s in.
Make no bones about it, Beasley does benefit from this dynamic. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that he thrives in his role, though. In the first two games of the season, Beasley has been targeted a robust 18 times. While he did drop a touchdown pass against the Giants, he still leads the team in receiving.
When left in single coverage, Beasley has become a one-man wrecking crew on third downs. He’s consistently getting open with ease and he’s flashed an elusive after the catch ability that makes him dangerous in the open field. The Cowboys offense has slowly shifted from “First and Witten” to “First and Beasley”. Witten can’t play forever so it’s encouraging to see someone else showcase that ability.
How About Them Cowboys?
The Cowboys have often maligned for some of their contract decisions, especially dating back to Brandon Carr‘s five-years 50.1 million dollar contract. After a closer examination, though, the team has been improving in this area. The only misfire since then appears to be the Tyrone Crawford extension and that was more for leadership reasons. Jeremy Mincey, Justin Durant, Orlando Scandrick, Tyron Smith, and James Hanna stand out as some excellent contracts and extensions that the team has handed out.
Lastly, Cole Beasley may be the best value of all them. He inked himself a four-year $13.6 million contracts with the Dallas Cowboys on March 3, 2015. That’s an average of only 3.4 million a season. Chris Wesseling recently wrote about his top ten slot wide receivers for nfl.com and in comparison, Beasley’s contract is unequivocally an exceptional value. Edelman’s cap hit per year averages out to only 4.5 million, but the others on their second contracts don’t come close to the value, for the money, that Beasley provides.
So not only is Beasley an exceptionally fun player to watch, but he’s providing excellent value to the team. This is exactly the type of situation every fan hopes for, the perfect mix of value and production. Cowboys fan everywhere should rejoice, the team got this one right. Go ahead, get your popcorn ready. Oh and don’t forget, when it’s third down; First and Beasley.