Patrick Crayton is not happy. And I can't say I totally blame him either. He has been producing good, but not great numbers for several years. He has done everything the team has asked of him and played above his draft status for a long time. But the NFL is a business and Jerry Jones, Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett have to do what is best for the team. That means Patrick Crayton is going to lose playing time if he stays with the Cowboys.
Crayton has been a valuable asset for a few years now but he is obviously not irreplaceable. And his age (31) is not helping his cause. He wants to be traded. But why would anyone trade for Crayton if they know he is probably going to be cut in the long run anway? I have to believe that the Cowboys would choose Sam Hurd over Patrick Crayton if push came to shove. Hurd is younger and has more long term potential. But it is possible that Crayton and Hurd will be gone.
The Cowboys are suddenly very strong at the wide receiver position. Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and Dez Bryant have the top three spots locked up. Then there is Kevin Ogletree who flashed some impressive playmaking skills last season. So that leaves probably one more spot on the roster for a wide receiver. The Cowboys are unlikely to keep six. So it will probably come down to Hurd or Crayton.
I think I would prefer to keep Sam Hurd for a few reasons. Sam Hurd generally keeps his mouth shut which is going to be important. It is unlikely that Hurd or Crayton is going to get the playing time they desire. There is too much talent at wide receiver to get either of them on the field on a regular basis. While Crayton has proven he can make plays he is starting to hit the down side of his career. A guy with marginal talent like Crayton doesn't have to lose very much of his athleticism before he becomes a non-factor. Hurd hasn't ever made plays consistently but he has improved from year to year and he has shown some flashes that he can get the job done if given the opportunity.
I'll be surprised if Crayton is back next year. I don't think he wants to be in Dallas regardless of his contract or what promises the coaches might make him about playing time. I think Hurd could be convinced that Dallas is still the place for him to be. They can't both stay. In the past you might have been able to argue that the Cowboys need Crayton for punt returns. But it appears Dez Bryant and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah both have punt return skills. And Kevin Ogletree has worked on punt returns with Joe DeCamillis as well.
If the Cowboys could get even a late round pick for Crayton I would be thrilled. But it is much more likely that he will be released sometime before training camp starts in July. I appreciate what he did for the Cowboys but the team is doing the right thing by going with the younger, more talented and cheaper options at wide receiver.