Cowboys roster battle: Jalen Tolbert vs the field for WR3

The theme for the 2024 Dallas Cowboys will be a youth movement, that much is evident. With several starters and contributors walking out of the door this offseason, the Cowboys brass has minced no words regarding their expectations for some of these young, unproven guys to step up and fill a role.

One of those key positions up for grabs is the ever-important WR3 spot. With Michael Gallup being released and now in Las Vegas with the Raiders, it will be on someone else’s shoulders to man that role for 2024 and possibly beyond.

Many believe the man for the job is third-year WR Jalen Tolbert. And while many may be right that it is his job to lose, we take a look at not only Tolbert, but the other options that may have a chance to fill the seat as well.

Cowboys WR3 options for 2024

Jalen Tolbert

Dallas Cowboys v Miami Dolphins

Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Career Stats:

  • Receptions: 24
  • Yards: 280
  • Touchdowns: 2

To this point in his career the production has not matched the hype for Tolbert. In two seasons, with many excited about his selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Tolbert has been unable to make a true impact for Dallas’ offense.

However, 2024 looks to change all that as Tolbert is first in line to see his snaps, and opportunities, increase. Despite the reasons that led him to be a seldom-used player, whether it was the guys in front of him or a lack of development on his part, he faces his greatest opportunity in 2024.

Veteran Cowboys WR2, Brandin Cooks, has taken Tolbert under his wing since he arrived in Dallas, and those around the team feel like it has done wonders for Tolbert’s confidence and development. The Cowboys are hoping that, plus a more concerted effort to get him involved, results in a breakout season in Year 3.

KaVontae Turpin

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys

Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Career Stats:

  • Receptions: 13
  • Yards: 136
  • Touchdowns: 3

While many have their eyes set on Tolbert as WR3, KaVontae Turpin may be a sneaky option for the job as well. The dynamic special teams ace has had limited opportunities in the offensive game plan, but when he has been given chances he has made the most of them.

A guy who is smaller in stature, and may not be a true outside WR in some people’s eyes, he makes up for his size deficiencies with speed that you simply cannot teach. His big-play ability is rare, and sometimes it is as simple as just manufacturing touches for him and getting out of the way.

There’s no doubting his capabilities with the ball in his hand, but where he will need to separate from Tolbert and the rest of the group will come from his ability to run routes, get open, and be a reliable target for Dak Prescott. If he can demonstrate that in training camp, he has a better chance of winning the job than some are willing to accept right now.

Jalen Brooks

NFL: NOV 12 Giants at Cowboys

Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Career Stats:

  • Receptions: 6
  • Yards: 64
  • Touchdowns: 0

Jalen Brooks is the real dark horse option of the three vying for the spot, but he has shown a lot of promise early in his career and has a lot of people intrigued by his ability.

Brooks has had very limited action, but when he has had a chance, he never shied away from the moment, and it never looked too big for him. What started off as a strong first training camp, turned into being a core special teamer who stepped up to flash a little bit of offensive juice when given the chance.

Brooks likely won’t be the guy for the job, but it felt disingenuous to leave him out of this conversation because not many around the team would be surprised to see a sizable leap for him in Year 2. Just how much of a leap it is though, remains to be seen.

Other contenders:

  • Martavis Bryant
  • Ryan Flournoy
  • David Durden
  • Jalen Cropper


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