The Dallas Cowboys made a seemingly minor move with the signing of wide receiver KaVontae Turpin who spent time in the USFL, Spring League and European Football League. However, what may seem like a small signing to some is a pretty big move by this Dallas front office.
For starters, the Cowboys are able to fill a position they’ve tested on every offseason training schedule — a returning man. Additionally, his speed and ability to play with the football in this hand and the open field in front of him is quite a site to behold and should be a concern for the special teams coordinators the Cowboys face this season.
The reigning USFL MVP led the league in punt return average. During his time with the TCU Horned Frogs, he returned 71 kickoffs for 1,985 yards, averaging 28 yards per attempt (with two touchdowns) and had 52 punt returns for 741 yards averaging 14.3 yards and 4 touchdowns. Those are all impressive numbers and something John “Bones” Fassell will happily use on special teams.
Why signing KaVontae Turpin is more important than some Cowboys fans think
But that’s not really the most interesting reason the Cowboys signed Turpin, in my opinion, and head coach Mike McCarthy may have alluded to the second reason for the signing when he said that the USFL WR had “Tony Pollard-like traits”. Pretty complimentary for a player who hasn’t taken a nod in the NFL.
What if this signing by the Cowboys was as much an insurance policy as the signing of a potential special teams ace? Turpin can give the Cowboys some offensive leeway if he’s able to perform at a high level for this team.
They may have the ability to protect themselves down the line this offseason with Pollard becoming a free agent and Ezekiel Elliott’s future with the team in question after the season thanks to his huge contract. We’ve seen how banged up the RB1 has been in recent seasons for the Cowboys, and we also know that the Cowboys coaching staff is more focused than ever on getting the ball into Pollard’s hands this season.
With the signing of Turpin, it looks like Dallas is protecting itself if Elliott or Pollard get hurt this season as well. Turpin showed in college that he can make plays in the passing game as well as on the field when called upon. That versatility gives the Cowboys the ability to fill injury holes quickly.
If Elliott goes down, Pollard can slip into the starting running back role and Turpin can replace Pollard as the scatback/slot receiver and vice versa. If Pollard goes down, Turpin steps in directly to fulfill his role and the offense can keep clicking without missing a beat.
This signing also gives the Cowboys the opportunity to put two fast receivers on the field, making this offense even more dangerous with their potential to face off with Pollard and Turpin on the field at the same time.
Now it’s up to Turpin to learn as much as he can from the playbook so he can have a more immediate impact on this offense and solidify his spot on the roster.