New Cowboys signing runs 40-acre cattle ranch in Texas


James Washington carries the ball for a touchdown.

Typically, when the Dallas Cowboys sign a new free agent, the player doesn’t already own a huge ranch in Texas. Not for James Washington.

But when you have roots like the 25-year-old receiver, it kinda makes sense. Long before reaching Oklahoma State and then the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington was a standout athlete at Stamford High School in Stamford, Texas.

Now, he’s returned to the Lone Star State on a one-year contract with the Cowboys following his release from the Steelers. Interestingly enough, his introductory press conference was apparently a day late due to his responsibilities on the ranch, for Todd Archer, ESPN reporter.

Of course, the media present could not pass this up. Washington was asked a bit more about what owning the ranch looks like.

“I usually go to practice at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. Come back, feed the horses, feed the cows, check everything. Make sure everything is okay,” Washington explained, per Return and train in the afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. If I have a bit of time, I go home and sometimes I do some ropes — sometimes I do some ropes on the weekends. Come back and tie up the cattle, check the horses again and make sure everything is fed. Other than that, I just hang out with my wife here at home. I’m just enjoying ranch life in the middle of nowhere.

It doesn’t get more Cowboy than that, but it’s still not what you’d expect from the modern NFL receiver. But Washington isn’t typical in many ways, and his arrival in Dallas from Pittsburgh brings an interesting dynamic to the Cowboys’ offense.

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Washington leaves Steelers with ‘meat on the bone’

An interesting comment Washington made during his March 24 press conference was that he felt like he wasn’t the receiver he wanted to be with the Steelers. After being selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Washington spent four seasons in Pittsburgh but never really broke out.

For the 25-year-old, he thinks it’s partly down to a crowded WR room.

“I feel like with everything that’s happened in Pittsburgh, I haven’t really been able to show myself fully,” Washington said according to USA today. “We had a packed room at the receiver. But nothing against anyone else, I feel like there’s a lot of meat left on the bone. I haven’t really been able to fully develop and progress the way I wanted.

FRP shows that in four seasons with the Steelers, Washington has totaled 1,629 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He only missed a total of 5 games over the four seasons and averaged 14.3 yards per catch.

That’s a high average, which bodes well for more targets for Dallas’ free agency addition. If Washington and quarterback Dak Prescott can get in sync, the receiver may be able to replicate or improve on his career-high 2019 season, where he racked up 735 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 44 catches.

Receivership agreement with the Cowboys

The Cowboys have settled in well with the former Steelers WR’s contract. According spotracDallas has a deal with Washington that proves he won’t hurt them too much if he doesn’t get his way.

Washington’s deal is for one year and pays him a fully guaranteed $1.048 million this season. It’s basically the veteran minimum for Washington, and it’s pretty basic because it doesn’t feature any incentive-based bonuses.

Fortunately, the contract itself is incentive. Washington can launch his NFL career with a breakthrough year in Dallas, and the Cowboys would like the Texas native to eventually replace Amari Cooper properly.

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