McGee a Long Term Solution?

When Tony McGee signed with the Dallas Cowboys last week, it could only be looked upon as a short term solution at tight end.

The addition of Tony McGee almost one week ago gave the Cowboys four tight ends on their current roster. With McGee penciled in as the starter, Mike Lucky, Jeff Robinson, and Bob Slowikowski will battle it out for the second team spot.

James Whalen, who is likely a longshot to make the team even though he's added some much needed weight and generally catches everything in site, isn't likely to provide any help.

Jeff Robinson was signed primarily as a long snapper. You aren't really going to find any balls being thrown his way next season, even in a back up capacity.

Bob Slowikowski, a late round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, has some potential and looked decent in mini-camp last week, but he's not the long term answer either.

And that leaves us Tony McGee.

McGee's signing was nothing short of unexpected in many people's eyes. After all, his productivity has declined almost every year since 1995.

McGee brings with him some accolades from Cincinnati. He is the franchise's seventh-leading receiver with 299 catches and stands ninth with 3,795 receiving yards. He also started 136 of 144 possible games during his Bengals career.

A second-round pick from Michigan in 1993, McGee had a string of 117 consecutive starts that ended in Game15 of the 2000 season when he broke his ankle. Obviously, the one thing you can say about McGee is that he is about as durable as they come.

But in reality, thats about it.

Sure, McGee is a hard worker on and off the field, and a decent blocker, but he isn't going to win any football games for you. In fact, he's nothing more than a short term solution at tight end.

McGee will likely be utilized primarily as a blocker, and he will be lucky to average more than two receptions a game. Despite this, he'll be on the field a good bit, as Coslet likes to use dual tight end and one back formations.

Lets not fool ourselves here, the Boys were after two big time skill position players in the 2002 NFL Draft, WR Antonio Bryant, and TE Daniel Graham.

Jerry Jones was able to trade up to get Byrant, but he wasn't fortunate enough to grab Graham. Certainly, if the Cowboys were able to draft Graham, it would have likely put them off the charts in terms of pure talent acquired this offseason, but it wasn't to be.

Graham was picked up by the New England Patriots with the 21st pick in the draft, and the Cowboys then turned their attention back to Bryant.

And that brings us back to McGee. Tony will likely be this team's go-to tight end next season, and whether that's good or bad remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, he's not the long term solution in this offense.

The West Coast Offense demands a big, pass-catching tight end that break off big chunks of yardage everytime he catches the football. McGee used to be somewhat close to that, but he definitely isn't now, and he especially isn't after coming off a major injury.

Without putting it any other way, I expect the Cowboys to do everything possible to either bring in a big name free agent next season, or draft some young stud coming out of the college ranks.

Tony McGee Career Numbers
YEAR TEAM       G       GS Rec Yds Avg Lg   TD 40+ 
1993 Cincinnati Bengals 15 15  44  525 11.9 37 0 0 
1994 Cincinnati Bengals 16 16  40  492 12.3 54 1 1 
1995 Cincinnati Bengals 16 16  55  754 13.7 41 4 1 
1996 Cincinnati Bengals 16 16  38  446 11.7 22 4 0 
1997 Cincinnati Bengals 16 16  34  414 12.2 37 6 0 
1998 Cincinnati Bengals 16 16  22  363 16.5 40 1 1 
1999 Cincinnati Bengals 16 16  26  344 13.2 35 2 0 
2000 Cincinnati Bengals 14 14  26  309 11.9 39 1 0 
2001 Cincinnati Bengals 11  9  14  148 10.6 25 1 0

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