The 20 best wide receivers in the history of the Dallas Cowboys (2024)

The Dallas Cowboys have had myriad talented wide receivers pass through the organization in their 64-year history. If you were to assemble a list of the most iconic receivers to ever play in the NFL, odds are most of them donned a star on their helmet at some point in their career.

Comparing wide receivers from different eras is always a challenge, but it's possible when taking multiple different factors into account.

Statistics are paramount when ranking the greatest wide receivers in franchise history, but the criteria goes deeper than that. Team success matters, but it'd be unfair for wins and losses to weigh heavily in the rankings.

While the wide receiver position is pivotal to team success in today's NFL, this list involves players from different eras, including when the passing game was still evolving. Additionally, quarterback play 50 years ago was nowhere near where it is today. The game itself was completley different.

It isn't a ranking of pure talent, but rather a combination of numbers, talent, team success and personal accolades.

The top 20 wide receivers in Dallas Cowboys history:

Renfro spent the final four years of his career in Dallas after six seasons with the Houston Oilers. The Fort Worth, TX native was quietly productive for the Cowboys. He totaled over 2,500 receiving yards and put together a banner 1985 season in which he caught 60 passes for 955 yards and eight touchdowns.

19. Joey Galloway

Galloway arrived with the Cowboys at a crossroads. Troy Aikman was in the twilight of his career and Michael Irvin was contemplating retirement.

In need of a WR1, Galloway was acquired from the Seahawks for two first-round picks. He tore his ACL in his first season in 2000, but bounced back to play 47 of a possible 48 games over the next three years. During that span, Galloway caught 147 passes for 2,279 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Cowboys acquired Johnson in a 2004 trade with the Buccaneers for the previously mentioned Joey Galloway. The former No. 1 overall pick joined Dallas near the end of his career, but you wouldn't know it based on his production. In two seasons, Johnson caught 141 passes for 1,820 yards and 12 touchdowns, leading the team in receiving both years. He wasn't in Dallas very long, but he left a memorable impression both as a playmaker and leader in the locker room.

17. Terrance Williams

Cowboys fans had high hopes for Williams. While he was a dependable WR2 for Tony Romo behind Dez Bryant, he never quite fulfilled his potential. Williams burst onto the scene as a rookie with 736 receiving yards and five touchdowns. In his first five seasons, Williams averaged an impressive 671.8 receiving yards. Believe it or not, he is 13th in Cowboys history in catches amongst WRs and 12th in receiving yards.

Martin didn't cross 800 receiving yards in any of his four seasons with the Cowboys, but he was consistent nevertheless. Between 1988-91, he averaged a respectable 53 catches for 666 yards. He took a backseat in 1991 and '92 after Michael Irvin emerged as a superstar. It also didn't help Martin's case that Dallas drafted Alvin Harper with the No. 12 overall pick in 1991. Still, he ranks 15th among all wide receivers in franchise history in receiving yards and won a Super Bowl in 1991.

15. Patrick Crayton

Crayton is remembered most for his devastating drop against the Giants in the 2008 playoffs. However, he was a productive player throughout his six seasons with the Cowboys and exceeded expectations as a seventh-round pick. From 2006-09, he amassed 162 catches for 2,385 yards and 20 TDs.

Those are impressive numbers considering he was the fourth option in the passing game behind Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Miles Austin. Amongst Cowboys wide receivers, Crayton is 16th all-time in receiving yards.

The late Terry Glenn was underrated throughout his time in Dallas. A former No. 7 overall pick of the Patriots in 1996, Glenn never quite lived up to his first-round billing due to injuries. Arguably his best stretch of football came with the Cowboys at the tail end of his career. In four years, he totaled 3,337 receiving yards. He had a compelling case to make the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006 when he posted over 1,000 receiving yards and a combined 13 touchdowns.

13. Cole Beasley

Beasley's seven seasons with the Cowboys were extremely productive. A perennial lock for 40 catches and anywhere between 400 and 800 receiving yards, Beasley actually ranks 11th in team history with 319 receptions. Known for moving the chains in high-leverage situations and finding the soft spaces in a defense, Beasley was an elite security blanket for Tony Romo before having some of his best seasons with Dak Prescott.

The end of Gallup's Cowboys tenure is at the forefront of fans' minds, so it's easy to forget how dynamic he was early in his career.

In his first three seasons, Gallup logged 158 catches for 2,457 yards and 13 touchdowns. The former third-rounder was knocking on the door of stardom until injuries derailed his career. He tore his ACL during the 2021 season and surgery seemingly sapped a chunk of his spring and athleticism.

Despite that, Gallup still has arguably the most impressive catch catalog of any Cowboys receiver. He's also 11th in team history in receiving yards, which should not be understated.

11. Alvin Harper

It's never easy to play in the shadow of an all-time great, but Harper excelled as the Cowboys' secondary receiver alongside Michael Irvin. A first-round pick out of Tennessee, Harper's Dallas tenure didn't go beyond his rookie contract, but he won two Super Bowls in his four years.

Harper was an underrated piece in the Cowboys' first Super Bowl triumph of the 1990s with 36 catches for 777 yards and five touchdowns. The following year, he tallied 821 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as Dallas' attempt to repeat as champs fell short in the NFC title game. In short, Harper was an excellent complementary receiver to Irvin and a strong No. 2 option for Troy Aikman.

Rentzel came to the Cowboys after two short years in Minnesota. From 1967-69, Rentzel posted 2,965 receiving yards and a whopping 26 touchdowns. He led the NFL with 12 touchdown grabs in 1969 and left Dallas with multiple team records, including most receptions in a game (broken by Jason Witten), and most consecutive 100-yard games (broken by Michael Irvin). He impressively ranks fourth in club history with 242 career playoff receiving yards.

9. Miles Austin

A cult hero throughout his time in Dallas, Austin is one of the best undrafted free agent signings in team history. He shared the spotlight with Terrell Owens early in his career, but broke out in 2009 (after T.O. left) to the tune of 81 catches for 1,320 yards and a Pro Bowl nod.

He's ninth in Cowboys history in receiving yards and there's a sizable gap between him and the next receiver (Amari Cooper). Austin was never a "star," around the league, but he was a star in his role for the Cowboys. There's a reason he has the fifth-most targets of any Dallas pass-catcher.

One of the most polarizing players in NFL history, Owens' play on the gridiron was worth the headache he was off of it. Signed as a free agent in 2006 by head coach Bill Parcells, Owens was nothing short of dominant in his three seasons with the Cowboys. He was fourth in the NFL in receiving yards during that stretch (2006-08) and first in touchdowns.

Owens is second in Cowboys history with 76.3 receiving yards per game and he managed to crack the top-10 with 38 touchdowns. He somehow only made one Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro (in 2007) even though he led the league with 13 TDs and logged nearly 1,200 receiving yards in 2007.

7. Amari Cooper

This one hurts, but Cooper made a profound impact over his three-plus seasons in Dallas. Responsible for the transformation of QB Dak Prescott, Cooper ranks 10th in Cowboys history with 3,893 receiving yards and fourth with 69.5 receiving yards per game.

Cooper's best season in terms of statistical output was in 2019, but fans won't soon forget his impact on the 2018 campaign when he was acquired mid-season from the Raiders. In just nine games, Cooper compiled 725 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Simply put, he was one of the 10-best receiving threats in the NFL throughout his time with the Cowboys.

Hill is a bit of a forgotten name, but his status as one of the best Cowboys' receivers is undeniable. A third-round pick out of Stanford in 1976, Hill crossed the 1,000-yard milestone three times in his career. He made three Pro Bowls and Dallas made the playoffs in nine of his 10 seasons. He has more receiving yards than Drew Pearson and Dez Bryant and is fifth in Cowboys history with 51 touchdowns.

5. CeeDee Lamb

It's incredible that Lamb has already cracked the top five. Lamb has a long way to go in his career, but he's currently on pace to shatter every Cowboys receiving record. In just four seasons, Lamb is already seventh in team history in catches, eighth in yards and 11th in touchdowns. He sits atop the leaderboard with 78.0 receiving yards per game and that tally should continue to grow. A three-time Pro Bowler and fresh off his first (of many) First-Team All-Pro finishes, Lamb could be the best No. 88 in Cowboys history when all is said and done.

Hayes is one of the most unique athletes to grace an NFL field. The former Olympic gold medalist turned Cowboys legend was a two-time First-Team All-Pro and got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. "Bullet Bob" played all but one season with Dallas and played an integral role in the team's first-ever Super Bowl in 1971. Hayes is sixth in team history with 7,414 receiving yards and only Jason Witten and Dez Bryant caught more touchdowns than his 71.

3. Dez Bryant

Bryant is arguably the most iconic receiver to ever play for the Cowboys. Bryant's peak was shorter than most WRs on this list, but it was the most dominant. As far as Dallas history goes, "Dez" is third in receptions, fifth in receiving yards and first in touchdown catches. He made three Pro Bowls and one First-Team All-Pro. Playing in a golden generation of WRs that featured Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Brown, Bryant in stretches was as dominant as any of them.

The original 88, Pearson was ahead of his time at the wide receiver position. He was a three-time First-Team All-Pro, including in 1977 when the Cowboys defeated the Broncos to capture their second Super Bowl. Pearson sits fourth in Cowboys history in both catches (489) and receiving yards (7,822). He authored some of the most memorable catches in the franchise's history, including Staubach's Hail Mary that helped Dallas beat the Vikings in the divisional round of the 1975 playoffs.

1. Michael Irvin

Tight end Jason Witten holds most of the Cowboys' receiving records. As far as the wide receiver position is concerned, though, Irvin reigns supreme. He was the first Dallas wideout to reach the 10,000-yard milestone. His 11,904 career receiving yards are nearly 4,000 more than the next Cowboys receiver. Irvin made five Pro Bowls and is ingrained in Cowboys history for the role he played in the team's three Super Bowl wins in the 1990s.

Rank

Player

Years with Cowboys

Receiving yards

1.

Michael Irvin

1988-1999

11,904

2.

Tony Hill

1977-1986

7,988

3.

Drew Pearson

1973-1983

7,822

4.

Dez Bryant

2010-2017

7,489

5.

Bob Hayes

1965-1974

7,295

6.

CeeDee Lamb

2020-present

5,145

7.

Miles Austin

2006-2013

4,481

8.

Amari Cooper

2018-2021

3,893

9.

Michael Gallup

2018-2023

3,744

10.

Terrell Owens

2006-2008

3,587

The 20 best wide receivers in the history of the Dallas Cowboys (2024)
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