Veteran wideout in Cowboys' plans?

Miles Austin is gone and most likely will never play for the Dallas Cowboys again.

Hamstring injuries, a huge contract and the emergence of Dez Bryant made Austin expendable.

Austin will be missed because he was a veteran receiver who could help the passing game when defenses took Bryant out with tight coverage.

The Cowboys have normally employed veteran receivers to help with a young and talented receiving corps.

Over the years, the Cowboys had Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn as the vets, with Sam Hurd and Austin waiting in the wings. That morphed into Roy Williams, Austin, Hurd and Bryant.

And of course last season, there was Austin, Bryant and Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.

Now Dallas is without a veteran, and it might be time to grab one in free agency.

The Cowboys are open to signing a veteran free agent, but it has to make financial sense. Team officials are leaning toward not doing anything until after the May 8 NFL draft. There have been talks about signing veteran Nate Burleson, who played for Cowboys passing game coordinator, Scott Linehan, while the two were in Detroit.

In four seasons under Linehan, Burleson caught 12 touchdowns and averaged 10.7 yards per game.

He’s a perfect fit, at least for now, but other vets such as Santonio Holmes, Jason Avant, Robert Meachem and Kenny Britt could be snagged on the free-agent market as well.

Bryant, as coach Jason Garrett likes to say, draws a lot of attention, so it's uncertain if Williams (who will be entering his second season) and Beasley, along with Dwayne Harris, can push the passing game along.

Tight end Jason Witten also draws attention, but if a veteran wideout is around, it creates better opportunities in the passing game.

Austin was projected to excel with Bryant taken out by defenses, but his injuries didn't allow for any success on a consistent basis.

A healthy veteran could improve the passing game, if the Cowboys decide to pull the trigger on one.