One of the biggest disappointments about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 draft class was the fact they failed to upgrade the safety position. It was viewed by the majority of Cowboys Nation as a "need", but the Cowboys coaching staff obviously thought otherwise. The chance to upgrade the position through the draft may have passed them by, but that's not the only way to acquire talent.
The Dallas Cowboys proved last year how the right trade to can dramatically upgrade the roster after they acquired Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders. Trades like this rarely pay off as well as Cooper's did, but after last seasons success the Cowboys could go this direction once again to upgrade their safety position.
Teams around the league are going to have to make some tough decisions about some of their veteran players because of the incoming rookies they are adding to their roster. This could work out in the Cowboys favor, because I believe there are a couple of talented safeties who could be put on the trade block any day now.
Let's take a look…
Vonn Bell, New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints added not one, but two rookie safeties through the 2019 draft in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Saquan Hampton. Both players have the talent to start as rookies, which should shake things up quite a bit for the Saints at the safety position. This could make either Marcus Williams or Vonn Bell expendable, and if that's the case, the Dallas Cowboys should pounce at the opportunity to acquire either player.
Marcus Williams is coming off a down year after his second-season with the Saints, but I highly doubt they are ready to give up on him as of yet. Vonn Bell on the other hand is entering the final year of his rookie contract and may not have a future beyond this season in New Orleans. This could put him on the trade block, making him a possibility for the Cowboys.
Trading for Vonn Bell is a bit tricky though. It would basically be a one-year rental unless the Cowboys believe he is the future at the position. In that case, they would not only have to decide on the right trade compensation with the Saints, but also figure out what it would take to lock him up long-term. It's basically the same thing Dallas had in mind last year when trading for Amari Cooper. It's certainly doable, but probably a long shot.
Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders
You may have forgotten, but Amari Cooper wasn't the only the trade the Dallas Cowboys made with the Oakland Raiders last year. They also acquired Jamize Olawale and Jihad Ward last season and could return to the scene of the crime in the hopes of upgrading their safety position in 2019. The player they would be targeting… former West Virginia Safety Karl Joseph.
The Oakland Raiders signed Lamarcus Joyner to a $42 million contract this offseason and further upgraded the safety position when they drafted Johnathan Abram out of Mississippi State with one of their three first-round draft picks. This could ultimately seal Joseph's fate with the Raiders, especially since he was rumored to be on the trade block last season with Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack.
Unlike Vonn Bell, the Cowboys could essentially get two years out of Karl Joseph. He is in the last year of his rookie contract, but as a former first-round pick the fifth-year option could be applied. Joseph would likely be an upgrade next to Xavier Woods in Dallas, but probably nothing more than a role player it with the Raiders. This trade is much more doable and could end up benefiting both organizations. Maybe swap La'el Collins, who looks to be expendable, straight up for Karl Joseph? Sounds like a win-win to me.
If on the trade block, should the Dallas Cowboys inquire about these safeties?
Cowboys K Brett Maher’s 63-Yard Field Goal Sets New NFL Record
After hitting a 63-yard field goal last night in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Kicker Brett Maher now owns the NFL record for most field goal made at 60 yards or longer. It was the third 60-plus FG of his career and second so far this season.
Maher hit a 62-yarder last week in Dallas' loss to the New York Jets. That kick tied him with Sebastian Janikowski and Greg Zuerlein for having two career field goals of 60 or more.
Now Brett stands alone in that category. Last night's kick also was just one yard shy of Matt Prater's record for the NFL's longest field goal; Maher hit from 64 yards in 2013.
If Brett Maher ever gets a chance to kick in Denver, he may have a great shot at breaking Prater's record as well. According to NBC's data from last night, Maher's kick would have been good from 66 yards out.
It was a good night overall for the Cowboys kicker. Maher had two other makes from 26 and 29 yards.
Despite his heroics at times, Brett Maher has been one of the least accurate kickers in the NFL the last two years. Even after last night Brett is hitting just 71.4% of his field goals so far in 2019; that ties him for 25th in the league.
The most puzzling aspect of all with Maher is how much he struggles with shorter range kicks. You almost have more confidence in him kicking from 60 yards out than attempting an extra point.
Few kickers could survive that kind of performance and uncertainty, but few can do what Maher can with his long range ability. It's a risk/reward situation that the Cowboys are continuing to work with.
For today, at least, Maher and his team are basking in the glory of a great game. Let's hope both can keep up the positive momentum.
Cowboys Defense Dominates in Crucial Win vs Eagles
Coming into yesterday's battle for NFC East supremacy against the Philadelphia Eagles the Dallas Cowboys defense was looking to regain some swagger. The Green Bay Packers were led by Aaron Jones who had a career day with 182 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago in a 34-24 beatdown of the Cowboys. Last week at Metlife Stadium, the New York Jets got a career day themselves from their former third overall pick in Sam Darnold who threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns in his return from Mononucleosis that kept him out since Week one. The Cowboys were handed their third consecutive loss 24-22 and their season was headed down the drain.
It would be paramount for the Cowboys defensive unit to set a tone and they didn't waste any time doing so. The Eagle's first possession would only last five plays as Jaylon Smith forced a fumble by Tight End Dallas Goedert that was recovered by Maliek Collins. Just two plays into their second drive, Carson Wentz was strip-sacked by All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence inside the Eagles own 15 which was recovered by Antwaun Woods. Both turnovers led to scores for the Cowboys as they took an early 14-0 lead in the games first six minutes.
After the Eagles scored on a seven-play 87-yard drive with a little over four minutes to go in the first quarter they would only run 12 plays the rest of the first half, and the Cowboys went into the locker room with a commanding 27-7 lead.
The second half would be a continuation of the first 30 minutes of play. After an exchange of field goals in the third quarter, the Eagles were simply out of their misery early in the fourth. Wentz was intercepted by Safety Xavier Woods and he committed his second fumble of the game on the very next drive. In the end, the Cowboys whipped the Eagles from start to finish 37-10 and claimed outright first place in the NFC East.
There were several encouraging signs defensively for the Cowboys vs the Eagles. Maliek Collins matched his season total with five tackles and also recovered a fumble. Both starting defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn each had a sack showing exactly why the Cowboys put this combo together, to terrorize quarterbacks. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis had four tackles and a sack, a great follow up to his four tackle performance with an interception a week earlier, further making his case to be the top guy at nickel corner in this defense. The old veteran Sean Lee didn't go unnoticed either as his seven tackles were tied for of the team lead. He got more snaps due to Leighton Vander Esch's early exit with a neck injury.
You expect an offense like the Eagles to make plays and score points eventually, but the Cowboys defense wasn't having any of it in this contest. In addition to giving up under 300 yards of total offense, they only allowed the Eagles to convert three third downs, go 0 for 2 in the red zone and forced four turnovers. That's a recipe for victory any Sunday.
Now, the Cowboys go into the bye week sitting on top the NFC East throne. This is the perfect time to get guys fully healthy with a clash against the New York Giants on the road awaiting them in two weeks. The Cowboys defense played with their backs to the wall and pulled out a big-time performance when they needed it the most. Consistency is what has kept them from looking like the top seven unit they were in 2018. Was this game the turning point? We shall see, but nonetheless, this showing by them was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Cowboys Get Good News on Vander Esch, Quinn Injuries After Eagles Game
The Dallas Cowboys got a big win last night over the Philadelphia Eagles, but there was concern that they also suffered some big injuries. But good news; despite their leaving the game and not returning, both LB Leighton Vander Esch and DE Robert Quinn appear to have avoided any significant issues.
Vander Esch suffered a neck stinger in the second quarter and did not come back. It appears he was held out as a precautionary measure, and the Cowboys' 21-7 lead at that point may have contributed to the decision.
Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch just told me he's good. First neck stinger. Disputes "history" of neck issues reports. Told me he would have continued playing but "wasn't up to me
Quinn's rib injury also occurred before halftime and ended his night. The veteran picked up his obligatory sack before going out, and it sounds like he should be fine for Dallas' next game.
From @GMFB: The #Cowboys got a few injury scares, but LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and LB Robert Quinn (rib) are expected to be OK. https://t.co/ld1mncRkNw
These defensive standouts join a host of Cowboys starters who are going to benefit greatly from the team's bye week.
Dallas went into the game with injury concerns to WRs Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, OTs Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, and CBs Byron Jones and Anthony Brown. Of those, Brown was the only one who did not play last night.
Still, all of these players need a week to rest and be ready for the long haul of the regular season.
The Cowboys will get back to work in Week 9 with a road trip to New York, facing the Giants on Monday Night Football.
Thankfully, it looks like Leighton Vander Esch and Robert Quinn will both be ready to play in two weeks.
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