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2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: S Barry Church

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: S Barry Church 1

A six-year member of the Dallas Cowboys' secondary, Barry Church has led the team in tackles the last three seasons. His 117 tackles in 15 games this season set him up for a big contract year in 2016.

It will be an interesting contract year for the safety at that, seeing as fans have been calling for a complete revamp of the position. 2015 first round pick Byron Jones appears to have found his home at the free position, leaving Church to man the strong position and do so with plenty of success.

One name in particular that has been thrown around is the safety out of Florida State, Jalen Ramsey, who will be an option for the Cowboys in the upcoming draft at the fourth overall pick.

While a safety combo of Jones and Ramsey provides an instant boost to the playmaking ability out of this secondary, sticking with a combination of Jones and Church, Heath and Wilcox provides stability for the Cowboys while allowing them to address other more pressing positional needs this offseason.

That said, let's take a look at what Church must do to earn more time in Dallas past 2016.

Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: S Barry Church

Barry Church

Barry Church provides what the Cowboys have desperately needed on this defense for the years he has been here - and this is a consistent tackler as the last line of defense from the strong safety position. This Cowboys defensive scheme is best suited when the offense can put up points quickly and give them a lead to play with.

When playing with the lead, Church can drop into his comofrtable deep safety spot and still come up to prevent huge plays from happening with tackles in the box. It's when trailing that Rod Marinelli must move Church closer to the line, where he is less comfortable.

Assuming J.J. Wilcox will see the field minimally in his upcoming 2016 contract year, a primary safety rotation of Byron Jones with Church and Heath splitting time next to him is a prettty solid plan for Dallas.

Jones in his second year should develop even more of a playmaking ability, and will be playing with the likes of Orlando Scandrick back from injury in front of him. Church on the other side is a trustable option to prevent big plays given up from the likes of Brandon Carr and potentially Morris Claiborne from becoming disastorous, game-altering plays.

Assuming Church stays healthy and the Cowboys can agree on a fair price, we should expect to see Barry back in the silver and blue after 2016.


As mentioned, J.J. Wilcox will be playing in a contract year as well in 2016 - and I'll be taking a look at him as well as other members of the defense coming up right here at InsideTheStar.com.

For now, let me know what you think about the safety position for the Cowboys and the futuer of Barry Church by sending a tweet to @ShoreSportsNJ or leaving a comment below!

Tell us what you think about "2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: S Barry Church" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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9 Comments
  • Jmaine jones

    I feel let berry church and carr and jj Willcox go and put fresh body in the line up put the guys that will fly to the ball on there put playmakers on the team not just anyone come on jerry jones we need a super bowl 51

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie

    I've been on the "cut Church for cap savings" wagon for a while, but the more I look at it the more I'm wavering. You get close to $3 million back by cutting Church this offseason. The average salary of the top-paid safeties in the game is about $9 million a year. Let's say you go after Eric Berry in free agency and he'll want at least that. You're saving are only one-third of the cost of the upgrade.

    I think Dallas needs to focus on cornerback and use Byron Jones to upgrade safety. J.J. Wilcox will be in the final year of his rookie deal and making backup money. Bench Wilcox, start Jones as more of a center-field FS, and then use Church closer to the LOS where he's more effective. Then you can focus all your cap space and draft picks on finding some running buddies for Scandrick.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie

    Just saw a different site (OverTheCap) that has Church's cap savings, if released, at $4.25 million instead of the $2.75 million I thought before. If that's true then that's even tastier!

  • Blue Star

    Miles Killbrew at SS please.

    Superbowl teams are expensive to keep together. Carolina does not have the cap to sign Norman. There is a chance he will test the market. I would overpay for Josh Norman if given the chance. Jerry has to think of the media rating for the Cowboys and Giants matchups. It would be over the top.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie

    The beauty of the Cowboys is that we don't need any player to help boost ratings. We're the #1 ticket in the NFL no matter how bad things get.

  • Blue Star

    Just gushing over the idea of Josh Norman keeping Odell out the end zone. Considering the Cowboys are forever in Beckham's highlight reel.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie

    Norman is amazing but he's also 28. He scares me as a free agent due to the money and years he'll want versus how much longer he can be a top player.

  • Blue Star
    Blue Star

    Miles Killbrew at SS please.

    Superbowl teams are expensive to keep together. Carolina does not have the cap to sign Norman. There is a chance he will test the market. I would overpay for Josh Norman if given the chance. Jerry has to think of the media rating for the Cowboys and Giants matchups. It would be over the top.

    Panthers could not get it done. Cowboys should offer Norman 3 year 45 million 25 mil guaranteed.

  • http://PigskinHub.com/ Jess Haynie

    That's too much money. Franchise tag is only paying $14 million.

Star Blog

How Should The Cowboys, And The NFL, Value RBs?

Kevin Brady

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Will Cowboys' Offense Improve With Ezekiel Elliott's Return?
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There is no one, stand-alone "best" strategy for winning in the NFL. There are, of course, common themes and ideals which run true year in and year out among the top teams.

Strategy in the NFL is dynamic, or at least it should be. Running in place for too long under the same leadership often breeds mediocrity, and refusing to move with current trends can put you at a severe disadvantage.

Succumbing to those trends without fully analyzing the confounding factors your situation presents, however, can also ruin a team building exercise.

With that being said, should teams pay elite running backs top dollar? Or are those running backs expendable, replaceable, and often forgettable within the NFL machine?

To be honest these aren't very fair ways to pose legitimately interesting questions. You can acknowledge that a running back is important to your offense while also acknowledging that you don't want to break the bank for a position with such injury risk and high turnover year-to-year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently facing this dilemma, as their star running back Le'Veon Bell asks to be paid like an elite "weapon," not as a normal running back. And when you examine how the Steelers deploy Bell within their offense, he clearly has a point.

Bell is not your traditional "running back." He lines up on the boundary, in the slot, and is a passing threat out of the backfield as well. On top of all of this versatility, Bell is an excellent pass protector, something which is often lost among other "versatile" backs.

Bell can quite literally do it all for an offense, but the idea of paying that position elite-level money makes teams cringe. As The Athletic's Marcus Mosher pointed out on Twitter, teams like the New England Patriots have been able to replicate Bell's production by using multiple speciality backs rather than one workhorse.

In theory, this takes away the injury risk component to a certain extent. Rather than giving one player 350-400 touches per season, you spread those touches out and allow for players to do what they do best.

Lately, the NFL has seemed to agree that this is the most efficient way to play offense. But when you have a player like Bell or Ezekiel Elliott, in what way is taking the ball out of their hands "efficient" at all? In addition, how is using three players to mimic the skill set of one efficient?

Yes, the NFL is a passing league, but when you have a playmaker who is of the caliber of a Bell or an Elliott, it is up to the offense to deploy in him ways that maximize his value. Teams should be using the Bells and Elliotts of the world as pass catching threats and as weapons all over the field. Force the entire defense to account for your running back rather than just jamming him between the tackles like it's 1975.

The movement towards "running back by committee" rather than the traditional one-back system can also be credited to the lack of workhorse-worthy backs entering the league.

Ezekiel Elliotts don't grow on trees, they are rare and special players. And when you have one, especially when you spend a premium pick on him, you should get the most out of him that you can. Playing winning offense in the NFL is about more than just "do you run or do you pass," and it often hinges on creating splash plays of 15-20 yards.

If you can get those plays through the use of an elite running back, that player becomes intrinsically valuable to your team. No matter what "position" he is labeled as. Of course you want to be able create mismatches in the passing game all over the field, so when you are able to do this with a running back, shouldn't that be deemed as highly valuable?

We can't say just yet if the Cowboys should re-sign Ezekiel Elliott once he enters free agency. After all, five seasons (and a franchise tag year) where he touches the ball more than most players in the league will almost certainly bring about some wear and tear.

But with the way the Cowboys have chosen to play offense, and the way in which they've built their roster, a workhorse back like Elliott is necessary for success.

Once again, at least it is for now.



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Star Blog

Is DE Kony Ealy At Risk Of Not Making Cowboys Final Roster?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value at DE

As training camp approaches and we draw closer to the 2018 NFL season, fans are beginning to get excited for new faces, old stars, and new beginnings for the Dallas Cowboys.

One player which has been a bit forgotten about over the last few months, and even overlooked when he was first signed back in April, is defensive end Kony Ealy. Of course, some of this overlooking is justified, as Ealy's career has been filled with more valleys than peaks thus far.

With a fresh start in Dallas, though, some expect Kony Ealy to rekindle his career, and look like the player he was during the Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss just a few seasons ago. The problem is, that game looks like the outlier and not the norm over his professional career.

Originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers, Ealy has had a shaky start to his career. Now joining his third team in the same number of seasons, it's certainly fair to say he hasn't lived up to his second round draft selection.

At 6'4" and 275 pounds, however, Ealy fits the mold of a 4-3 defensive end in the Cowboys' scheme. While he isn't the explosive pass rusher that other players on the roster are (and can be), he could provide solid rotational depth across the defensive line.

With fellow former second round pick Randy Gregory gaining reinstatement to the NFL this week, Ealy could struggle to salvage any real playing time with the Cowboys at all. Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Taco Charlton all feel like locks to make the team.

Then there is 2018 day three pick Dorance Armstrong and former fourth round pick Charles Tapper providing competition as well.

Tapper and Armstrong are unproven, but have the athletic profiles to become solid edge rushers at the professional level. For both, especially Tapper, health is of the upmost concern going forward. If Tapper can remain healthy, he has a real shot of making the team and having his impact felt as early as 2018.

That "if" has been a serious one thus far, however.

When the Cowboys first signed Kony Ealy back in April, I really believed he could provide solid and cheap depth along their defensive line. Now in July, I still have those beliefs, but it's become fair to question if he will even find himself on the final 53-man roster based on the competition around him.



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Star Blog

Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin’s Footsteps?

Brian Martin

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Can Connor Williams Follow in Zack Martin's Footsteps?

Connor Williams has yet to play a single snap the NFL, but there are already some pretty high expectations for the rookie Guard. That's because he will be sandwiched between two Pro Bowl players in Center Travis Frederick and Left Tackle Tyron Smith. But, it's the Dallas Cowboys third Pro Bowl offensive lineman Williams should try to emulate and follow in the footsteps of.

Yes, I'm talking about Zack Martin.

Zack Martin's career couldn't have gotten off to a better start coming out of Notre Dame. He hit the ground running as a rookie with the Cowboys and put together a dominating performance his first year in the NFL, earning his first Pro Bowl bid as well as being named to the All-Pro team. He continued to play at a high level ever since and has not only turned into the best player at his position, but continued his Pro Bowl streak every season since entering the league.

To ask, or even expect Connor Williams to have the same kind of immediate success as Zack Martin is probably a little unfair, if not impossible. The kind of success Martin has had already in his career is almost unheard of. But, that's not to say Williams isn't going to try to follow in Martin's footsteps and to become the best player he can.

Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys OG Zack Martin

The footsteps I think Connor Williams should try to follow as it pertains to Zack Martin is how well he made the transition from a collegiate Offensive Tackle to an NFL Guard. I think that should be Williams' main focus right now with training camp coming up.

Williams will be inserted into the starting lineup as the Cowboys new Left Guard. It will be a new position for him after playing mainly Tackle at the University of Texas, that will require an entirely new mindset and technique. But, it's in transition I believe he can make rather smoothly.

Connor Williams should benefit from Zack Martin's similar transition from college OT to an NFL OG. I wouldn't be surprised if we see the rookie shadowing Martin throughout training camp to soak up as much knowledge as possible. It's probably the best way for him to jumpstart his career.

Now, I fully expect to see some growing pains from Williams throughout the 2018 season. It's to be expected from any rookie, especially one transitioning to a new position. But, I do believe he will not only be an upgrade at LG for the Cowboys, but will make the entire OL even better.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see what kind of player Connor Williams ends up being this season.

Do you think Connor Williams can follow in Zack Martin's footsteps?



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