Our six-part Camp Preview Series rolls on!
While the majority of those who fail to make the final 53-man roster are unknown players, there are always a few who have real cache in the NFL. Some fall especially hard; starters from the previous season who wind up going from the spotlight to the street.
In Part Two of our series, our staff answers the question:
Who is the Biggest Name that Will be Cut?
Bryson Treece ( @BrysonTreece ) - Unfortunately, I believe this will be Darren McFadden. Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris are locks, as is Lance Dunbar in my opinion. That leaves one spot if the Cowboys don't keep a FB. Slim pickings. Not saying that DMC is super hot or anything, but he was a solid performer in 2015 and that's the heart of any team - valuable depth.
Ian Koplowitz ( @BleedingTheStar ) - I was going to go with Andrew Gachkar, but now that Justin Durant has been signed, I don't think it would surprise most if he got the boot. You don't often see third round picks not live out their rookie deals, but by going long at quarterback and potentially linebacker, I'm not sure JJ Wilcox's spot on this team is safe at all. He certainly regressed last season as he saw his interception and tackle totals drop by over half. Granted, the movement of Byron Jones to free safety in the middle of the season hurt his production, but there's a reason why that move was made.
Jess Haynie ( @CowboysAddicts ) - With Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris joining the backfield, plus Lance Dunbar still in the mix, Darren McFadden's status is very shaky. Dallas can get back $2 million in cap space by releasing him. As long as Elliott and Morris inspire confidence, I think the Cowboys will make the tough business decision and release McFadden.
Kevin Brady ( @KevinBrady88 ) - I wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever if the Cowboys decided to cut tight end Gavin Escobar during training camp. A second round pick in 2013, Escobar has never panned out to what the Cowboys had imagined, and his time to reach those expectations might be up. His release may be disguised as an injury settlement, but make no mistake about it, even if he was fully healthy he would be on the hot seat.
RJ Ochoa ( @RJOchoa ) - Rolando McClain has given this team reason after reason to submit his termination papers. As much sense as it would make for him to be the veteran shown the door, the Cowboys seem intent on holding on to him. Given the status of the defensive ends on this team (you know, how they can't play and everything) there are going to be tricky elements to shaping this roster with who they need to carry and whatnot. As a result, a guy like Jack Crawford might be on the outs when the final 53 is put together.
Sean Martin ( @ShoreSportsNJ ) - When we go back and talk about this dominant Dallas offensive line one day, it is going to be forever mentioned that the 2015 unit was good enough to lead a running back for 1,089 yards - and then have him cut the following summer. Unfortunately, I believe this is going to be the case for Darren McFadden. Ezekiel Elliott is the Cowboys' new prized possession in the backfield, but ultimately it will be the ultra-durable and experienced zone-runner Alfred Morris that forces this team to move on from Run DMC.
Brian Martin ( @bmart0204 ) - I think I’m going to have to go with JJ Wilcox. He has yet to develop the way the Cowboys had hoped and Byron Jones has already claimed the starting position next to Barry Church. The Cowboys recently signed Jeff Heath to a long-term contract, so Wilcox is likely fourth on the depth chart, and there are some talented rookies coming in that could end up pushing him off the roster altogether.
~ ~ ~
Here are the categories still to come this week…
Strongest Position – Wed
Weakest Position – Thurs
Favorite Dark Horse – Fri
Most Likely Starting Job Change – Sat
All of this, and much more, as Inside The Star helps get you ready for another season of Dallas Cowboys football!
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
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