The Dallas Cowboys haven't been very active in free agency over these past several years, but you never know when that will change. There are several positions that will need to be addressed after the season, and they all can't be filled through the draft. Free agency is there for a reason, which is why I decided to put together a wish list of the 2018 free agents for the Cowboys.
There is no way of knowing how active the Dallas Cowboys will be in free agency or which position they might like to target, but below are some of the players I think they should target. As always, please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comment section at the end of the article.
The odds are Josh Gordon becomes a free agent after the 2017 season. But, the Cleveland Browns could decide to place a tender on him making him an exclusive-rights free agent because Gordon doesn't have enough accured seasons. Depending on his availability, I believe he should be at the top of the Dallas Cowboys wish list.
There has never been any denying that Josh Gordon is one of the more talented wide receivers in the NFL. Unfortunately, his downfall has been his off the field issues that has kept him off the field. Gordon would be an immediate upgrade to the Cowboys receiving core and likely step in as the #1 WR. Due to his checkered past, Gordon likely wouldn't break the bank to bring in. Sounds like a win-win for the Dallas Cowboys.
Davante Adams is another WR that could come in and upgrade the Cowboys receiving core. He has been stuck behind Jordy Nelson in Green Bay, but is likely looking to be the top dog wherever he ends up. The Dallas Cowboys might not be his top choice because of that, but that could depend on Dez Bryant's future with the team.
Adams has developed into one of the top WRs and would be looking to be paid like one. The Dallas Cowboys have shied away from spending big money on free agents, but it certainly looks as if Dak Prescott could use another toy at his disposal in the passing game. Plus, signing him away from the Packers would weaken a conference opponent who has been a thorn in the Cowboy side.
Unlike Davante Adams, Sammy Watkins might end up being in the Dallas Cowboys price range due to his history of injuries since entering the NFL. But, despite his injuries, Watkins is still considered to be one of the most talented WRs in the NFL.
Watkins is able to take the top of the defense with his speed, something the Cowboys offense is lacking right now. He also possesses the talent to high point the ball and win the majority of the time in those contested catch situations. The talent is there to become a true #1 WR, but he has to remain healthy first.
The Dallas Cowboys were high on Paul Richardson coming out of Colorado, but the Seahawks snatched him up first. Richardson isn't what you would really consider a #1 WR, but he has elite speed that scares opposing defenses. He would likely be a compliment WR in Dallas, but would definitely be an upgrade over what is currently on the roster. He should be able to be acquired at a favorable price.
The Dallas Cowboys will be extremely thin at the RB position after the 2017 season. Both Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris will be gone, leaving Rod Smith as Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup. That is why I believe Rex Burkhead should be at the top of the Cowboys wish list. In fact, I wanted to bring him to Dallas last off-season.
Burkhead to me is the ideal backup. He is capable of running the ball successively between the tackles and also has the speed to capture the corner. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and a core special-teams player. Those are exactly the kind of tools you look for in a backup RB. I personally believe he would be an upgrade as a backup RB.
DeMarcus Lawrence is a free agent after the 2017 season and it's unlikely the Dallas Cowboys let him get away, but nevertheless, Ziggy Ansah should still be on their wish list. Pairing Lawrence with Ansah would give the Cowboys a dynamic pass rushing duo and immediately upgrade the defense. Of course, it all comes down to the price tag which could be out of the Cowboys range. But, Ziggy likely won't be in the top tier of FAs because he is never quite developed like many believed. That could work in the Cowboys favor.
It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys need more help that the linebacker position. It is probably the top draft need, but going after the best FA LB should be examined closely. Zach Brown would immediately step in and upgrade the LB position for the Cowboys and provide some much-needed depth. Sean Lee simply can't stay healthy and no one really knows what to expect from Jaylon Smith yet. Of course, the Cowboys could choose to resign their own and keep Anthony Hitchens.
Last off-season one of the biggest needs was at the safety position, and nothing has really changed nearly a year later. The Cowboys hoped Jeff Heath could improve and lock down the other starting safety position, but that has been a failure to say the least. Eric Reid comes with baggage and hasn't quite lived up to his draft pedigree, but a change of scenery might be all he needs. He has the talent to start in the NFL and be a difference maker, which is why I believe the Cowboys should have him on their wish list.
The Dallas Cowboys could use some veteran experience in the secondary and Kyle Fuller could definitely provide that. I kind of doubt Orlando Scandrick remains with the Cowboys after the 2017 season, so that would leave a lot of youth at the cornerback position. Fuller is a talented player but has never really lived up to his potential. I think he would come in and start on the outside for the Cowboys, while also providing valuable depth/leadership at the position.
The Dallas Cowboys definitely need to upgrade the defensive tackle position. Out of necessity, Maliek Collins has been playing at the 1-technique, but that's not really his best position. The Dallas Cowboys need a big bodied, space eating DT and Dontari Poe fits the bill. Poe has the size 4-3 defensive teams look for in their DTs, but he has rare athletic ability that most players his size don't. He could be a difference maker on the interior of the Cowboys defensive line.
Will any of these players end up in Dallas?
Starters Make Cowboys Serious Contenders, But Depth is a Concern
Playing in the National Football Conference, the Dallas Cowboys have a difficult task ahead of them if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Even still, they've become a very underrated football team due to their 9-7 record last season. The Cowboys struggled in many areas and with the Philadelphia Eagles crowned as Super Bowl Champions, everyone has forgotten about America's Team.
2017 was an awful year for the Cowboys. It seemed like a roller coaster of success, putting up an impressive performance one week only to disappoint the next one. Let's be honest with ourselves here and talk about what really ended the Cowboys' last season.
As much as we talk about how there shouldn't be any excuses in football - the Eagles made a huge statement by winning it all with a backup QB and other key starters missing - we can't deny the impact of these injuries.
Anthony Hitchens, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott all missed some time last year, affecting the team's performance week in and week out. Had the starters been healthy, the truth is this team would've been in the playoffs.
Heading into 2018, the Cowboys will face a very similar situation. This year, starters make Dallas a serious contender. Even if they're playing in a conference that will feature a lot of quality teams, the Cowboys are a team that could beat any team in the league if healthy.
Even the dreaded wide receiver position - which has been famous this offseason for the lack of a #1 receiver - won't be as bad as we make it out to be starter-wise. A starting trio of Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley doesn't really sound bad.
Heck, not even Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods starting at safety is concerning. They have what it takes to be decent starters. Sure, Heath isn't a guy who will make the Pro Bowl, but his skills will show on the field once the season starts in September.
The Cowboys' starters will do just fine this season. If the team's fate is up to them, they are in a very good spot. The same can not be said about depth, though.
Except for the defensive line, every other position lacks depth. If Sean Lee goes down, the linebackers stop looking like a three-headed monster. Same goes for the cornerbacks. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis seem like a good group but as soon as one of them suffers an injury, the Cowboys will be in trouble.
We're in for an exciting season with a lot of young talent waiting to breakout. The Cowboys are underrated this year. They may not be among the NFC's favorites, but they truly have what it takes to replicate the success they had in 2016. However, it seems like circumstances have to be ideal for them to make a run for the Lombardi Trophy.
With a little bit of luck, they'll bounce back this season.
The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up
Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.
The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.
As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.
Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.
Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.
Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.
Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.
I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.
All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.
How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?
Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?
With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.
Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.
I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.
I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?
Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.
Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.
Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.
Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?
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