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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Dallas Cowboys Retain?

Brian Martin

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire)

With the completion of Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys have now officially started their bye week. This is the time where teams around the NFL use to get healthy and examine what is working and what is not. The Cowboys coaching staff would be wise to use this time to their advantage and soak up as much information as possible.

Since news will be pretty slow regarding the Dallas Cowboys for a while, I thought it would be a good time to examine who will become a free agent at the end of the season and which players the Cowboys might like to retain. Below is a list of those 2018 free agents.

Byron Bell, T
Bene Benwikere, CB
Brice Butler, WR
Jonathan Cooper, G
Justin Durant, LB
Rico Gathers, TE (ERFA)
Anthony Hitchens, LB
David Irving, DT (RFA)
L.P. Ladouceur, LS
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
Joe Looney, G/C
Darren McFadden, RB
Kellen Moore, QB
Alfred Morris, RB
Stephen Paea, DT
Brian Price, DT (ERFA)
Keith Smith, LB (RFA)
Kyle Wilber, LB

*Restricted Free Agent (RFA)
*Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA)

After looking at the Dallas Cowboys players who will become free agents in 2018, there's not really anybody that stands out with the exception of maybe DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence is having a fantastic season so far, but he is likely playing himself out of the Cowboys price range.

I think it's unlikely the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence. I think there will be some team out there willing to pay more than the Cowboys are, plus there's always the concern his back injury flares up again. Of course, the franchise tag is always an option, but I don't think the Cowboys would go that route.

Defensive lineman David Irving is another player that stands out among the Dallas Cowboys 2018 free agents. But, there is no way he is going anywhere. The Cowboys could sign him to a contract extension after the season, but it's much more likely they place a first or second round tender on him securing his service for another year.

I would love for Anthony Hitchens to stick around, but I don't think the Dallas Cowboys can guarantee him a starting spot. Like Lawrence, I think another team will pay him more than the Cowboys and give him a better chance to start. But, Hitchens may prefer to stay in Dallas and be willing to take a hometown discount.

The Cowboys could try to bring back Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney for depth purposes. Both can play guard or center, which is valuable on game days. But, I think the Cowboys will look to add depth through the draft.

I hate to say it, but it might be time for the Dallas Cowboys to find another long snapper. L.P. Ladouceur is no spring chicken and might be ready to hang up his cleats. I would love to have him back, but only at a reasonable price.

The only other player I think the Dallas Cowboys may consider bringing back is FB/LB Keith Smith. Smith likely won't break the bank and is a valuable member of the team. He is a core special-teams player, the starting fullback, and a reserve linebacker. I wouldn't be surprised if he is back with the Cowboys in 2018.

Which 2018 free agents do you think the Dallas Cowboys retain?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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11 Comments
  • Anthony Ceniccola

    my hopes and the reality are pretty separated. Irving is priority on my list, then below is hitch, butler and cooper. lawrence as you state will probably break the bank elsewhere. id like to turn the attention to another solid draft and a little more action in FA involving the defense

    • Brian Martin

      I think Irving is definitely a priority. I think the Cowboys should offer him an extension this off-season before he gets too expensive. They are going to continue to build the defense that the draft and fill in holes with cost-effective FAs like they have been doing.

  • Kevon Manahan

    Irving should definitely be out top priority, he’s our best pass rusher. We also should bring back Butler because T Will can’t catch with his hands which led to a pick-6 and completely changed the game against the packers.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t know if they will bring back Butler. I think they might draft a WR early.

      • Kevon Manahan

        Butler has made more dynamic/highlight plays than any other receiver on our team. If we can get him for a reasonable price, we should definitely resign him. And why won’t Linehan run any plays for Beasley, who looked unstoppable last season, or even Switzer, who has a similar skill set.

        • Brian Martin

          I kind of doubt Butler re-signs with Dallas. I think someone will take a chance on his potential and offer him more money. The only way I see it happening is if the Cowboys trade Williams, but I think that’s unlikely.

          And I’m right there with you on Linehan’s playcalling. I have no idea why Beasley hasn’t been more involved.

  • EverybodyTalks

    “Going with the here and Now” – Paea (retired), Benwikere, Durant, Morris, DMac, Morris and Wilbur will be cut. If Zeke does his 6 games this season, then we draft a RB and keep 54. Paea is retired, we need that filled in the draft, with maybe DaRon Payne or Vita Vea. If DLaw continues his sack success, then I think he gets the franchise tag. Irving needs to be signed. It still makes me wonder what they will do with Randy Gregory next year? Another question mark to me is Brice Butler. He seems to be maturing and has made some splash plays, but.. (you know). Just not sure with Butler. Courtland Sutton looks interesting as a WR draft pick, as does DJ Chard. Kellen Moore was cut this year and will be cut again. Cooper Rush becomes the back-up and we pick up a later round QB in the draft (i.e.: Nick Fitzgerald, JT Barrett). I think they sign Hitchens, Rico, Keith Smith, L.P. Ladouceur (can’t break up the 3 amigos), Like Butler, I’m unsure if they keep Bell, Looney, Cooper or even Chaz for that matter. Those guys still need to be sorted out. It wasn’t sorted in the preseason, so hopefully we have a cleaner view by the end of the season.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree with just about everything you said. However, I don’t think they re-sign Butler. I think the only way that would happen is that the Cowboys somehow traded Williams.

      • EverybodyTalks

        I’m on the fence with Butler, but “Going with the here and Now” he needs to be more consistent in order to be resigned. I would like to see us sign a WR in the draft for a number of reasons. Dez isn’t getting any younger and the rest of our WRs can’t seem to separate.

        • Brian Martin

          If the Cowboys draft a WR, it would likely be a player to replace Dez Bryant at some point. Honestly, I don’t think the Cowboys WRs are the problem. I think we need to see better playcalling from Scott Linehan. He doesn’t do a very good job of putting them in favorable matchups, especially Bryant.

          • EverybodyTalks

            Dez is a 50-50 WR. He jumps better than he runs. He is great at that. I think he needs to turn into Larry Fitzgerald and play more in the slot. He has the strength for it also. From there, it opens up a WR need on the outside. If we aren’t resigning Brice Butler, then we need a deep threat. As far as the play calling, it definitely needs some creativity. Where is the Dez pass to Witten stuff??

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Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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