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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?

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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??

Star Blog

Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

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Star Blog

Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

For the Dallas Cowboys, the playoffs have begun a bit earlier. After putting themselves in a tough position, they need to win out in order to have a shot at playing in January… and even then, they need a ton of outside help to make it.

Less than a year ago, we saw the Cowboys become the #1 seed in the conference with a 13-3 record under rookie QB Dak Prescott. So naturally, it’s fair to say that the fact that after 14 weeks the record of this football team is 7-6 is very disappointing.

Some have even questioned, are they even worthy of being a playoffs team? 

Despite suffering from some key injuries and well… suspensions, the Cowboys shouldn’t be left off the hook. Players and coaches should be blamed. But even still, it’s hard to believe that Dallas wouldn’t have win at least one more game with Tyron Smith, Sean Lee or Ezekiel Elliott available.

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

I’m convinced that if Zeke hadn’t been suspended, the Cowboys would at least have one more win. If that were the case, we probably wouldn’t be suffering thinking about what combinations would get our favorite team in the postseason.

All of this makes me wonder… Do we know what this team is capable of? 

I think not. Let’s take a quick look at the games Dallas has lost this year.

  • @ DEN Broncos 
  • vs LA Rams (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 35 points)
  • vs GB Packers (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 28 points)
  • @ ATL Falcons (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored seven points)
  • vs PHI Eagles (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored nine points)
  • vs LA Chargers (No Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored six points)

I believe in the “next man up” mentality. But not when you’re talking about going from Tyron Smith, who is arguably the best LT in the league to Chaz Green and Byron Bell. Sure, the coaching staff should’ve made a change earlier when Green was getting Dak killed, but Bell wasn’t much better.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make excuses for this football team at all. In fact, it’s the same thing when you take a look at wins. Through 14 weeks, the Cowboys have just been able to beat one NFL team with a winning record: The Kansas City Chiefs. The thing is, despite being 7-6, the Chiefs are 2-8 since week 6. I’m not sure I’d qualify that as a winning team.

We haven’t seen this team face a strong, winning opponent and actually beat them. The Cowboys have one more game to win without Zeke, and then they’ll be on to face the Seattle Seahawks. If Dallas gets to that game with an 8-6 record, the outcome of the Seattle game could define the Cowboys’ 2017 season.

With Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith all ready to go, it’d be the first time this year we see the Cowboys go against a quality opponent with all of their star players. Will this defining game come too late? Perhaps. It’s no secret that the Cowboys need a ton of outside help in order to get into the playoffs with 10-6 record.

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Denver Broncos 1

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten #82, QB Dak Prescott #4. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

But at least, it’d be nice to see our team at least doing the job they can control and winning out. Even if it’d be painful to see them go 10-6 and still miss the playoffs… as fans, we probably want to see them doing their job.

For now though, it’s all about the Oakland Raiders. One more week without Ezekiel Elliott. After surviving a trap game against the Giants, the Cowboys must do the same again as they prepare to face a football team that has also been disappointing this season but still has dangerous play-makers, such as Derek Carr.

And then, we might find out just how good the 2017 Dallas Cowboys really are.

Tell me what you think about “Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Star Blog

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott's Future?

It’s funny how quickly some players are able to establish themselves as professional athletes and grow their fan base. That is exactly what Ezekiel Elliott has done in just a little over a years time since becoming a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, given his current situation, it’s that fan base that might be starting to turn on him a little and doubt his long-term future in the NFL.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are fully aware of the six-game suspension the NFL slapped Ezekiel Elliott with based on nothing more than accusations of possible domestic violence. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, it happened and there is no taking it back. But unfortunately, because of the suspension Elliott will now have to walk the straight and narrow if he wants to have any kind of career in the NFL.

I honestly don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is a bad guy, but the slightest slip up will more than likely put his career in jeopardy. It doesn’t matter how big or small the infraction, the NFL has already decided they are going to make an example of him.

RB Ezekiel ElliottFrom here on out, Elliott is going to have to live like he is under a magnifying glass. Any kind of slip up, big or small, will likely cause the league to suspend him an entire season. This unfortunately has been weighing on the minds of a lot of Cowboys Nation and has to be at least a little bit concerning for the Cowboys organization.

You see, the Dallas Cowboys have Elliott under contract for at least three more years after this season. He has already proven how important he is to the offense and how much production dips without him in the lineup. They absolutely want him on the field because he makes them better. But, any kind of slip up would pretty much erase one of those three years. Look no further than what has happened with Randy Gregory.

I’ve heard many fans voicing their concerns about Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term availability with the Cowboys. They are afraid Elliott’s immaturity will end up getting the best of him and Zeke unfortunately has done nothing to ease those concerns so far.

I for one am not all that concerned about Zeke’s future in the NFL. I think his six-game suspension has served as an eye-opening experience and that he will do better from here on out to put himself in better situations and surround himself with better/more trustworthy people.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel ElliottYou can see anytime Zeke is on the field his passion for the game and how much he enjoys it. I don’t think he’s going to put something he cares so much about in jeopardy. But unfortunately, he already has a bull’s-eye on his back and can’t afford to take a misstep. That will without a doubt put his future career in jeopardy.

I personally can’t wait to see how #21 responds when he is able to suit up once again next week against the Seattle Seahawks. I think he is going to play with a chip on his shoulder and run angry. That is the best way he can stick it to the league for suspending him based on accusations and another reason why I’m not concerned about his future in the NFL.

I know if it was me, my mindset would be to turn myself into the best player possible and once again become one of the more popular athletes in the league. That is about the only way he can say “F U” to the league, and I think that’s exactly what he will do.

Are you concerned about Ezekiel Elliott long-term?

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