Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

3 Free Agent Targets for the Cowboys with Compensatory Pick Period Closing

John Williams



Cowboys Potential FA Target: Former Chargers FS Tre Boston

The next important date of the offseason comes tomorrow when the window of free agency that affects compensatory picks closes. Prior to Tuesday, free agents signed -- that weren't released by a team -- counted against the formula that the NFL uses to award compensatory picks in the NFL Draft. This year's free agency additions will affect the 2020 comp picks. Starting Tuesday, however, teams can go after those free agents without hurting their compensatory pick status for next year. It would seem that the Dallas Cowboys have finished their free agent shopping as there are few holes on paper for this year's squad.

However, there are still a few free agents that the Dallas Cowboys should take a look at signing to get their team ready for a Super Bowl run. Make no mistake, this team has the looks of a Super Bowl contender, now they just have to take what looks good on paper and translate it to the field.

It's unlikely that the Cowboys will be aggressive in this period of the offseason as there will already be a lot of competition for roster spots. That said, here are the best available free agents that fit what the Dallas Cowboys could use in 2019.

Jamie Collins, Linebacker

Yes, the Dallas Cowboys have really good depth at linebacker with Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, and Joe Thomas, but they don't have a guy that can play the strong side linebacker position vacated by Damien Wilson. The guy best suited for the job is Jaylon Smith, but I'd rather not move a guy that's shown All-Pro potential. You don't want Sean Lee or Leighton Vander Esch to have to take on blocks as they work best in space. Joe Thomas is more of a middle linebacker or weak side linebacker.

Enter Jamie Collins formerly of the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns.

Collins has good size at 6-3, 250 pounds and has experience playing outside linebacker. In 2018, he had four sacks for the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys could use him as a situational blitzer in base packages and would help them set the edge in the run game.

Collins played in seven playoff games with the New England Patriots and won a Super Bowl in 2014. In those seven career playoff games, Collins recorded 50 total tackles, three sacks, five tackles for loss, eight quarterback hits, two interceptions, and five passes defended.

The guy is a playmaker.

For a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, adding veterans with deep playoff experience at strategic positions can only help your young team get over the top.

Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys have gone a long way to help shore up their defensive interior with the additions of Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder through free agency and Trysten Hill in the second round of the NFL Draft. They could take another step toward that end by adding Ndamukong Suh, most recently of the Los Angeles Rams.

In the divisional round of the playoffs, we saw first hand what a game wrecker Suh can be. While the Cowboys were able to limit Aaron Donald's splash plays, Suh was in the Cowboys backfield throughout the game, causing havoc in the run game. He came up with a crucial fourth down stop late in the game after it looked like Elliott might have a hole.

Suh is a very physical player at the point of attack and still, at 32, has the quickness to get upfield and make plays.

Playing primarily the nose tackle in the Rams 3-4 Wade Phillips defense, Suh recorded 4.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hits, four passes defended, and recovered two fumbles. During the playoffs, Suh had 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits.

Even at 32, Suh can still be a disruptive player for the Dallas Cowboys. Like Collins, he brings playoff experience. Suh would draw a lot of attention from opposing offensive lines, which would open things up for your 3-tech and the defensive end playing next to him. He brings an edge and an attitude that would fit in quite nicely with DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tre Boston, Safety

Pick 58 in the second round came with several safeties still on the board that the Cowboys showed interest in. Juan Thornhill and Taylor Rapp -- Cowboys pre-draft visitors -- were still available when the they opted for 3-tech Defensive Tackle Trysten Hill.

After the draft, the Cowboys alluded to the idea that they value the box safety position less than other positions on the team. They did draft Donovan Wilson in the sixth round and he sounds like a player worth watching in camp, but it's hard to rely on sixth round safeties to be day one contributors.

Though the Cowboys look to have several players who could fill the box safety role, they shouldn't feel completely comfortable with those players in coverage. Though we've said it a lot, a guy they should consider bringing in is Safety Tre Boston.

In the last two offseasons they've shown zero interest in Tre Boston, but I'm gonna keep trying to speak it into existence.

It surprises me how little interest the Cowboys, and the rest of the NFL, have had in the former Chargers and Cardinals safety. In 2017, Boston had five interception with the Chargers and added three more with the Cardinals in 2018.

Generally speaking he's more of a coverage safety, but the Cowboys could add him to be a back up free safety and the second safety in passing situations. In a passing league, you can't have enough guys who can cover. The Cowboys could use some combination of Heath, Iloka, Frazier, and Wilson in the box safety role, allowing Woods and Boston to be their cover guys when the Cowboys defense gets into obvious passing situations.

It's very unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys are going to pursue any of these guys, but they should. Though they've done some work to fill holes on their roster, these three guys would give more help and  upgrade the defense tremendously.

The Dallas Cowboys are on the verge of something great in the next few years and now is the time to take advantage of this young team with some savvy veteran additions. Jamie Collins, Ndamukong Suh, and Tre Boston would bring playmaking ability to a defense that has been good, but could be great.

Winning windows come and go quickly in the NFL and while the Dallas Cowboys look to have a team built to win for a long time, nothing is guaranteed. Now's the time to go all-in.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.


Dallas Cowboys

What Could June 1st Mean for 2019 Dallas Cowboys?

Jess Haynie



Tyrone Crawford

Some consider June 1st to be a critical date on every year's NFL calendar; it's own new wave of free agency. But will the 2019 Dallas Cowboys add any talent to the pool, and could they be interested in any players who get released by their current teams?

As you likely know already, teams may choose to cut players after June 1st so that they can defer some of the dead money from their contracts to the following season. It allows them to maximize salary cap savings in the current year.

For over a decade now, the NFL has also allowed teams to release up to two players prior to June 1st but still give them that designation. The team doesn't get the cap relief until June, but the player gets a chance to find a new home during the primary free agency period.

There have been almost no early June-1st cuts so far this year by any NFL team. That may lead you to believe that there will be similar inactivity when we actually hit that date on the calendar. But that may not be a very good tell.

Because teams don't enjoy any benefit from the early June-1st designation, except whatever good feeling comes from doing right by a former player, we hardly see it in action. Teams would much rather carry a player until after the draft and see what their need levels truly is before releasing them. It's rendered the early provision almost meaningless.

For the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, the one player whose situation and contract speak to a possible June-1st move is Defensive Lineman Tyrone Crawford.

Tyrone Crawford

Dallas Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford

Crawford's deal runs thru 2020, which is key since you need at least two year's left on the contract to utilize the June-1st deferment. A player with only one year left, like WR Allen Hurns, has the same cap relief regardless of when you cut him.

Releasing Tyrone Crawford either after June 1st or with the early designation would push $1.1 million of his total $4.2 million in dead money to 2020. It would increase the total cap savings from $5.9 million to $7 million for the Cowboys' 2019 salary cap.

Now Crawford is one of those guys, a valued veteran and team captain, who you'd think a team would've cut earlier if that was their intention. But Tyrone's value to the Cowboys has been fluid throughout the offseason.

The value went up when we found out Randy Gregory was suspended again. It remained high while contract negotiations with DeMarcus Lawrence dragged until early April. Crawford's ability to play multiple spots on the line meant he could be back in a starting role at DE in 2019.

But then Dallas re-signed Lawrence, traded for veteran Robert Quinn, signed Kerry Hyder, and drafted Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks. Throw in Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong coming back and there are already plenty of players at DE, especially if Gregory manages to get reinstated.

But even if Crawford isn't needed at end, what about defensive tackle?

Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill

The Cowboys spent their earliest 2019 draft pick, 58th overall, on DT Trysten Hill. He projects to play the same "3-technique" position that Crawford normally would.

On top of Hill, Dallas is bringing back Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, and Daniel Ross form last season. They also signed Christian Covington, a fifth-year veteran from the Texans.

Again, the numbers are pretty tight and the positions are full of younger talent. The Cowboys could easily conclude that they have plenty of DL options at this point and would benefit more from salary cap relief than from Tyrone Crawford's continued services.

Plus, we haven't even gotten into the legal issues that could cause Crawford to get suspended for a few game in 2019.

As far as current talent goes, the June-1st conversation really begins and ends with Tyrone Crawford. Other veterans who may not make it to the final roster, such as Hurns, Jeff Heath, or Tavon Austin, only have one year left on their contracts. June 1st changes nothing for them.

There could be a few interesting names that come available when other teams make cuts. Again, they could have made these moves well before now. But NFL franchises are generally going to do what's best for them, and waiting for the dust to settle from the draft allows for more informed decision-making.

One name we've seen tossed around a lot is DT Gerald McCoy from Tampa Bay, who would be an immediate upgrade over any of Dallas' current tackles. But would losing Crawford to add McCoy really be that cost-effective?

The market to really keep an eye on is at running back. The current free agency pool had dwindled down to Jay Ajayi, who is unlikely to accept a minor role behind Ezekiel Elliott, and a bunch of retreads. Perhaps other teams' cuts could yield a few more desirable prospects to help our RB depth.

For 2019 at least, June 1st may not mean very much. And it may mean even less for the Dallas Cowboys, who already could field a competitive team this year without any additional moves. They may be focusing their cap dollars solely on new contracts for Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Zeke, and others the rest of this offseason.

Outside of potentially releasing or trading Tyrone Crawford, we may not see any major moves in Dallas until final cuts.

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason

Jess Haynie



Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason

The draft is done, DeMarcus Lawrence is re-signed, and the bulk of free agency activity has passed. The 2019 Dallas Cowboys have more than enough talent to compete this season, but there is still one last move I'd wish they'd make. Veteran kicker Matt Bryant, still one of the NFL's best even at almost 44 years old, could be the final piece to this offseason puzzle.

The Atlanta Falcons' longtime kicker, and franchise scoring leader, was not retained this year despite another standout season. He made 20-of-21 field goals, with a long of 57, in 2018.

Why Atlanta didn't keep Bryant hasn't been confirmed, but perhaps the team was just looking to avoid hanging on one year to late. But Matt, who ranks eight all-time in FG accuracy (86.2%), doesn't think he's done. He tweeted the following from his personal account in February:

"Over this past year I’ve been asked numerous times about retirement and how I feel. Well, I’m not retiring and I feel fine and plan on feeling even better with some changes to my offseason program!

As of now Matt Bryant remains a free agent, and I think the Dallas Cowboys should be very interested.

If you go up and down this Dallas roster, kicker is arguably its biggest liability. Brett Maher had some highlight moments in 2018, and won two Player of the Week awards, but he also was one of the league's worst kickers in overall FG accuracy.

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

The problem with Maher is that you can't teach his best skill; the accuracy from the high 50s and even low 60s is incredible. It's a true weapon that you have a hard time letting go of, which was evident last year when Dallas dumped Dan Bailey for Maher at final cuts.

But Matt Bryant might be the best of both worlds. He's been a 91% FG kicker overall this last three years and has made 18-of-22 attempts from 50 yards out or more.

Maher only made 80.6% of his kicks in 2018. He went from 6/7 from long range, but that tells you how shaky he was from closer in.

Those closer kicks are worth the same three points that the longer ones are, and how'd you like it if Dallas lost a critical game because their kicker couldn't make a 35-yarder?

I get the fear factor with an older guy like Matt Bryant. Heck, the Cowboys let Dan Bailey go when he was still just 30. But Bryant hasn't shown the red flags that Bailey did; he's still kicking as well as he ever has.

If nothing else, Dallas has the cap space and circumstances to bring in Bryant for a true competition with Maher. If Brett has improved his game and keeps his job, then that's awesome. But why not add some pressure now, though a position battle with one of the all-time greats, and see what Maher's really made of?

Seasons have been made, and shattered, by one kick. Unless the Cowboys have good reason for confidence in Brett Maher's development from last year, they could be carrying a significant liability into a year where they're trying to push for a Super Bowl.

If Matt Bryant could provide even a small amount of additional security, isn't he worth it?

Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend

Jess Haynie



Mike Weber

Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.

One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.

Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.

A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.

Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.

If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.

Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys RB Mike Weber

The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.

Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.

This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.

Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.

But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.

Continue Reading

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here