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3 Free Agent Targets for the Dallas Cowboys Offense

John Williams



Opposition Outlook: TJ Yeldon Will be a Problem for the Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are likely in the time of the offseason where they begin studying this year's group of free agents to see who could be a fit for the 2019 season. With a new offensive coordinator and a mandate for an upgrade to the offensive system, it's likely they could go out and pursue several players who could step in and make an immediate impact for a team on the verge of Super Bowl contention.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about several under the radar offensive players, but could be targets for the Dallas Cowboys. Last week, I covered the defensive side of the football. This week, I'm going to give you three that could immediately slot into roles for the Dallas Cowboys this season.

Jared Cook, Tight End

It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys will be approaching the offseason looking to upgrade their tight end group. Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones has already said as much. With the insane depth of talent at the tight end position in the NFL Draft, it's likely that's where the Cowboys will look to improve that area of the depth chart.

But as we know, the Cowboys also love to use free agency to fill any glaring holes before the draft so they don't feel forced to make an addition where they don't feel comfortable.

Just last April, Jason Witten announced his retirement just before the second round. Pretty much everyone assumed they would use one of their second or third round picks on a tight end to fill the Grand Canyon-like hole at tight end. While they did draft Dalton Schultz, they passed on the opportunity to take now Baltimore Ravens Tight End Mark Andrews with the 81st pick. The choice they used to take Michael Gallup. Instead, they later drafted Dalton Schultz.

Well, this free agency, they'll have an opportunity to address the tight end position before they get to the draft and the top name on the list is Oakland Raiders Tight End, Jared Cook. Cook, you'll remember caught the pass from Aaron Rodgers in the 2016 divisional round matchup that led to Mason Crosby's long field goal to beat the 13-3 Dallas Cowboys.

In 2018, Jared Cook led the Oakland Raiders in receptions, targets, yards, and touchdowns. Even prior to the deal that sent Amari Cooper to the Cowboys, Cook was leading the team in several, if not all of those categories. On the season he caught 68 passes on 101 targets for 896 yards and six touchdowns. Among tight ends last season he was fifth in the NFL in receptions, fifth in targets, fourth in yards, and fourth in touchdowns. All at the age of 31.

He's a player that could help the Dallas Cowboys at tight end, even if it was only as a stop-gap or competition for Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. He's a veteran presence that still has something to offer as a receiver.

Devin Funchess, Wide Receiver

It was a disappointing season for the former second round pick of the Carolina Panthers, Devin Funchess. With no one standing in the way of him taking over as the lead receiver for Cam Newton, Funchess posted disappointing numbers catching only 44 passes on 79 targets for 549 yards and four touchdowns.

After having over 800 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017, many expected that Funchess would take a step forward this season. He didn't.

Over the final six games of his season, he saw only 24 targets and caught just eight passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. That's after averaging 4.5 receptions on 6.9 targets and catching three touchdowns during the first eight games of the season. 81% of his receptions and yards came over the first eight games of the season and then he just dropped off.

Some of that could be due to Cam Newton's injury, but I think the more likely scenario is that Funchess took a back seat to rookie first round pick D.J. Moore, who finished the season with 788 yards on 55 receptions and two touchdowns. Moore had much more of his production over the second half of the season.

He's an outside receiver that gives the Cowboys some size with his 6-4, 225 pound frame. He'd be red zone threat and with his experience outside, you could use Amari Cooper in the slot on three wide receiver sets.

Funchess may not be an exciting name for the Dallas Cowboys, but he's potentially cheap and is still a very young player who has four years experience in the NFL.

T.J. Yeldon, Running Back

If the Dallas Cowboys do look to give Ezekiel Elliott a four or five-year extension this offseason or next, then they need to get serious about preserving him. In Ezekiel Elliott's two 16 game seasons, he's averaged 367 touches per season. In 2017, when he only played 10 games, he was on pace for 428 touches on the year. Yes, he's capable of shouldering that workload and is one of the elite runners in the NFL, but if you're going to hand him a ton of money, you need to take care of that asset and not run him into the ground.

Enter T.J. Yeldon.

There are several running backs this free agency that are intriguing players and could be good fits for the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back T.J. Yeldon is one of those guys. He's a do-it-all runner who does his best work as a receiving back.

As a runner, Yeldon had a success rate 48%, per Football Outsiders. Success rate measures the frequency that a player is gaining the expected yards based on down and distance. For reference, Ezekiel Elliott had a success rate of 50% and the league leader in success rate, Gus Edwards, was successful on 63% of his runs.

Yeldon averaged just under four yards per carry on 104 carries and caught 55 passes for 487 yards and five total touchdowns. Yeldon worked primarily as a backup to Leonard Fournette, but filled started four games filling in for Fournette due to injury.

Yeldon would be an upgrade to Rod Smith in terms of running and receiving and would allow you to scale back on Ezekiel Elliott's touches -- especially receptions -- allowing him to stay fresher in games and throughout the season.

With several really talented running backs available in free agency, it's likely that Yeldon could be without a home through the early stages of free agency and be willing to take a back up role somewhere.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

We're about 30 days from the start of NFL free agency and the Dallas Cowboys will likely be players in some sense. We know they like to bargain hunt in the free agent market, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a big splash and a few medium-sized splashes as they look to put this team over the top heading into the 2019 season.

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

3 Biggest Non-Divisional Games on the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Schedule

John Williams



The Dallas Cowboys Are Legit Contenders

There hasn't been a repeat champion of the NFC East since the early 2000's when the Philadelphia Eagles won three in a row from 2002-2004. Unfortunately, history is already against the Dallas Cowboys repeating as division champions again in 2019. For the Cowboys to repeat as NFC East champs, they'll have to navigate a tough slate of opponents.

That's the reward of winning your division.

Though much can change in the next five months as the NFL prepares to play football games that matter in September, there are already key matchups for this young Dallas Cowboys team. We know the NFC East is always a difficult division to play in. The rivalries make for a lot of close games. The Cowboys have to play well in the division to have a shot at winning the division. But with the schedule they have, they'll have to win some contests that they probably shouldn't to stake their claim as Super Bowl contenders.

Divisional games are always important, but let's take a look at the three games outside the division that will have the greatest impact on the fortunes of the Dallas Cowboys 2019 season.

1. Week 4 - Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints

The Cowboys have an opportunity to get off to a hot start in the first quarter of the season with games at home against the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, and a road game against the Washington Redskins. There's a legitimate chance for them to start the season 3-0.

Whatever momentum they do gain in the first three games of the season could all come to a screeching halt with a tough week four matchup in New Orleans.

New Orleans has been a tough place to play in the Sean Payton and Drew Brees eras. The Dallas Cowboys defense will have a tough test attempting to slow down the high scoring Saints offense two years in a row.

When the two teams met in 2018, the Dallas Cowboys defense completely dominated the Saints. On that day, they held the Saints to 176 total yards (111 passing and 65 rushing) and an amazing 3 for 11 on third downs. It was especially impressive because the Cowboys only had two sacks and one turnover in the game. The Saints just couldn't find a rhythm as the Cowboys came with a lot of energy and physicality. It was a defining moment for this young defense and gave us a picture of what they could possibly be.

If the Dallas Cowboys can find a way to win this game and potentially start the season 4-0, it would be huge for their playoff hopes.

On the flip side, if the Dallas Cowboys start the season 2-1, they could be going into New Orleans with the possibility of starting the season 2-2. The pressure would be incredible for the Cowboys the rest of the way with the slate of teams they have at the end of the season.

The Cowboys have to leave the first quarter of the season at worst 3-1 to have a shot at the playoffs in 2019.

2. Week 14 - Dallas Cowboys @ the Chicago Bears

The toughest part of the Dallas Cowboys schedule always comes around the Thanksgiving day game, and this season is no different. Starting with their week 12 game at the New England Patriots, the Cowboys will play three games in 12 days culminating with their week 14 game against the Chicago Bears.

The Bears, coming off an NFC North title in 2018, are similar to the Dallas Cowboys. They boast an incredible defense with one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and a young an improving offense.

Playing in Chicago is always a tough task, but doing so in December is a tall order. Doing so after going to New England, then playing at home, then going back on the road seems like an impossible task.

It's a game that will likely be a grind-it-out affair, as both teams want to run the ball and play defense. Depending on what happens in the previous two games, this could be a must-win to start the final quarter of the season.

3. Week 15 - Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys

The rematch of the NFC Divisional round matchup is just another in a long line of important conference matchups for the Dallas Cowboys. It will be a very important game for the Cowboys because it will be a home game after their three games in 12 days stretch. They'll have to go to Foxboro and Chicago in a span of 12 days, which makes for tough travel.

Facing a Los Angeles Rams team that absolutely dominated the Dallas Cowboys defense is an opportunity for redemption, but will have huge implications on the playoff standings for the NFC.

The Cowboys and Rams could both be leading their divisions at this point in the season, which would make this game important for seeding. Or, they could be fighting for a wild card berth. Either way, a conference game this late in the season has huge consequences in the way the tie breakers shake out.

This one will carry an emotional importance as well.

The way the 2018 season ended for this club, especially on the defensive side of the ball, left a lot of players -- and fans -- with a bad taste in their mouths. It completely changed the way a lot of people view a defense that finished in the top 10 in most major defensive categories. The loss to the Rams was one of the worst defensive performances of the season and it came at the worst time of the season.

Not only was the defense bad, but the running game was terrible that day too. Ezekiel Elliott only managed 47 yards on 20 carries for one of the worst rushing performances of his career. It took a really good second half from Dak Prescott and the passing game to get the Cowboys within one score with a shot to get the ball back at the end of the game.

If the Cowboys can get revenge for that playoff loss, it would do a lot for the morale of this team heading into the final two weeks of the season.

These conference games will have huge implications for the Cowboys and their playoff hopes. Though the NFC East will have a bigger impact on their ability to win the division, how they fare in these three games will give us a better understanding of the legitimacy of their contender status. Each of these games is against the team that won the division the previous season. If they can go 2-1 against this quality of competition, then we'll know this is a team to be reckoned with heading into January.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Schedule: Reaction and Analysis

Jess Haynie



Dak Prescott/Carson Wentz Is No Rivalry, And There's Only One Side To Blame

The full NFL 2019 regular season schedule was released last night. Here is my reaction to the Dallas Cowboys' schedule and analysis of how what I think it means for them next season.

Of course, a schedule can have a very different feel come September-December than it does in April. The teams don't change, but their circumstances can be wildly altered by the time they actually have to take the field.

Just ask the Cowboys' opponents from the 2015 season. Nobody was looking forward to playing that Dallas team coming off its 12-4 playoff run the year before. But all it took was a Tony Romo injury in the preseason to suddenly make the Cowboys a cupcake.

But for now, we can only react to what we know. Before we dive in, here's a quick reminder of the complete 2019 regular season schedule for the Dallas Cowboys.

    • Week 1: New York Giants @ Cowboys
    • Week 2: Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
    • Week 3: Miami Dolphins @ Cowboys 
    • Week 4: Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints (SNF)
    • Week 5: Green Bay Packers @ Cowboys
    • Week 6: Cowboys @ New York Jets
    • Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys (SNF)
    • Week 8: BYE
    • Week 9: Cowboys @ New York Giants  (SNF)
    • Week 10: Minnesota Vikings @ Cowboys (MNF)
    • Week 11: Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
    • Week 12: Cowboys @ New England Patriots
    • Week 13: Buffalo Bills @ Cowboys (T'giving)
    • Week 14: Cowboys @ Chicago Bears (TNF)
    • Week 15: Los Angeles Rams @ Cowboys
    • Week 16: Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
    • Week 17: Washington Redskins @ Cowboys

We already knew this wasn't going to be an easy slate. The Cowboys won the NFC East last year, meaning they were guaranteed to play against four division winners this season; Bears, Patriots, Rams, and Saints. They also get the regular two games against the Eagles, who were a Wild Card team last year.

Let's just talk about those six games for a minute. New England is still New England; Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will ensure that it's one of the toughest games of the year, and especially on the road. The Patriots have won 12-straight home games going back to 2017.

The Bears and Rams are both rising teams that shouldn't suffer any drop off next year. Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky is entering his third year and LA's Jared Goff will be in his fourth season, but only third in Sean McVay's offense. Both have starting QBs with rookie contacts, which means having the resources to load up on talent elsewhere on the roster.

Much like the Patriots, the Saints still have their franchise QB and coach and should remain a top team. They will also be out for blood after the Cowboys humiliated them last season, as will their fans, and that could make for a very tough road game in New Orleans.

Then, of course, there are the Eagles.

Eagles vs Redskins Tonight; What Outcome is Best for Cowboys?

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

The NFC East appears to be a two-horse race in 2019. The Giants are arguably the worst team in the NFL right now and the Redskins are dealing with major QB problems. It should be Dallas and Philadelphia once again battling for the top spot.

The Cowboys and Eagles should both get some cushy wins against their fellow division opponents. It could come down to their games against each other, and so far Dallas has dominated Philly when Carson Wentz is playing QB. With Nick Foles gone, how will that impact the Eagles going forward?

As for the rest of the schedule, the only other game that seems easy on paper is against the Miami Dolphins. Teams like the Bills, Jets, and Lions could go either way. The Packers and Vikings should both be tough opponents.

The teams aside, the general layout of the schedule isn't bad. The Week 8 bye is nice for a break right in the middle of the season. Dallas only has to play back-to-back road games one time, Weeks 11 and 12 against the Lions and Patriots.

The first three games against the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins give Dallas a great opportunity to start the year right and build momentum. They will definitely need to go into December with some cushion, because that stretch against the Bears, Rams, and Eagles could be very difficult.

Overall it's a solid schedule. It's got some tough spots because of the Cowboys' performance last year, but that means they were a good team then and they stand to be even better now. There's nothing here that prevents Dallas from building on the success of 2018 and making then an ever better season.

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Dallas Cowboys

BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys 2019 Regular Season Schedule Announced

Mauricio Rodriguez



The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys against Philadelphia

Although we're still months away from the 2019 NFL season, we finally know how the Dallas Cowboys' games will line up this year. The entire league schedule was just released. I know just how much you want to know who the Cowboys will be playing each week so don't let me keep you.

Here's the full 2019 Dallas Cowboys schedule and a few notes at the end. Enjoy!

  • Week 1: New York Giants @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Sep 8th, 3:25p
  • Week 2: Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
    • Sun, Sep 15th, 12:00p
  • Week 3: Miami Dolphins @ Cowboys 
    • Sun, Sep 22nd, 12:00p
  • Week 4: Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints
    • Sunday Night Football
    • Sep, 29th, 7:20p
  • Week 5: Green Bay Packers @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Oct 6th, 3:25p
  • Week 6: Cowboys @ New York Jets
    • Sun, Oct 13th, 3:25p
  • Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Oct 20th, 7:20p
  • Week 8: Bye
  • Week 9: Cowboys @ New York Giants 
    • Monday Night Football
    • Mon, Nov 4th, 7:15p
  • Week 10: Minnesota Vikings @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Nov 10th, 7:20p
  • Week 11: Cowboys @ Detroit Lions
    • Sun, Nov 17th, 12:00p
  • Week 12: Cowboys @ New England Patriots
    • Sun, Nov 24th, 3:25p
  • Week 13: Buffalo Bills @ Cowboys
    • Thanksgiving Day
    • Thu, Nov 28th, 3:30p
  • Week 14: Cowboys @ Chicago Bears
    • Thursday Night Football
    • Thu, Dec 4th, 7:20p
  • Week 15: Los Angeles Rams @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Dec 15th, 3:25p
  • Week 16: Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
    • Sun, Dec 22nd, 3:25p
  • Week 17: Washington Redskins @ Cowboys
    • Sun, Dec 29th, 12:00p

A few notes and thoughts...

  • It feels like the Cowboys play the Giants on week 1 just about every year. In 2018 it was the Carolina Panthers, but now we're back to watching this divisional matchup early on.
  • I love that the Cowboys and Saints will matchup against each other on primetime on week 3. Last season's Thursday Night game between the two was one of the best games of the season.
  • Having a bye week right in the middle of the season is pretty ideal, and the Cowboys have been lucky in this regard lately. This time they'll rest on the eight week of the season.
  • Overall, this seems like a tougher calendar than last year's. This only makes sense given that the Cowboys are the current NFC East champions and are bound to face tougher opponents.
  • A particularly tough stretch might take place from week 12 to week 17. The Patriots, Bears and Rams will be on the list as well as two divisional rivals in the Eagles and Redskins.

Tell me what you think about "BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys 2019 Regular Season Schedule Announced" 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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