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4th And Long For Jesse Holley To Make The Cut

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Cowboys Blog - 4th And Long For Jesse Holley To Make The Cut 1

Jesse Holley is now the latest member of the Dallas Cowboys. Who you say? That’s right Jesse Holley! Thanks to the Michael Irvin show 4th and Long The Cowboys now have another man on the roster, the question is though will he stick? or is he just the product of another marketing gimmick?

I will tell you straight up that I watched only the first episode of 4th and Long! Not because it was a bad show (although it was not a show that made me want to put the DVR to use) but more because it was just too damn gimmicky for me.

So who is Jesse Holley? Well I do not know just a ton about him, but what I do know is not all that glamorous.

Jesse was a two sport player at the University of North Carolina from 2003 – 2006, was a member of the 04’-05’ National Championship basketball team. He was a very solid Wide Receiver for the Tar heels, played all fours years that he was there.

In 2007 Holley was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was then released by the team at the end of Training camp only to be signed to the practice squad. Jesse lasted one month on the practice squad before being released.

In 2008 Jesse signed on to play for the BC Lions of the CFL. After the teams first Pre Season game (one month later) He was released.

Basically Jesse Holley is the same as a million other solid collegiate athletes with dreams of being a Pro, but now his dream is a reality thanks to Spike T.V.?????

I have a question for all of you that I need help answering. Can anybody tell me who was the last player (that went undrafted, unable to stick on a practice squad, and unable to make it in the CFL) that has been talked about this much?

My partner and I had a… well let’s call it a discussion yesterday about this situation, and well… Let’s just say our thoughts were not anywhere near the same!

Bryson watched the series from beginning to end, and had nothing but good to say about Jesse and his abilities. While I respect his opinion on the matter I strongly disagreed with his synopsis. He told me about how he was a big and physical receiver with good hands and the ability to go up and get a jump ball. He also told me how he thought “he may be a good addition for us” and “he may be able to take Stanback's spot”.

It was about this time that the “discussion” got a little more heated. Not because I think Stanback is such a great receiver, but because I simply cannot comprehend how a guy who cannot make a CFL roster can come in and be a better player than a guy who has stuck on an NFL roster for 3 years!

The argument will always be “NFL scouts do make mistakes and miss on players, just look at Tom Brady” and while that is accurate to an extent, name me a player who has been a contributing player in the NFL that was unable to stay on a practice squad and unable to make a CFL roster.

Every year NFL teams bring in players this time of year that will never play a down in a regular season game, simply to fill roster spots at training camp.

It takes a very special athlete to be able to make and then stay on a NFL roster, Any NFL roster! If you have ever played a sport then you know that there are two kinds of players. (1) Overly Gifted (2) Under Gifted.

For the overly gifted athlete things come easy to them and they are generally stand out players, the great ones have the same work ethic as the guy who has less talent and has to rely on his determination, and hard work.

The under gifted player while he has talent he MUST work harder than everyone else, and he MUST be involved with his sport of choice on a continuous basis (playing on a year in year out basis) as this player simply would fall way behind his competitors if he took a year off.

Jesse Holley falls into the Under Gifted category, while I am sure he has some very nice talents, the fact remains he has not played in almost 2 years and was not very good then! I would like nothing better than to see this kid come into camp and set the world on fire and prove me wrong!

The problem that I have with this show is simple, a guy has become a member of the Dallas Cowboys and thrust into the spotlight for no other reason than because he was on a T.V. show! And better still because he competed against other players who cannot make an NFL roster and shined against them, this show has given Cowboy fans a severely skewed opinion of their talents.

Without this show no one would care about anyone of these guys! Much less believe any of them could “add” anything to this team! Or believe they could take a job away from a veteran NFL player.

Just to put it in perspective, I played Football and Baseball all my life and was never anymore than an average player. When I got into my twenties I started playing in a local Softball Beer league. I was and am a decent player but by no means a “Pro” but every time I have played against people that were not very good I looked like a “Bad Ass” player. The contestants on this show are no different!

These contestants performed against the likes of Semi-Pro players (your Beer League of the Football world) and cast away Arena League players. Frankly these guys should look like superb football players, but many of them did not! The two that did make it to the finals did look the part, but one of those was only 5’7”! And by all accounts if he had not been a midget(pardon me vertically challenged) he would have won the competition.

In the end, I have done nothing but waste your time and mine writing about a guy that more than likely will end up like all the other late invitees to a NFL camp, released and never heard from again!



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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Jonathan

    July 23, 2009 at 10:29 am

    There are only a few holes in your argument:

    One, you are assuming the reason Jesse could not catch on with the Bengals and then in the CFL was because he did not have the ability to excel in those mediums, when in all actuality, there could be several reasons why he was released. His attitude may have been in the wrong place, he may have not gotten along with the coaches, and/or he may have decided he didn’t like being on the practice squad or in the CFL and unconsciously sabotaged himself. The second issue with your argument is that was Jesse Holley then, and this is Jesse Holley now. He may have been out of shape then, but he defintely isn’t now. The routes he runs may have been garbage then, but they are definitely crisp now. His hands may have been suspect then, but velcro is jealous of them now.

    I’m not saying he’s going to make the team, or even the practice squad. And you are right, the competition he was playing against wasn’t on the same level as he and Hawkins were. But that shouldn’t take too much away from what Bryson and I both saw with our own eyes: The guy can make the acrobatic catch. The guy can lay the wood pretty well for a receiver. The guy has great body control, which grants him the ability to jump up and turn to make the catch, as long as the QB puts the ball within arm reach of his body. The guy knows how to use his body to wall off the defender.

    My only complaint, is he’s more of the same WR’s we have on the team. He’s in the mold of Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd; a possession receiver. I agree with you, though…had Hawkins been a little bit taller, he would have won. But that doesn’t mean that Holley can’t play in the NFL. It just means that Dallas has more of a need for someone who can stretch the field than someone who can be relied on to catch the ball.

    • bags030404

      July 23, 2009 at 11:58 am

      I will agree with you on a few of your points, I am assuming some things. Maybe he had some attitude issues, or problems with coaches or whatever, but talent has always meant more in the NFL than attitude. I can only go by what I have read about the guy and I gave his past a very good look, and what I have found is this. In Cincinnati he was given a prime opportunity to make that team (outside of their 2 starters they had a ton less than Dallas does now) he was in competition with the likes of Skyler Green, Reggie McNeal, and 3 other nobodies (and 2 of the nobodies had injuries and could not practice) and he was released in favor of Marcus Maxwell???
      Then with the CFL team he was cut along with several other Receivers due to their “sloppy and unprofessional play”! Neither of these are glowing endorsements for the guy, but you are right a guy can make a TON of changes to his play and life in a year.
      The whole point I am driving is this show is giving a guy a chance that no one or no team would, so why is that? because he is good? or simply because he was on the show? I hope he is good, I hope he makes the team, I hope he is the second coming of Jerry Rice, but I am not going to hold my breath!

  2. Bryson Treece

    July 23, 2009 at 10:53 am

    And that was my actual point. Well said Jonathan.

    The guy has shown enough from that show for me to think it’s actually possible for him to make the team. It’s just going to depend a lot on how well he contributes to special teams, and whether he can do the same things in San Antonio that he did in Dallas.

  3. Jonathan

    July 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Bags: He is definitely no Jerry Rice. Jerry was under that rare classification of player that is both naturally gifted and works extremely hard to be the best, despite his ability. I am convinced, though, that Holley can compete in the NFL. But as I pointed out above, I’m not sure that he is any better than any of the other players competing for that 5th spot. But having Michael Irvin tutor him from the actual end of the show up until training camp could change that. If I recall correctly, that was another part of the package the winner of the show received.

    While I’ll agree at time’s in the tenure of the NFL talent was valued over attitude, I’m not sure that is the case in today’s league. It really depends on how bad of an attitude a team has to put up with, and rather or not the talent offsets the bad. It also depends on the organization and more specifically, rather or not the coach can tolerate that type of player. Regardless, my overall point is I think Holley may pleasantly suprise if given an equal opportunity to excel. But that “if” is big, because currently the Cowboy’s roster bost 11, and several of those are already pet project’s of the coaches, namely Stanback. Personally, with the limited time I have seen Stanback with the rock in his hand’s, I’m really pulling for him to finally prove he can stay healthy, because he definitely has the moves. The good news is, with that position being termed as weak by many mediots and analyst, Holley’s addition can only help intensify the competition to ensure the Cowboy’s final 5 or 6 receivers are the product of very tough competition, before the season even begins. I can’t wait.

  4. bags030404

    July 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    While the league is changing as far as attitude and talent are concerned, let us not forget he was with the Bengals! And if any team has been late to the party for attitude adjustments it has been the Bengals and our beloved Boys! I have watched a lot of Stanback and while he needs some work he is a very gifted individual but for whatever reason some people are more prone to injury, it is not due to him being lazy or anything like that. Lets be honest the Cowboys have kept him on the team this long for a reason, not just cause! If (and I realize that “if frogs had glass balls they would not bump their ass when they hopped”) he can stay healthy he could very easily become one of the teams top 3 receivers, he has all the tools and the want to! Do not get me wrong Johnathan I do not have anything against the guy, my gripes are with the way he is getting there! For me he is a guy that has already had two chances the last 3 years and failed to take advantage of those chances!

  5. Jonathan

    July 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Bags: It’s an ever-changing league. Who knows, this method of hand picking several players around the league for a few position’s of need to have them compete together to determine the best of the crop might become a second draft for the league.

    Think about it.

    The draft is not the end-all be-all of determining who is worthy of playing in the NFL. Some guys may need to be afforded more time to make the adjustment from college to the NFL. They may need to learn more about the game. They may need to put on more weight to be effective in their perspective position. Whatever the reason for why a guy is not ready to make that transition, I do believe that diamonds can be found in the rough. I believe because I’ve seen it happen several times throughout the league’s history; and in those cases their perspective searches were typically limited to their locality. This search was national, and the time they took to determine who was worthy was far more extensive by comparison to the weekend that is usually spent to find players.

    I’m waiting for the search to become international. Basketball has found their gems. Baseball has recruited from other countries. Why not football? Granted, these guys would have to receive extensive coaching to get caught up to guys who have played since gradeschool, but if they can handle the physical rigors of the game and they are quick learners, why not give them a shot? Furthermore, that approach would make football even more popular throughout the world. Honestly, I think this shift in recruiting is inevitable.

  6. Bryson Treece

    July 24, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Jonathan – you just gave me my new favorite word … Mediots. Bravo!

  7. Jonathan

    July 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Actually, Bryson, I can’t claim to be the originator of that particular word, though, I couldn’t tell you were I read it first. Though, considering our local media, it does fit.

  8. Wes

    August 1, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Call me crazy, but I seem to remember a guy who got into the UFC solely because of a reality show. How’s Forrest Griffin doing these days anyway?

    I’m not saying that Jesse will make the roster, but Forrest got laughed at for being in the UFC because of The Ultimate Fighter, and there isn’t much laughter going on now. The Ultimate Fighter has become a legitimate way to break into the UFC because soo many of them have gone on to be successful after the show. So, I think it is just a tad bit unfair to make the comment “Without this show no one would care about anyone of these guys!” Like someone said earlier, the show could become a second draft option for teams.

    Finally, the only reason I am even paying attention to training camp, outside of cut tickers, is because of this guy. Regardless of whether he makes the team or not, the Cowboys are getting their money’s worth. Here’s a novel idea, give the dude a chance and see if people can change and grow.

    • bags030404

      August 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

      You lost me on all the UFC stuff, never watched it and have no idea who you are talking about. As far as Holley goes like I said in the post, I hope he tears up Camp and makes the team! What I am not going to do is spend any time talking about how great he can be. He has a ton to prove, so lets just see what he can do, then we can come back and reevaluate.

  9. Derreck

    August 9, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I have a few names for you: Kurt Warner, Willie Parker (also a NC product who did not even start!), and Nate Washington (2 Super Bowl Rings).

    Good stories happen all the time. Sometimes you just need to be given the right opportunity. I believe he will seize it.

    • bags030404

      August 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm

      So far things are not looking good for him, as he is being consistently outplayed by Mike Jefferson and Kevin Ogletree.

  10. Randy Johnson

    August 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I think that one of the best points I have heard is that Holley dominated a group of Practice Squad, Arena League, CFL “maybe” types. While superior to anyone NOT in the NFL, namely 99.9% of the viewing audience, he is just another guy out there on the fringes of simply having a chance.

    The good counterpoint to that is perhaps he was not right in the head in the past as far as dedication. Perhaps he was too slow in realizing that he reached a point when the talent level was as good or better and others in and around the same skill set out-worked him and/or had a better attitude.

    Not all, but for the most part, the 4th and Long contestants needed attitude adjustments. Hawkins–the 5’7″ “mighty mite” fellow was as worthy of a shot as Holley. But he is seen as too small. Small guys make it in the NFL but they are usually spectacular or are over-the-top with speed or quickness not just “above average”. Barry Sanders, Darryl Green, Dave Meggett, James Brooks, Lionel “Little Train” James, Darren Sproles, and a dozen or so that I can’t remember–but again, there isn’t a lot of them.

  11. Justin Kelm

    August 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I’m from Crosby,TX and I love the Texans & hate the Cowboys but when i read this story i didn’t care what team it was. Its a guy trying to survive. I hope he makes the team or practice squad. Hope to see him on TV tonight against the Titans. Go Texans!!!!!

    • bags030404

      August 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for the comment Justin! I wish the man the best of luck as well, but the agenda behind this story was more about why a guy that wins a T.V. show gets more press than just the average NFL hopeful, who has more talent than he. Every year in the NFL there are probably hundreds of undrafted collegiate players trying to make teams, and there is zero national media covering them.

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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Was OK, But Cowboys Need More From Michael Gallup

Jess Haynie

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Can WR Michael Gallup Eclipse 1,000 Receiving Yards as a Rookie?

Just yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys declined an option on Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' contract and ended his six-year tenure with the team. One reason the veteran was no longer in their plans was the presence of Michael Gallup, who the team has high hopes for entering just his second NFL season.

It's interesting to compare Gallup and Williams on several levels. Just as Terrance's time ends, having only made a few appearance last year in just three games, Michael was a fast learner as a rookie and emerged as the team's number-two receiver by the playoffs.

Both were third-round picks, with Williams (74th) being selected just seven spots higher overall in 2013 than Gallup (81st) was in 2018.

Terrance came to Dallas when Dez Bryant was firmly entrenched as the team's primary receiver. Michael was drafted less than a month after Dez was released, but Amari Cooper soon established himself as the number-one WR midway through the year.

In both cases, the Cowboys hoped that their third-round selection would yield a player who could at least play a complimentary role as a solid roleplayer, if not regular starter.

For all his warts Terrance Williams was ultimately a solid draft pick. He started in about 75% of the games he played in and was a proficient run blocker, helping both DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott have big years. He also made some highlight reel catches in his time.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

But with those big plays came some big blunders. Terrance often had a bad drop for every good catch he made. A huge mental error may have cost Dallas the 2016 season opener against the Giants. And if the team wasn't already starting to turn on him, his 2018 arrest for public intoxication seemed to push them over the edge.

That said, the biggest issue with Williams was his inability to produce without other plays drawing attention. He didn't rise to the occasion when Dez Bryant was injured. He rarely even made defenses pay for giving Dez too much attention.

At his best, Terrance was a solid number-two receiver. Plenty of teams who've spent first-round picks on receivers wish they could they'd gotten as much in return. Nobody should be disappointed with how that 2013 third-round pick turned out.

But when it comes to Michael Gallup, Dallas should hope that Williams' career is the floor for Gallup's potential. As teams key on Amari Cooper going forward, can Gallup do damage in ways that Terrance rarely could?

Even more importantly, if Cooper were to ever get injured, could Michael step up and take on a larger role? Can Dallas finally have a number-two receiver with the capacity for occasionally taking the lead?

#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

That may be putting too much pressure on young Mr. Gallup but it's really not an unfair expectation. Recent drafts have produced highly productive third-round receivers such as Keenan Allen, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Lockett.

Even more pressure comes if Cole Beasley leaves the team in free agency. While his role lessened toward the end of 2018, Cole remained one of Dak Prescott's favorite options in clutch situations. He was almost impossible to stop with just one man covering him, and that gave defenses a real dilemma once Amari Cooper arrived.

Can Gallup fill those shoes? Can he become a reliable target when the game is on the line?

In the end, all Michael has to do is be a solid starter to provide a great value for his draft selection. The Williams standard isn't a bad measure.

But if the Cowboys ever want to win more than just the occasional playoff game then they need another receiving threat who truly punishes opposing defenses. They need the next Alvin Harper, not the next Terrance Williams.

We can only hope, as the team does, that Michael Gallup is up to the task.



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Dallas Cowboys

Deep Dive into the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Salary Cap

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into free agency, which opens March 13th, in really good shape. The Cowboys will be able to be aggressive in the free agent market if they want to. They have the 10th most cap space in the NFL. It could make for a fun free agency period for the front office and Cowboys Nation, however, we know how this team has felt about spending on outside free agents since being burned by the Brandon Carr signing.

In years past, they’ve opted to bargain shop. Last year was a departure from the norm though, as they chased the mythical unicorn that is Sammy Watkins last offseason.

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. 

They haven’t generally been a team that chased big-time free agents, though this could be the season that all changes with several free agent safeties that could be immediate upgrades.

We know they’re going to spend a lot of money on their own with Demarcus Lawrence coming free and Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott looking for contract extensions, but they’re could Ben opportunities to bring in a star from another player to come where The Star.

I hope Jerry Jones has his signing hand ready, it’s going to be putting in a lot of work over the next couple of months.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had people on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, AOL Chatrooms, and via USPS correspondence express concern about whether the Dallas Cowboys will be able to afford all their guys and chase free agents.

Not to worry Cowboys fan, with a little salary cap and contract gymnastics, the sky’s the limit.

Let’s take a look.

Current Cap Space

According to OverTheCap.com, the 2019 Salary Cap is estimated to be around $190 million. After the release of Terrance Williams, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to have nearly $48 million in cap space available to them when free agency opens on March 13th.

When you look at that number by itself, it doesn’t look like a lot with big money contracts coming to DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Byron Jones. Remember, though, the salary cap may be a fixed number, but contracts are pliable, meaning the team can do several things to create cap space through releases, how they structure new contracts, and restructures.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Dallas Cowboys will have the money they need to sign the players they want to sign.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Likely Releases

Sean Lee, Linebacker

Age and injury catch up to everyone and this is where we are with All-Pro Linebacker Sean Lee who will be turning 33 in July. Lee’s career has just been unlucky from the time he set foot in Dallas.

Since coming to the Cowboys in the 2010 draft, Lee has only played in 64% of the possible 149 games that the Dallas Cowboys have played in that time frame. Contrast that with a player like Zack Martin who has played in all but two games in his five-year career. That’s a 92% availability rate for his career.

The Dallas Cowboys don’t typically pay age. The difficult choice with Lee is that he’s long been a leader for the Dallas Cowboys. However, with the emergence of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, it’s extremely difficult to justify a $7 million cap hit to a part-time player.

Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver

Allen Hurns was a roller coaster ride in 2018.

First, it appeared he was brought in to be an upgrade at the number two spot. Then when the Cowboys shocked the world and released Dez Bryant, he immediately moved up the wide receiver pecking order, but was generally ineffective. After the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper, Hurns became somewhat of an afterthought in the wide receiver snap distribution. Then he was lost in the win over the Seattle Seahawks with a gruesome ankle injury.

Allen Hurns is a fine player, but the Cowboys could get $5 million in cap relief by parting ways with the former 1,000 yard receiver.

A couple weeks ago, I outlined why I think Hurns could be a solution to the problem facing the Cowboys if Cole Beasley walked away. Hurns best attributes shine when deployed in the slot and asked to run over the middle of the field.

Coming off of the ankle injury, the Cowboys could easily move on and use that $5 million to extend one of their own or go after a big name in free agency.

Unlikely, but not Impossible Releases

The next few players are players that will most likely be on the squad in 2019. But as we saw with Dez Bryant, there can always be surprises.

Joe Looney, Center

The 2018 season seemed almost sunk when news came down that Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillen-Barre Syndrome during training camp. One of the stories of the 2018 season, was the play of Frederick’s backup Joe Looney. Looney may not have been the most valuable player, but you can’t understate how important he wasn’t to the success the Dallas Cowboys had in 2018.

We’ve seen what happens when backups who are incredibly inferior to the starter they play behind see action. Think back to Atlanta in 2017. If the Cowboys get better play from Chaz Green and Byron Bell, that game and perhaps the season turns out differently. Kind of like when Cameron Fleming filled in for Tyron Smith this season. It was a completely different result. Was Fleming perfect? No, but he wasn’t a disaster and the Cowboys were able to win games without their All-Pro left tackle.

Joe Looney is going to be with this team unless someone loses their center and wants to trade for him. In the event the Cowboys wanted to get some cap relief, they could save $1.5 million in 2019, with only $125 thousand in dead money on the cap.

I don’t see them making this move, but for those of you curious, there are the numbers.

Joe Thomas, Linebacker

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch got all the glory at the linebacker position in 2018, and for good reason, but Joe Thomas was an important piece to the puzzle as well. He provided excellent depth and a lot of good snaps for the Cowboys in 2018, which is why I think he’s back next year.

He only saves you about $2 million on the cap, but if you didn’t want to pay a  backup linebacker $2 million, then you could part ways with him.

Jeff Heath, Safety

Jeff Heath is a solid player, but gets relied upon for a little more than he should. He’d probably be best served with being a rotational safety in the NFL. He has a penchant for making plays, but also has some maddening snaps as well, like the final play against the Rams where Jared Goff was able to scramble for a first down. Heath never saw the bootleg and was late getting to Goff to keep him from picking up the first down.

The Dallas Cowboys like him as a player and he’s likely to stay with the team. He helps on special teams and provides valuable depth.

If they were to move on, they could save $2.5 million.

La’el Collins, Tackle

It’s not often you hear people talk about releasing a starting tackle, and I’m certainly not here to advocate for that.

Collins has had some up and down games, but in his short two-year stint at right tackle he’s been pretty good. He’s stood tall against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

His contract will carry him through the 2019 season, but if the Dallas Cowboys wanted to part ways, again, not saying they should, they could save a whopping $8.5 million in the salary cap.

$8.5 million could be the cost of Earl a Thomas or a Tre Boston. That’s  pretty big chunk of change.

Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick

Potential Restructures

When it comes to restructures, the Dallas Cowboys have been selective over recent years with who they choose to flip the switch on.

A restructure doesn’t change the money owed to the player, just changes when the pay out happens. When a team and a player agree to a restructure, the cap hit or base salary is lowered to a more manageable amount and the difference is paid out as a bonus. The bonus is then spread out evenly over the remaining years of the contract.

For example.

Player A has four years remaining on their deal with a cap hit of $16 million per year for the rest of the contract. The team and player A agree to restructure the contract to decrease this season’s base salary to $1 million dollars. The $15 million difference is then paid out as a bonus and then the cap hit is added to the final three years. So instead of the cap hit being $16 million per year for the remainder of the contract, it is now $21 million per year.

The problem with restructuring contracts is that you better hope that the players you restructure make it to the end of their contract otherwise you could end up with big dead money holds on your cap.

The Dallas Cowboys could restructure the following players:

Tyron Smith, Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys All-Pro Left Tackle may be the best draft pick they’ve made in the last 10 years. He’s been one of the best in the game at his position for nearly his entire NFL career and until recent seasons, had been incredibly reliable.

According to Over The Cap, if the Cowboys decided to restructure Smith’s contract, they could get $7.26 million added to the salary cap this season.

That’s a big number, which would help you get your hands on a top safety or defensive lineman in free agency. The reasons why you wouldn’t do it surround Tyron’s health.

He’s missed games each of the last three seasons because of back issues. He’s signed through the 2023 season, which is his age 33 season. It’s entirely possible that he continues to play at a high level through the end of the contract, but you’ll always be a bit concerned about his back.

Zack Martin, Guard

If Tyron was the best draft pick, Zack Martin is a close second. He’s been the definition of reliability as he’s provided elite guard play through the first five years of his career making the All-Pro team each of his first five seasons.

If I were managing the cap for the Dallas Cowboys, it would be a no brainer to restructure Martin who is signed through the 2024 season; his age 34 season. Offensive lineman can play at a high level well into their 30’s barring injury and Zack has the ability to be one of those guys. At his current pace, he could one day end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

By restructuring Martin, the Dallas Cowboys could save $7.36 million on the 2019 salary cap.

Travis Frederick, Center

Last summer was a scary situation for Travis Frederick and by all accounts his recovery is going well. It sounds like he should be ready to go by training camp, and if that’s the case, there’s no reason to believe that Frederick won’t be the player we’ve all come to expect and missed during the 2018 season.

He’s a leader on the offensive line. He’s an excellent communicator and really good at blocking other big humans.

Getting Frederick back for the 2019 season is as big of an upgrade as you could have on an offense. He changes everything. He helps set protections and call out stunts. He will make Conor Williams a better guard just by being present. The offense as a whole will be better by having Frederick available.

Like Smith and Martin, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t play out his current contract at a high level. Even if he’s only 75% of his previous self because of the illness, that’s still a really good football player who is worth every bit of the $10 million a year he’s getting paid.

Travis Frederick has five more years left on his contract. If the Cowboys were to restructure his deal, they could gain another $4.1 million in cap relief this offseason.

Tyrone Crawford, Defensive Line

If ever there was a player that was a victim of his contract it’s Tyrone Crawford. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to an extension thinking he would be the answer at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot. He was good on his rookie deal but his contract was more of a projection than a deal based on prior production.

Unfortunately, Crawford hasn’t lived up to his deal, but he’s been a reliable and versatile player for the Dallas Cowboys. His ability to play both at defensive end and defensive tackle has been huge over the years and he’s come up with some timely defensive plays.

Crawford has two years remaining on his contract that runs through the 2020 season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cowboys keep him around. He’s a leader on the defense and he gives you good quality snaps. As they continue to wait for Randy Gregory and/or Taco Charlton to take steps forward, Crawford is a guy that they like and will continue to find snaps for.

If the Cowboys restructured Crawford’s contract, they could get a little over $3 million in cap savings this year. $3 million may not sound like a lot, but in combination with the other moves they could make with the cap, it can help. Every bit helps when constructing a roster. That money could go to paying for the 2019 draft class.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Dak Prescott #4 and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Grand Total

The Dallas Cowboys front office has a lot of decisions to make this offseason and several of them will be in the form of extensions for their own players. They’ll have to figure out a way to use the contracts to their advantage.

If they did everything that could be an option to them, they could create another $48.22 million in space in the salary cap. If they didn’t release any of the “unlikely releases,” they could still free up another $33.72 million by releasing Lee and Hurns and restructuring Smith, Martin, Frederick, and Crawford.

So, they’ll be going into the offseason with at least $48 million in cap space, but through a few moves could have as much as $81-$96.22 million in cap space when it’s all said and done.

None of this even accounts for the way the Cowboys could structure the contracts of Elliott, Dak, Cooper, Lawrence, and Byron Jones. With some smart salary structuring, they won’t necessarily have to eat much of their cap hits in year one of their new contracts.

Don’t worry Cowboys fans. The Cowboys will be able to create enough money to get the things done that they want to get done. If they don’t sign anyone of note in free agency or extend your favorite player, it won’t be because they couldn’t afford to.

It’ll be because they didn’t want to.



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Player News

Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time https://t.co/vqMNZty6Aq via @sportsdaydfw

Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.

The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.

The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.

But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.

Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.

It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.

Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.



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