The Dallas Cowboys are facing maybe one of the toughest offseasons in recent memory. When you are a team that goes from a 12-4 record to a 4-12 record, well then you have many things that need to be fixed. From personal changes to free agency to drafting the right player. These are my 5 bold predictions for what's coming this offseason for the Dallas Cowboys.
1) Doug Free Will Be Released
With this move, you automatically save 2.5 million dollars in 2016 and 5 million in 2017. Let's face it, at least once a game you say to yourself, "come on Doug Free." I know I do and with that said, I have the most respect for Doug Free.
Free is like the older sibling to the offensive line, but Dallas could really use that money to spend on other players. Free turns 32 on the 16th of January and he isn't getting any younger. Who will replace Free? Easy answer, you spent a 3rd round pick on a tackle from Florida University. His name is Chaz Green and he is the future of this dynasty offensive line Dallas has.
2) Brandon Carr Will Be A Dallas Cowboy No More
This one brings a breath of fresh air to many of Cowboys Nation. This isn't just a money situation because possibly Jerry Jones asks Brandon Carr to take a pay cut. It is his play on the field and Carr is not playing up to the money or the number one corner status.
Releasing Carr would save the Cowboys 6.4 million in 2016 and 10 million in 2017. That is money Jerry Jones would love to have back. Brandon's last interception came in 2013 on Thanksgiving Day to seal the win against the Oakland Raiders. It just feels like Carr has gotten worse and can't do it anymore. With losing Brandon Carr though, you better hope Morris Claiborne comes back.
3) Dallas Cowboys Will Sign Trumaine Johnson
So far Brandon Carr has been released, according to my prediction, and I also believe Morris Claiborne will be back with the Cowboys next season. That leaves Claiborne at the number one corner position, but who is number two? Obviously Orlando Scandrick is the man who will play the slot and outside because he is our best cover guy. So the man opposite of Morris Claiborne is going to be a 26-year-old who played his college ball at Montana and currently is on the Rams roster, Trumaine Johnson.
Johnson was the 65th overall pick in the 2012 draft, the same year Claiborne was drafted. If you remember, the Cowboys traded up in the 2012 draft to the number 6 overall pick and with that pick they took Morris Claiborne. Anyway, Trumaine Johnson has 15 career interceptions for the Rams, but 7 of those interceptions happened this season. Johnson shouldn't be expensive and he causes turnovers and if you watched this Dallas secondary then you know we need more turnovers.
The Cowboys secondary will look better in 2016 with Morris Claiborne, Trumaine Johnson, and Orlando Scandrick as your starting corners. Along with Byron Jones and the guy in this next prediction at safety...
4) With the Fourth Overall Pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys Select Jalen Ramsey, FSU
Wait, but what about that quarterback everyone wants at number 4 overall? Sorry to burst your bubble, but Jared Goff was just drafted by the Cleveland Browns and I do not want Paxton Lynch. That leaves a player in Jalen Ramsey who will boost this secondary right away and give this team a chance at a Super Bowl ring in 2016. Don't worry, you still get your rookie quarterback, just in the second round and his name is Carson Wentz.
Ramsey was the first true freshman to start a game at the cornerback position for Florida State since Deion Sanders did it in 1985. Ramsey has played both cornerback and safety at Florida State, sound familiar? Byron Jones is what I see in Ramsey and what would be better than having those two be partners for a long time at the safety position in Dallas? I know and I'm sorry, but I am just tired of watching Barry Church and JJ Wilcox miss tackles. It's either they take bad angles or just miss a guy in the open field. That will change quickly with Jones and Ramsey in the secondary.
Ramsey is a physical back who can tackle and make the plays in the passing game. That is exactly what this team needs, a playmaker. Ramsey is going to be something special and he will make that secondary in Dallas special too. Below you are his best highlights. Notice how he can easily impact a ballgame.
5) Johnny Manziel Will Be Traded to the Dallas Cowboys
I said bold, right? Maybe this is crazy, but just sit down and think about this for a second.
Jerry Jones loved Johnny Manziel in the 2014 draft and he almost took Manziel. We all know Dallas made the right decision in taking Zack Martin instead, but everyone wonders what could have been. Jerry has always loved making splash moves, just look at the signing of Greg Hardy last season. Then you come back to reality and look at what Manziel is doing to the Browns right now.
Honestly, it makes me so mad because he has God given talent, but decided to waste it by partying or whatever Johnny Football does in his free time. He needs to get his life together because he has the skill set to possibly succeed in the NFL, but why would a team want to take a risk on him when in the end, all he does is make them look bad? The most recent rumor was he was in Las Vegas, does Jerry want to deal with that?
Ill tell you one thing though, if Dallas decides to trade for Manziel, I guarantee it will only be for a sixth round pick. The other thing I was thinking about was, do you really think Tony Romo will put up with Johnny Manziel? No he wont, but maybe that's what he needs. Maybe Manziel needs a mentor to guide him to being better off the field and on the field. Romo wouldn't deal with it that's for sure.
We all know Manziel went to rehab last offseason and I thought it would help. Here is my belief; Manziel needs help, that's obvious, but he needs a fresh, new start. The Dallas Cowboys will provide that and I hope Romo takes him under his wing to teach him not only the game of football, but help him mature.
|Dallas Cowboys Receive:||Cleveland Browns Receive:|
|Johnny Manziel||Dallas Cowboys 2016 6th round draft pick|
Johnny needs to grow up and grow up fast, Dallas will help him do just that.
Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?
The NFC East is a wild, wild division. Since 2004, the division that hosts some of the most popular franchises in the NFL hasn't seen the same team winning the NFC East title two years in a row. It's crazy! Who expected the Dallas Cowboys to become the #1 seed in the conference in 2016 after seeing Tony Romo go down during the preseason? Who was able to predict the Philadelphia Eagles' amazing run for the Super Bowl last year?
It's an unpredictable league, but the NFC East side of things can really amaze you on a yearly basis.
Heading into 2018, it all seems to be about the Eagles and the Cowboys. Being the last two teams to win the title, it's only logical to expect them to be the only teams in the division that have what it takes to own the NFC East crown.
But maybe, just maybe, we are overlooking the New York Giants.
Coming from a 3-13 record in 2017, the Giants have quite a bit to prove if they want to become a winning team once again and return to playoff contention. With Odell Beckham missing most of the season and with good ol' Ben McAdoo calling the shots, the team was never able to get a break.
Listen, we all know Eli Manning has been struggling lately. Many thought the Giants should've drafted a quarterback when they held the #2 overall pick back in April. But whether we like it or not, New York seems to have a plan: take advantage of Manning's last years on the field.
Instead of taking a young QB for the future, they drafted the best player available to take the load off Manning's shoulders. Saquon Barkley will probably be able to do what Ezekiel Elliott was able to do in 2016: lead the offense by running the football 20 times a game and have several 100-yard performances.
Not only that, but the front office did make an effort to re-build a disastrous offensive line by bringing in a talented left tackle in Nate Solder and by stealing the UTEP product, Will Hernandez in the second round of the draft. If the Giants are able to finally groom Ereck Flowers into a decent starter at right tackle, this could be a pretty solid offensive line.
Of course, Manning will not only be benefited from the running game, but his superstar wide receiver will be back on the field. Beckham is one of the NFL's best wide receivers and will surely be back at terrifying opposing secondaries week in and week out.
The Giants are bringing in Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher, who did a nice job for the Arizona Cardinals' defense over the last few years. With some talented defensive players, the team might not have the best squad in the league, but it doesn't seem like a defense that will struggle throughout the season.
Last but not least, the Giants will have a new head coach in form of Pat Shurmur. He's had some success in the league, lately as an offensive coordinator for a Minnesota Vikings team that managed to get to the NFC Championship with Case Keenum at QB. It was a good hire for the team, and I'm pretty sure it will be easy to do a better job than McAdoo's work with the Giants.
If I was to make a prediction, I'd say the Giants will have a handful of wins in 2018. However, I don't see them getting back into the postseason just yet. An 8-8 record sounds about right. Having said that, though, it really seems like a team that could surprise everyone and emerge as a surprise contender in the NFC East.
Do you think the New York Giants could be a surprise threat in 2018?
Where Cowboys CB Marquez White Fits In 2018
In the 2017 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys selected four new defensive backs, three of which saw significant playing time during their rookie season.
Those three, of course, are Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods. That fourth defensive back, however, should not be forgotten about as we enter the beginning stages of the 2018 season. That player is former Florida State cornerback Marquez White.
Rather than playing alongside his rookie counterparts in the secondary, White spent time on the Cowboys practice squad in 2017. The former sixth round pick was signed to a futures contract at the end of 2017, however, and now has a chance to compete in camp once again.
Entering their sophomore seasons the starting secondary already appears to be taking shape. Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones are just about locked in to the outside cornerback jobs, Xavier Woods is expected to start at safety beside Jeff Heath, and Jourdan Lewis is battling with now third year player Anthony Brown for the slot corner role.
So where does Marquez White fit into all of this?
Well, the aforementioned players are locks to make the 53-man roster, but Marquez White should be the favorite to win the 5th cornerback spot going forward. White's raw talent is undeniable, and he has the ability to play under both man and zone responsibilities.
The main reason we should be optimistic about Marquez White's chances to land on the final roster, however, is his athletic profile. At 6'0" tall, just under 200 pounds, and long arms White fits the mold for what new secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks.
And, for better or for worse, Richard clearly values these measureables highly. This is evident in how second year corner Jourdan Lewis has been used thus far in mini camp and offseason activities; being relegated to second team and the slot rather than allowed to compete for an outside cornerback job with Awuzie and Jones.
So with the arrival of Kris Richard, the departure of Orlando Scandrick, the underwhelming play of Anthony Brown, and the raw talent he already possesses, Marquez White has a very strong chance of making the final 53-man roster in Dallas.
Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?
When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.
After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.
Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.
Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.
Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.
During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.
Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.
Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.
If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.
Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.
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