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5 Cowboys Who Shouldn’t Feel Safe After Roster Cuts

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - A Long Road Ahead For JJ Wilcox

As all other NFL teams did today, the Cowboys made several cuts and other moves to meet the 53-man roster limit. Some of the players currently on the team, though, shouldn't feel safe just yet.

Dallas will no doubt be actively pursuing some new talent from other team's waivers. Not only that, but they may look at adding some veteran talent after Week One so that they don't have to fully guarantee the contract.

With the dust not yet settled, here are five current Cowboys that should be prepared for a sudden shift in fortune:

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Vs Houston Texans: 5 Bold Predictions 1Jameil Showers, QB

This one is obvious given the report that Mark Sanchez is already headed to Dallas. The signing is not yet official but all signs point to it.

The roster spot for Sanchez could come from Tony Romo being placed on Injured Reserve. However, Dallas could elect to just run with Dak Prescott and Sanchez on the active roster. Showers would likely head back to the practice squad.

I still say that Dallas will be hesitant to pull the trigger on Romo, eliminating any chance he could come back prior to Week 9. That means Showers will likely be released to make room for Sanchez, given that it would be highly unlikely Dallas would carry four quarterbacks on the roster.

Cowboys Headlines - Could Moving To Linebacker Save JJ Wilcox's Job With The Cowboys?J.J. Wilcox, S

The biggest surprise of all today was not who got released but that Wilcox did not. However, that may be a temporary issue.

Dallas seems to have all bases covered at safety. Byron Jones and Barry Church are starting. Jeff Heath is the experienced backup and special teams ace. Kavon Frazier is the rookie in development.

The Cowboys will get back $1.67 million in cap space by cutting Wilcox. If they need a roster spot to add a new defensive end, quarterback, or some other position then he seems like one of the easiest cuts they have.

Rod Smith, RB/FB

Having missed some time with an injection issue, Rod Smith may not have had a fair shake at earning the fullback position over Keith Smith. Both are still on the roster right now and the competition could be continuing through the next few weeks.

Rod has an edge over Keith in terms of offensive versatility. He can also play running back and has more experience as a receiver. However, Keith is the better blocker right now and also gives you special teams play and an emergency linebacker.

Cowboys Headlines - 5 Under the Radar Cowboys Who Can Be Huge in 2016 2Damien Wilson, LB

Dallas showed by cutting defensive end Ryan Russell that they aren't going to be overly patient with recent draft picks. Russell was the fifth-round pick in 2015. Damien Wilson was taken in the fourth round.

Wilson appears to be the low man of the Cowboys linebackers. He is inexperienced and has yet to flash the same potential as Anthony Hitchens or Mark Nzeocha. With fullback Keith Smith able to play some linebacker, Wilson could be a goner if Dallas needs a roster spot somewhere else.

Lance Dunbar, RB

Dallas not only kept Rod Smith and Darius Jackson but also moved Darren McFadden to the Non-Football Injury list. That means a lot of RB talent is hanging around and could jeopardize Dunbar's security.

Dallas also may not want for Dunbar, now a vested veteran, to be one the Week One roster. It means his contract become fully guaranteed and would make it more expensive to release him if they want to make room for McFadden later.

~ ~ ~

Surviving the last two cut-down days is great but it's not always the end of the story. Dallas should be in the market for defensive end help and perhaps also a veteran offensive tackle. Those roster spots likely will come from other positions.

A lot could happen in the next few days as the Cowboys continue to tweak the roster and get ready for next Sunday's season opener. We'll see if these players are still here when the New York Giants come to town.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick

Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.

Jane Slater on Twitter

C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed

Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.

Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.

Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.

With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys Place 2nd Round RFA Tender on DL David Irving

Jess Haynie



David Irving

One of the more anticipated Cowboys free agency moves has finally happened. Defensive lineman David Irving has been given the 2nd-round Restricted Free Agent tender, which would result in a $2.91 million contract for 2018.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: the Cowboys have used a 2nd round tender on DT David Irving. The cost is $2.91 million.

If another team offers Irving a contract, that would have to send their 2018 second-round draft pick to the Cowboys.

There was no doubt that Dallas would extend an RFA tender to Irving, one of the bright young stars on their defense. The question was at what amount; they could have gone with the $4.1 million tender which raises the compensation to a first-round draft pick.

With a difference of only about $1 million, some might argue that the Cowboys went lower to entice other teams to try to sign Irving. Perhaps they don't foresee giving him a big long-term deal next year, so want to get something for him now.

It's a logical argument, and one that means there may be more to this story before the offseason ends. For now, though, David Irving's closer to remaining a Cowboy than he was yesterday.

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