While the majority of us are preparing for Halloween at the end of October, the Dallas Cowboys and the rest the NFL are focusing on another event that takes place at the end of the month, the trade deadline. There is no way of knowing if the Cowboys will be active or choose to remain pat, but they have until October 31 to decide if they want to be buyers or sellers.
There are certain players on the current roster they could use as trade bait, but they have shown in the past they are reluctant sellers. The Dallas Cowboys instead tend to hold on to their players a little too long. That is why I don't see them getting rid of anybody, but I could see them in the market to add some more talent to the roster.
You sometimes have to read between the lines to try and figure out who might be on the trade block, but other times it's as clear as day. There is also no way of knowing what teams are looking for as compensation, so I'll leave that up to the talking heads to figure out. But if you continue to read below, I'll share with you five players I think the Dallas Cowboys should target before the trade deadline.
Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, CB, New York Giants
It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys have a lot of inexperience in the secondary. In fact, Orlando Scandrick is really the only proven veteran player they have. That is why I wouldn't be surprised if the Cowboys explore the possibility of trading for a veteran cornerback, and I think Dominique Rogers-Cromartie fits the bill.
Rogers-Cromartie is someone the Dallas Cowboys are very familiar with having had to see him twice a year as a member of the New York Giants. He isn't a spring chicken anymore, but at 31 he still has plenty of football ahead of himself. At 6'2", he would add some much-needed length to the position and his veteran experience would also prove beneficial for the Cowboys young CBs.
I think Dominique Rogers-Cromartie could be on the trade market because of all of the heated arguments he has had with his head coach, Ben MacAdoo. Those arguments have already resulted in a team mandated suspension, so seeing him jettisoned from the team wouldn't be a complete shock. It's doubtful the Giants would trade him within the division, but I would never say never.
Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts
The entire Indianapolis Colts team is a mess right now and I could see them trying to offload several of their veteran players. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they try to acquire as many draft picks as possible in order to hopefully improve the roster, because they are beyond help, even with a healthy Andrew Luck. Cornerback Vontae Davis could be one of the veterans they are looking to offload.
Davis is in the last year of his contract, which only increases the chance the Colts try to offload him. When healthy he is one of the better CBs in the NFL, but that's the only problem, he's often banged up.
Much like Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, Vontae Davis could be a bridge player to help the Cowboys young CBs grow. It's doubtful the Cowboys would make a trade for just a one year rental, so they would have to try and work out a short-term extension. He could help stabilize the position, while not hindering the development of the Cowboys young players.
Marcell Dareus, DT, Buffalo Bills
There have been rumors circulating for a while that the Buffalo Bills have been trying to trade their talented defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. It's somewhat of a surprise they haven't been able to find a trade partner, but that could be due to the fact Dareus has an inflated contract or the Bills asking price.
I kinda doubt the Dallas Cowboys have any interest in the Dareus, but that is most likely due to the money he would add to the salary cap. If not for his big money contract, I believe the Cowboys would seriously consider bringing him in.
The Dallas Cowboys have a need at the 1-tech and Dareus would immediately be the best one they have had in recent memory. At 6'3", 331, he would not only help fix the problems the defense has had against the run, but would also help improve the pass rush by eating up blockers in the interior. Marcell Dareus might just be the player on this list who could help the Cowboys the most.
Hau'oli Kikaha, OLB, New Orleans Saints
Hau'oli Kikaha is probably not a name many of you are familiar with, but I believe he is someone that could come in and help improve the pass rush for the Dallas Cowboys. He is a former 2015 second round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints, but he seems to have already fallen out of favor with the organization, which is why he was probably a healthy scratch last week.
Unfortunately, injuries have been a big part of Kikaha's career and have followed him into the NFL. An ACL injury wiped out his entire 2016 season, but he is fully healthy now and has already accumulated two QB sacks. The Cowboys have improved at getting after the quarterback, but the future of the position is full of uncertainties.
DeMarcus Lawrence is in the last year of his contract and might be playing himself out of the Cowboys price range. Tyrone Crawford will likely end up being a salary cap casually after the 2017 season, and no one really knows what Taco Charlton will turn into. Kikaha would likely be a pass rush specialist to begin with because of his size (6'3", 246), but I think he can develop into a starting caliber defensive end.
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has been a one-man wrecking crew so far this season, but he can definitely use some help getting after the QB. Lawrence is currently second in the NFL with 9.5 QB sacks, but through six games the rest of the team only has 11.5.
The Cowboys haven't gotten much from Tyrone Crawford, Benson Mayowa, or Taco Charlton at the right defensive end position this season. The only other player along the defensive line showing any consistency right now is David Irving, but who knows how long that will last? That is why I believe Adrian Clayborn should be a trade target for the Cowboys.
Unlike the previously mentioned Hau'oli Kikaha, Adrian Clayborn is a true defensive end, and a proven one at that. Clayborn is a seven year veteran and has accumulated 22.5 QB sacks in his career, including two already this season. I believe he could become available because Atlanta is currently loaded with edge-defenders. Clayborn is stuck in a rotation with Vic Beasley, Brooks Reed, Derrick Shelby, and rookie Takkarist McKinley, which could make him expendable.
Do you think the Cowboys will be buyers before the trade deadline?
The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up
Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.
The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.
As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.
Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.
Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.
Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.
Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.
I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.
All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.
How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?
Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?
With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.
Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.
I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.
I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?
Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.
Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.
Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.
Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?
Week 1 NFC East Predictions and Cowboys Season Outlook
Let me start this article with a strong opening statement: The Cowboys will be better in 2018 than they were in 2017. There's been a lot of talk about the lack of a true No. 1 receiver. But when we break it down, the current setup will most likely play out better for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.
The Dak Stats
Certain quarterbacks shine when they have that go-to playmaker. We're talking about guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Ocho Cinco, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Dez Bryant. But other QBs do better at reading the defense and quickly adapting to what is given. Dak Prescott is the latter breed of QB.
Let’s do a quick numbers exercise to prove this.
When Prescott is targeting 8 or more receivers throughout the game, his passer rating jumps from 86.1 (targeting less than 8) to 104.5. He passes for almost 50 yards more per game and his touchdown to interception ratio drastically improves from 21-13 to 24-4.
Most importantly, when he targets at least 8 different receivers, the Cowboys are 14-2. When he targets less than 8, the team is just .500 at 8-8.
Without a doubt, Prescott is much better at adjusting to what the defense is giving him. He just isn’t one of those guys who can successfully "force" the ball (like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees). Not feeling the pressure of having to get the ball into the hands of the star playmaker will give this offense a new kind of depth in 2018.
Yes, losing Jason Witten hurts, much more so in my opinion than not having Dez.
Questions Still Loom
This is still the Cowboys' biggest concern on offense. There is some great depth. We have Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, and the young stud out of Stanford, Dalton Schultz. But between the three who have any NFL experience, there are only 9 catches between them. I must say that Dalton, with his 4.75 40-yard dash, has a legitimate shot at seeing a lot of playing time in his rookie campaign and could become an impact player with his size (6’5”, 244-lbs) and speed.
But despite the battle for TE being wide open, and debates about whether or not the team needs a No. 1 receiver, the Cowboys are still expected to give the Eagles a run for their money in the NFC East. Here are the odds on the defending NFC East champions and how (although early) it is expected to shake out:
- Philadelphia Eagles -167
- Dallas Cowboys +350
- New York Giants +650
- Washington Redskins +750
NFC East Week 1 Predictions
The Cowboys open the season in a difficult road game against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have been listed as 2.5-point favorites (follow the Cowboys NFL Odds here all season long) which isn’t surprising considering they are a tough team playing at home. You might be thinking, "crap, we're opening up as underdogs?" Don’t worry too much; it actually bodes fairly well because the lines-makers generally give a 3-point advantage to the home team. This means that they actually handicap the Cowboys to be a half-point favorite on a neutral field and a 3.5-point favorite in Arlington.
The Redskins open their season in Arizona against the Cardinals. The line is set at a pick ‘em (meaning there is no point spread; it's anyone's game). But, looking at the 'Skins and Cardinals, I think Washington gets disappointed in Week 1 and starts their season with a loss.
The Giants get to test their new offensive line and see if they were right in continuing to place their faith in Eli Manning against the best defense in the league. The Jags are 3-point favorites at MetLife stadium. This means the Jags are actually 6-points better. I do think that the Giants will be vastly improved this season, but they are also going to open with a loss.
The Eagles don’t have it easy either, but they will probably pull out the win at home as 4-point favorites against the Dirty Birds on Thursday Night Football. Their defense is just too good. Atlanta's road offense scored just 21 points per game last year while Philly scores 28 on average at home. The Eagles' home defense has been downright nasty, only allowing 12 points per game in Philadelphia.
This will be a two-horse race for the division between the Eagles and Cowboys. And even if the Eagles win the East, the Cowboys will wildcard into the playoffs.
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