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5 Under the Radar Free Agent Targets for the Dallas Cowboys

John Williams



5 Under the Radar Free Agent Targets for the Dallas Cowboys

For years we've seen now that the Dallas Cowboys have become a bit gun-shy in free agency. They spent big money to bring in Brandon Carr, and while he was good, he wasn't worth what they paid him. Now, they're afraid to pull the trigger on any big money going to outside free agents. They've done a great job at building their team through the draft and will continue to do so this season despite not having a first round pick.

The Cowboys front office may make a splash in free agency this season, but recent history tells me they're only going to dabble at the buffet instead of filling their plate. So, let's take a look at some players who will be signed somewhere, but people aren't talking about just yet.

Jalen Richard, Running Back

The Dallas Cowboys need to go get a running back that can shoulder some of the load for Ezekiel Elliott. Yes, he's perfectly capable of handling 25-30 touches per game, but there's no reason he should have to do that. Jalen Richard of the Oakland Raiders would be an excellent compliment to Elliott.

Richard's 77 targets ranked eighth in the NFL, while his 68 receptions were seventh, and Richard had 607 receiving yards, which was sixth in yards among running backs. Richard also handle 55 carries this season. He's a dual purpose back that is capable of shouldering the load for a game or two and can spell Elliott with more effectiveness than Rod Smith provided.

Richard averaged 4.7 yards per carry, including 2.95 yards after contact. Richard had six of his 55 carries go for 10+ yards this season and ran for 12 first downs.

Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best running backs in the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys will continue to feature him. The Dallas Cowboys front office needs to look at taking some of the weight off of his shoulders to decrease the ware and tear. Especially if they're looking at giving him a second contract.

Adam Humphries, Wide Receiver

With it looking like Cole Beasley will be out the door this offseason amidst complaints of underutilization, the Dallas Cowboys will be needing another wide receiver and if you want someone who plays like Cole Beasley, look at Adam Humphries.

On the season, Humphries caught 76 passes on 105 targets for 816 yards and five touchdowns. From the slot, he caught 59 passes on 81 targets for 666 yards and three touchdowns. His 81 slot targets ranked fifth in the NFL. From the slot, he only had one drop on the season and ranked 18th in the NFL in receptions for first downs while playing second fiddle to Mike Evans, who was fifth in the NFL in receptions for first downs.

Now, I can hear people saying, "if you're going to sign a guy that plays like Cole Beasley, why don't you just sign Cole Beasley?" That's a fair question, and the simple answer is age. Cole Beasley will turn 30 in April, and if we've learned anything about the NFL over the years, it's that you don't pay aging players. Adam Humphries just turned 26, today. So if you were to sign Humphries to a three-year deal, you'd have him for his prime years.

Jesse James, Tight End

Many would argue that tight end is a position of need for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, even with the emergence of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz down the stretch. By all reports, this is an insanely deep draft class, so the Cowboys will likely come out of the draft with at least one tight end this offseason, but we know how they work. Enter Jesse James.

James hasn't caught fewer than 30 passes in a season since his rookie year. Early in the season this year, James caught five passes for 138 yards nd a touchdown in the Steelers explosive passing attack.

In years past, we've seen the Dallas Cowboys front office go into free agency looking to address the needs on the team so that they can be free of any needs-based analysis when it comes to drafting players. Last season, the Cowboys signed Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson prior to the draft to fill the need they had at WR, then proceeded to select Michael Gallup in the third round and Cedric Wilson in the sixth round.

Jesse James has been a solid player for the Steelers who the Cowboys could bring in as veteran insurance if Jarwin or Schultz don't take a step forward this offseason or if they miss out on a tight end. Even if they draft one, it would be in their interest not to rely on the rookie this year as it takes 2-3 years for tight ends to find their footing in the NFL.

Tre Boston, Safety

Tre Boston was a name we threw around last season as a target for the Dallas Cowboys, though they expressed very little interest in the former Chargers turned Cardinals ball hawk. In 2017 with the Chargers, Boston had five interceptions. In 2018 with the Cardinals, he had three. He could really help an area where the Dallas Cowboys have struggled; creating turnovers.

The Dallas Cowboys only had two players with multiple interceptions on the season; Leighton Vander Esch and Xavier Woods. Xavier Woods was mostly good during his first full season as a starting safety for the Dallas Cowboys, but he needs to take a step forward going into his third year. The problem at safety this season, in my opinion, was Jeff Heath.

Heath led the Cowboys in missed tackles with 19 and allowed a 105.2 passer rating on a 77.6% catch rate this season when targeted. Tre Boston had 12 missed tackles, but only allowed a passer rating of 61 when targeted on a 60% catch rate.

The Cowboys defense is close, but safety is one of the areas that is holding them back. Earl Thomas and Landon Collins are hot names this offseason for the Cowboys to pursue, but if they don't land one of the big names for their secondary, they really need to do what they wouldn't do last season;

Sign Tre Boston.

Malcom Brown, Defensive Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys aren't typically in the business of making huge investment at the defensive tackle position, but they need help along the interior. Antwaun Woods was an excellent find this season for the Dallas Cowboys at the 1-tech defensive tackle spot and unless they make a move, should go into next season as the starting 1-tech for the Cowboys. However, Antwaun Woods could use some help and that could come in the form of New England Patriots Defensive Tackle, Malcom Brown.

As we saw in the Indianapolis Colts game and the Divisional Playoff game with the Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys struggled to eat up blocks to keep the interior offensive lineman from getting to the second level. At the second level, those offensive lineman prevented Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch from doing what they do best; run and tackle.

Malcom Brown of the New England Patriots is a run-stuffing 1-technique defensive tackle. The former Texas Longhorn is  6'2 and 320 pounds. He won't turn 25 until February first. He was 26th in the NFL among interior defensive lineman with a run stop percentage of 8% (min 169 run snaps). It's his first season in the NFL where he didn't record a sack or a tackle for loss, according to Pro Football Reference, which means he could be cheap.

The Dallas Cowboys want to be a team that is able to physically bully opponents and in the most important game this season, their front four got bullied. They need another big, physical presence on the interior to make life easier for their dynamic linebacking duo.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys aren't going to be big spenders in the free agent period. That's not typically how they roll. If they do throw down some money on an outside free agent, I'd imagine it's for Earl Thomas or Landon Collins to come in and play safety.

The Cowboys rely on the draft to build the core of their roster and they've done an excellent job at that, but they'll make some signings for some guys that people aren't talking about because of the top-tier names that are available in free agency.


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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