For the longest time if you wanted to rent a car in the United States, you had to be at least 25 years old. That rule is a bit murky in some parts these days, but if it holds true in your neck of the woods and you were born in 1992 - this is your year!
2017 is also hopefully the year of the Dallas Cowboys as they look to take their Rookie of the Year winning quarterback, Dak Prescott, and stud running back, Ezekiel Elliott, all the way to the promised land in hopes of securing the franchise's sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Many people have compared the sequence that this team is undergoing here in 2016-2017 to 1991-1992 when the Dallas Cowboys were the next big thing, losing in the 1991 Divisional Round to the Detroit Lions before winning Super Bowl XXVII in 1992. Time and time again we've seen this frame of promise thrown on every up-and-coming Dallas Cowboys team in hopes of recapturing the magic from a quarter century ago.
But what if I told you that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys were actually like the 1992 Dallas Cowboys? As in... legitimately similar? We're only in February and I can tell you actually tell you that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are - to this point - unequivocally at the very least 81.25% like the 1992 Dallas Cowboys. Confused? Allow me to explain.
The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Opponents
Thanks to the NFL's handy-dandy rotating schedule (instituted during the re-alignment in 2002) we know the exact locations of 14 games of each Dallas Cowboys season between now and the end of time. When the 2016 regular season ended the 2017 opponents became finalized and we found out that America's Team will be playing the AFC West, NFC West, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and of course their NFC East rivals.
Home games for the Cowboys this upcoming season will include the NFC East, Chiefs, Chargers (now LA), Rams (also LA), Seahawks, and Packers. When Dallas hits the road they'll be going to the NFC East, Broncos, Raiders, 49ers, Cardinals, and Falcons. The exact sequence and dates of the schedule won't be known until later this offseason, so all that we know of this season so far is literally this - the opponents.
When Have We Seen This Lineup Before?
Per the NFL's rotating schedule, we obviously know that the Cowboys play the AFC West once every four years and the NFC West once every three. This makes for every three, four, six, eight, you get the idea, years being somewhat similar to its multiples. Prior to 2002 the NFL was shaped a bit differently in terms of divisions and things weren't as neatly organized as they are nowadays.
It's important to know that prior to 1978 the NFL's regular season was only 14 games long, as opposed to the 16-game regular season that we know today. Between 1978 and 2016 we've seen a handful of seasons that bear a striking resemblance to 2017 as far as who the specific opponents are... but one season stands out above the rest in terms of how identical they truly are.
The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Season Is Exactly 81.25% Like The 1992 Dallas Cowboys Season
If you look at every 16-game regular season that the Dallas Cowboys have played since 1978 (when the NFL shifted to this regular season format), there is no season more identical to the 2017 Dallas Cowboys (as far as opponents) than the 1992 Dallas Cowboys.
In 1992 the Cowboys - just like they will in 2017 - hosted the Redskins, Seahawks, Chiefs, Eagles, Rams, and Giants while traveled to play the Giants, Eagles, Raiders, Cardinals, Broncos, Redskins, and Falcons. This is 13 identical contests of a possible 16 - a staggering 81.25%.
In the entire history of the Dallas Cowboys we have never seen a season more identical to what we will be seeing this season than when the 1992 Dallas Cowboys played their season which culminated in a win during Super Bowl XXVII. Does this mean that the upcoming season for America's Team is destined to end in confetti and a downtown Dallas parade? Who knows, but if you are looking for a way to re-live the glory days... this is the way to roll.
The Los Angeles Factor: When Things Really Get Crazy
You may have noticed that in 1992 the Cowboys played two Los Angeles franchises, the Rams and Raiders. Obviously the Raiders have since relocated back to Oakland while their is indeed a second team in Los Angeles - the Chargers. Football in Los Angeles is a big reason why Jerry Jones is headed to the Hall of Fame, but the LA connection is another bit of good momentum going Dallas' way in 2017 along these common opponents lines.
The last time that the Dallas Cowboys had a regular season contest against a team based in Los Angeles was indeed the 1992 season. 2017 is literally the first time since then - and remember that this set of games is already 81.25% identical to 1992 - that the Cowboys will play a team from La La Land. Not only will Dallas be playing a Los Angeles team, they'll be playing two... just like they did in 1992.
That's right, folks. The last time that the Dallas Cowboys played a team from Los Angeles they played two in that particular season (1992) - the Rams and an AFC West team (Raiders). In 2017 they'll double dip once again against Los Angeles competition - playing that market for the first time in 25 years - against the Rams and an AFC West team (Chargers).
2017 Is 1992, 25 Years Later
25 years have come and gone since the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII, but we are seemingly here about to live the season all over again... at least 81.25% of it. While again we must be patient in order to wait for the actual 2017 Dallas Cowboys Schedule, we do know the following facts that will help us get through the offseason:
- The 2016 Dallas Cowboys were young and on the precipice, just like the 1991 Dallas Cowboys.
- The 2016 Dallas Cowboys lost in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs to an NFC North team, just like the 1991 Dallas Cowboys.
- The 1992 Dallas Cowboys were the last team to play against an NFL team based in Los Angeles, and they played two when they did (the Rams and an AFC West team). The 2017 Dallas Cowboys will play against Los Angeles-based competition twice this season, against the Rams and an AFC West team... which will be the first time Dallas meets Los Angeles since that fateful 1992 season.
- As far as opponents and locations of games are concerned, the 2017 Dallas Cowboys are 81.25% identical to the 1992 Dallas Cowboys.
- No other team (since the 16-game regular season was instituted in 1978) in Dallas Cowboys History is as similar to the 2017 Dallas Cowboys in this regard than the 1992 Dallas Cowboys that won Super Bowl XXVII.
These are all facts. Do with them what you please. Let's get ready to party like it's 1992.
Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security
There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.
Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.
Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.
Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.
If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.
Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.
Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.
As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.
Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.
If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.
Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
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