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Brandon Carr Decision Expected This Week

Jess Haynie

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Brandon Carr

The NFL's free agency market opens next Wednesday, March 9th. Though there's no deadline for Dallas to make any of their possible roster cuts, it is typical for those moves to come prior to that date. No name sticks out more as a potential cap casualty than cornerback Brandon Carr.

Turning 30 in May, Carr is owed $13.8 million next season. Few have thought he would ever play for Dallas at that price, meaning they would either release him or perhaps negotiate a pay reduction.

If Carr is Released

Cowboys Headlines - Brandon Carr Decision Expected This Week 1Cutting Carr outright would save roughly $6.5 millionon the salary cap. If he's designated as a June1st cut the savings increase to around $9 million, pushing more dead money into 2017. Having some other options for making cap space, Dallas could elect to take the full hit now.

Though certainly not worth $13.8 million, Carr hasn't been awful during his time in Dallas. He was signed to play in Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme and hasn't been an ideal fit for Rod Marinelli's defense. He's had good moments and bad, but through it all has been a model citizen and locker room leader.

Carr isn't all that expendable right now, either. Dallas' cornerback situation is iffy with Orlando Scandrick coming back from a major injury, Morris Claiborne being an unrestricted free agent, and the fact that they'd prefer to play Byron Jones at safety.

Stephen Jones stated last week that Dallas is interested in re-signing Claiborne, which indirectly speaks to their intent to release Carr. There is little reason to think that Carr will be back given this and the salary cap factor.

Cowboys Headlines - Brandon Carr Decision Expected This Week 2

Dallas may hope to replace Carr with Ramsey in the draft.

One reason Dallas can afford to part ways with Carr is having the fourth-overall pick in April's draft, where many are expecting them to target cornerback Jalen Ramsey out of Florida State. Much like Byron Jones, Ramsey is a gifted athlete capable of playing either corner or safety. If Ramsey becomes a Cowboy then it's likely either he or Jones will be playing corner in 2016.

If Carr Accepts Reduced Pay

In 2013 the Cowboys gave Doug Free the choice of either reducing his salary or being released. Free took the deal, likely assuming that his new salary would still be better than he'd get on the open market.

We know that Carr was asked to reduce his salary last season and refused. He was clearly smart to do it as Dallas did not release him. That refusal all but assured he would be released this offseason, but there is still the potential for a difference outcome.

As already stated. Dallas has some challenges at cornerback. We may see them hang on to Carr until they've confirmed Claiborne's return. In that case, they will still likely ask Carr to accept a reduced salary. Will he accept this time? Will Dallas once again have to eat it if he refuses?

Cowboys Headlines - Brandon Carr Decision Expected This Week 3

Carr has been a model citizen as a Cowboy.

I would expect the resolution to come this week as Dallas would like to handle all internal business before looking to the open market. If Carr is leaves then they will have a hole to fill, no matter what you thought of Carr's level of play.

Ultimately, Dallas put Carr is a bad situation. They overpaid him in 2012 as one of the top corners in a weak free agency market. He was likely never going to live up to that salary but then the climb got steeper. They signed him to play in a familiar defense and then switched schemes one year later.

Don't slam the door behind Brandon Carr if he's out of Dallas. He gave us his best.



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!

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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