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Contract Year Cowboys: Will CB Jourdan Lewis Get Overlooked Again?

One of the biggest mysteries on the Dallas Cowboys’ 2020 roster is Cornerback Jourdan Lewis. Over the last three years he’s made some of the biggest individual plays on defense but hasn’t been granted a starting role. Where does this leave him entering this fourth season; the final year on his rookie contract?

After flashing some big potential as a rookie, Lewis had to claw his way up the CB depth chart the last two seasons. That was largely attributed to former Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard, who didn’t seem to favor Jourdan due to his smaller stature.

However, by the middle of last year, even Richard couldn’t deny that Lewis was the superior player to Anthony Brown. The playing time shifted and Jourdan contributed two interceptions and a surprising four sacks to Dallas’ defensive effort.

With Byron Jones leaving in free agency, his starting job seemed like it would naturally fall to Lewis. And even if Dallas brought in a new talent, many would argue that Jourdan has greater claim to a starting role over Chidobe Awuzie.

But the Cowboys didn’t just bring in one new player to replace Jones. There is a massive influx of fresh faces at cornerback, and you have to wonder what that means for Jourdan Lewis in this critical contract year.

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Dallas Cowboys rookie CB Trevon Diggs (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The foremost challenger to Lewis’ spot on the team will rookie Trevon Diggs. Considered a 1st-Round talent by many, Diggs was added in the 2nd Round and will be given every opportunity to compete with Awuzie and Lewis.

He’s joined by another major rookie acquisition in Reggie Robinson. Considered a steal in the 4th Round, Robinson certainly has the potential to push our fourth-year veterans.

Diggs and Robinson already have some advantages. A new coaching staff in Dallas means blank slates for everyone. And with their new rookie contracts, Trevon and Reggie offer the Cowboys added incentive to invest in their development.

Another big threat is veteran free agent Daryl Worley, who has at times been a standout performer in his previous NFL stops. Worley may have been a late addition this year but his experience and size could definitely make him competitive.

We also have Anthony Brown returning on a new three-year contract, plus another free agent signing in Maurice Canady. With these and even a few other players, Dallas has given its new defensive coaches a lot of options to choose from in building this roster.

One could argue that adding so many options is a sign that the Cowboys aren’t planning to commit to Jourdan Lewis long term. If so, how could that affect his place on the team in 2020?

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Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis

Lewis was once seen as a late 1st-Round, early 2nd-Round talent when he entered the NFL in 2017. His dropped to the 3rd Round because of a pending legal matter which was eventually resolved. But his upside is right there with any of the Cowboys’ top prospects this season.

Unfortunately, it may now be his contract that holds him back. Dallas may not want to bury a younger prospect like Robinson on the depth chart for the sake of Jourdan or Chidobe Awuzie, only to then have those players depart in free agency next year.

Talk of Awuzie moving to safety could be good for Lewis, but what if guys like Canady and Worley stand out in camp? We’d be right back where we started.

Given what he flashed last year in limited duty, Jourdan could wind up being an attractive trade candidate around final cuts. That could be the best scenario for all parties; Lewis gets a chance to earn a new contract with a team that has a real need.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson are going to be a dynamic duo at cornerback. One or both could be busts.

But one year will likely be too little to make that determination, and come next offseason Dallas will have some assets under cheap rookie deals and other looking for a veteran payday.

The circumstances set up for Jourdan Lewis once again being pass over for other players, and perhaps needing a new team to finally find a real home in the NFL.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

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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  1. He’ll probably get hosed again just because he’s a couple inches shorter. Even tho he’s one of the best corners on the team.

  2. Teams can never have enough good CBs. For a team that seems to be All in for 2020 it would be foolish to move Lewis this year even given his contract status. Brown has been up and down his entire career, Worley is a journeyman, Canaday is a ST guy, and the rookies are unknown, especially given the lack of preparation. All Lewis does is make plays given the opportunity. Plus he’s a pretty good returner.

    • IMO- He’s their best corner. Yes, he got abused a few times – but I think that might’ve been a product of “trying to shoe-horn him into a style of play that did not come naturally to him.” If you look at the PFF rankings since Lewis and Awuzie came into the league – BOTH of them played better before Kris Richard took over the secondary. (PFF-wise) only Byron Jones improved dramatically under KR. I’d be happy for Dallas to keep both of them next year. A secondary built on Diggs, Awuzie, Lewis, Brown, and Robinson seems like a solid unit with room to grow.

      Also – I’m cheerleading for the unlikely addition of Jamal Adams. With Crawford and Frederick off the books next year, Dallas should be able to afford him without breaking the bank. (And Dallas has two 3rd round picks next year (thanks to a compensatory pick for the loss of Byron Jones in free agency). The price is high – but Dallas needs defenders.

  3. It would be stupid to trade or even sit Jourdan Lewis…. He’s the best corner on the team in my opinion!! He’s definitely better than Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown!! I do like Daryl Worley, I think he’s better than Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown too, and Reggie Robinson and Trevon Diggs are gonna be really good, but it’s hard telling if they’ll be good enough in their first year!! So if it were up to me I’d have Daryl Worley on one side and Jourdan Lewis on the other or in the slot…. He’ll probably be better in the slot!! And then let the rest of them fight for the last spot!! But that’s just my opinion!!

  4. Hard to understand why Lewis keeps getting shafted when all he does is make plays whdn hes given an opportunity. He is a playmaker and thats what teams and coaches always say they want but with Lewis its always a yeah but hes short for a legit corner. All the kid has done is prove he good at his craft and all he continues to get is yeah but. Smh i thought with the new staff he would get a fair shake but it appears that may not be the case.

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