Yesterday we projected the Week One offense, using up 25 of the 53 available roster spots. Use the above link to check out who made the cut.
We know that three of the remaining 28 spots will go to a kicker, punter, and long snapper. Barring injury, those players will be Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur. Last week I wrote an article which detailed how fortunate the Cowboys are to have such stability at these positions.
So, that means we have 25 spots for the defense.
You can use this link for my last 53-man roster projection, which will show you what changes have been made since early May.
Ready? Yes? Good? On we go!
DE: Benson Mayowa, Ryan Russell, Charles Tapper, David Irving, Jack Crawford (5)
You're tired of hearing it, but we have remind everyone that DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are suspended to start 2016. Lawrence is only out four games, while Gregory could be out for 10 or more.
Given the $2.75 million that Dallas was willing to pay Mayowa annually in his new contract, one would expect that he will be a starter. Anyone could emerge from the other four players, though my money would be on David Irving.
There is also a strong possibility that Dallas will add some veteran help between now and Week One. Dwight Freeney is the name getting tossed around right now, but it could come from anywhere depending on other teams' roster cuts and surpluses.
DT: Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thornton, Terrell McClain, Rodney Coe (4)
CHANGES: Removed Maliek Collins, Added Coe
The starters are obvious. Behind Crawford and Thornton, it would be nice for McClain to actually give Dallas something after two years of injuries. He's looked good in preseasons but can't seem to make it to September.
Third-round pick Maliek Collins isn't on here only because I expect him to start the year on the PUP list. He was have to make rapid progress from May foot surgery to get back for any portion of training camp or preseason. Given that he's a rookie, Dallas would probably like to ease him back into things and the PUP list offers six weeks of additional rest.
That opens the door for Rodney Coe, who went undrafted in April more for character concerns than football ability. Coe bounced around colleges due to some behavioral issues. Though they've been burned lately by taking chances on guys with red flags, Dallas will hope that Coe is ready to be a professional.
LB: Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Justin Durant, Damien Wilson, Kyle Wilber, Mark Nzeocha, Andrew Gachkar (7)
CHANGES: Removed Rolando McClain,
Keeping seven linebackers on a 4-3 defense may seem like excess, but not when you consider the tumultuous situation Dallas has right now. Their one constant is Sean Lee, who may never be far from Injured Reserve. Everything else is in disarray following Rolando McClain's 10-game suspension and training camp no-show (as of the writing of this article).
Dallas brought back Justin Durant, who was with them from 2013-214, as veteran help to an otherwise young and semi-experienced group. Right now I project that Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber will be the starters as the middle and strongside linebackers, but we have over a month for that to change.
CB: Orlando Scandrick, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Deji Olatoye, Anthony Brown (5)
There are several young CB prospects in Oxnard right now, but until someone makes noise in practice this group seems set. Your top three are clear, Olatoye is a promising prospect from last season, and Brown was a sixth-round steal who the team is high on.
Dallas did re-sign veteran Josh Thomas to a minimal one-year-deal. He did not appear in any games last season but they must simply have liked having one experienced guy among their young reserves. I don't expect him to stick around.
S: Byron Jones, Barry Church, Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier (4)
CHANGES: Removed J.J. Wilcox
You could make a case for keeping Wilcox. In the final year of his rookie deal, Wilcox's salary is low enough that he's okay for a bench role. He would give you great experience and insurance.
Unfortunately for him, Dallas seems to already have their primary backup in Jeff Heath. They just gave Heath a four-year extension, rewarding him mainly for his special teams play but also for their comfort level with him as a reserve safety.
Like with Anthony Brown, Dallas feels they got a steal in Kavon Frazier. He had a fourth-round grade on their board according to Stephen Jones. That gives you two starters, a veteran backup, and a rookie prospect all in place; no room for Wilcox.
~ ~ ~
And that does it! I will updating the roster projection after the first preseason game on August 13th and then weekly up until final cuts.
Please comment with your likes and dislikes from my projections. Even if I think you've lost your mind, I'll be happy to reply!
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
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