DeMarco Murray is a Philadelphia Eagle. As much as it pains me to say that, the only team willing to meet his contract demands with a roster capable of winning games is our long hated rival. I would have preferred him outside the division but it is what it is.
It's time to move on and one of the ways the Cowboys plan to do that is by tapping into a few players already with the team. Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, and Ryan Williams.
Dunbar and Randle are already well-known among Cowboy fans. Dunbar has been a fantastic receiver for a RB, and Randle has incredible burst and vision, unless he's trying to get around security guards at the mall, of course. And Ryan Williams has been a largely unknown commodity since he joined Dallas.
Mike from @CowboysNation says, "If Ryan Williams can stay healthy, he is going to surprise a lot of people in 2015 and make the Murray pain fade quickly."
Injuries have crippled Williams' career since being selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft by the Arizona Cardinals. He played only five games in Arizona - all in 2012 - due to knee and shoulder injuries, before joining the Cowboys for their 2014 preseason. He showed us flashes of what he could do in some preseason games, but nothing concrete.
And now the Cowboys have signed former Oakland Raiders back Darren McFadden to a 2yr, $5.8 million contract with just $200,000 as a signing bonus. NFL.com reports the contract is worth up to $5.85 million, indicating the deal is laced with incentives that may lower the Cowboys' risk should McFadden suffer another injury or not even make the team.
By all accounts, the Cowboys are heading into the 2015 draft with RB a priority position on their draft board, however, signing the 2008 #4 overall pick may mean the Cowboys will take either the best player available at #27 or look to fill one of many holes on the defense with their first round selection. It's not exactly the strategy any of us fans want to hear after losing Murray to a NFC East rival.
Runner Todd Gurley out of Georgia still has his medical evaluations to clear prior to the draft. Should he be cleared medically after injuring his ACL last year, a popular scenario has the Cowboys taking him at #27 in the 1st round. Of course, that suggests one of the top RBs in the draft will fall to the end of the first round for the Cowboys to have a shot at him, which isn't a sure thing.
The 2015 Dallas Cowboys training camp looks to feature five backs vying for one of the three roster spots Coach Garrett typically allots for the running back position; Darren McFadden, Ryan Williams, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, and a rookie to be named later.
Dunbar has failed to impress as a ball carrier or blocker. Randle has off the field issues which may have already sealed his fate. Williams has played in just 5 NFL games since entering the league in 2011. McFadden didn't play a full season until 2014 and only boasts a 4.1 career average per carry.
Jason Garrett is a fan of the Running Back By Committee approach and with the current stable of backs, committee may be the only rushing attack possible. It's not as bad as it sounds, though the naysayers among us will never make it easy to see, because the Cowboys still have the top offensive line in the NFL. A line of that caliber offers higher success rates for any back.
The draft will tell us more, and training camp will illuminate all. But until then, your guess is as good as mine which backs have an edge over the rest.
Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?
It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.
These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.
Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.
Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.
This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.
Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.
The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.
It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.
Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.
As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.
For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Ex-Giants Coach Ben McAdoo Talks Trash About Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN
Star Blog1 week ago
Would Trading La’el Collins for Earl Thomas Make Sense?
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?
Star Blog1 week ago
True or False: Sifting Through the Cowboys Trade Rumors
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Kris Richard Allows Cowboys to be Patient on Earl Thomas
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Who Replaces Dez Bryant as Cowboys Red Zone Threat?
Star Blog1 week ago
If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster?