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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Aren’t Hinged By T.O.

Bryson Treece



With all the talk about Terrell Owens and whether he'll be in a Cowboys uniform next year, the subject of whether or not we can sustain a potent passing game without him has been raised. It's something that nobody has the answers on, but it makes me wonder, why don't we?

What is it about Roy Williams that says he can't handle the load without T.O. across the field? Perhaps the best argument against him is that he played for the Lions until last year, and I know this because I've seen it written in so many places, and by so many people. The popular opinion is that he sucks because he was with the Lions.

People like to throw out there that he's only had one season over 1,000 yards, but what I don't understand is why the same amount of logic isn't placed on both sides of the discussion.

He played for the Lions ... when is the last time the Lions did anything notable in their passing game? Even I had Mike Furrey on my fantasy team a couple of years ago, but that was also the same year in which Williams got his 1,000 yards, so something was obviously working better that year.

So he comes to Dallas, narrowly escaping a full claim to the worst season in NFL history, and he catches 19 passes for a couple hundred yards. The truth is that Williams, while he caught fewer passes than he could have, was only about 3 yards per catch behind Owens. That means that had our offense not collapsed from mid-season on, he could have ended up with more yards than Owens. Sure, it's not likely since Owens is the number one wide out, but it's possible that he could have without him doing anything different.

That has to make you wonder something, how can we be facing such trouble without Owens when Williams was producing at a similar level per catch? Now watch that, I said per catch. A lot went into why Williams had fewer catches, some of it was his fault, some of it wasn't, so we can't really make claim to the cause in either direction.

What we do know is, even after Jerry Jones so cryptically told the attending reporters at his press conference yesterday that they weren't going to get the answer they wanted, that even if he does cut Owens loose, he wasn't the only guy producing.

T.O. was the only player at a skill position playing in every game of the season.

T.O. did have a blow out game against his former team, nearly breaking his own career record for yards in a game.

None of that says that this team won't produce over the top should he be gone in 7 months. And to say that we need to pick up another receiver either through the draft or free agency is just idiotic. Why would the Cowboys risk bringing in another player as a project from the draft when we still have Stanback, Austin, and Hurd who have yet to progress past that same status?

Why would we bring in another free agent receiver when we've got Williams not playing up to his ability last season; Owens the center of a bigger fuss than Bill Clinton, and the other free agent wide outs we've brought in during this decade that have quite literally flopped?

A lot of what's being said centers around the attention that Owens gets, some off the field, and some on the field. Can this team be any good without Owens occupying double coverage? Well, tell me this, how did Michael Irvin do it all those years? He was never the fastest receiver; he was just a go-up-and-grab-it type of guy. For all accounts, Williams is that type of guy also, he's just never had a QB worth $60 million throwing it to him.

Give it an off-season, a full training camp and preseason, and you'll see that Owens is going to get more competition from his right than from the defensive backs facing him.

Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC



  1. Bryson Treece

    February 19, 2009 at 1:20 am

    At this point I fear the chances of that are equal to the chances of getting Irvin back in uniform. But it’s a nice though. Surely Garrett won’t feel like he can do anything less than make the needed changes. Even if he does it wrong, if he can’t adjust after the 2008 season, he won’t be around as an OC much longer.

  2. Joe C

    February 19, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Yeah I agree with you, like I have been saying give ALL of them time in the off season and training camp to come together and mesh together and everything should be ok, depending on if J Garrett can figure shit out, which I HOPE he can.


    February 19, 2009 at 3:05 am


  4. Joe C

    February 19, 2009 at 4:06 am

    What money are you referring to Allison? If we cut Owens we take a huge hit on our cap and we already don’t have much to work with because we still have our free agents to worry about too. Besides we don’t need to spend money to get a better receiver, we already have 3 primed and ready. And I don’t know which game you were watching this past season, but Garrett def. didn’t know what to do with his receivers. Not sure if that’s why Romo was improvising and changing the plays from what Garrett had called or not, but that can be my only guess. He needs to figure his offense out and if not it’s just like Bryce has said, he will def. be gone for the 2010 season and will prolly not be pursued by any high paying decent teams next year after another piss poor performance. I can only hope that he figures shit out and gets on track with his receivers and the likes.

  5. Bryson Treece

    February 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    With what you say though … Owens and Williams should both be drawing double coverage, which I believe will be as close to the case as possible next year. Of course team can’t always double two receivers, but they’re going to try. That should open up other things a lot.

    But Garrett is going to have to be careful with what he does, cause if you load up too much on one play, like Barber and Jones, Witten, T.O., and Williams, you’ll get a lot more man coverage and cover 2, which can be more dangerous if everyone isn’t on the same page.

    Good points though.

  6. Shaun Wellman

    February 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I dont know what kind of pitch and catch system they were running in Detroit after Mike Martz departed, but the offensive scheme in Dallas is very, very complicated.

    One guy not on the same page with the QB can bust an entire play.

    The biggest mistake made after Roy Williams arrived was giving him Patrick Craytons job in only his second game. That decision reduced P.C.’s role and production, and also played what I think is the biggest part of why the offense went to shit after Romo went down, and did’nt seem much better after he came back.

    P.C. was the starter for all of 07 until Glenn came back for the last game of the regular season and the playoff game against the Giants. Remember how disastrous that was? In 2008 P.C. came in to the mini camps and training camp and held on to his job with Hurd and Austin begining to emerge as viable replacements. You should always try your best to stick with the horse you rode in on.

    This offense has run like a machine when the recievers are schooled up in camp and know their role, but when you start messing with the chemistry that makes your team run like a cohesive unit during the season you can start expecting the worst. The incumbent “Z” receiver has lost his job to someone that was’nt part of minicamps and training camp twice in the last 2 seasons, and both times the results were season ending. The only difference is that there was a lot more season left to play in 08 than in 07.

    People saying that the trade for Roy was a bust, is bullshit. Roy is a stud reciever and will fit in much better next year when he truly knows the system. I’m looking forward to seeing him doing some heavy work over the middle and grabbing jump balls in the back of the end zone, and for now thats exactly why he was brought in. He’ll replace T.O. some day and we’ll all be glad he’s here, they just put too much on his plate last year.

    I’m also excited to see P.C. back in the slot after a full offseason of work there. He has the best hands on the team and should’nt be thought of only as the guy who dropped one. They all drop one from time to time, some alot more than others(T.O.), but P.C. is a player we should all be proud to have.

    Keep T.O. one maybe two more years at the X, Roy at the Z, P.C. in the slot, and Miles Austin coming in with that speed to take advantage of all the double teams Owens will get and we will see this offense come back to form in 09 and for years to come.

  7. The Wizard

    February 20, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Williams will be the number one receiver one day. But, I’m not sure that it is time for that day to come. The best scenario would be for Owens, Witten, Romo, and Garrett to sit down and straighten out whatever the problem is like men. I don’t think there is any argument to the fact that the Cowboys are a better team on the field with Owens. It would be nice to see everyone get on the same page and on the same common goal of winning a Super Bowl. It should be easy for Owens because he is not getting any younger and you have to believe that winning a championship is very important to him.

  8. Frank Washington

    February 20, 2009 at 11:13 am

    While I agree with this article, it should be pointed out that Hall of Famer, Michael Irvin was a Deep threat AND also would get that tough over the middle catch to move the chains. T.O. and R.Williams have’nt shown the ability to do that with any consistancy throughout their careers(Aligator arms, Dropped balls). The Cowboys current Wideouts can get the job done if Jason Garrett gets back to the drawing board, his Offense has been figured out by the rest of the league…..Jason, heres a start , put in some bunch formations. The first one is free!!………… you pay for the rest!!! GO COWBOYS!!

  9. Bryson Treece

    February 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    But Irvin was never that fast. He wasn’t slow … obviously … he was physical enough running his routes to get a step, and that usually translated into a deep pass taking advantage of that extra step. Owens has never been that way, and Williams hasn’t really either.

    I’m just hoping that Williams can step up and show us a few new tricks to his game in this offense. No doubt is this offense more explosive than the Lions’ over the past decade.

    Getting comfortable is going to be the key, even if Garrett doesn’t fix his end of things, Romo trusting Williams will not only help Williams get the ball, but it may start drawing double coverage away from Owens even. I’m optimistic about Williams.

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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Was OK, But Cowboys Need More From Michael Gallup

Jess Haynie



Can WR Michael Gallup Eclipse 1,000 Receiving Yards as a Rookie?

Just yesterday, the Dallas Cowboys declined an option on Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' contract and ended his six-year tenure with the team. One reason the veteran was no longer in their plans was the presence of Michael Gallup, who the team has high hopes for entering just his second NFL season.

It's interesting to compare Gallup and Williams on several levels. Just as Terrance's time ends, having only made a few appearance last year in just three games, Michael was a fast learner as a rookie and emerged as the team's number-two receiver by the playoffs.

Both were third-round picks, with Williams (74th) being selected just seven spots higher overall in 2013 than Gallup (81st) was in 2018.

Terrance came to Dallas when Dez Bryant was firmly entrenched as the team's primary receiver. Michael was drafted less than a month after Dez was released, but Amari Cooper soon established himself as the number-one WR midway through the year.

In both cases, the Cowboys hoped that their third-round selection would yield a player who could at least play a complimentary role as a solid roleplayer, if not regular starter.

For all his warts Terrance Williams was ultimately a solid draft pick. He started in about 75% of the games he played in and was a proficient run blocker, helping both DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott have big years. He also made some highlight reel catches in his time.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

But with those big plays came some big blunders. Terrance often had a bad drop for every good catch he made. A huge mental error may have cost Dallas the 2016 season opener against the Giants. And if the team wasn't already starting to turn on him, his 2018 arrest for public intoxication seemed to push them over the edge.

That said, the biggest issue with Williams was his inability to produce without other plays drawing attention. He didn't rise to the occasion when Dez Bryant was injured. He rarely even made defenses pay for giving Dez too much attention.

At his best, Terrance was a solid number-two receiver. Plenty of teams who've spent first-round picks on receivers wish they could they'd gotten as much in return. Nobody should be disappointed with how that 2013 third-round pick turned out.

But when it comes to Michael Gallup, Dallas should hope that Williams' career is the floor for Gallup's potential. As teams key on Amari Cooper going forward, can Gallup do damage in ways that Terrance rarely could?

Even more importantly, if Cooper were to ever get injured, could Michael step up and take on a larger role? Can Dallas finally have a number-two receiver with the capacity for occasionally taking the lead?

#DALvsWAS: Michael Gallup Will Play, Value Extends Beyond Passing Game 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

That may be putting too much pressure on young Mr. Gallup but it's really not an unfair expectation. Recent drafts have produced highly productive third-round receivers such as Keenan Allen, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Lockett.

Even more pressure comes if Cole Beasley leaves the team in free agency. While his role lessened toward the end of 2018, Cole remained one of Dak Prescott's favorite options in clutch situations. He was almost impossible to stop with just one man covering him, and that gave defenses a real dilemma once Amari Cooper arrived.

Can Gallup fill those shoes? Can he become a reliable target when the game is on the line?

In the end, all Michael has to do is be a solid starter to provide a great value for his draft selection. The Williams standard isn't a bad measure.

But if the Cowboys ever want to win more than just the occasional playoff game then they need another receiving threat who truly punishes opposing defenses. They need the next Alvin Harper, not the next Terrance Williams.

We can only hope, as the team does, that Michael Gallup is up to the task.

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Dallas Cowboys

Deep Dive into the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Salary Cap

John Williams



Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into free agency, which opens March 13th, in really good shape. The Cowboys will be able to be aggressive in the free agent market if they want to. They have the 10th most cap space in the NFL. It could make for a fun free agency period for the front office and Cowboys Nation, however, we know how this team has felt about spending on outside free agents since being burned by the Brandon Carr signing.

In years past, they’ve opted to bargain shop. Last year was a departure from the norm though, as they chased the mythical unicorn that is Sammy Watkins last offseason.

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. 

They haven’t generally been a team that chased big-time free agents, though this could be the season that all changes with several free agent safeties that could be immediate upgrades.

We know they’re going to spend a lot of money on their own with Demarcus Lawrence coming free and Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott looking for contract extensions, but they’re could Ben opportunities to bring in a star from another player to come where The Star.

I hope Jerry Jones has his signing hand ready, it’s going to be putting in a lot of work over the next couple of months.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had people on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, AOL Chatrooms, and via USPS correspondence express concern about whether the Dallas Cowboys will be able to afford all their guys and chase free agents.

Not to worry Cowboys fan, with a little salary cap and contract gymnastics, the sky’s the limit.

Let’s take a look.

Current Cap Space

According to, the 2019 Salary Cap is estimated to be around $190 million. After the release of Terrance Williams, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to have nearly $48 million in cap space available to them when free agency opens on March 13th.

When you look at that number by itself, it doesn’t look like a lot with big money contracts coming to DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Byron Jones. Remember, though, the salary cap may be a fixed number, but contracts are pliable, meaning the team can do several things to create cap space through releases, how they structure new contracts, and restructures.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Dallas Cowboys will have the money they need to sign the players they want to sign.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Likely Releases

Sean Lee, Linebacker

Age and injury catch up to everyone and this is where we are with All-Pro Linebacker Sean Lee who will be turning 33 in July. Lee’s career has just been unlucky from the time he set foot in Dallas.

Since coming to the Cowboys in the 2010 draft, Lee has only played in 64% of the possible 149 games that the Dallas Cowboys have played in that time frame. Contrast that with a player like Zack Martin who has played in all but two games in his five-year career. That’s a 92% availability rate for his career.

The Dallas Cowboys don’t typically pay age. The difficult choice with Lee is that he’s long been a leader for the Dallas Cowboys. However, with the emergence of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, it’s extremely difficult to justify a $7 million cap hit to a part-time player.

Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver

Allen Hurns was a roller coaster ride in 2018.

First, it appeared he was brought in to be an upgrade at the number two spot. Then when the Cowboys shocked the world and released Dez Bryant, he immediately moved up the wide receiver pecking order, but was generally ineffective. After the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper, Hurns became somewhat of an afterthought in the wide receiver snap distribution. Then he was lost in the win over the Seattle Seahawks with a gruesome ankle injury.

Allen Hurns is a fine player, but the Cowboys could get $5 million in cap relief by parting ways with the former 1,000 yard receiver.

A couple weeks ago, I outlined why I think Hurns could be a solution to the problem facing the Cowboys if Cole Beasley walked away. Hurns best attributes shine when deployed in the slot and asked to run over the middle of the field.

Coming off of the ankle injury, the Cowboys could easily move on and use that $5 million to extend one of their own or go after a big name in free agency.

Unlikely, but not Impossible Releases

The next few players are players that will most likely be on the squad in 2019. But as we saw with Dez Bryant, there can always be surprises.

Joe Looney, Center

The 2018 season seemed almost sunk when news came down that Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillen-Barre Syndrome during training camp. One of the stories of the 2018 season, was the play of Frederick’s backup Joe Looney. Looney may not have been the most valuable player, but you can’t understate how important he wasn’t to the success the Dallas Cowboys had in 2018.

We’ve seen what happens when backups who are incredibly inferior to the starter they play behind see action. Think back to Atlanta in 2017. If the Cowboys get better play from Chaz Green and Byron Bell, that game and perhaps the season turns out differently. Kind of like when Cameron Fleming filled in for Tyron Smith this season. It was a completely different result. Was Fleming perfect? No, but he wasn’t a disaster and the Cowboys were able to win games without their All-Pro left tackle.

Joe Looney is going to be with this team unless someone loses their center and wants to trade for him. In the event the Cowboys wanted to get some cap relief, they could save $1.5 million in 2019, with only $125 thousand in dead money on the cap.

I don’t see them making this move, but for those of you curious, there are the numbers.

Joe Thomas, Linebacker

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch got all the glory at the linebacker position in 2018, and for good reason, but Joe Thomas was an important piece to the puzzle as well. He provided excellent depth and a lot of good snaps for the Cowboys in 2018, which is why I think he’s back next year.

He only saves you about $2 million on the cap, but if you didn’t want to pay a  backup linebacker $2 million, then you could part ways with him.

Jeff Heath, Safety

Jeff Heath is a solid player, but gets relied upon for a little more than he should. He’d probably be best served with being a rotational safety in the NFL. He has a penchant for making plays, but also has some maddening snaps as well, like the final play against the Rams where Jared Goff was able to scramble for a first down. Heath never saw the bootleg and was late getting to Goff to keep him from picking up the first down.

The Dallas Cowboys like him as a player and he’s likely to stay with the team. He helps on special teams and provides valuable depth.

If they were to move on, they could save $2.5 million.

La’el Collins, Tackle

It’s not often you hear people talk about releasing a starting tackle, and I’m certainly not here to advocate for that.

Collins has had some up and down games, but in his short two-year stint at right tackle he’s been pretty good. He’s stood tall against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

His contract will carry him through the 2019 season, but if the Dallas Cowboys wanted to part ways, again, not saying they should, they could save a whopping $8.5 million in the salary cap.

$8.5 million could be the cost of Earl a Thomas or a Tre Boston. That’s  pretty big chunk of change.

Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick

Potential Restructures

When it comes to restructures, the Dallas Cowboys have been selective over recent years with who they choose to flip the switch on.

A restructure doesn’t change the money owed to the player, just changes when the pay out happens. When a team and a player agree to a restructure, the cap hit or base salary is lowered to a more manageable amount and the difference is paid out as a bonus. The bonus is then spread out evenly over the remaining years of the contract.

For example.

Player A has four years remaining on their deal with a cap hit of $16 million per year for the rest of the contract. The team and player A agree to restructure the contract to decrease this season’s base salary to $1 million dollars. The $15 million difference is then paid out as a bonus and then the cap hit is added to the final three years. So instead of the cap hit being $16 million per year for the remainder of the contract, it is now $21 million per year.

The problem with restructuring contracts is that you better hope that the players you restructure make it to the end of their contract otherwise you could end up with big dead money holds on your cap.

The Dallas Cowboys could restructure the following players:

Tyron Smith, Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys All-Pro Left Tackle may be the best draft pick they’ve made in the last 10 years. He’s been one of the best in the game at his position for nearly his entire NFL career and until recent seasons, had been incredibly reliable.

According to Over The Cap, if the Cowboys decided to restructure Smith’s contract, they could get $7.26 million added to the salary cap this season.

That’s a big number, which would help you get your hands on a top safety or defensive lineman in free agency. The reasons why you wouldn’t do it surround Tyron’s health.

He’s missed games each of the last three seasons because of back issues. He’s signed through the 2023 season, which is his age 33 season. It’s entirely possible that he continues to play at a high level through the end of the contract, but you’ll always be a bit concerned about his back.

Zack Martin, Guard

If Tyron was the best draft pick, Zack Martin is a close second. He’s been the definition of reliability as he’s provided elite guard play through the first five years of his career making the All-Pro team each of his first five seasons.

If I were managing the cap for the Dallas Cowboys, it would be a no brainer to restructure Martin who is signed through the 2024 season; his age 34 season. Offensive lineman can play at a high level well into their 30’s barring injury and Zack has the ability to be one of those guys. At his current pace, he could one day end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

By restructuring Martin, the Dallas Cowboys could save $7.36 million on the 2019 salary cap.

Travis Frederick, Center

Last summer was a scary situation for Travis Frederick and by all accounts his recovery is going well. It sounds like he should be ready to go by training camp, and if that’s the case, there’s no reason to believe that Frederick won’t be the player we’ve all come to expect and missed during the 2018 season.

He’s a leader on the offensive line. He’s an excellent communicator and really good at blocking other big humans.

Getting Frederick back for the 2019 season is as big of an upgrade as you could have on an offense. He changes everything. He helps set protections and call out stunts. He will make Conor Williams a better guard just by being present. The offense as a whole will be better by having Frederick available.

Like Smith and Martin, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t play out his current contract at a high level. Even if he’s only 75% of his previous self because of the illness, that’s still a really good football player who is worth every bit of the $10 million a year he’s getting paid.

Travis Frederick has five more years left on his contract. If the Cowboys were to restructure his deal, they could gain another $4.1 million in cap relief this offseason.

Tyrone Crawford, Defensive Line

If ever there was a player that was a victim of his contract it’s Tyrone Crawford. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to an extension thinking he would be the answer at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot. He was good on his rookie deal but his contract was more of a projection than a deal based on prior production.

Unfortunately, Crawford hasn’t lived up to his deal, but he’s been a reliable and versatile player for the Dallas Cowboys. His ability to play both at defensive end and defensive tackle has been huge over the years and he’s come up with some timely defensive plays.

Crawford has two years remaining on his contract that runs through the 2020 season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cowboys keep him around. He’s a leader on the defense and he gives you good quality snaps. As they continue to wait for Randy Gregory and/or Taco Charlton to take steps forward, Crawford is a guy that they like and will continue to find snaps for.

If the Cowboys restructured Crawford’s contract, they could get a little over $3 million in cap savings this year. $3 million may not sound like a lot, but in combination with the other moves they could make with the cap, it can help. Every bit helps when constructing a roster. That money could go to paying for the 2019 draft class.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Dak Prescott #4 and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Grand Total

The Dallas Cowboys front office has a lot of decisions to make this offseason and several of them will be in the form of extensions for their own players. They’ll have to figure out a way to use the contracts to their advantage.

If they did everything that could be an option to them, they could create another $48.22 million in space in the salary cap. If they didn’t release any of the “unlikely releases,” they could still free up another $33.72 million by releasing Lee and Hurns and restructuring Smith, Martin, Frederick, and Crawford.

So, they’ll be going into the offseason with at least $48 million in cap space, but through a few moves could have as much as $81-$96.22 million in cap space when it’s all said and done.

None of this even accounts for the way the Cowboys could structure the contracts of Elliott, Dak, Cooper, Lawrence, and Byron Jones. With some smart salary structuring, they won’t necessarily have to eat much of their cap hits in year one of their new contracts.

Don’t worry Cowboys fans. The Cowboys will be able to create enough money to get the things done that they want to get done. If they don’t sign anyone of note in free agency or extend your favorite player, it won’t be because they couldn’t afford to.

It’ll be because they didn’t want to.

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Player News

Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie



David Irving

The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time via @sportsdaydfw

Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.

The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.

The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.

But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.

Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.

It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.

Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.

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