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Cowboys Can Sign Free Agents Without Affecting 2018 Compensatory Picks

Brian Martin



Cowboys Able To Sign Free Agents Without Affecting 2018 Compensatory Picks

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Dallas Cowboys can now sign unrestricted free agents without affecting the 2018 compensatory formula.

Field Yates on Twitter

Note: any unrestricted free agent signed after today will not count towards the 2018 compensatory pick formula. Example: LeGarrette Blount.

This is actually really good news for the Cowboys considering they are looking to be awarded four compensatory picks in 2018, which is by the way the max number a team can receive. That is because they lost more FAs than they signed.

Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Jack Crawford, and Ronald Leary all played significant roles for the Cowboys last season and based on their salary/playing time, should net the Cowboys some pretty valuable compensatory picks in 2018. This is one of the reasons they weren't very active in free agency.

Well, that could change now that they aren't at risk of losing any of the potential compensatory picks next year. I personally don't believe they will be very active even now, but there are some available FAs still out there that can come in and upgrade the roster.

The Cowboys could use a change of pace/3rd down back behind Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. I've already shared with you 5 running backs that could fill that role, but what about another young offensive tackle with starting experience?

Enter Austin Pasztor, formerly of the Cleveland Browns.

OT/G Austin PasztorPasztor has started 43 of 58 games at both guard and tackle for the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars since entering the NFL. It's that kind of versatility the Cowboys like in their offensive lineman and with the right tackle and left guard position currently available, he makes a lot of sense.

Pasztor is just 26 years old, and at 6'7", 308 could possibly be the player the Cowboys are looking for to fill the void left by Doug Free at right tackle. He may not have been a consideration before because it would have cost them one of their compensatory picks, but he should be now.

I know they are experimenting with La'el Collins at RT right now and Jonathan Cooper at LG, but they have always believed Collins' best position is inside at guard. I tend to agree, which is why Pasztor makes sense.

Collins has the potential to develop into an All-Pro offensive guard, but I'm not sure the same can be said for him as a tackle. If not for a foot injury last season, he could've possibly joined Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith in the Pro Bowl.

The Dallas Cowboys certainly have several options available to them right now to put together a starting unit for the upcoming season, so the signing of Austin Pasztor seems unlikely. But, it's definitely something I think they should seriously consider.

The good news is they can go out and sign any unrestricted free agent and not lose any of their 2018 compensatory picks. Whether or not they bring in any more free agents is still a mystery and we will all just have to wait and see how it turns out.

Are there any free agents you think the Dallas Cowboys should sign?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.



  1. John Williams

    John Williams

    May 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Paztor sounds like the exact kind of player they would be interested in. Still young by OL standards and has the position flex that you mentioned. I’d be interested in him.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      I would actually love for this to happen, but I think the Cowboys are probably going to stick with status quo for now.

  2. Russ_Te

    May 11, 2017 at 1:02 am

    My guess on Collins is that he will excel at RT. He could prove that wrong of course but he has the size at 6′ 5″, 322 lbs and the agility for it. And he started his last 2 years at LSU at LT.

    If so we will very likely get a pass-blocking upgrade from the years of Doug Free, who was a powerhouse run blocker but not quick laterally. As I mentioned previously when you factor in that he has not played a complete season in 2 at LG because of injuries, it’s possible the move outside will help keep him upright as well.

    Free at last! ;^)

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 11, 2017 at 10:22 am

      I actually prefer Collins at guard because of his strength and agility. He is able to handle both the quicker and more powerful DTs because of those traits. Chaz Green is my choice at RT if he can remain healthy. I think Smith, Collins, Frederick, Martin, and Green would actually be an upgrade from last season.

      • Assassin

        May 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Dont forget we have Bryan Bell. Was a solid RT for Panthers before injuries forced him to LT. Out in 2016 with dislocated ankle. 72 career starts over the past five seasons

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          May 11, 2017 at 3:26 pm

          We do have Byron Bell, but I think his better position in the NFL is at OG. We will have to wait and see if he is a consideration at RT.

          • Assassin

            May 11, 2017 at 4:05 pm

            He made his mark at RT. Not very good at LT but not many are. He did play some OG but on a really bad and injured line. Would like to see him get a shot at RT and LG. Between Witten and Zach on the RT and Tryon and Frederick at LG

          • Brian Martin

            Brian Martin

            May 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm

            The position battle between RT and LG is really going to be interesting to follow this off-season. I personally like Smith, Collins, Frederick, Martin, and Green as my starting five. But, that would mean that both Collins and Green would need to stay healthy.

          • Assassin

            May 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm

            not sure that we’ve seen enough of Green to know if hes good enough to be on the NFLs bets OL

          • Brian Martin

            Brian Martin

            May 11, 2017 at 7:35 pm

            He looked pretty good as Tyron Smith’s replacement last year when he was injured.

          • Assassin

            May 13, 2017 at 10:29 am

            True, but that was only for a minute. 2 starts I think. Not long enough to see if he can stay upright and move okay over the course of a season. The fact that they’ve told La’el to get ready for a move to RT may give us a clue. Mini-camps may tell us more.

          • Brian Martin

            Brian Martin

            May 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

            Two starts is a lot more than Collins has had at tackle. And Green played LT in those two contests. I just have a feeling that they are just getting Collins ready in case Green isn’t ready. But, that’s just what my gut is telling me right now.

          • Assassin

            May 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm

            But you go with what you have. Hes certainly part of the equation

      • Assassin

        May 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

        BTW – wonder if there is any hope for 6’10 OT Dan Skipper. Normally you would want OT to get up under the pads of the DTs/DEs but he’s probably too tall for that. We had a 6’10 1/2 OT that I played ball with in college, John Massengail. Had the same issues. They finally changed the way he blocked to ‘pushing down’ instead. Had better success

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          May 13, 2017 at 10:56 am

          The Cowboys worked out Skipper pre-draft, so they must like him at least a little bit. But, like you said they may have to change up his technique, which probably means he needs a year or two to develop.

  3. Russ_Te

    May 11, 2017 at 1:11 am

    2018 Mock Draft ~

    The Super Bowl Champion Cowboys bundle up several picks to move up the 1st round, and get that dominant RDE they couldn’t get in 2017… ;^)

    Meanwhile I project it’s Lawrence moving back to RDE. He lacks the classic first step of a Harvey Martin or Charles Haley, but he is a good player with a good motor. It’s not awful there for 2017.

    To me that is more likely than Charlton at RDE. They will probably try him there but he looks to me like a DL who’s future is inside.

    Then you have the Jaylon Smith wildcard. The big if is the knee, and then how the Cowboys deploy him. I am trying him out at SS but the team is probably not going to listen to that… ;^)

    So at MLB, does his ability come off the field on long downs? I don’t think so. I think you move him around the LOS on those downs the way the Giants did with Lawrence Taylor. He attacks the QB as he sees fit.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

      I could see Lawrence moving back to RDE. I think Charlton is a classic LDE and that will be his position for years to come.

      Smith is going to be your MLB. He’s already said that he is going to start Week 1. He is in every down LB and his value really lies in his ability to use his speed from sideline to sideline in both the run and passing game. I doubt he is used as a pass rusher much until his knee is 100%.

  4. Assassin

    May 11, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Thanks Brian. Interesting prospect. Also CBs Jason McCourty from the Titans and Trumaine Brock from SF are out there. And if you want to go pure OT, King Dunlap from the Chargers or Ryan Clady from the Jets. OLB Elvis Dumervil has 99 sacks. Wonder if he would be worth a flyer? Has a lot of mileage on the wheels

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 11, 2017 at 10:28 am

      There are definitely several FAs still available that can come in and help

  5. Assassin

    May 11, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    So, right now I would think we get two 4’s, a 5 and a 6 in comp picks next year. Will comp us for the well spent 5th to get 6th rounder LaTech S Xavier Woods. Thought we might go for him in the 3rd or maybe 4th. Not sure that I would have imagined him available in the 6th

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Xavier Woods was definitely a steal in the sixth round. And, your guess is as good as mine on compensatory picks, but that sounds about right.

  6. Wilson Torres

    May 12, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    for me smith cooper federiclk, martin collins

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      May 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

      That’s what it’s looking like as of right now. I personally really liked what I saw from Chaz Green when he filled in for Tyron Smith last season. He would be my preference to start at RT and keep Collins at LG. To me, that’s the Cowboys best starting 5. I like Jonathan Cooper also, but he just doesn’t play with the same kind of physicality as Collins. I don’t know if that would have a negative impact on the running game.

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez



Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?



Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.

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