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Cowboys Crossroads: Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Team?

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Crossroads: Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Team?

This offseason is a pivotal one for the future of the Dallas Cowboys. The team has the ability to have a ton of cap space and they are picking in the top five of the NFL Draft. It also happens to be a time where they must determine what this team is.

Is it a team that is best fit to win under Tony Romo? Is it a team that is built to win under the future quarterback? Because this determination will influence what this team does in free agency and in the draft.

If they see this team as one that is built to win with their franchise quarterback then you can think back to when the Denver Broncos got Peyton Manning. Manning was reaching the end of his career and John Elway and the Broncos knew that when they signed him. In the offseasons following, the Broncos spent big in free agency and put together the team that has been to two Super Bowls under Manning.

If the Cowboys see this team as ready to win within Tony Romo's window, then they better spend in free agency. There will be some players that can really fit nicely in Dallas and they have the cap space if they choose to use it.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Crossroads: Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Team? 2

Demarcus Lawrence looks like a foundation piece for the Cowboys. He is part of the youth movement of the team while seeming ready to break out in a big way

The NFL Draft will also vary depending on when they think they are built to win.

If they want to win under Tony Romo, they may be more willing to plug a short-term hole that they didn't fill through free agency. If they want to go long-term then they may take a better player at a position that they have less of a need in.

For example, Myles Jack wouldn't be the biggest need pick, but he's an ultra-talented player and can be a key component for the team for a long time. However, a player like Jalen Ramsey fits an immediate need and can make a major impact now and in the future.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Crossroads: Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Team? 3

Myles Jack wouldn't really fit a major need but can be a tremendous player in this league

The biggest factor will be free agency. If the Cowboys want to take the true best player available fourth overall then they better fill in the many holes that they have through free agency. There are some major holes on the team and if they are not filled then you really handicap yourself in the draft hoping to fill those needs.

I personally think this team is geared for life after Tony Romo. This is a really young team that has a lot of growing to do. Can they win with Tony Romo? Absolutely they can, but the team as currently composed isn't ready.

If they can handle free agency and the draft well then they can get a team together that can be a serious threat under Romo and beyond if they hit on quarterback.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Crossroads: Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Team? 1

27 September 2015: Byron Jones (31)
of the Dallas Cowboys during the Cowboys 39-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

I really think there is a potential dynasty brewing here and there are two things that need to happen for that to work out. They need to fill their many holes now if they want to win under Romo and they need to find their quarterback of the future if they want this talented roster to last.



I've been blogging about sports and music for almost eight years now. I also work in media relations for a New York sports team, so I understand the bridge between the outlets writing about a team and the team monitoring content. I hope to bring something new to Inside The Star, getting deep into draft work, breakdowns and I always come with a strong and passionate opinion. I'm very active on Twitter, so ask questions, comment on stuff, etc. and I will almost definitely respond to you in some sort of debate!

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. cowboysdude

    February 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    This team is neither long or short term and the reason they are in a 20 year slump. They have an organization that is such a mess that they are clueless. They continue believing that the 'HC' is a or someday will be a HC.. not going to happen. Even to the most casual fan you can see the man clearly doesn't have what it takes to win.

  2. Charlie Moore

    February 10, 2016 at 5:14 am

    I would love to see the Cowboys have a great team that makes it to the playoffs year in and year out. That's how I grew up. My Cowboys were in the playoffs from the time I was a kid until after I graduated from college. Hell, I thought it was my birth right for the Cowboys to be in the playoffs. It's been a generation now since we've had anything to get excited about save for the 2014 season. Even in the 80's when things went bad we had hope. The 90's brought us three rings and teams that will never be forgotten in the NFL. Since that last Super Bowl 20 years ago the Cowboys have had nothing. Last year was just God awful. I've lost faith. Not in the team. It's Jerry. He just infects everything with his ego.

  3. Jess Haynie

    Jess Haynie

    February 11, 2016 at 6:56 am

    InsideTheStar.com UserThey continue believing that the 'HC' is a or someday will be a HC.. not going to happen. Even to the most casual fan you can see the man clearly doesn't have what it takes to win.

    You mean like that year he went 12-4 and won the division and a playoff game?

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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