At times this season, especially early on, Terrell McClain looked like the best defensive tackle that the Dallas Cowboys had. He finally delivered after two disappointing years with injury problems. However, now a free agent, McClain may not be able to stay with the Cowboys.
Dallas already has Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, and Cedric Thornton signed up for 2017. They will certainly bring back David Irving, who can play inside and has earned a much larger role after a breakout season. The Cowboys could also look to re-sign Jack Crawford, whose versatility and work ethic have made him a favorite of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Even though Terrell McClain started all 15 games that he played in, his playing time fell more into a rotation with Irving and Thornton as the season went on. When Irving started to break out, the extra snaps came more out of McClain's end than from Maliek Collins' bucket.
Dallas probably likes Terrell McClain more overall than Cedric Thornton. McClain won the starting job over Thornton to start the year and was credited with 500 total snaps over just 291 for Cedric, according to Pro Football Focus. However, money and playing time could be the deciding factors over sheer merit.
When the Cowboys added Cedric Thornton last year he was signed to a four-year, $17 million contract. That's the kind of money you pay for an expected starter. They clearly liked Thornton enough then to pay him and would probably be comfortable with giving him a larger role now.
At the time of signing Thornton, Dallas had no way of knowing if Terrell McClain would finally show up after so many health issues. They also didn't know that Maliek Collins would be drafted, or expect to have a rookie defensive tackle emerge so quickly. It was all a matter of hindsight.
Between Tyrone Crawford ($10.35 million) and Cedric Thornton ($4.25 million), Dallas will have close to $15 million in cap space tied up in just two defensive linemen. This is a steep increase from last year when Crawford and Thornton combined for just about $6.5 million against the cap. With a pass-rushing defensive end already a critical need, the Cowboys can't afford any luxuries elsewhere on the line.
Given their other needs and rising salaries of existing players, it doesn't look like Dallas will have a spot to bring back Terrell McClain. It's a shame given how well he played this year, but roster limits and the salary cap always come with tough decisions.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
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