Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Defensive Line Is In Worse Shape Than I Thought

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - The Defensive Line is in Worse Shape Than I Thought

When news broke of Randy Gregory's four-game suspension, that immediately sent a shock through most people's minds. The Cowboys defensive line took a big hit and it led people to question whether this would impact free agency or the draft.

Stephen Jones has publicly said that the Gregory suspension will have an impact on free agency and the draft.

As is commonly known, Greg Hardy is a free agent, and is likely to have spent his last days with the Dallas Cowboys.

Well, what about the rest of the defensive line? This is a bigger problem than I thought.

Remaining players on the active Cowboys defensive line from 2015:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence
  • Tyrone Crawford
  • Nick Hayden
  • Jack Crawford
  • Jeremy Mincey
  • Casey Walker
Cowboys Blog - The Defensive Line is in Worse Shape Than I Thought 1

Tyrone Crawford takes a picture after surgery this offseason

The following players are on the injured reserve list:

  • Terrell McClain
  • David Irving
  • Ryan Russell
  • Chris Whaley
Cowboys Blog - The Defensive Line is in Worse Shape Than I Thought 3

Terrell McClain can be a big piece for 2016, but he has battled injuries the past two seasons

Then there are the practice squad guys such as:

  • Efe Obada
  • Michael McAdoo
Cowboys Blog - The Defensive Line is in Worse Shape Than I Thought 2

Efe Obada is an interesting story to say the least. Unknown at the time of signing and new to football in England, Obada shows the kinds of traits that can make him a success if developed

This list is problematic.

Only three players on the active roster are under contract for next season. DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Casey Walker are the only players that finished the season healthy and active that are returning.

Not to mention that DeMarcus Lawrence is coming off of back surgery, something that is never good to hear, and Tyrone Crawford had rotator cuff surgery.

Four players ending the season on the injured reserve is a problem for obvious reasons.

You are looking at two premium defensive linemen that will return from last season and both of them coming off of surgery. The rest of your defensive line will be filled with practice squad level players and most of them are coming off of injury, too.

All-in-all, here's the Cowboys D-Line for 2016, as it stands now:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence (Back Surgery)
  • Tyrone Crawford (Rotator Cuff Surgery)
  • Randy Gregory (Suspended)
  • Terrell McClain (Toe Surgery)
  • David Irving (Fractured Wrist)
  • Ryan Russell (Abdomen Injury)
  • Chris Whaley (Achilles Injury)
  • Casey Walker
  • Efe Obada (Practice Squad)
  • Mike McAdoo (Practice Squad)

Not only is that a group that doesn't strike fear in many, there are a lot of issues plaguing each of these players. The defensive line will have to be addressed in a big way just to have some sort of a unit for next season.

Greg Hardy, Jack Crawford, Nick Hayden, and Jeremy Mincey are free agents.



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!

Advertisement
6 Comments
  • Alan

    How was this left to get so bad over the years?

  • Alan

    How was this left to get so bad over the years??

  • Blue Star

    Because front office did not want to pay WARE.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie

    Blue StarBecause front office did not want to pay WARE.

    That's not the whole story. Ware was going to count, if I recall, $16 million against the cap and they really had no choice but to cut him. He was coming off a bad year and they even offered to keep him at a reduced salary but Ware declined that. Both sides made business decisions and that's just how it goes sometimes.

    Also, let's not just assume that Ware would still be as effective as the top pass-rusher in Dallas. Playing across from Von Miller and with the rest of that defense certainly helped him a lot these two years in Denver.

  • Blue Star

    Jess HaynieThat's not the whole story. Ware was going to count, if I recall, $16 million against the cap and they really had no choice but to cut him. He was coming off a bad year and they even offered to keep him at a reduced salary but Ware declined that. Both sides made business decisions and that's just how it goes sometimes.

    Also, let's not just assume that Ware would still be as effective as the top pass-rusher in Dallas. Playing across from Von Miller and with the rest of that defense certainly helped him a lot these two years in Denver.

    Ware helped Von Miller more than Von Miller helped Ware. Thats just how I see it at least. Why sign these players to deals you never plan on ponying up the money? I really hate how the NFL does business. NFL just cannot get it right, it just SUCKS! Football pays crap compared to less popular sports in America. Before you say anything yes, they make more than you and me, obviously. Football players experience more injuries, more long term health effects, shorter careers but, its the #1 sport in America. Pay these men like it.
    Limiting rookies pay eerks me. Yes, some of the rookie contracts were bonkers, ex Sam Bradford. Maybe stop with signing these men to five year deals. Rookie deals should be three years with 4 year option that averages the top 5 players. Five years on a rookie deal is just too long. The player gets maybe one more contract and you're done after the rookie deal, its bull. That money is taxed hard depending on where they play. I don't blame these players one damn bit for playing harder during the contract year. Money is a hell of a motivator. There is never enough money unless you're Bill Gates.

    How the hell has Goodell make 180 million in five years. F the NFL.
    I had to vent. I just hate cheapness.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie

    The debate on how much NFL players make is always interesting. I guess I've always looked at it from a "per game" standpoint. Last year Aaron Rodgers made about $18 million from his contract. LeBron James made about $23 million. But one guy only played 16 games and the other plays 82. Rodgers' regular season runs for four months and Lebron's goes for six-and-a-half. Rodgers gets time off every week while LeBron's on a four or five-game road trip.

Player News

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Sean Martin

Published

on

Despite Late Push in Year One, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See the Field in 2018? 1
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, DT Maliek Collins (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

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.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys OT La’el Collins Could Become Major Bargain

Jess Haynie

Published

on

La'el Collins

When you talk Cowboys offensive line, you always think of Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin first. Right Tackle La'el Collins still has to prove he belongs in the same sentence with his elite teammates. If he does that in 2018, Collins could become one of the best bargains on the roster.

Making the move from left guard to right tackle last year, Collins improved with time and was playing his best football at the end of the year. This was despite ongoing back issues that had him on the injury report most weeks.

La'el started all 16 games at right tackle and did enough that the Cowboys committed to keeping him there in 2018, even despite a big hole back at left guard. They are hoping consistency and stability will allow Collins to really blossom this season, building on the strong progress shown last year.

For 2018, Collins has a $5.76 million cap hit. According to Spotrac, that makes him the 13th-most expensive right tackle in the NFL this year.

That middle-of-the-pack expense is consistent with where La'el currently rates among NFL right tackles. Bleacher Report ranked Collins as the 16th-best RT in football last year.

But that ranking was based on the season as a whole. If La'el plays all of 2018 the way he was playing towards the end of last year, he will have emerged as one of the better right tackles in the game.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

If Collins develops as we hope, that salary suddenly becomes a major bargain. The most expensive right tackles in the NFL are making $7-$9 million this season.

But this can go a couple of ways. With his 2019 cap hit rising to $7.9 million, La'el needs to next step forward.

If Collins were to struggle this year, it could make him a potential cap casualty next offseason. Dallas can save $6.5 million in cap space if Collins is released or traded in 2019.

Dallas could elect to give Connor Williams, their second-round pick this year, a look at right tackle next season. It's the position he played in college.

They could also consider veteran backup Cameron Fleming, who will still be just 26-year-old. Fleming has two Super Bowl rings and several starts, including in the postseason, from his time with the Patriots.

While we think of La'el Collins as a first-round talent, it's important to remember that he was ultimately an undrafted free agent. Dallas did not have to invest anything to acquire him, and ultimately that makes it easier to let him go.

Naturally, we prefer the other side of this coin. If Collins builds on 2017, he will join the upper echelon of right tackles in the league. And if the Cowboys' offensive line isn't already the best in the NFL, that would only cement them as the best unit in football.

If La'el makes the leap, it could mean huge things for the Cowboys' offense and team success this year.



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

How Cowboys Could Benefit From Randy Gregory’s Suspension

Brian Martin

Published

on

Cowboys Headlines - Randy Gregory Withdraws Suspension Appeal, Cannot Return Until Week 15

Randy Gregory is back! His suspension is officially over and he will be able to join the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California when training camp gets underway less than a week from now.

Speculation has already started as to what this could mean for the Dallas Cowboys defense this season, and shockingly expectations are rather high for a player who hasn't stepped foot on the field in over a year. But, that's not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to focus on Gregory's mess of a contract, because it is rather interesting.

Randy Gregory was signed to a four-year contract after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Gregory's rookie deal was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2018 season, but his multiple suspensions have now changed that expiration date.

You see, Gregory has only played in a total of 14 games in his career, 12 as a rookie and two in Year 2. His third year in the NFL was completely wiped out due to his year-long suspension. If you were to add that all up, it equates to just one accured season in the NFL. Remember that, because it could have a huge impact on his contract down the road.

Randy Gregory

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory

What all of this means is that the Cowboys can pretty much stretch out Gregory's contract now that they are three years in on the deal and have only gotten one accured season out of the agreement. That basically means they can push his contract back a year, meaning his 2017 salary ($731,813) gets pushed back to 2018, his 2018 salary ($955,217) gets pushed to 2019. That would essentially make him a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) in 2020.

Or does it?

Depending on how the Dallas Cowboys handled paying Randy Gregory during his suspension could actually make him an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (EFA). This is a similar situation in which David Irving found himself in after the 2017 season. The Cowboys placed a second-round tender on him in order to secure his services for another season, albeit at a $2.91 million price tag.

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys pretty much hold all the cards when it comes to Randy Gregory's contract situation. It's all a little confusing, but that's what makes it such a unique and interesting situation.

Of course, the Cowboys could decide to extend Gregory early if he completely dominates upon his return this season. It's highly doubtful though considering his past suspensions, but still technically a possibility. If it does happen, you can go ahead and ignore everything I've written previously.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending