Oficialmente, la agencia libre de la NFL 2019 comenzó el pasado miércoles. Muchos movimientos sorprendentes abundaron alrededor de la liga, desde contrataciones hasta intercambios involucrando super estrellas como Odell Beckham Jr., quien saldrá de la NFC East para ir a jugar con los Cleveland Browns. Lo que no fue sorprendente, sin embargo, fue la manera en la que los Dallas Cowboys manejaron los primeros días de la agencia libre.
Los rumores que comenzaron a rodear a los Cowboys desde que Earl Thomas se acercó a Jason Garrett tras ese partido en noche buena del 2017 por fin han llegado a su fin. Lo han hecho después de que los Baltimore Ravens firmaron al safety veterano a un contrato de 4 años por 55 millones de dólares (con 32 garantizados). Durante los primeros dos años, Thomas ganará más de los 14 millones anuales que buscaba como agente libre.
Sin duda, hubiera sido una maravilla ver a un jugador del calibre de Earl Thomas vestir la estrella en su casco, pero no es ninguna sorpresa que la administración de los Cowboys no haya querido pagar esas cantidades. Estemos o no de acuerdo con su filosofía, es imposible negar que es así como hacen las cosas. Por muchos años, Dallas no ha firmado a agentes libres de renombre por contratos enormes (aunque es justo mencionar, que estuvieron a punto de hacerlo con el WR Sammy Watkins hace un año).
En vez de movimientos dignos de noticias nacionales, el equipo se ha limitado a hacer unos cuantos movimientos dentro de casa y un par de contrataciones menores:
- Firmaron a su fullback Jamize Olawale a un contrato de tres años. Muchos olvidan que es una pieza importante en equipos especiales. Su contrato es muy mínimo.
- Regresaron al wide receiver Tavon Austin con un contrato de un año. Funciona como seguro en la posición de slot y contribuirá como regresador de patadas.
- Lograron quedarse con el tackle Cameron Fleming. Buen valor para un jugador banca confiable. Hizo buen trabajo en 2018.
- Liniero defensivo de los Houston Texans, Christian Covington. Firmó por un año para ser un jugador de rotación en la defensiva. Muy buen valor.
- Tight end Cody McElroy. No es un movimiento importante. Dudo que se quede en el roster de 53 jugadores.
Un safety, por favor
Thomas es el único jugador externo al equipo por el que los Cowboys hubieran podido gastar mucho dinero, así que ahora es tiempo de hablar de que sigue para un equipo que no gastará mucho fuera de casa.
Primero que nada, me gustaría resaltar que a pesar de que los más conocidos están fuera del mercado, aún hay opciones para atender la urgente necesidad por un safety. Eric Berry, Tre Boston, Andrew Sendejo, entre otros son opciones baratas para el equipo. Dallas puede conseguir un titular para esta posición a un precio muy barato.
Los Cowboys deberían considerar muy fuertemente atender la posición de safety en este momento en vez de esperar a abril. Hay buenos jugadores ahí afuera y no tiene caso forzar la selección de un safety en el NFL Draft. ¿Por qué esperar?
Se necesita un reemplazo para Randy Gregory después de su nueva suspensión. Los Cowboys parecían listos con dos buenos caza cabezas, pero ahora es tiempo de buscar otro. Recientemente, se reportó que los Cleveland Browns buscan un trade por su ala defensiva Emmanuel Ogbah.
Ogbah es un jugador que interesó a Stephen Jones y compañía en 2016 antes de que los Browns se lo robaran antes de la selección con la que Jaylon Smith llegó a Dallas.
Ahora disponible y con un año de contrato, los Cowboys podrían conseguir a Ogbah por medio de un trade. No debe de ser una opción cara. Quizá una cuarta o una quinta ronda podría ser suficiente para traer este talento a Dallas.
No perder de vista lo importante
Finalmente, volvemos a lo mismo. La prioridad de los Dallas Cowboys debería de estar en casa. Sin embargo, DeMarcus Lawrence permanece en descontento. No tendrá cirugía. Lawrence es uno de los mejores defensivos en la liga y es tiempo de que se le pague como tal. Quizá con la primera oleada de agentes libres terminada podamos ver esta historia concluir con un final feliz.
En la lista de espera está Dak Prescott, quien busca su extensión previo al inicio de temporada. Amari Cooper también podría conseguir su dinero antes de septiembre. Son Ezekiel Elliott y Byron Jones los que me atrevería a decir que tendrán que esperar hasta el próximo año para que sea su turno.
Por ahora, recordemos que la agencia libre comenzó este miércoles y que las contrataciones enormes llaman la atención, pero no siempre funcionan. De hecho, muchas veces no lo hacen.
Ezekiel Elliott Continues to Haunt Eagles, has Best Game of the Season
The Dallas Cowboys came into their Week 7 matchup with the arch-rival Philadelphia Eagles on a three-game losing streak and were searching desperately for answers. With first place in the NFC East on the line, it was important for the Cowboys to set a tone and send a message at home in order to avoid going into their bye week with a fourth straight loss. That tone was set by the defense in the first quarter as they forced turnovers on the first two possessions of the game. Conversely, All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott led the offensive attack and continued the dominance he's had over the Eagles throughout his career.
After jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead following a fumble on the Eagle's first possession, the Cowboys made it a two-score game in a matter of seconds. In the video below, Elliott appears to score from 14 yards out but would be ruled down inside the one. What's important to notice is how he sought out Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins and ran him over. Complete "Bully Ball" tactic here and it again sent a message and establish a tone for this game. Elliott would score on the very next play to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead.
Zeke TRUCKED him 😡 @EzekielElliott https://t.co/x2G4rF2cwU
Elliott had 65 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown as well as 25 yards on four receptions the first half. The Cowboys led 27-7 heading into the third quarter.
The second half saw more of the same as Elliott had 11 touches (9 carries, 2 receptions) for 57 all-purpose yards. In all, Elliott finished with 147 all-purpose yards (111 rushing, 36 receiving) as he spearheaded the Cowboys to a 37-10 beatdown of their most hated division rival.
This game was a continuation of what Elliott has done to the Eagles his entire career. His lowest rushing total against Philadelphia is 96 yards which came in his first-ever game in this historic rivalry back in 2016 as a rookie. He's rushed for least 103 yards every game since and averages 163 all-purpose yards every time he plays Philadelphia. Most importantly, the Cowboys are a perfect 5-0 with Elliott against the Eagles. The only games the Eagles have won against the Cowboys since Elliott came into the NFL was the 2016 season finale and the first of their two matchups in 2017, games Elliott did not play in. Needless to say, Elliott has a big appetite for Eagle meat.
This game also saw Elliott reach another milestone in his short but stellar career. He joined Le'Veon Bell and Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson as the second-fastest players (47 games) to reach 6,000 yards from scrimmage behind Edgerrin James (44 games) in NFL history. Now that's an elite group to be a part of.
The importance of this game was obvious for the Cowboys coming off at three consecutive losses and facing a heated rival for first place. Elliott spoke post-game about how critical this win was:
"This team needed this, especially in the fashion we did it," Elliott said. "Get some momentum for the season and before this bye week so we can close the season out."
Everything you would want to see from Elliott was on display against the Eagles. The speed, power, elusiveness, and ability to make plays in the passing game were all front and center in this game. From an overall standpoint, this was definitely his best performance of the 2019 season.
Now, the Cowboys head into the bye week in first place in the NFC East and regardless of next week's results, they will still be on top when they face the New York Giants on the road on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys will look to remain undefeated in division play and keep pace with the other NFC powerhouses once they return to action.
Where Does Ezekiel Elliott Stand in the 2019 Rushing Title Race?
The Dallas Cowboys finally looked like the team we've all expected them to be against the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday. They played a complete-game and absolutely dominated on both offense and defense. This is the kind of performance they needed heading into the bye week.
As stoked I am by the way the Dallas Cowboys played Sunday night against a divisional opponent, I was even more ecstatic to see Running Back Ezekiel Elliott look like the playmaker he has in the past. He showed excellent vision, speed, and burst, something I really haven't seen him do up to this point of the season.
I know quite a few of you may disagree with me, but No. 21 hasn't really looke2 like himself at any point this season. He did however look like the Zeke of old on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. It good to see and it actually started me wondering where he currently stood in the 2019 rushing title race?
Let's take a look…
I don't know exactly what I expected, but I was little surprised to see Zeke currently sitting at number five amongst the NFL's leading rushers. I don't know if I was expecting him to be a little higher or lower, but he currently finds himself within striking distance to claim his third rushing title in four years.
Ezekiel Elliott is only 123 rushing yards behind Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook right now. Unfortunately, that number will only increase in Week 8 with the Dallas Cowboys on their bye week. But, it could all even out since only Nick Chubb is the only RB ahead of Zeke whose team has also had their bye week. And with half of the season left there is still plenty of time to close the gap.
Ezekiel Elliott may be down right now, but he's definitely not out. He's going to play a huge role in the offensive game plan for the rest of the season and should be able to put himself into contention of earning his third rushing title in four years. But, it won't be easy. The Cowboys schedule only gets tougher from here on out.
What do you think? Will Ezekiel Elliott be the leading rusher in 2019?
Urban Meyer Says He’d “Absolutely” Take Cowboys’ Head Coaching Job
Typically, when a coach is asked about a potential future coaching job that is currently occupied, he'd never openly admit to eyeing that position. He'd dodge the question, lie, and say he's enjoying his time away from the game at the moment.
Former college coach Urban Meyer, however, was extremely clear in how he feels about the potential opening at head coach in Dallas with the Cowboys.
Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd asked Urban Meyer outright if he would take the job if offered, and Meyer made no mistake about it.
While it feels to me like Meyer is breaking some sort of unspoken code between coaches with these comments, it wouldn't be the first time he operated in shady waters.
But I digress.
Of course, Urban Meyer had incredible success at the collegiate level. He won multiple national championships and did a lot of winning at multiple programs. In addition, he was the college coach of Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who the team just extended with a monster contract. Meyer also won with quarterbacks who can utilize similar skill-sets to Cowboys starter Dak Prescott, something Jerry Jones and company would want to see in any potential head coaching candidate.
With all that being said, though, it's important to mention the Cowboys head coaching job is not open. At least not yet.
Jason Garrett's contract expires at the end of this season, and unless he can make sure that he continues coaching this team through January, it's seeming increasingly likely that this will be his final contract with the team.
Garrett's Cowboys face their biggest test of the season on Sunday night, with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to Arlington and looking to take first place from their grasps.
This will be the first step of many that Garrett will need to take if he wants to keep the Urban Meyers of the world from coming for his job.
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