Well, all the big name defensive line talent seems to be gone. While I'm not happy about that, I think the Cowboys deserve the credit from us to believe they have a plan here.
Obviously defensive line is the major priority right now, but talent at other positions in free agency is greater right now so I will talk about both.
When it comes to defensive line attention must now turn to creative waves. There is no premiere rusher left that will get you in the teens of sacks. Instead, the Cowboys can look to add several talents that fit the bill to give teams a long list of players to have to game plan for.
Nick Perry is my favorite defensive lineman left. Behind him you have Robert Ayers, but it seems as if he will be signed elsewhere shortly. Behind that you have guys like Chris Long, O'Brien Schofield, Jeremy Mincey, Quinton Coples, George Selvie, Bjoern Werner, Aldon Smith and Junior Galette.
If the Cowboys want to put together even a decent defensive line they have to sign at least one of these players.
Keep in mind these are all defensive ends. The NFL Draft has tons of defensive tackle talent. Cedric Thornton is meeting with the Cowboys today and would be a nice Nick Hayden improvement as a 1-technique. Thornton would be able to use his strength to control the running game and hold blocks to free up Tyrone Crawford. It is at defensive end where the draft is barren, so I put a premium on that position in free agency.
Nick Perry is only 25 years old and a former first round pick by the Green Bay Packers. He has been productive, but may be a little undersized for a 4-3 defensive end. Regardless, he has experience at the position from college and could be a nice get for the Cowboys.
Aldon Smith would be a nice grab as well that is a little under the radar. Smith was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL before his off-the-field concerns clouded his talent. Smith received a one year ban in November of 2015, so he won't be eligible until then, but he should be had for close to nothing and would be some late season reinforcement. He'd also come without the PR nightmare that Hardy would come with.
The Cowboys will almost definitely add a rookie into that mix and David Irving will probably also get more defensive end snaps. Expect Ryan Russell to be a bigger name this year as well.
Where the Cowboys can actually add some impact is in the secondary.
You start with Eric Weddle who's name is starting to gain a little traction with the Cowboys.
Weddle was one of the game's premier defensive talents in the not too distant future. A poor 2015 season by his standards plus his age have some down on him.
I think Weddle would make a lot of sense in Dallas. He is the consummate professional football player. He eats and sleeps football and gets it mentally better than most do.
You can play Weddle at safety with Byron Jones and if Jalen Ramsey is available at 4 and should be the pick, can do so with Ramsey as well. This would give you the ability to get creative.
Weddle can play solo-safety with Jones and Ramsey walking down to corner. Weddle can play with Jones or Ramsey at safety. You can mix it up all game long.
The most important part is while you get a couple good years from Weddle, you also get him to help Jones and potentially Ramsey to become great safeties as well.
The same idea from a technical standpoint could be said for Tony Jefferson instead of Eric Weddle. Jefferson plays a great strong safety and would make for a good player to compliment Byron Jones or potentially Jalen Ramsey at safety.
Then there is Walter Thurmond who basically gives you another player in the Byron Jones and Jalen Ramsey mold, though much less athletic. Thurmond can play a real serious safety but also has experience at cornerback. This would allow the Cowboys to get even more creative.
There are plenty of options remaining at cornerback if the Cowboys do want someone there.
Between Morris Claiborne, Casey Heyward, Prince Amukamara, Patrick Robinson and Brandon Boykin, there are definitely options.
Nolan Carroll is visiting the Cowboys today and fits the bill of what they're looking for in a cornerback. He is tall and long and for the most part has had good health. Carroll was putting together a nice 2015 for the Eagles before suffering a season ending ankle injury.
There are plenty of options left for the Dallas Cowboys to have put together a nice offseason. I know many are upset about what they have done, but it is a good thing that they are not shelling out tons of money for some of these players. The staff has shown the ability to find players who fit what they're looking for late in free agency and the coaching staff has proven the ability to get production out of these players.
The Cowboys cap situation is clear right now, but it can be extremely healthy in the coming years. By not overpaying good players, they will be able to re-sign some of these offensive linemen and could be in the position to land great players in the future.
There are still talented players left and the Cowboys should be able to get some real bargains. This isn't over yet, so don't panic!
Think back to 2014. The year the Cowboys went 12-4 and won a Playoff game. Believe in them. They deserve it.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security
There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.
Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.
Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.
Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.
If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.
Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.
Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.
As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.
Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.
If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.
Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.
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.
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