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Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension

For die-hard NFL fans, the free agency period is as fun as any other week in the regular season. It's always a fun experience knowing what team is interested in which player and who's visiting who. Heck, there are websites with "free agents trackers" for people who don't want to miss a single thing.

Seeing the huge contracts some players get and discussing whether it's well-deserved money or an overpaid salary provides football fans all around the league with fun football conversations in the middle of March.

This is a period in which, despite not being on the field, every NFL team is doing the same thing. Trying to get better. Which is exactly why most Dallas Cowboys fans are frustrated with how things have gone for their favorite team in this 2018 NFL offseason.

Right now, less than a week after the free agency period officially began, they're the only team left in the NFL that hasn't signed a single free agent.

Surprising? Not at all.

Whether we like it or not, we know how this team likes to operate. A quiet free agency isn't out of the ordinary for the Cowboys. For many years, the NFL Draft has been the priority for them, and they've done a good job at it.

At the end of the day, waiting for the first wave of free agents to pass is smart unless you're looking for a QB or have a huge amount of cap space. When you look at what players are getting, you realize most of them are overpaid. Sammy Watkins got a $48M three-year deal, when he hasn't really proved to be worth it.

I don't think Cowboys Nation would've liked to see the Jones family bring Watkins for that kind of money. Personally, I don't mind the Cowboys' front office letting those first expensive signings occur without them participating in them.

I mean, they've already made a splash, when you think about it. DeMarcus Lawrence was the biggest non-QB free agent of the year and they managed to keep him for at least next season. It's not exactly a free agent signing, but they are paying one of the NFL's best pass rushers more than $17M to wear the Star one more year.

Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension 1

Former Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu

Yes, the Cowboys' team-building philosophy is comprehensible. But when do fans like you and me stop understanding their offseason approach and get bothered by it? To me, that frustration came in the form of Tyrann Mathieu signing with the other NFL team in Texas.

If the Honey Badger had signed a super expensive contract, I'd be fine with the Cowboys passing on him. But Houston was able to get him for just seven million dollars on a one-year prove-it deal.

Mathieu is one of the best defensive talents in the league and will be just 26 years old when next season begins. Why didn't the Cowboys tried to land him, if safety is a position of need? I mean, we've been talking about a potential trade for Earl Thomas all year!

Were they hesitant just because the Honey Badger isn't your traditional safety? Are they so conservative that their reason to not go after him was he wasn't a scheme fit? When you're talking about a talent like his, I think you make things work to see him thrive along young and promising cornerbacks like Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie.

The Cowboys can still look at Tier-2 free agents such as TE Eric Ebron or S Kenny Vaccaro over the following days. It could end up working for them, or it could end up just like Nolan Carroll's horrendous game versus the Broncos in week 2 of the 2017 NFL season and his $2M in dead money for this year.

When it comes to the Cowboys' approach to free agency, there's a very thin line between comprehension and frustration. Maybe, just maybe, they make us understand next season when we see results on the field.

For now though, it's tough to stay in the "comprehending" side of things.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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16 Comments
  • Kevin Black

    For the scheme that Dallas plays, Tyrann Mathieu is not a fit. With some coordinators, they take the talent they have and mold it to them. Others have a scheme they believe in and want players designed for that scheme. Both work, but you have to understand which type you have.

    As much as I love Marinelli, he’s a scheme first guy. He wants players that are designed for his scheme. If you get someone that doesn’t fit, he will fail miserably. I think even players understand that and I don’t think Tyrann even gave Dallas a thought as to signing here. He knew he wasn’t a fit and knew that he couldn’t showcase his skills here and get a multi-year deal next year if he signed in Dallas.

    So this might be a case of where Dallas didn’t want Tyrann and Tyrann didn’t want to come to Dallas.

    • Reynaldo Laporte

      I hear what your saying and as much as I love Marinelli, I feel some of his philosophies are outdated.

      With that being said neither you nor Mr. Rodriguez mentioned how Matthieu is injury prone. I don’t care how talented a player is if you can’t suit up for a full season then what good are you.

      • Kevin Black

        I don’t disagree. But with this staff, they weren’t going to sign Matthieu.

        I was unaware of his injury history. It makes sense why he’s only signing a one year so he can try and break the bank next year.

        • Reynaldo Laporte

          That’s why I’m glad we got Richard cuz he can bring a different perspective and take over once Rod retires.

          The only knock I have with Matthieu is his health other than that he is an extremely dynamic player. Going forward I ask that our FO stay away from character and injury concerns.

          • Kevin Black

            I’ll be curious how they play what we have. We only have one in the box safety with Frazier, but his coverage skills aren’t getting better. They tried to play Jones as an in the box safety and he can cover the TEs just fine, but he can’t stop anyone near the line. He just doesn’t have the frame for it.

            I’d love to see them get James from Florida State in the draft, but he won’t drop out of the top 10 and we don’t have the draft capital to pull that off. Seems to have a lot of FS in this draft, just not a lot of good SS. Some so-so ones, but not a lot of good ones.

          • Reynaldo Laporte

            That’s why I was upset that we didn’t sign Davis, that would have allowed us to draft without impunity.

            We could have gotten an off ball LB, another WO, DB, and shored up other positions of need but no we go bargain bin hunting again.

            I’m just a fan, but unless we this draft is light years ahead of the one we had two seasons ago I won’t be impressed.

          • Kevin Black

            Davis? Do you mean Matthieu? You’d pay 7 million for 8 games?

          • Reynaldo Laporte

            DEmario Davis the ILB. I was never for signing Honey Badger

          • Kevin Black

            I’d rather have Jack Cichy or Josey Jewell. Plus it looks like Davis preferred NO due to it being close to home. The Jets also played a 3-4, so there is some question about Davis’ ability to go sideline to sideline, something that’s required for the middle in Dallas.

          • Reynaldo Laporte

            Did you watch the Jet’s last season???? That was a stupid question nobody did.

            I saw him play and he would have been an upgrade over Hitchens. I love Jewell too, better than Vander Esch. We need two LB’s tho cuz Sean ain’t playing a full season.

          • Kevin Black

            Then I’m glad you aren’t the Director of Player Personnel and McClay is.

          • Reynaldo Laporte

            I love Will, but while you’re at it ask him how those bargain bin players in FA have panned out.

            Watch the tape Davis was damn good for NY and the responsibilities for an ILB are the same if he was in a 3-4, or a 4-3.

            Like I was saying earlier if we would have signed him then an off ball LB, and DB would be our only priorities.

          • Kevin Black

            ILB is responsibilities are not the same in the 3-4 versus the 4-3. The MLB in the 4-3 has to cover much more ground, pretty much sideline to sideline in our scheme, whereas the 3-4 has definite responsibilities in regards to side. In the 4-3, the strong side LB is responsible for the edge and trying to keep the play inside the tackles, but the MLB is designed to cover anything he can’t contain as well as cover all the gaps from tackle to tackle. Most 3-4 ILBs aren’t required to go from sideline to sideline, but to cover from the middle to one sideline. This was something teams did to allow them to have players that didn’t have the extreme skillset that a MLB needed in a 4-3.

            In addition to that, the 3 cone is probably one of the better combine tests for LBs. Davis had a respectable 7.19. Anything under 7.2 is considered good. However, Josey Jewell had a 6.80, a much better score and shows how quickly he can move laterally. Both had a similar shuttle score (4.28 versus 4.27). Davis had a much better 40 time, but that’s not the best indicator of a LB (or any other position outside of wideout or corner). On top of that, Jewell is younger, cheaper and controllable at the lower price for at least four (4) years. With all the FAs coming out next year on this team, that will be key.

          • Reynaldo Laporte

            Like I said what he was asked to do in NY and what he would have been asked to do for us would have been the same .

            You want a rookie to be a starter at MIke???? I’m all for putting a players feet to the fire, but that is a lot to ask for a rookie. We know for certain that Sean Lee will miss games, we don’t know if Jaylon is the LB we want him to be and our depth behind them isn’t exactly promising.

            I’m not just spitballing here our LB corps is suspect and he would have at least solidified one spot allowing us to draft an off ball LB while upgrading the middle.

            Look at how our D fared when Hitchens or Lee was out of the lineup. It’s not like we have a stout front four eating up blocks. And you want a rookie to start???? Good luck with that.

            Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he signed a deal that was well within reason considering the player the Saints will get.

            Then again you’re glad that I’m not directir of player personnel and Will McClay is.

          • Kevin Black

            It’s not the same. in the 3-4, the ILB is only responsible for half the field. In the 4-3, the MLB is responsible from sideline to sideline. How is that the same?

            Irregardless, you only need the mike for about 30% of the plays. Most of the time the defense is in the nickel and you would only have Lee and Smith on the field.

          • Kevin Black

            P.S. it appears Will McClay agrees with my assessment. 😉

Star Blog

Does James Hanna’s Retirement Make TE a Draft Priority?

Brian Martin

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Does James Hanna's Retirement Make TE a Draft Priority?

The Dallas Cowboys depth at the tight end position took a little bit of a hit this past Friday when James Hanna announced to the world that he planned on retiring. The Cowboys will now move him to the reserve/retired list, thus creating questions as to who will be Jason Witten's primary backup in 2018?

Before James Hanna's retirement announcement, it was rumored he could end up getting cut to get some salary-cap relief. The Cowboys fortunately didn't have to make that decision, but Hanna's retirement has the same impact on the salary-cap as it would have if it would've been released.

The downside of all of this is that the Dallas Cowboys now have to find out who will now become their backup tight end this season. This is definitely an important decision because Jason Witten is no longer the threat he once was, and his age could make him start becoming susceptible to injuries, although he has been an Iron Man the majority of his career.

I don't know about you, but there's really not anybody currently on the Cowboys roster who inspires a lot of confidence. Geoff Swaim will likely step into James Hanna's vacated role behind Jason Witten, but the depth behind him creates more questions than answers.

The Dallas Cowboys are supposedly pretty high on Blake Jarwin, but he will be entering his second year and hasn't really received a lot of playing time as of yet. Then, there is Rico Gathers, a fan favorite, who flashed his ability in preseason last year.

Rico Gathers, Rams

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers

Gathers mere size and athletic ability makes him a mismatch against anybody who tries to cover him, but I just don't know how committed he is to his football career. He seems much more focused on trying to become a rapper than he does improving his craft. Hopefully, that's not the case and he can take the next step in his development.

The Dallas Cowboys current situation at the tight end position is a little depressing. In fact, I really think it's holding the Cowboys offense back and it's past time to do some upgrading.

Fortunately, there is an event happening this week that could improve the entire tight end position… the 2018 NFL Draft. If the Dallas Cowboys weren't planning on drafting a tight end before James Hanna's retirement, they should seriously consider it now.

Jason Witten isn't going to play forever and if he was to get injured, the Cowboys offense would seriously be in trouble. We all know he's not the player he once was, but he is still the best and most dependable option currently on the roster.

Unfortunately, we witnessed firsthand just how bad things can get when a starter goes down and the depth behind them isn't capable of stepping in and handling the job. That is why the Dallas Cowboys should have a better contingency plan in place if something were to happen to Witten.

The good news is that this year's TE draft class is pretty deep and the Dallas Cowboys should be able to take one to not only replace James Hanna, but hopefully become Witten's successor as well.

Should the Dallas Cowboys draft a tight end?


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Dallas Cowboys “All or Nothing” Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys "All or Nothing" Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett

You likely already know by now that the 2017 Dallas Cowboys season -- by all accounts, a forgettable one for fans, coaches, and big-name players -- will be documented forever thanks to NFL Films' latest All or Nothing series.

Effectively, All or Nothing is a new spin on the popular Hard Knocks series with one major difference. This Amazon Prime exclusive doesn't just follow a team through training camp, as NFL Films gets inside team meetings and games throughout the entire season.

The 2017 Cowboys yielded just nine wins, creating more than enough drama for television along the way. This was yet another season where Head Coach Jason Garrett's job was put on the line, although early reviews of All or Nothing (available to the public April 27th) paint Garrett as the lead antagonist.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett drops at least 10 f-bombs in the first show. Before the Broncos game in Week 2: "You want to quiet the game down? Hand the f---in' ball to 21 and knock their ass off the ball.

Watching the Titanic and expecting a different outcome is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment, as will be reliving a frustrating season in Dallas. By the end though, Cowboys fans will have a much better understanding of where the 2018 team stands - particularly in the eyes of a Head Coach they looked to fire once again this offseason.

Jason Garrett has long been described as a "players coach", one that his Cowboys teams want to fight for. Whether or not the Cowboys have gone too far in constantly churning their roster in Garrett's image for little end result will likely be determined this season.

This is a Head Coach that has been in place for the departure of DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo (serving as a pivotal decision maker for the Cowboys choosing Dak Prescott as their full-time starter in 2016), and most recently Dez Bryant.

An added bonus to All or Nothing will likely be that it captures Dez Bryant's final moments with the Cowboys.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Garrett to Zeke at practice after Broncos loss: "I want that f---in guy at Ohio St. who was running down on that kickoff. Remember after you played your 2nd play in the NFL against the Seahawks, you came over to me and you said, 'Give me the f---in ball!'

The Cowboys did not just lose Ezekiel Elliott in 2017 (serving his six game suspension), and All or Nothing will remind every one of just how much talent came off the field for Garrett's team last season. Coming out at the same time as the Dallas hosted 2018 Draft, Cowboys fans can build their excitement for a 2018 triumph back to the playoffs.

Anything short of this likely costs Jason Garrett his job, although everything he means to the Dallas Cowboys will be put in better-than-ever perspective by All or Nothing.

David Helman on Twitter

I don't wanna spoil the "All or Nothing" TV show more than what you've already seen or heard. But if you watch it, you're going to get a great look at: 1. Jason Garrett's actual persona 2. The dynamics of Dez's relationship within the team 3.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys “All or Nothing” Series to Shed New Light on HC Jason Garrett" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Cowboys en Español: Definiendo la Urgencia por un WR este NFL Draft

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Pre-Playoff 7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft
Andrew Dieb / USA TODAY Sports

El líder en recepciones de anotación en la historia de la franquicia más emblemática en la historia de los Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant, ha visto su tiempo portando la estrella solitaria llegar a su fin. Un fin, por cierto, que dejó a algunos cuantos aficionados, administrativos y jugadores en un estado de descontento.

Por más que me gustaría entrar a detalle de si el veterano receptor merecía ser recortado o no, si el equipo tomó la decisión correcta o no, el NFL Draft está a menos de una semana de distancia. Así que, en vez de hablar de lo que pudo haber sido, hablemos de lo que puede ser. 

Los Cowboys, a pesar de ser conocidos como una potencia ofensiva en las últimas temporadas, necesitan a un wide receiver. Sí, Dallas consiguió al agente libre de Jacksonville Allen Hurns, pero siendo honestos, no parece ser suficiente talento para un equipo que quiere construirle una ofensiva amigable a su quarterback, Dak Prescott.

Si el roster sólo tiene a Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown y Deonte Thompson; se necesita un WR. Incluso con Bryant en el equipo, se necesitaba un receptor. Lo cual lleva a la gran pregunta: ¿el despido de Dez significa que a los Cowboys les urge aún más un receptor? ¿Significa que definitivamente buscarán mejorar la posición con su selección de primera ronda?

Algo queda claro, la administración sabía lo que sucedería. Dez Bryant no estaba en los planes para el 2018 y claramente sus planes para abordar el NFL Draft no se verán cambiados por la partida del apasionado #88.

Estas estrategias se plantean por meses y más meses. Los Cowboys se han fijado mucho en la posición de receptor, desde que fue el NFL Combine hasta las visitas privadas que toman lugar a lo largo de Abril.

Es un hecho que tienen en la mira a los receptores. Claramente, quieren añadir más talento a la ofensiva para Dak Prescott.

En una clase de prospectos que cuenta con bastantes receptores, otra pregunta naturalmente, es ¿lo harán en primera ronda o más tarde? Me sorprendería demasiado si el equipo espera hasta la tercera ronda. Sin duda, es algo que tienen que atender con una de sus dos primeros picks.

 1

En el primero, la selección #19 global, podrían encontrar a uno de los tres mejores receptores del año. Calvin Ridley, de Alabama; Courtland Sutton, de SMU; DJ Moore, de Maryland. Si buscarán el "remplazo" de Dez Bryant en uno de estos tres jugadores, definitivamente será uno de estos tres prospectos.

Todos tienen lo suyo. Sutton es un receptor estilo "X" (como Dez Bryant) mientras Ridley, por ejemplo, es claramente un receptor "Z" (como Terrance Williams). DJ Moore brinda un poco de versatilidad entre ambos roles, y podría ser un jugador de impacto en cualquiera que se le juegue, aunque probablemente brillaría más si se le permitiera jugar como un "Z."

Afortunadamente para Dallas, el recién firmado Allen Hurns también es capaz de tomar cualquiera de los dos roles. Esto le da flexibilidad a los Cowboys de tomar al que más les guste, o en su defecto, a quien esté disponible.

En mi segundo Mock Draft del año, simulé a Courtland Sutton, producto de SMU a los Cowboys con el pick #19. Los coaches de la Estrella Solitaria han mostrado bastante interés por el producto local y no me sorprendería nada verlos aterrizar un receptor como él la próxima semana.

Ahora bien, si Dallas decide esperar hasta la segunda ronda para conseguir a un par de manos confiables, encontrarán talento. Definitivamente. James Washington, DJ Chark, Michael Gallup, Anthony Miller, entre otros podrían estar ahí en la selección #50 (segunda ronda).

Cowboys Draft: Should Cowboys Consider WR James Washington?

Oklahoma State WR James Washington (Rob Ferguson / USA TODAY Sports)

Si el equipo quiere tomar talento para otra posición en la primera, lo podrán hacer sabiendo que encontrarán un WR talentoso al día siguiente.

Afortunadamente, esta ofensiva se basa en Ezekiel Elliott y el juego terrestre detrás de la línea ofensiva. Los receptores son importantes, por supuesto, pero no es necesario tener algo tan dominante como lo fue Dez Bryant en el 2013 y el 2014, por ejemplo.

Por ahora, sólo falta esperar como abordan los Cowboys esta necesidad la próxima semana cuando el NFL Draft del 2018 tome lugar en el mismo lugar en el que este equipo juega sus partidos e intenta pelear, el AT&T Stadium.

Con un poco de suerte, estrenaran el campo este 2018 obteniendo su primer victoria del año la próxima semana.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Definiendo la Urgencia por un WR este NFL Draft" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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