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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

Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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DeMarcus Lawrence, Franchise Tags and Realities for Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for extending players under the franchise tag has come and gone last Monday, in a day in which none of the remaining tagged players reached an agreement with their respective teams. That includes Dallas Cowboy Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence, who's set to earn $17M in 2018.

The front office and the 26-year old defensive end failed to agree to a new contract before the season's start, but we saw that coming. After all, there was never a point in which we had the classic "X player and his team are close to a new deal" headline.

All of this makes the future of the Cowboys' promising "War Daddy" very uncertain. What lies a head of the player that put on an impressive show in 2018?

Since 2017 was Lawrence's breakout year, racking up 14.5 sacks trough the season, we have leaned towards the narrative of last season being his only good one. His performance last season was impressive and clearly his best one yet, but we tend to overlook 2015.

In his sophomore season, the only other year in which he has played 16 games, he finished the campaign with eight sacks and 35 tackles (55 combined). Really, the idea of 2017 being his only good year is not as accurate as we might think.

That being said, I think it's more likely that we see another great year from him this upcoming season than seeing a disappointing one. This, of course, will end up being the main thing that determines his future in Dallas.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys front office really took a risk by tagging Lawrence this offseason. #90 was reportedly asking for an average of $17M per year in his long-term contract, which is Olivier Vernon kind of money.

So what if he puts a similar season or an even better one? Lawrence and his agent could end up asking for even more money. Perhaps in the 18 or 20 million dollars per year range. If that ends up being the case, the team will find itself in a tough position when trying to reach an agreement with its promising pass rusher.

Which leads us to the possibility of seeing the Cowboys franchise tagging Lawrence for the second consecutive season. Dallas will already be negotiating a contract extension with QB Dak Prescott, and things will get complicated. Even more if they decide to pursue a big-time free agent in March, such as Earl Thomas.

It would make sense, from a financial perspective, to hand the tag twice in consecutive years to D-Law. However, it shouldn't be the priority. If he plays like he did in 2017, the front office will be more than wise to extend him for good.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Cowboys will have approximately $50.6M. Seemingly, the team's cap woes will be over soon.

Fortunately, Lawrence didn't become a headache by threatening to holdout for offseason programs and even training camp. However, don't expect that to happen if he finds himself under the tag next year.

Careers in the NFL are short, so DeMarcus will surely want to get paid. If he keeps it up, he'll deserve it. As much as he deserves it, though, football is a cold business. If the Jones need to tag him, they will.

Do you think the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence in 2019?

Tell me what you think about "Will DeMarcus Lawrence Be Franchise Tagged Again in 2019?" 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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Without Looming Suspension, RB Ezekiel Elliott Should Shine In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys en Español: 3

NFL Films typically does a good job of exposing some truths around NFL teams. Whether through "Hard Knocks" or Amazon's new "All or Nothing" series, these documentaries do an excellent job of giving fans an inside look of their favorite teams.

If anything was revealed through the Cowboys' All or Nothing series on their 2017 season, it's that Ezekiel Elliott's suspension weighed heavy on his mind all year.

The Pro Bowl running back did not look, act, or play like himself while awaiting decision on his incoming suspension. And, once it was finally announced he would serve the six games, the entire team collapsed in Atlanta.

Despite the clear and detrimental effects Elliott's suspension had on the Cowboys' season, Zeke still put up more-than-respectable numbers; rushing for almost 1,000 yards and averaging a league leading 98.3 yards per game.

Now, Ezekiel Elliott enters a season with no doubts about his own availability. Scott Linehan gets to coach an offense that knows they will have their best player for the entire season barring major injury. And, Jason Garrett can lead his team without addressing questions about Elliott's future day in and day out.What Workload is Ezekiel Elliott Prepared for in 2018? 1

Of course, these effects aren't quantifiable. We can't sit here and say that without the pressure of court appearances and suspensions that Elliott will be worth "X" amount of more yards and "Y" more touchdowns.

But I do believe we can say, without question, that playing with a clear mind and without a looming suspension will breed the type of production we saw from Zeke his rookie year.

We can say that Elliott has had a weight lifted off his shoulders, and could be looking for revenge on a league he feels did him wrong.

And, for the Cowboys sake, I hope this is true. Because they are going to need Ezekiel Elliott to be even better than he ever has been if they hope to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2018.



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Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

A sólo días de que los Dallas Cowboys aterricen en Oxnard, California para dar inicio a su training camp como todos los años, el equipo recibió excelentes noticias respecto a la selección de segunda ronda del 2015: Randy Gregory. Después de pasar todo el 2017 suspendido, el ala defensiva ha sido oficialmente reintegrado por la NFL.

Gregory, quien tuvo muchos problemas debido al uso de marihuana, ha pasado los últimos meses rehabilitándose para poder volver a vestir la estrella y volver al emparrillado. Los Cowboys, quienes siempre apoyaron a su joven jugador, sin duda estarán felices de verlo de vuelta en el equipo por motivos más allá que el football americano.

Sin duda alguna, antes de estar emocionados y felices por verlo en el campo intimidando a quarterbacks rivales, deberíamos estar alegres por el logro personal de Randy como un ser humano. Realmente hizo un esfuerzo consciente en un lugar en el que muchos se hubieran rendido y dejado sus sueños de ser parte de la NFL. Pero no lo hizo, y ahora, todos sus esfuerzos han valido la pena.

El siguiente paso en su lista por-hacer, es volver al campo y poco a poco, ganarse su puesto en el equipo y después, la titularidad. La última vez que vimos a Gregory en el campo, fue contra Philadelphia, en el final de temporada del 2016.

En este juego, Gregory mostró muchos destellos de lo que sería capaz de hacer semana tras semana en la liga y porque valió la pena nunca dejarlo ir, lo cual no hubiera tenido sentido hacer, dado que los Cowboys no les costaba nada (literalmente) mantenerlo en el equipo.

Sean Martin escribió un artículo recientemente en el que analiza este partido a fondo.

El potencial de Gregory es inmenso, suficiente incluso, para aventurarse a decir que se convertirá en el defensive end (ala defensiva) derecho antes de lo esperado. El reto más grande para el jugador de 25 años será regresar a una condición física óptima para la NFL.

Afortunadamente, a diferencia del 2016, Gregory no estará regresando a media temporada. Su llegada toma lugar justo a tiempo para el training camp, dándole tiempo para regresar a la forma en la que tiene que estar.

Una vez ahí, ¿qué tanto le tomará ganarse un rol más importante que el de Tyrone Crawford y Taco Charlton? A pesar de que prácticamente no lo hemos visto jugar en Dallas, sabemos el potencial que tiene para convertirse en un defensivo de suma importancia para los Cowboys.

Un año después de ver la mejor temporada en la carrera de DeMarcus Lawrence, los Cowboys tendrán el potencial de una estrella similar en el lado derecho de su línea defensiva. Gregory tiene una montaña que escalar para cumplir las expectativas de los aficionados, pero no será una sorpresa si lo logra.

Vaya, no olvidemos que si no fuera por sus problemas fuera del campo, hubiera sido seleccionado en el Top 10 del Draft del 2015. Tiene el potencial de conseguir diez sacks por temporada.

Con un poco de suerte, no nos equivocaremos en tenerle fe al jugador que ha tenido un gran viaje para llegar a este punto. El punto de ponerse el casco e ir a trabajar con su equipo.

Incluso si sólo llega a ser un jugador de rotación, sin duda será importante para el éxito del equipo. Entre DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Randy Gregory y el resto del talento que los Cowboys tienen en la línea defensiva, el equipo podría tener un frente de muy buena calidad.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Regreso de Randy Gregory" 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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