When you see or hear of the Golden State Warriors the first thing that comes to mind is probably super-team or dynasty. While that is true, that's not exactly what I'm getting at. Last year the Dallas Cowboys made a lot of noise in the NFL.
It started with taking a running back with the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft, Ezekiel Elliott. Some fans absolutely loved the pick, along with most of the media that cover them, but some fans and a lot of the national media absolutely hated the pick.
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For those who don't know him, that's @VoiceOfTheStar (Pat Walker) when Zeke was selected in the 2016 NFL draft. He thought it would go another way (Jalen Ramsey), as did many fans.
How does that compare to the Golden State Warriors?
Well when the Warriors are doing good, which seems to be happening on a regular basis the past few years, the haters, hate. You'll hear a lot of "Kevin Durant isn't even that good" and "Draymond Green is a thug," or "Steph Curry is overrated."
Cowboys Nation hears similar stories surrounding most of their young talented players.
It seems that even finishing the season 13-3 and winning the NFC East can't shut some of the haters up. When you look at why the Cowboys were so successful last year you have to turn to the two rookies, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, that's obviously no surprise.
Dak Prescott was the leagues Rookie Of The Year and Ezekiel Elliott won the league rushing title.
You would think that having so much success from both player's rookie years would earn them some respect from opposing fans and the media, but it didn't. Even after the performances Prescott and Elliott put on in 2016, people are still using words such as overrated, system-player, or mediocre to describe both players.
You can't spell "Dak Prescott sucks" without Dak Prescott.
Not surprised, considering the source.
Fellow NFL running back calls out Ezekiel Elliott as overrated https://t.co/rnBU0CaHeS
Somehow, someway after two NBA Championships in the last three years these same words surround the Golden State Warriors.
Why am I using Golden State as an example?
Two reasons. One, because when a team -- no matter the sport -- is either so loved or so hated by so many people, false opinions follow said team no matter how much they succeed.
And two, the success of said team can drive teams, General Managers, and even fans crazy.
From a personal stand point I think the Warriors are little bit overrated.
In every professional sport there is some sort of copy cat mentality in all of these owner's and general manager's heads. If another team does something and succeeds, a different team is going to try to do that same thing just to beat you. If you're still unsure where I'm going with this, maybe this will help.
All 32 teams saw how effective Ezekiel Elliott was last year and all 32 teams I think began to realize how important a good running game is.
The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't hesitate when they were on the clock with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft. The Jaguars had plenty of holes on both sides of the ball, but took Leonard Fournette, a player who a lot of people called a "bad pick."
We can even look in the Cowboys' own division to see how they are already driving some of these teams crazy. All three teams in the division spent a lot of money and multiple draft picks on ways to target the Dallas Cowboys' weakness, their defense.
- The Washington Redskins signed Terrelle Pryor and Brian Quick early in free agency after having one of the worst defenses in the league last year.
- The Philadelphia Eagles did almost the same thing, signing Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith via free agency and adding Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson via the draft.
- The New York Giants? Same thing. The Giants signed Brandon Marshall in free agency and used their first round draft pick on Evan Engram, a pass catching tight end.
So instead of getting better at the things each team struggled at last year, it seems to me that each team was thinking something along the lines of "how can we beat the Dallas Cowboys?" on their mind going into free agency and the draft.
Very similar to what is going on in the NBA right now.
Not long ago the NBA was all about the big man. DeMarcus Cousins, Zach Randolph, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan used to be the faces of the NBA, and what all teams wished they had. Now, all the NBA wants is a guy who can shoot threes and handle the ball. The center position in basketball is almost nonexistent and it's all about who can shoot the basketball.
Why is that? Because, that's what's worked for the Warriors.
Having five guys on the floor for a majority of the game who aren't limited to where they can shoot. Having Draymond Green play as the "center" but taking shots from beyond the arch more than an easy layup.
And the NFL is doing the same thing.
A lot of teams are looking at the Cowboys and trying to copy what they have done. Drafting offensive lineman and running backs extremely high and signing and drafting players that can help you beat the teams within your division.
It's an interesting way to look at it if you ask me, and some people will say "the Cowboys haven't won anything yet to be compared to the Warriors," but how teams are implementing what the Cowboys have been doing for years, and the amount of negativity that is thrown at teams for simply being good sure does raise the question,
Are the Dallas Cowboys the Golden State Warriors of the NFL?
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.
Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.
A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.
Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.
First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:
- Earl Thomas
- Landon Collins
- Lamarcus Joyner
- Tyrann Mathieu
- Adrian Amos
- Clayton Geathers
- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
- Glover Quinn
- Tre Boston
- Kenny Vaccaro
- George Iloka
- Jimmie Ward
- Adrian Phillips
Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.
With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.
Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.
Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.
The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.
Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?
Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors
What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.
Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?
As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.
Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.
Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.
That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.
However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.
Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.
Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.
The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.
Just something to think about...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.
As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.
Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.
These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.
Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.
Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.
Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.
Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.
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