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Cowboys Pay Highest NFC East Trade Price, Are They Most Improved Team?

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Pay Highest Trade Price in NFC East, Are They Most Improved Team?

The great bye week mystery for the Dallas Cowboys is whether or not they remain in contention for the NFC East. At 3-4 off a road loss to the division-leading Washington Redskins, the Cowboys certainly have their work cut out for them, also trailing the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

All three teams made notable trades before Tuesday's deadline. The Cowboys set the market price at wide receiver by acquiring Amari Cooper for a first round pick in 2019. Prepared to trade a second round pick for Cooper, the Eagles settled for pending free agent Golden Tate - sending a third round pick to the Lions for his services.

With two new big name receivers in the division, the Redskins decided to bolster an already tough defense in their trade. Losing a fourth round pick in the deal, Washington added former Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Not only did the Cowboys make the first trade out of these three teams, but they also made the first coach firing, determined to salvage this season at the midpoint by remedying their offseason mistakes of not doing more at wide receiver and hiring Paul Alexander in the first place.

Desperate football teams often win important games, and the Cowboys are certainly desperate for these moves to work out. While Tate and Clinton-Dix will play in the final year of their contract with their new teams, at 30 and 25 years old respectively, the Cowboys are building their passing offense around Cooper starting as soon as Monday night against the Titans.

The 24-year old receiver, already with two 1,000 yard seasons, is under contract through 2019.

Will McClay Breaks Down Cowboys Vision for New WR Amari Cooper 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper, Cole Beasley

By far the biggest deficiency on the Cowboys roster through their first seven games was their passing game. Currently ranked fourth in rush yards per game, third in total defense, third in pass yards allowed per game, ninth in rush yards allowed, and 29th in pass yards per game deep into Quarterback Dak Prescott's all-important year three, an infusion of talent was necessary at WR.

The same cannot be said about the Eagles with their addition of Golden Tate. Lacking the same trademark aggressiveness that carried them on a miraculous championship run a year ago, the Eagles only win in their last four games came against the Giants before beating the Jaguars in London on Sunday morning.

The Eagles will return home with their 24-18 win over the Jaguars to prepare for the Cowboys at home during the bye. Tate should factor into their game plan heavily, as he's already menaced this Dallas secondary in week four with the Lions.

Tate's eight receptions for 132 yards and two scores against the Cowboys are a season high compared to any Eagles receiver. Alshon Jeffery comes the closest in comparison with eight catches for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Titans.

Dallas Cowboys Pay Highest Trade Price in NFC East, Are They Most Improved Team? 1

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott

The Cowboys are as committed to Prescott as the Eagles are in Carson Wentz, and both young quarterbacks have new targets to add potency on offense. For the price, Tate should be a great addition to an Eagles team that must create more big plays. The exact same can be said about Cooper, hopefully for the foreseeable future to a Cowboys team willing to make this trade hours after their loss at the Redskins.

Last but anything but least are those Redskins, who deserve respect as a legitimate threat in both the division and conference. Fourth in total defense with the second fewest turnovers in the league, the Redskins don't beat themselves on offense while lining up a stout defense that's now even harder to attack through the air.

With 14 career interceptions and three forced fumbles, Clinton-Dix will fit nicely with D.J. Swearinger as the Redskins pairing at safety.

Dallas Cowboys Pay Highest Trade Price in NFC East, Are They Most Improved Team? 2

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Cowboys Nation will surely remember their own team's pursuit of a different safety from Seattle this offseason. With Earl Thomas on IR and the Cowboys addressing bigger needs, the truth for the Redskins is that Clinton-Dix doesn't drastically improve their team. Harsh reality for the Cowboys and Eagles may be that they don't need to, looking to improve on a 5-2 record without another NFC East game until Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium against the Cowboys.

Thus, I think it's fair to say that the Cowboys are the most improved team heading out of their bye week in the NFC East race. Jason Garrett's team may have also began the season with at least the second most talented roster, making their 3-4 start not only disappointing but potentially too big of a deficit to overcome.

With a significantly younger roster than both the Eagles and Redskins on average, the Cowboys trade for Amari Cooper is a way to extend their window into the present - precisely what the Eagles were able to do a year ago, with a Lombardi trophy to show for it.

The Eagles and Redskins have yet to face off this season, nor have the Cowboys and Eagles as a lot of meaningful football is left to be played around the new-look NFC East.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Pay Highest NFC East Trade Price, Are They Most Improved Team?" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.


Dallas Cowboys

Despite Changes, Cowboys Offense Still Runs Through Ezekiel Elliott

Jess Haynie



Ezekiel Elliott, Rams

We've talked a lot this offseason about the changes at Offensive Coordinator and slot receiver, or how Jason Witten's return will impact the tight end position. But while all of these will impact the Dallas Cowboys' offense in 2019, the constant feature remains Running Back Ezekiel Elliott and the rushing attack.

From 2016 to 2018, since the Cowboys drafted Elliott, Dallas has ranked 1st, 3rd, and 10th among NFL teams in "run vs. pass" play calls. That's only logical; you don't spend a fourth-overall pick on a RB and then not make him the featured player in your offense.

Zeke has certainly rewarded Dallas' decision; Elliott has led the league in total rushing two out of three years, and he led in yards-per-game in 2017 while dealing with his suspension.

Leaning on Elliott has been smart business based on his effectiveness, plus the investment in the offensive line over the last several years.

Dallas has now sunk three first-round picks (Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin), one second (Connor Williams), and now two thirds (Chaz Green and Connor McGovern) on building up their front wall. They've spent a lot of money to keep their All-Pro guys around, plus La'el Collins.

Some would try to paint the run-heavy approach as how the team is trying to hide the weaknesses of Dak Prescott at quarterback. But in 2014, with DeMarco Murray at RB and Tony Romo at QB, the Cowboys were still 3rd in the league in rush vs. pass attempts.

This isn't about Zeke or Dak, or any other specific player. This about a team philosophy that starts at the top with Jason Garrett, and that isn't going to change even with Kellen Moore taking over as the new Offensive Coordinator.

Dallas Cowboys: Ranking Top 5 Most Indispensable Players 4

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

We're all excited to see what new wrinkles comes from getting rid of Scott Linehan. We highly anticipate the development of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in the offense, coupled with the addition of Randall Cobb. We're salivating at what Blake Jarwin might become under the tutelage of the great Jason Witten.

Heck, maybe we'll see fullback Jamize Olawale's receiving skills put to more use. Perhaps gadget guys like Tavon Austin or rookie Tony Pollard will be deployed in more creative ways.

And yes, Dak Prescott's growth is another major factor in Dallas' 2019 success. It's especially interesting, and even concerning, as talks are ongoing about his long-term contract.

But make no mistake, this is still the Ezekiel Elliott show. Even if a few more of his carries become receptions in Moore's scheme, Zeke should still get the lion's share of the touches.

That's why this week's news about his incident in Las Vegas is so troubling. It probably won't lead to a suspension, but we saw what happened in 2017 when Elliott was missing for over a third of the season.

While Dallas should be better able to withstand losing Zeke now than it was two years ago, it may still be more than Prescott, Cooper, and the rest could handle. It definitely wouldn't put the Cowboys in good position to compete for a Super Bowl.

In the end, the 2019 will still come down to how well Dallas runs the ball. It's the engine; nothing else matters if the rushing game doesn't set everyone else up for success.

Don't ever take it for granted. This is still Ezekiel Elliott's offense.

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Dallas Cowboys

What Would a Successful Season Mean for Kellen Moore’s Future?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Kellen Moore

Out of every chess piece moved by the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, the decision to name 30-year old Kellen Moore might be the most interesting one. Not only that, but it could be the one that makes the biggest impact on the team. After all, the Cowboys are ready to go talent wise.

With Kellen Moore taking up a new role, it's intriguing to imagine what a successful season would mean for his future with the Dallas Cowboys. Truth be told, Moore is in a pretty fortunate position to debut as an offensive coordinator. He'll be driving a unit full of talented players with almost no weak links. Last year, it wasn't the lack of quality players lined up that had the offense struggling throughout the season, but the guy in charge.

At first, the philosophy of not needing a #1 wide receiver clearly blew up on the Cowboys face. The passing game in Dallas needed a spark and they didn't find it until they traded a first rounder for Amari Cooper. Cooper's impact on the team was clear right away as he put on impressive performances on a weekly basis.

But even when Cooper was at his best, the offense still presented relevant struggles. Despite getting more first downs, the Cowboys still had trouble scoring touchdowns when in the red zone and kept leaving points on the field.

Although he's been a controversial conversation among members of Cowboys Nation, there are a few reasons to be excited about what Kellen Moore can bring to the table as a young offensive coordinator. Ever since he declared for the NFL Draft out of Boise State, where he ran a very complex offense on his way to become the QB with most wins in NCAA history, he was seen by many as an extremely smart prospect. Many expected him to have a mediocre career as a player, but saw him as a potential coach down the line.

Now it's his chance to prove the world just how smart he is and his potential as a coach. He will not only be proving it to the Cowboys organization, but all of the NFL and college football teams. Don't forget what NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah mentioned a few months ago.

Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter

I've mentioned this before- Kellen Moore is a rising star and he'll be in the mix for HC gigs (CFB or NFL) in the near future.

With a great group of talent at his disposal, it's fair to imagine Moore having a pretty successful "rookie" season at a major coaching position. If he indeed manages to turn heads with the Dallas Cowboys offense in 2019, what does that mean for his future?

In a league that's turning to the young offensive-minded coaches thanks to guys like Sean McVay, is it possible one team decides to pull the trigger and make him an offer for a head coaching gig? It certainly would seem premature, but it's still a possibility in the NFL, where teams have become increasingly impatient with their coaches.

I definitely wouldn't be surprised if next offseason, we're concerned about another team (college or NFL) trying to snatch Moore off the Cowboys. I insist in pointing out this would be a premature decision if it does happen, since Moore has very little experience, but looking at the trend in the NFL it certainly could happen.

This might be the most important year in Kellen Moore's young career. For now, let's hope he does a good job leading Dak Prescott in his fourth year as a professional player and an offense that has a solid OL and a pretty good set of skill players.

Tell me what you think about "What Would a Successful Season Mean for Kellen Moore’s Future?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Dallas Cowboys

Connor Williams Working as Left Tackle in Cowboys Practice

Jess Haynie



Connor Williams

Second-year guard Connor Williams has been working as the Cowboys' left tackle during practice this week. While this isn't the plan for him in 2019, it does provide a glimpse into potential uses for Williams down the road and how Dallas might handle future offensive line moves.

Using Connor at LT this week has been a matter of necessity. The top players on that depth chart, Tyron Smith and Cameron Fleming, were not participating for other reasons.

Todd Archer on Twitter

With Tyron Smith getting a vet day and Cam Fleming not practicing because of a bruised shin, Connor Williams worked at left tackle Wednesday. He said it was his first left tackle snaps since he was at Texas. He said it felt like riding a bike after a little bit.

Indeed, Williams spent three years at left tackle in college. It was the last position he'd played before being drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft by Dallas, who immediately moved him to guard.

Connor started 10 of 13 games at guard last season. He played mostly on the left side, starting Weeks 1-9, before getting injured. Xavier Su'a-Filo played well enough in his absence that Williams didn't get the starting job back when he was healthy. However, when Zack Martin had to miss a few games at the end of the year, Connor started a right guard for those two weeks.

When Martin returned for the playoffs, Williams was back as the starting left guard in both postseason games.

Tyron Smith and Cam Fleming will be your starter and backup at left tackle next year. But for 2020 and beyond, Connor Williams' ability to play tackle creates some interesting possibilities.

La'el Collins will be an unrestricted free agent next year. Fleming will still have one year left on his deal and Dallas just spent a third-round pick on the versatile Connor McGovern. Throw in that Williams can play some tackle, and it seems as if they're covering bases for Collins eventual departure.

We could very well see a starting lineup in 2020 with McGovern at LG and Williams at RT. Another possibility is that Fleming starts at RT and Williams stays at guard, but can be moved to tackle if needed.

If nothing else, it's nice to know that Dallas has options. We may never see Connor Williams play a regular season snap at left tackle, but versatility is a great asset. It can greatly increase a player's value, and give his team some leverage and flexibility in roster management.

For the Cowboys, it does make you wonder what the future holds for the offensive line.

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