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

Sean Martin

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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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, 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 wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Game Notes

Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.

However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.

Taco Charlton

That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.


With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.

One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.

Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.

Tell me what you think about "Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3" 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

Cowboys’ Taryn Christion Gets Time at QB; More Coming?

Jess Haynie

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Taryn Christion

Last night was the first time we've seen Taryn Christion, the Dallas Cowboys' fourth quarterback on the current depth chart, actually playing the position in preseason. Could we see more of Christion at QB in this Thursday's finale, and at what point should Mike White be worried?

Signed just a few days before training camp began, Christion has been tried at running back, receiver, and various special teams units while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. But last week he started getting more time at quarterback, and last night's win over the Houston Texans saw him playing a few drives at QB to close the game out.

Sure, Taryn came in fourth behind White in the rotation. But that Dallas thought to give him reps in that game, the critical dress rehearsal game, is telling.

Jason Garrett doesn't get cute with rotations and playing time. He's old school, and there's meaning in every decision he makes about when and how guys get time in preseason.

Ironically, the decision came following Mike White's best preseason game this year. He went 6-of-9 for 56 yards and a touchdown, plus avoided any sacks or turnovers.


Rather than let White keep building on that, though, Dallas pulled him for Taryn Christion in the 4th quarter. It seemed as if the Cowboys were determined to get him some time at QB.

An even better showcase will come this Thursday night. The Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final preseason game; we know Dak Prescott won't be playing, and the team may even protect Cooper Rush with limited time on the field.

Dallas likely intends to give Christion some significant playing time on Thursday. And to help make that easier, they played him last night to get some of those butterflies out of his system.

No, Taryn Christion probably isn't going to make the 53-man roster. Neither is Mike White, for that matter. It feels like the battle for the number-three QB is more about the practice squad now.

But whatever the case, the battle seems to be heating up. Dallas appears more invested in Christion now as a quarterback than at any other point since he arrived; some added intrigue for Thursday's final preseason game.


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Game Notes

HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game

Matthew Lenix

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HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game 1

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.

The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.

Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.

The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.

Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.


Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.

Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.

Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.


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