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Could Cowboys Release CB Nolan Carroll Before Week 1?

Jess Haynie

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Could Cowboys Release CB Nolan Carroll Before Week 1?

Back in March, Dallas signed veteran cornerback Nolan Carroll to help cover the departures of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in free agency. A few months later, the Cowboys are flush with young corners and Carroll just got arrested with a DWI charge. Could these landscape changes lead to Carroll being released before the season opener?

Nolan Carroll

CB Nolan Carroll (24) in summer practice.

Dallas signed Carroll before drafting corners Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Marquez White last April. Along with second-year stud Anthony Brown, this gives the Cowboys four young corners they will likely want to keep on the roster. They also have veteran Orlando Scandrick, who is still expected to have a major role.

Obviously, counting on three rookies is dangerous for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Brown's success in 2016 could easily deceive you into thinking that these new players will also hit the ground running, but history says that the cornerback position is one of the toughest for kids to make the professional transition.

Even if the Cowboys are fortunate enough to have all of three rookies work out, injuries can quickly change things. Just one of these players going down in training camp or preseason could make Carroll a much bigger need. Given his track record, Orlando Scandrick is always a prime candidate for some sort of medical calamity.

This isn't to say that Dallas is actively looking to dump Carroll. There is no indication of that at this time, although Jason Garrett did call his DWI a "disappointing situation." The Cowboys have shown loyalty to players with even more serious infractions, though.

All of this aside, you may be thinking that there's no way Dallas would release Carroll given his contract and the $3 million in guaranteed money he received. History says otherwise.

Jasper Brinkley

LB Jasper Brinkley

The Jasper Brinkley Paradigm

Cutting a significant free agent the same year that he was signed is unusual, but not unprecedented. In fact, it happened just two years ago for the Cowboys.

In 2015, Dallas signed veteran linebacker Jasper Brinkley because of roster uncertainty. They weren't sure if they could re-sign Rolando McClain or what might happen in the draft, plus Sean Lee was coming off another major knee injury.

Even with McClain having to start the year suspended, the Cowboys felt good enough about their young players that Brinkley became expendable. They paid out his $2 million in guaranteed money and released him a few days prior to the season opener. Brinkley went from a potential starter to being cut just a few months later.

The difference between Brinkley and Nolan Carroll's money is just $1 million. That's not much in the grand scheme of things of the NFL, and especially given Carroll's DWI incident. His value could be severely lessened by missed games.

Nolan Carroll

How many games will Carroll's DWI cost him in 2017? (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Nolan Carroll Suspension Likely

The general minimum for a first-time DUI/DWI offense is a two-game suspension. However, the league has the freedom to impose greater penalties depending on the circumstances of each individual case.

Safety T.J. McDonald was recently hit with an eight-game suspension for a first-time DUI offense. Prescription medication was involved, though, and may have prompted the harder judgment than the typical alcohol-related offense.

At this point, there are no unusual or extreme details from Nolan Carroll's case. There is no reason to think he will get more than the standard two-game ban, but even that could be enough to kill his value for the Cowboys.

As he was when they originally signed him, Nolan will remain an insurance policy at least through July and August. Dallas will have to see where their young players are after preseason, and who's still healthy at cornerback, before making any final decisions. There is no financial incentive to release Carroll before then, anyway.

Given everything that's happened since he signed, Nolan Carroll's security is far less than most new free agents. We'll have to wait and see if it's enough to cost him his job before it even starts.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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4 Comments
  • Kevin Black

    If I were Nolan, I’d be more worried if I got injured. While his DWI is amazingly irresponsible on his part, it’s not a injury. His veteran status helps with such a young secondary. Even if he no longer starts, his experience at the position helps a ton for the rookies. Brinkley, no matter what his insurance level was, can’t measure up to Lee in experience and wisdom to pass on to the younger players. Just because of that, I wouldn’t equate the two the same.

  • Travis Diggs

    Its a possibility I wouldnt be surprised, the cowboys typically carry 5 cbs and 4 safeties. Scandrick, Brown, Awuzie, and Lewis are locks. Do they carry 6 ? Probably not, Carroll will have to really earn his spot because they may choose to go with White and just cut ties with Carroll.

  • Assassin

    With Lewis still not being signed and potential legal issues for him, I would be surprised if the Cowboys do anything with Carroll other than sit back and wait.

  • John Williams

    I was at one point thinking this was not very likely, but with Awuzie making the plays he’s making, I see a scenario where Dallas either releases him to have that roster spot elsewhere or tries to trade him for a conditional late round pick.

    If…

    Awuzie plays well in the first two games. I think it’s likely that if he holds up against the pass happy and 3- wide happy Giants, he’s a starter the rest of the year.

Game Notes

Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense

Brian Martin

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense 1

After watching the Houston Texans defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the Week 5, I decided to lower my expectations heading into this week's matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After all, the Cowboys offense has been one of the worst in the league this season and they were going up against the top-ranked Jaguars defense. Boy was I surprised at what took place Sunday afternoon.

I don't know how you started off your football Sunday, but I decided to watch the Texans take on the Buffalo Bills. I didn't have much of a choice since I live in the Houston area and it was the only game on TV, but I still wanted to see how they played after beating my Cowboys in overtime a week prior. I was disgusted at what I saw and unfortunately took it out on my cold beverage.

The Texans looked nothing like the team we saw against the Cowboys. They were pretty much dominated by the Buffalo Bills, which I'm ashamed to say put me in a rather foul mood ahead of kickoff time in Dallas. I was expecting another sloppy performance, but what we all witnessed was anything but that.

The Dallas Cowboys offense pretty much moved the ball at will against the Jacksonville Jaguars top-ranked defense. I don't think anyone could have predicted that, especially considering the Jaguars were the best overall defense in the league and where the top-ranked in the passing game as well. I thought if the Cowboys were going to have any kind of chance it was against their 14th ranked run defense.

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

Well, the Cowboys ended up dominating on the offensive side of the ball and completely exploited the Jaguars defense both on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Dak Prescott, Running Back Ezekiel Elliott, and Wide Receiver Cole Beasley all raised the level of their game and were big contributors to the 40 points the offense put on the board.

Prescott may have thrown for little less than 200 yards, but he was able to connect with Beasley nine times for 101 yards and two touchdowns. With all of the struggles in the passing game for the Cowboys, these two need to continue to connect like this.

Where Prescott was the most impactful against the Jaguars was with his feet. He was really close to being the Cowboys leading rusher with 82 yards and a TD on just 11 carries, but Zeke ended up surpassing him in the end with 106 yards and a TD on 24 carries. Regardless, the Jaguars defense didn't have an answer for Prescott's feet Sunday afternoon.

I have hope once again that this offense is clicking, but I've gone down this road once before. The Dallas Cowboys are still right in the mix of things in the NFC East division and will have a chance to distance themselves next week when they take on the Washington Redskins.

Now, here's the difficult part of all of this. The Cowboys now need to carry over this impressive offensive performance against the Jaguars into next week against the rival Redskins. We've all seen them riding on a high before this season, only to crash back down to earth the following week. They can't afford to do that with a division foe up next on the schedule.

What did you think about the Dallas Cowboys offense against the Jaguars?



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Game Notes

DAL 40, JAX 7: Cowboys Answer The Bell In Dominant Win

Kevin Brady

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DAL 40, JAX 7: Cowboys Answer The Bell In Dominant Win

It seems like a pattern is developing here during the 2018 Dallas Cowboys season.

For a team and an offense which has looked absolutely horrid on the road, the Cowboys appear to be one of the better teams in the conference when playing at home.

That trend continued today as the Cowboys dominated the now 3-3 Jacksonville Jaguars from start to finish, en route to a 40-7 home victory over last year's AFC semi-finalist.

Quarterback Dak Prescott had possibly his best game of the season, making up for his poor performance in Houston a week ago. While Prescott only threw for 183 yards on 17 completions, it was his 82 rushing yards on 11 carries which put this offense over the top. Plus, the Cowboys were in "kill the clock" mode for basically the entire second half.

The real story here was the offensive line, however. The o-line which has been heavily criticized by the fan base during the season, and has shouldered a heavy amount of the blame for the poor offensive production, finally stepped up and played to their standards this afternoon. Prescott had great pass protection all day, which was evident in his passing numbers and Cole Beasley's receiving performance.

Dallas is now 3-3 on the season, tied with the defending champ Eagles and a half game behind Washington for first place in the NFC East. Next week the Cowboys have a huge game in Washington with first place on the line.

Other Notes

  • Cole Beasley proved once again why he's worthy of the pay day he'll get (probably somewhere else) this offseason. Beasley caught 9 balls for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns, dominating man coverage all game long.
  • These linebackers are legit. Both Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith were all over the field today, anchoring a group which was impressive yet again.
  • Brett Maher simply can't miss, going 4 for 4 on field goal attempts including a 55 yarder in the second half.
  • Ezekiel Elliott went over 100 yards rushing again this week, and it was somehow still a quiet day for him in the grand scheme of things.
  • Byron Jones was the best cornerback on either team today, deflecting 3 passes and staying sticky to the Jacksonville wide outs all day. He's been incredible this season and Sunday's game was no different.
  • Oh, and Randy Gregory sack alert! Party!



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Player News

David Irving Ready to “Be Put Through Ringer” in First Action with Cowboys

Sean Martin

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David Irving Ready to "Be Put Through Ringer" in First Action with Cowboys
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

The Dallas Cowboys patience in Defensive Tackle David Irving is set to pay off on Sunday, as Irving will play in his first game of 2018 after being suspended for the first four weeks. Irving was eligible to play last week in the Cowboys overtime loss at the Texans, but did not make the trip to Houston as he dealt with off-field concerns.

The Cowboys defense has performed admirably without Irving, but in a needed game against the Jaguars, it could be up to this defense to win the game for Dallas - something a disruptive player like Irving has the ability to do on any given snap.

While the plan is for the Cowboys to ease Irving into this game, his impact from the DT position might be enough to leave him on the field as much as needed in a tight game.

Kate Hairopoulos on Twitter

Irving said the coaches want to play him 10-15 snaps Sunday. "That's what they say now but if it's a close game, I know good and well Marinelli is going to be sending me out there & putting me through the ringer. I'm ready for it.

Like a good left-handed pitcher in baseball or three-point specialist in basketball, the Cowboys have afforded Irving a long leash despite his unreliability thanks to a 6'7" and 290 pound frame that makes him a menace for opposing guards.

The 3T-DT position is a pivotal one in Marinelli's scheme, and one the Cowboys have afforded Irving every opportunity to fill, yielding results whenever the former Chiefs practice squad steal suits up.

Filling in for Irving through the Cowboys first five games of the season has been reliable veteran Tyrone Crawford. Expected to play at defensive end this season, Crawford has recorded 14 tackles and one sack from the 3T position.

With Irving back in the "Hot Boyz" rotation, it will be interesting to see if Crawford once again goes out to right defensive end, where Randy Gregory has struggled to make the most out of his own return from suspension.

Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli is not expecting similar struggles from Irving, prepared to put him "through the ringer".

Where Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard calls the Cowboys defense, Marinelli is still one of the most respected coaches at The Star, demanding a lot of his defensive line in particular. It's the pairing of Marinelli's motivation and Irving's intangibles that have the Cowboys defense on the brink of taking another step toward's one of the league's best.

With their own offense set to line up against perhaps the best overall defense in Jacksonville on Sunday, Irving's return is just in time. The NFC East is far from out of reach for the Cowboys, who will be at full strength on defense once Sean Lee returns as early as next week.

The Cowboys have never lost a game in which Lee, Irving, and Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence play at least 20% of the team's snaps on defense. Perhaps this stat will have to be adjusted to include rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in short time, but for now the Cowboys are hours away from fighting for a 3-3 start to 2018, doing so with one of their most important defenders back in the lineup.

Tell us what you think about "David Irving Ready to “Be Put Through Ringer” in First Action with Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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