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Dallas Cowboys

Are Cowboys Rushing Jaylon Smith to Replace Anthony Hitchens?

Jess Haynie



Jaylon Smith

With linebacker Anthony Hitchens likely to miss half the season after a knee fracture, the Cowboys are working on solutions. Yesterday, our Sean Martin looked at the increased role veteran Justin Durant should be getting. However, it also appears that young Jaylon Smith will be impacted by Hitchens' absence.

Consider the following reports that came out of the Cowboys' Tuesday practices:

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys working nickel defense and Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith on the field at LB.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Not sure if this is new news or not, but Jaylon Smth participated in yesterday's walkthrough without a brace on his foot.

We are all understandably excited at the idea of Jaylon Smith, who we've waited for for over a year, to have a big role in the 2017 defense. Hopefully these developments are based on natural progression and have nothing to do with the increased need, and perhaps a little desperation, following Anthony Hitchens' injury.

Consider the following comment from Stephen Jones today, when asked if Jaylon could be starting now with Hitchens out:

“It could be, but it definitely will cause him to have an accelerated approach to how this year starts for him. So, yes I think it’s going to be more activity, more snaps for him right off the bat.”

The phrase that gives me pause there is "accelerated approach." It would be easy for the team, and for Jaylon himself, to start pushing the envelope on his recovery given recent developments. Hitchens being out compounds with the possibility that Damien Wilson will be suspended at some point for his assault arrest in July. Plans to ease Smith back into football may be getting altered for the wrong reasons.

The only reason Jaylon should be getting more work is because his body is ready for it. An eager player may not be the best judge, nor coaches who are anxious to win. Hopefully, medical professionals and trainers are acting as everyone's conscience in this and keeping Jaylon on the best path for his long-term future, with absolutely zero consideration for present needs and concerns.

Jaylon Smith could be the best defensive player on our team for the next ten years, every step along the way needs to be with that goal in mind. We've seen players rushed back in the NFL and some disastrous results from that decision. The Cowboys need to avoid that all costs, even if one of them is having to plays guys like Justin Durant, Kyle WIlber, and Mark Nzeocha more early in the season.

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!

  • Travis Diggs

    So for a team trying to figure out how many WR’s and DB’s to keep Its makes you wonder If they would be silly enough to waist a spot on Moore and let somebody young go like Noah Brown or Marquez White. Scott Linehan has been his ONLY supporter. The staff needs to get out of their feelings and do the right thing for the sake of the rest of the roster

  • Russ_Te

    You’d like to believe Garrett and Marinelli will adhere to that rule of “only when he’s ready”. There may also be concern that Smith – eager to pitch in – will push himself too hard and not let on if there is knee pain or something like that.

    I agree – get by on the LB’s available, change nothing for Smith’s ramp up. You never know who else may emerge & play better than expected.

    Besides – here’s a nice thought – this defense stands ready to be torched entering this season. It doesn’t have a dominant pass rusher (as of yet), guys are suspended, and rookies who never played in pre-season have to contribute in the secondary.

    How much can Smith alone, reverse that right now?

    My remedy for it early-season is run the ball as much as possible, use the WR talent in attack sets, and try to score 30+

Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Breaking Down Terrance Williams' Game-Ending Decision 1
Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News

There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.

Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.

Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.

Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.

Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.

Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.

As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.

Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.

If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.

Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.

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Player News

Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders

Jess Haynie



Jamize Olawale, Raiders

Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.

To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.

In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.

Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.

Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.

Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.

Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.

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