Who do you think the highest-paid defensive end on the 2016 Dallas Cowboys is?
No, it's not DeMarcus Lawrence. He's just in the third year of his rookie contract, counting a meager $1.5 million against the salary cap. Randy Gregory, also a second-round pick and in his just second year, is making a little less than that.
Obviously, Ryan Russell and Charles Tapper couldn't be it. They're also on their rookie deals and were taken in the fifth and fourth rounds of their respective drafts. Even if we count Jack Crawford and David Irving as defensive ends, they're both making near the league minimum.
Making an average of nearly $3 million of the course of his new contract is Benson Mayowa, who signed with Dallas as a free agent last March. While not a huge contract by defensive end standards, it's still a lot for an undrafted guy with just two sacks in three years. It says just how much potential the Cowboys perceive in Mayowa.
Turning 25 in August, Mayowa has been a three-year backup; his rookie year with the Seattle Seahawks and the last two with the Oakland Raiders. He has one sack in each of the last two years. During that time he also started three games as an outside rusher in the Raiders' 3-4 defense.
Benson Mayowa played DE in college and will return to that role with the Cowboys. Dallas is clearly hoping that going back to his true position, plus getting coached by Rod Marinelli, will give Mayowa his best chance to succeed at the professional level.
How much do the Cowboys believe in Mayowa? Just to put the money in perspective; Mayowa has the 17th-highest average salary on the team at $2.75 million. Veteran starting safety Barry Church only averages $2.2 million. Cole Beasley, a proven roleplayer and a pseudo-starter for the offense, averages $3.4 million a year.
It's important to remember that Dallas knew about Randy Gregory's suspension in February. They'd also likely decided that they weren't going to bring back Greg Hardy. They perceived a need for a defensive end who could start and signed Mayowa, it would seem, to be that guy.
After all, it's not like Gregory is a guarantee to start once he comes back from the suspension. Not only has he yet to prove himself in real NFL action but one more marijuana-related violation gets him a 10-game ban.
The cupboard wasn't exactly bare before Mayowa was signed, though. I actually was excited for what David Irving or Jack Crawford might do at defensive end. There were also some flexibility options to use Tyrone Crawford at DE for four weeks.
Clearly, Dallas liked something about Benson Mayowa beyond just a role he could fill. They paid him very well to become a Cowboy.
Now, with Lawrence joining Gregory in suspension, the pressure increases on Mayowa to live up to that contract. He needs to be a starter and contribute beyond just filling space in the front seven.
It never feels good when your team signs a player and your first reaction is, "Who?!" That was my first exposure to Benson Mayowa.
Hopefully, my next one will be a, "Wow!"
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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