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Cowboys WR Group Has Potential To Be Special In 2017

Brian Martin

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Cowboys WR Group Has Potential To Be Special In 2017

The Dallas Cowboys could possibly be without one of their best offensive weapons when the 2017 season kicks off if the NFL does indeed suspend Ezekiel Elliott. That has a lot of Cowboys Nation at least a little bit concerned the offense won't be as good as it was in 2016, but I think they possibly could be underestimating how special the Cowboys WR group could be this season.

On paper, the Dallas Cowboys are as deep at the wide receiver position talent wise as they have ever been, which is good news for second-year QB Dak Prescott and the passing game. The Cowboys WR position is so deep in fact, it will make it difficult for the coaching staff to figure out how many receivers they will keep on their 53-man roster.

It still really early in the process, but as of right now I have the Cowboys carrying six wide receivers: Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer, and Noah Brown. I personally believe that every single WR has something different to offer to the team, and as a whole I think the group has the potential to be special in 2017.

Cowboys wide receiversUnfortunately, Dez Bryant has struggled with reoccurring injuries these last few seasons, which has really limited his effectiveness on the field. But, his playmaking ability was put on display the last half of the 2016 season and I fully expect him to pick up where he left off when the 2017 season gets underway.

Cole Beasley has developed into arguably the best slot receiver in the NFL and is a mismatch problem for anybody who tries to cover him. Both Beasley and rookie WR Ryan Switzer can help Prescott by allowing him to get the ball out quickly in the passing game. Beasley and Switzer could also be an extension of the running game.

If Ezekiel Elliott does have to miss a few games to start the season, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan could utilize Beasley and Switzer in the short passing game to help move the chains. It would be a lot similar to what the New England Patriots do with their WRs. Get it in their hands and let them pick up yards after the catch.

Cowboys wide receiversTerrance Williams and Brice Butler probably won't be focal points in the offense anytime soon, but they do play a valuable role regardless. They just need to make enough plays to keep pressure off of Bryant and help Prescott out when he does look their way.

Rookie WR Noah Brown probably won't be heavily involved on offense his first year in the NFL, but he can be a core special teamers and be utilized several different ways offensively if need to be. I really think he can play the H-back/TE role because of his blocking ability, but could also be a red zone threat because of his size and catching radius.

The Cowboys WR group really has the potential to make the passing game much more potent in 2017, especially if QB Dak Prescott takes the next step in his development. Anyway you slice it, this is really good news. Especially, if the running game struggles or if Ezekiel Elliott does indeed get slapped with some kind of suspension.

Do you think the Cowboys WR group can be special in 2017?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Kevin Black

    July 18, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Gotta suck to be a free agent WR this year. I don’t see any way one makes it on the team, injuries not included.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      July 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

      It’s really a testament to how well the Cowboys have built this team and continue to add playmakers through the draft.

  2. Ethan Chazin

    July 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    AND…we’re talking about losing Zeke for a few games AND…our back-up’s are Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris plus the UDFA Thomas. AND our #2 & #3 TEs who were injured last season seem to be healthy. Not too shabby

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      July 18, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Exactly! Things don’t look all that bleak if Ezekiel Elliott slapped with a suspension. The Cowboys offense will still be really good

  3. Russ_Te

    July 19, 2017 at 9:02 am

    The 6 WR’s might hinge on keeping 2 QB’s. You can roll the dice on that this year, since Dak is young & has good size to take the punishment. Odds are pretty low he gets knocked out. It can happen, but it’s the exact opposite of what we had with Romo.

    I have to see stuff from Switzer and Brown before I buy in.

    The interesting thing is whether we will see the spread sets more. Not more passing, but mostly runs and then – deal with the 4 wide. It conceivably helps Witten to be fresh down the stretch of the season. And this group IMO can look similar to that ’99 Rams team that killed opponents with those formations. Somebody WILL get open, Dak will either have time or buy time, and there’s little defenses can do to stop big gainers in that case.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      July 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Russ, that’s pretty much my line of thinking as well.

  4. John Williams

    John Williams

    July 20, 2017 at 3:52 am

    I agree. This is a good, diverse group of players that do bring a lot to the table.

    I think that we might be overlooking Switzer a bit as well. Yes he does have the Beasley size and quicks, but he is also able to get downfield and win that way as well.

    I think 6 WRs is more and more likely all the time especially with Brown. They really tried to use Vince Mayle last season, even though it didn’t work out very well. Brown’s blocking gives them a lot of personnel options.

  5. John Williams

    John Williams

    July 20, 2017 at 3:53 am

    What the Switzer addition allows them to do is use Witten or a running back less when they go five wide receivers.

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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