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Cutting Rolando McClain Now Does Cowboys No Good

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Top-Five Needs as Free Agency Nears 4

As you have probably already heard, Dallas Cowboys starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2016 season.

This suspension comes on the heels of McClain skipping Organized Team Activities last month, and reportedly coming to mandatory mini-camp out of shape.

Most of the Cowboys faithful are done with McClain. Sure he can produce on the field and has shown that he has abilities which are rare in the NFL, but his aloofness, perceived laziness, and failed drug tests outweigh any talent he might have in the eyes of many.

Head Coach Jason Garrett preaches about bringing in the "Right Kind of Guys," players who are high character, play with high effort and intensity, and are simply not stupid. Unfortunately, McClain doesn't seem to fit into any of those three categories, and the majority of people around the Cowboys seem to believe it's time to let him go.

After all, this could be the perfect opportunity for the Cowboys to take a stand and send a message to their entire roster. McClain is on a one year deal and is missing 10 games next season anyway, so in theory cutting him should be a simple solution. DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are also facing suspensions, but they are both younger and have much more "upside" than McClain does at this point in their careers.

Plus, with rookie Jaylon Smith waiting in the wings for a 2017 return (we hope), McClain's long-term future with the Cowboys was already doubtful.

So why not just get rid of McClain, showing the league you mean business and possibly "scaring straight" your other suspended players?

Well, for one, you have no idea where this team is going to be 10 games into 2016.Cowboys Headlines - 3 Free Agent Options To Replace Rolando McClain For Cowboys 4

What if the offense remains healthy, and the young players on defense do just enough to keep the team afloat for 10 games? What if the Cowboys are sitting at 6-4 or 7-3 with a clear view of an NFC East crown and a home playoff game?

McClain could come back with a vengeance and give the defense an extra spark which could push the Cowboys over the hump and get them that playoff birth. And if he doesn't? That's fine, you are still a winning team without him!

But this sounds selfish, doesn't it? If as an organization the Cowboys really want to push forward this idea of "RKG's" and they want to preach smart, clean, professionalism on and off the field, then they should cut McClain right now.

The Cowboys have plenty of time to release McClain, though. There is no reason to jump the gun in early July and make a decision which may cost you in a few months.

Let's say the Cowboys start off 1-5 and are looking horrid in all phases of the game. Well, then you can get your wish and cut McClain, but can do so knowing with some certainty that 2016 was a lost season regardless of whether he was there for week 12 or not.

I think we could all sleep a little easier with that amount of closure.

Beyond McClain's on the field talent, there are also other reasons for why cutting him at this point would be useless.

Basically, whether he is on the team or not for the first 10 games, none of us with know the difference.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Roster: Strategies & Players For Outside Linebacker 8

Oct 12, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Rolando McClain (55) intercepts the ball intended for Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson (82) during the last minute of the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Dallas defeated Seattle 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Those games he is suspended for won't count against the salary cap, and he won't account for an official roster spot until his suspension is over.

So the Cowboys can still carry 53 other players for those 10 games he is suspended, just as they could if they were to cut him today. And, McClain will only cost about $1.9 million if he remains on the roster compared to the $750,000 in dead money the Cowboys would have to deal with if they cut him. Both financially and roster-numbers wise, keeping McClain aboard makes sense.

If he won't count against the cap or against the roster total, what is the rush to get rid of him for?

I completely understand if as a fan you are fed-up or done with McClain and his "antics." But I also believe that rushing to release him after news of the suspension would only make this problem go from bad to worse from a football standpoint.

Forget about Rolando McClain for now.

Yes, he looks like a fool, and a lazy fool at that. But whether he is released this month, next month, or anytime before his suspension is up, the Cowboys will not know the difference.

They might as well let him ride the suspension out, play the final 6 (and hopefully more) games, and then say "good riddance" as his contract expires going into 2017.

But, cutting him today does the Cowboys no good whatsoever.

Anyway, please enjoy this "crying Jordan-face" of Rolando McClain to lighten your spirits:

mclain jordan



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Perry Hagen

    July 4, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Stupidity, the only way to sum it up! Trade millions to smoke some weed! I would rather have the money, smoke weed after your retired!!!!!!

    • Kevin Brady

      Kevin Brady

      July 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      You're right, he messed up. Hopefully this team and him can figure it all out.

      • Jess Haynie

        Jess Haynie

        July 6, 2016 at 12:13 pm

        Let's not sell it like some one-time incident. McClain has quit on teams in the past and had motivation issues his entire time in Dallas. This is just the highlight of a pattern of problems.

  2. Fred Goodwin

    July 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    In other words, if he can play football, you're willing to look the other way. That's exactly what McClain is counting on, and exactly why Jerry doesn't care about RKGs. As long as you can ball, Jerry doesn't give a flip about anything else. I wish Jason was better than that, but by keeping this guy around, Jason has shown us that he is not above that.

    • Jess Haynie

      Jess Haynie

      July 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      I agree. I think this is a time that they have to show that "RKOG" actually means something.

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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DeMarcus Lawrence Named Top Free Agent Of The 2019 Class

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

ESPN's top 10 free agents for 2019 and what Le'Veon Bell should be looking to command based on previous measures. https://t.co/aJ7H1n001t

DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

Thankfully, I can't imagine the Cowboys not retaining DeMarcus Lawrence and extending him in the coming months.



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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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