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DAL Roster: Battle for WR6 Between Andy Jones, Noah Brown with IND in Town

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Will This Second-Year Cowboys WR Break Out in 2017?

With just three preseason games left and a handful of practices, the battle for the sixth wide receiver position is still up for grabs. Now, on most teams this isn't an important topic, but for the Cowboys it is. The Dallas Cowboys haven't carried six healthy wide receivers on their opening day roster since 2012. What makes that change now?

  • The talent at the position. The depth the Cowboys currently have at wide receiver may make it the strongest position on the team.
  • This is the first year in many that the team will only need to carry two quarterbacks on the 53 man roster.
  • Dez Bryant's health has hurt him the last few years. Keeping a developmental "X" receiver on the roster is a good idea for the long-term success of this team.

Andy Jones and Noah Brown are two very talented "X" receivers who seem to be in a pretty close battle. These guys are practicing and playing so good that they're both making cases to be kept on the 53 man roster.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Stephen Jones asked about players that have stood out in camp so far: Jaylon Smith, Chidobe Awuzie, Charles Tapper, Noah Brown, Andy Jones

Andy Jones--a former UDFA out of Jacksonville University--was one of the Cowboys' training camp Hall of Famers from last year's offseason.

In his first year with the team, Andy Jones was placed on the practice squad but has been receiving high praise and expanded roles from the Cowboys' coaching staff. Jones has started the beginning of his Sophomore season on that same note.

In practice, Andy Jones has been given the role as a back-up punt returner behind Ryan Switzer. Along with the special teams duties, on days that veteran Dez Bryant rests, he has also been getting some work in with the first team offense.

Andy Jones

Dallas Cowboys WR Andy Jones (Paul Spinelli via AP)

What stands out even more is that Andy Jones has made some plays in the first two preseason games, something he struggled to do last year.

In the little playing time Jones has had in the first two games, he's caught six passes for 50 yards. Now that's nothing that warrants a roster spot, but the fact that the coaches are putting Jones out there and he's making the plays that are thrown his way is a good adjustment from last year.

If not for his teammate, Noah Brown, Andy Jones would likely be handed the sixth wide receiver spot on the team's depth chart, but unfortunately for Jones, Noah Brown stands in his way.

Could Noah Brown Have A Big Role As A Rookie?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown

Noah Brown was one of the three draft selections the Dallas Cowboys had in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Brown was drafted as more of a project than a plug-n-play guy, but he's done a nice job transitioning from college to the NFL.

In two preseason games, he has 41 yards on three catches. In his first two games you can seen why the Cowboys like the former Ohio State Buckeye.

Brown isn't overly athletic and doesn't have the route tree that scouts really like to see, but he does have the physical traits you can't teach. Standing at 6'2, 222lbs, Brown has an NFL ready frame and knows how to use it.

In his action with the Cowboys, he has shown that he knows how to use his big frame to bully defenders off the line, high point the ball in the air, and fight for extra yards. Along with being a good receiving option, Brown does a hell of a job in the blocking game.

Blocking is something he took very seriously at Ohio State and it's carrying over to the NFL.

With neither guy really cementing themselves as a sure-fire roster spot, these last three preseason games will be huge for both players. It starts tonight when the Cowboys take to the field to face the Indianapolis Colts in their preseason home opener.

Both players are likely to get plenty of opportunities with only a few games left, but which will prevail? Who do you think will make the final 53 man roster: Noah Brown or Andy Jones?


Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

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2 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    I believe the ceiling for Noah Brown is higher than Andy Jones. Unfortunately for. Brown, he didn’t have the best QB throwing the ball at Ohio St. and just didn’t get enough targets. He also wasn’t called on to do that much. But his blocking pushes him to the forefront of this conversation and his growth potential is outstanding. All that being said, it is highly possible they only keep 5. If they cut both of these guys, it is more likely Brown would be the guy snatched up over Jones.

  • Fatfan

    It appears to me Dallas is getting to the point where it’d be better to trade a couple of draft picks to move higher in the draft. Their drafting is becoming so good, it’s no way they can keep all of them; and hence once they’re released, they are not likely to make it to the practice squad. This may be the case at cb, and more likely wr, and TE. They’ve got a rookie punter/kicker Sam Irwin-Hill that’s gonna be good at one or both those positions for somebody. And…if Dallas doesn’t keep Cooper Rush, he won’t make it to the practice squad either.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson Benefits Most From Terrance Williams Issue

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson Benefits Most From Terrance Williams Issue

The fallout from Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams' arrest yesterday remains to be seen. Whether or not it costs him a roster spot is hard to say, but a suspension is likely. Whatever the case, veteran Deonte Thompson stands to be the biggest beneficiary of Terrance's issues.

Signed last March to a minimal one-year, $1.8 million contract, Thompson is a 29-year-old late bloomer who only last season got some notice in Buffalo. Given the limitations of the Bills' passing game with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Dallas clearly hopes that Deonte could do more with a more traditional offense and passer.

The Cowboys acquisition of Thompson was quickly overshadowed after they picked up Allen Hurns just a few weeks later. Deonte was actually signed just a couple of days after Hurns' release from Jacksonville, so it's fair to question if Dallas would have even signed him if they'd already picked up Hurns.

Even with Dez Bryant's release, the depth chart still didn't look good for Thompson. He was clearly behind Hurns and Cole Beasley and was likely battling with Terrance Williams for targets. Once the team drafted Michael Gallup in the third round, things looked even worse for the veteran.

Deonte Thompson

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson

But now, if Williams is going to miss time or be gone completely, Deonte Thompson could find himself with a big role to start the year.

While Gallup is exciting, he's also a rookie. Thompson has been a starter the last few years and played in a few different systems. Dallas may lean on his experience early if Terrance is gone either temporarily or permanently.

One reason the Cowboys brought Deonte in was for speed, and that value doesn't change regardless of who else is on the roster. Essentially, Thompson is the new Brice Butler; intriguing qualities but just no consistent production at other stops.

If Deonte can do more with what Dallas throws him than Butler did, he might carve out a steady role. Brice always seemed to follow up his big plays with blunders, never gaining any real momentum during his time as a Cowboy.

Before Williams' arrest, there was a legitimate question as to whether or not Thompson would even make the 2018 roster. If younger prospects like Noah Brown and Lance Lenoir made noise, perhaps Dallas would've just let the 29-year-old walk.

But with Terrance's availability now the big question, Thompson's experience becomes vastly more important. It could mean a big early role in 2018.

Depending on what he does with his opportunity, Deonte Thompson could've gone from an offseason afterthought to a major part of the team's success.


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Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?

Sean Martin

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Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas Cowboys?

This will hardly be the last article written about the wide receivers of the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2018 season. However, we can only hope it's the last off-field incident that will factor into the difficult decisions the Cowboys will make on their final depth chart at WR. Yesterday, veteran Wide Receiver Terrance Williams was arrested for public intoxication after leaving the scene of a crash involving his Lamborghini.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys WR Terrance Williams released a statement on his recent arrest detailing several facets of the incident: "I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how.

Details concerning the severity of the incidents that led to Williams arrest remain somewhat unclear. His on-field production certainly has not been though, putting himself in an expendable position by failing to catch a touchdown in 2017 and only going for over 100 yards once.

Handling this Terrance Williams situation in whatever the "right way" is will be yet another critical decision the Cowboys make under Head Coach Jason Garrett. A team that has clearly valued continuity under Garrett, there is precedent for the Cowboys keeping a now-troubled player like Williams if the void he'd leave behind is too large.

It is widely believed that this is a Cowboys coaching staff working to keep their jobs in 2018. Losing Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Terrance Williams in one offseason may very well be too much.

Already dealing with a broken foot that expects to keep Terrance Williams out of football activities until training camp though, it is becoming increasingly easier for Williams to become forgotten about in new WR Coach Sanjay Lal's room.

New additions to this unit include FA signings Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, along with rookies Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Joined by the likes of KD Cannon, Lance Lenoir, and Malik Earl, all of these receivers are going to stake their claims for a spot on the Dallas Cowboys before Williams even catches another pass from Dak Prescott.

Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Once perceived to be fighting for positions below Hurns, Williams, and Cole Beasley as locks on the final 53 man roster, Williams' arrest is the epitome of "next man up" in Dallas. Even if Williams remains with the team in 2018 - as cutting him would only make moral sense for the Cowboys, not financial - his days as a starting receiver may very well be numbered.

As mentioned, this won't be the first look we have at the status of the Cowboys receivers. I'm already on record having high expectations for Michael Gallup, and believe Cedrick Wilson was one of the steals of the draft for the Cowboys in the sixth round. The unproven nature of this pass catching unit (through to TE with rookie Dalton Schultz) is going to make for fascinating training camp battles, competing for spots in an offense that could still be one of the league's best.

Tell us what you think about "Is Terrance Williams Roster Spot Safe with Dallas 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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Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams Arrest: Salary Cap Impact if Released

Jess Haynie

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3 Current Starters Cowboys' Fans Hate, But Shouldn't 1

The news of Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams' arrest yesterday sent a shockwave through an otherwise quiet mid-May news cycle. Many fans are wondering what the team might do, and what effect the decision could have on Dallas' salary cap.

Unfortunately, moving on from Terrance won't bring the team any cap relief. But given their current cap space and where we are in the offseason, the Cowboys should have the freedom to cut the receiver if they choose to.

Depending on who you ask (OverTheCap, Spotrac), the Cowboys have somewhere between $5-$9 million in current cap room. If they release Williams before June 1st, his cap hit accelerates from $4.75 million to $7.25 million in dead money. That means he counts $2.5 million more off the team than on it.

If Terrance is cut on June 1st on later, the 2018 dead money is $4.75 million for a net-zero wash. That extra $2.5 million counts against 2019.

While that may sound cost-prohibitive on the surface, you have to remember where we are in the offseason.  May is very different from March when you're talking about cap space.

Did Terrance Williams' Big Game Quiet His Doubters?

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

Free agency is essentially over. The Cowboys don't need to worry too much about their 2018 cap room at this point, so they can absorb Williams' dead money if they want to cut him loose.

Helping matters should be the eventual new contracts for Guard Zack Martin and Defense End DeMarcus Lawrence.

Martin's 2018 cap hit is currently around $9 million. Once he signs his new long-term deal, which is almost sure to come before training camp, that number should go down significantly. Dallas can do an immediate Year One restructure and potentially create around $6 million in cap space.

That alone would facilitate cutting Terrance Williams, but then they also have the hopeful new deal for Lawrence. The $17 million that Lawrence currently counts as a franchised player will go way down with a long-term contract. If Dallas can get that done, they may not have to touch Martin's deal.

The point here is that while cutting Williams is not a financially beneficial move, the money shouldn't stop the Cowboys if they don't want him around anymore.

If Terrance has proven anything during his five years in Dallas, it's that he doesn't have the talent to step into a primary role. With new arrival Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley both showing they can produce at a high level at times, plus exciting rookie Michael Gallup now in the mix, the Cowboys' season hardly relies on Williams' presence.

Of course, the Cowboys have a history of sticking by their guys during times of personal problems. Josh Brent did way worse than Terrance and remained supported by the organization.

But each situation and player are different, and the coaches may have already soured on Williams after a lackluster 2017. They may have only kept him because of those cap numbers we discussed before.

Terrance's latest dropped ball may have been the final straw, though. If so, the salary cap shouldn't stop Dallas from cutting him.


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