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Dallas Cowboys: Early Offseason Review

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Well I'm excited to start writing for the site however I am not excited about our recent offseason moves. Don't take this as me slamming the Cowboys I'm just simply highly aggravated lately with our front office management.

So far my grade for this offseason's moves is a D it certainly can be worse but not much.

We all know Jerry Jones is the GM for the Cowboys and I have to say I am completely disgusted already with the off-season moves.

First we trade Anthony Henry whom lead The Dallas Cowboys in interceptions in 2007 and we already cut Pacman Jones so now all we have is Terence Newman who can't seem to stay healthy for an entire season to save his life and the Dallas cornerbacks  are weak to begin with!

So we get rid of Henry now it's Newman, Jenkins, and Scandrick as the top three corners?

Give me a break; remember when Jenkins refused to even attempt to tackle Derrick Ward last season? (footage here) that's a great guy to have in your top three corners.

I've heard rumors about Shaun Springs coming to Dallas and that would certainly help the cornerback situation. However, either way, by trading Henry we lose much needed depth at Corner and actually lose cap space because of Kitna's contract, when we could have just signed a free agent backup such as Kyle Boller or Rex Grossman who is younger and likely better.

Dallas gave up another late round pick to the Lions did Dallas give them enough this year? We already gave them our 1st round picks and 3rd for Roy Williams and we don't learn we get ripped off by them again. Kitna is 36 years old I really don't see much of a difference between him and Brad Johnson.

The Lions were 0-16 last year and by those standars aren't by any means a good football team yet we keep giving them picks and taking their players that leave much to be desired.

And another thing about the Kitna trade, his best friend on the team is Roy E. Williams so our apperant "heir" to Owens is going to likely spend more time with our backup Kitna then Romo. That's going to go over well and certainly help a divided locker room. 

Lastly, hasn't our entire defense had a problem with this guy? Terence Newman, Ware, and Bradie James. Definitely a good way to get a locker room closer together.

We get the chance to sign Ray Lewis a MLB something we actually need, someone who would take command in the locker room and instead we get Keith Brooking.  The Cowboys had their most disappointing season possibly of all time last year and what do they do to start the off-season? Trade a needed Corner, get a washed up outside linebacker we don't need and waste a bunch of cap space.

Dallas also has not resigned Chris Canty who was a vital part of the 3-4 defense last year, now he is on the New York Giants.

Now im not completely ignorant not everything you want can happen. Maybe signing Ray Lewis was a strech but wait Demarcus Ware had this to say

"You know, actually, when we played Ray Lewis and Baltimore at the end of the season, he came over and pointed to my helmet. He said, 'I want to wear this star on my helmet, that's my dream...that's my dream.' When we got to the Pro Bowl, he did it again. He came at me every day. It's a great opportunity for him. His door is open. He's an unrestricted free agent. He's trying to get down where the star is. He told me he needed me to get him Jerry Jones' phone number for him. I just busted out laughing." (Link here)

Wait a second...You're telling me Demarcus Ware and Ray Lewis our both good friends off the field. Yes they are, so with me typing this seething I think to myself we could have had Ray Lewis and Demarcus Ware the two captains of the defense and take over the entire locker room.

There would be no split locker room or animosity with Lewis coming into the Cowboys defense and Ware saying "this is my defense" The two are already friends!

 We aren't getting a 1st round pick this year so virtually we head into next season with the same exact team as last year. If not a little worse. If that doesn't scare us Cowboys fan's i'm not sure what will.

 I hope I'm wrong about all this, because all I want is the Cowboys to actually succeed and not be a joke to the media and fans. 

But I'm starting to think the longer Jerry Jones is GM the worse this team is going to be. Don't get me wrong, he's a great owner and business man and has made the Cowboys into an economic powerhouse in the NFL. But looks how many coaches we've been through in the last 13 years of not winning a playoff game. How many times do you think he would have fired the GM if it wasn't him?

Dallas fan's deserve better, and so does this team.



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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. bags030404

    March 3, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I am not either for or against this signing, but Keith Brooking had the two best years of his career in 2002-2003 while playing the sam backer position for Wade Phillips! This is the reason they signed him! Not because they are stupid, but because of familiarity! I would love to have Ray Lewis, but not at 7-8 million per season when he plays the same position Bradie James plays. As far as Anthony Henry goes, he is done he just cannot cover anymore, and we desperately needed a solid back up QB that will be a good locker room guy. Don’t think he was brought here to sit back and do nothing. Kitna was brought in more for what he can do to the locker room than for what he can do on the field. I am just not a big fan of blasting people for decisions in March, when we have yet to see the people on the field!

  2. Bryson Treece

    March 3, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Ray … I must say, I agree with Bags on this one. Brooking isn’t going to be a show stopper out there, but he is still a better player than Thomas is. His native position is also as a middle linebacker, just in a 4-3 for most of his career. The one time he did play in a 3-4 was under then defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and he put up career numbers in both years.

    Mike Jenkins did fail to attempt that tackle, but it was a one time incident that he seemed to learn from, another off-season will help the 1st year corner do better.

  3. Scorpion

    March 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Wow…I feel alot better…from the two comments above, I know that everybody has not gone insane!
    Really…some of you DO NOT need to breed!

    Before last season, KITNA has two 4,000 yard throwing seasons with the DETROIT LIONS! I dare say he will have a little better “surrounding cast” to play with. But the key point is he has been brought in to play as a BACKUP QB. Not every game…remember? He can make the throws…Johnson just couldn’t.

    We gave up Henry. Big deal. The way some of you have commented, you would think this guy is a key to our defense! Let the younger guys get on the field.

    KEITH BROOKING…damned if you do and damned if you don’t….Dallas management can’t win with some of you guys. Burnett and Mr. Dolphin were probably not coming back next year, leaving us with what? James and Carpenter…We get a four or five time all pro, played his best years with our coach in the same position he will play here, and for basically nothing compared to what Ray Lewis would have cost. And how many times do you need to hear it before it “sinks in” that we don’t have the salary cap room to sign Canty or a Lewis without not beeing able to sign Ware?

    I am in agreement with a comment given above. Why get so upset and ridicule these transactions until you see the results on the field?

  4. mike

    March 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    You are joking. The kitna trade is just a salary cap move for both teams. Dallas gets their back up quarterback and saves cap space too. Henry was going to be cut anyway. Picking up Booking a class act to help in the locker room and Atlanta’s top tackler last year isn’t going to help the team at all. He’s 33 and still a good player might just show some of our player what a work ethic is. Canty is gone. We can improve that area by adding Vonnie Holliday. Once again a class guy that shouldn’t be too expensive. Forget Ray he’s just trying to get a better payday. He’ll be back with the Ravens as soon as his ego calms down. As far as not having a first round pick, the entire draft is not based on one pick. We have 6 picks maybe more with compensatory picks in rds 2 through 5. You can build a team with good players in those rounds. Lets see if they can find some gems this year. By the way , whats with all the hate. Lighten up.

  5. Craig Cotton

    March 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I’m fine with the Kitna deal, and I’m fine with the Brooking signing.

    I don’t like the Stewart signing, but I can step past that as a ST types deal.

    Kitna will be fine as a backup, but we need to draft a QB in the middle rounds. We have to have someone that can push Tony to be what he was in 2007, and only a young QB prospect can do that.

    Brooking is a solid signing. He has had some very good years. And, like was stated above, he had his best years in Wade’s defensive scheme.

    I don’t like the free agency period so far because we have not gone after a safety. Jermaine Phillips would be a very solid signing at SS, but by all reports we haven’t even approached him. If we go into the draft needing a SS, we may be in deep poo. Delmas would be the closest to falling to us, and I highly doubt that happens. Anyway, we need a safety.. stat.

    But, more than anything, we need to address OL early and often in this draft.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  6. Brad

    March 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Dude how do you even get a post on this website. You my friend are an idiot. Get your facts straight before you run off at the mouth. You were wrong on every statement you made. Are you sure you are a Cowboy fan.

    Scandrick and Jenkins had good rookie seasons. Oh and is it me or has Henry had trouble staying healthy.
    The boys traded for Kitna because they did not want to get into a bidding war. He restructured his deal and we save a little cap space with Henry’s trade. Also um Kitna is way better then Brad Johnson. When did Johnson ever throw back to back 4,00 yard seasons. Hold on I’ll wait………Yah thats right never. Kitna is better then REx and Kyle and he worked out his differences with James and TNew last season.
    We had no shot at R. Lewis. He was using us to drive up his price. Did you not hear the report where Lewis said he never said those statements to Ware. This is not Madden or Fantasy football. There is something called a salary cap.
    Also Brooking is not an outside line backer.
    Dude get your facts straight. Are you sure you are a Cowboys fan?

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Dallas Cowboys

Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?

Sean Martin

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Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?

The Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss at the Los Angeles Rams is still fresh on the minds of their players, staff, and front office. So much so that the team had to fan the flames on a Jason Garrett comment expecting Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan to return. Garrett himself walked back this "report" once Stephen Jones noted it's still too early for any coaching staff changes. The focus will remain on Linehan's post until it's removed or the Cowboys OC is retained, but one coordinator the Cowboys now expect to keep is Rod Marinelli on defense.

Marinelli himself disputed the season-long belief that this was likely his last as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. With Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard not taking any of the three HC positions he interviewed for, Marinelli doesn't have to worry about shuffling his title to accommodate Richard - who called the plays from week one this season anyway.

Rod's title does include his specialty as defensive line coach though, a unit that the Rams dominated with their offensive line to a historic degree. The Rams' season-high 273 rushing yards was provided by both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson surpassing 100 yards on the ground, the first time in team history they've had two backs reach this mark in a single playoff game.

Rams HC Sean McVay hardly had to reach into his vaunted 'bag of tricks' to expose the Cowboys defense in a way they hadn't been all year, but there was still an element of brilliance in his offensive game plan. It came out after the game that the Rams picked up on the keys the Dallas defensive linemen used to signal stunts and twists before the snap. While this is nothing more than just great scouting yielding an unforeseen advantage, it's left the Cowboys with more than enough time to ponder what went wrong in the Coliseum.

Danny Heifetz on Twitter

The Rams offensive line knew what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do before the snap on Saturday. https://t.co/oGo6Eiz4av

The answer to this may be nothing other than the coaching questions the Cowboys are already considering. With Richard's interviews in Tampa Bay, Miami, and New York coming at the beginning of the week leading up to game day, it's possible Marinelli had a larger say in the Cowboys preparation on defense.

It was Marinelli's defense that conceded 412 yards to the Rams in 2017 in a loss at AT&T Stadium. Matching him up with McVay leaves a lot to be desired, while Richard helps bridge this gap - something he was seen desperately trying to do on the sideline with a battered Cowboys defense.

As each day of the offseason passes, a change at either coordinator position becomes less likely in Dallas. On offense, the play caller has more than a season's worth of evidence showing the deficiencies of the Cowboys attack. In a league fueled by recency bias however, Marinelli certainly didn't leave his best performance on the field in Los Angeles.

Somewhere in the middle of this is Jason Garrett, safely in place as the head coach that should be personally trying to upgrade his top two assistants however possible. Marinelli signing up for another year makes this hard on defense, though Richard should resume play calling duties next season.

Again, this leaves the onus of the Cowboys improvements for 2019 on the offensive side of the ball, something that'll be realized when the shock of their defense letting them down in the biggest game of the season is gone.

Tell us what you think about "Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?" 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

Cowboys Getting Over $30 Million Cap Space from Expiring Dead Money

Jess Haynie

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Tony Romo, Dez Bryant

You may have already heard that the Dallas Cowboys will be flush with salary cap space in 2019, and that's very accurate. A huge portion of it comes from over $30 million in expiring cap penalties, otherwise known as "dead money."

Quick explanation; dead money occurs when a player is released or retires prior to the expiration of their contract. Any guaranteed money, such as the original signing bonus or money converted in a restructuring, that has not yet been paid out according to the contract schedule is accelerated.

For example, when Tony Romo retired after 2016, he still had $19.6 million in guaranteed money owed to him. Dallas chose to split this dead money over two years, and thus had a $10.7 cap penalty in 2017 and $8.9 million last season.

But now Romo's dead money, along with Dez Bryant's and several other players, is coming off the Cowboys' books. The result is a roughly $30 million infusion of salary cap space for 2019.

Here were the major culprits for last year's dead money:

(All cap figures are taken from Spotrac.com)

  • QB Tony Romo - $8.9 million
  • WR Dez Bryant - $8 million
  • DT Cedric Thornton - $2.5 million
  • CB Orlando Scandrick - $2.3 million
  • CB Nolan Carroll - $2 million
  • WR Deonte Thompson - $1.8 million
  • DE Benson Mayowa - $1.1 million
  • K Dan Bailey - $800 thousand
  • TE James Hanna - $750 thousand

Those players alone make up a little over $28 million. Another $4 million or so came from over 30 players with lesser penalties that still added up.

Right now, the Cowboys have only $1.76 million in dead money on their 2019 salary cap. Nearly all of that is the $1.6 million still owed to Orlando Scandrick.

That difference is where the cap space comes from, and it will be of tremendous help to Dallas as they have major financial moves coming. They need to re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence, deal with a major salary bump for Amari Cooper, and consider a contract extension for Dak Prescott.

The 2019 number will change, of course, as the offseason rolls on. If Dallas elects to release players like Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, or others, some dead money will appear. But that will be offset by whatever cap savings motivated the move in the first place.

This is a good reminder of why the Cowboys' new era of fiscal conservatism is a good thing. After years of what felt like perpetual "salary cap hell," they are finally getting out from under those penalties and have complete flexibility this offseason. They may not even need to cut a guy like Crawford, who they almost would have been forced to in past seasons.

We'll be talking a lot more about individual players and their contracts in the weeks ahead, but this summary helps us see that Dallas isn't nearly up against the financial wall as they have been. We still miss guys like Romo and Dez, but we won't miss that awful dead money in 2019.



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Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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