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Dallas Cowboys Finally Make a Splash with Robert Quinn Trade

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys Finally Make a Splash with Robert Quinn Trade

As free agency approached, the idea that the Dallas Cowboys would make a splash in the free agency pool grew to a boiling point. Most notably, Earl Thomas felt like a virtual lock in free agency as he and the Cowboys flirted with each other several times over the last year. The Dallas Cowboys called off the pursuit when they opted not to meet his contract demands. Even after Earl Thomas landed his deal with the Baltimore Ravens, names like Eric Berry and Clayton Geathers came through The Star only to leave without deals. Cowboys Nation seemed destined for another offseason of one year deals offered to second and third tier free agents.

And then the Robert Quinn reports began.

When the news first broke of a potential union between the Miami Dolphins edge rusher and the Dallas Cowboys, the compensation focused on a 2020 fourth round pick. Even at that price, Quinn was going to be a nice addition for the Cowboys. At the price they paid yesterday, Robert Quinn is a steal.

Over the past several years, we've seen teams make trades for players on expiring contracts for late round picks and wondered, "how come the Cowboys weren't in on that?"

One trade that comes to mind is the deal the Jacksonville Jaguars made for Marcell Dareus in October of 2017.

At a time when the Dallas Cowboys could have used some run defense in the middle of their line, the Jaguars sent a conditional sixth round pick in 2018 for the Bills former first round pick. It was really nice value for a player who was a legit run stuffer.

Now the Cowboys have finally made a move of their own by trading for the disruptive Robert Quinn.

He'll immediately slot in as the starter at right defensive end and brings legit pass rushing destruction to the Dallas Cowboys. Finally they have a pair of defensive ends that have the potential to wreak havoc on opposing offenses.


Defense & Fumbles Table
Games Def Interceptions Fumbles Tackles
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Int Yds TD Lng PD FF Fmb FR Yds TD Sk Comb Solo Ast TFL QBHits Sfty AV
2011 21 STL de 94 15 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 5.0 23 20 3 5 12 2
2012 22 STL DE 94 16 14 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 10.5 29 24 5 11 17 7
2013*+ 23 STL DE 94 16 16 0 0 0 0 1 7 0 2 33 1 19.0 57 50 7 23 34 16
2014* 24 STL DE 94 16 16 0 0 0 0 6 5 0 0 0 0 10.5 46 39 7 13 20 12
2015 25 STL de 94 8 7 0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 5.0 21 13 8 5 7 4
2016 26 LAR DE 94 9 8 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 4.0 10 8 2 2 6 4
2017 27 LAR LB 94 15 14 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 8.5 32 21 11 9 12 6
2018 28 MIA DE 94 16 16 2 0 0 0 0 6.5 38 25 13 9 15 7
Career 111 92 0 0 0 0 17 23 0 2 33 1 69.0 256 200 56 77 123 58
7 yrs STL-LAR 95 76 0 0 0 0 17 21 0 2 33 1 62.5 218 175 43 68 108 51
1 yr MIA 16 16 2 0 0 0 0 6.5 38 25 13 9 15 7
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/29/2019.

According to Clarence Hill, Quinn comes to Dallas on a reworked contract that will decrease his base salary to $8 million, but allow him to earn up to $10 million in incentives.

Clarence Hill Jr on Twitter

Quinn has a chance to make $10 million wth seven sacks if you include the Cowboys salary and $1 million roster bonus already given to him by the Dolphins. https://t.co/Ht6fyoc29R

Over the course of his eight seasons in the NFL, Quinn's averaged 8.6 sacks per season and 13.9 games played per year. If you were to prorate his sack total over a 16 game season, he'd average right around 10 sacks a season for his eight seasons. For reference, DeMarcus Lawrence averages 6.8 sacks a season for his career and eight sacks per 16 games.

That's the kind of player that the Dallas Cowboys are getting in Robert Quinn. Disruptive.

According to Pro Football Focus, which tracks total pressures as sacks, hurries, pressures, and QB hits, Robert Quinn finished with 39 in 2018, which was good for 38th in the NFL among edge players (3-4 OLB's and 4-3 DE's). Sure, 38th doesn't sound very good, but consider that he was only three total pressures behind Chandler Jones. Chandler Jones is widely considered one of the best 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL. Only DeMarcus Lawrence had more pressures for the Dallas Cowboys than Quinn did, and he had a lot more; 63. Randy Gregory came in just behind Quinn with 37 in 14 games, but with his status uncertain to start the season, the Cowboys needed to bring in Quinn.

In Pro Football Focus' "stops" category, which is defined as a play that results in a "loss" for the defense, Quinn finished 33rd with 23. Aside from DeMarcus Lawrence who had 44 stops, tied for 4th in the NFL, no defensive end for the Cowboys had more than 12 stops.

Now Robert Quinn comes to Dallas where he won't be the focal point of opposing offense's game plans. With teams having to focus their attention on DeMarcus Lawrence, Quinn will get to see more 1-on-1's in pass rushing situations. In the run game, opposing offensive coordinators will be so concerned with getting to the second level to limit the damage by Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Sean Lee, that Quinn will be disruptive on that front as well.

Of any move the Dallas Cowboys have made in the last couple of years, this one might be the best. Yes, drafting Leighton Vander Esch was huge and trading for Amari Cooper might have saved the season, but bringing in Robert Quinn might have taken the Dallas Cowboys from playoff participants to legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

There's a lot that could change between now and week one of the NFL season, but with the Robert Quinn addition, there's no reason to believe that the Dallas Cowboys won't be pushing to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.


Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason

Matthew Lenix

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Report: Amari Cooper Likely out Until Week 1

Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.

The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.

"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."


The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.

However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.


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Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith

Kevin Brady

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Jaylon Smith, Eagles

The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.

ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...

Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.


Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.

And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.


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Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List

John Williams

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Auto Draft 6

Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.

"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."

Todd Archer - ESPN.com

This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.

It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.


The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.

While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.

With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.

With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.


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