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Could Dallas Cowboys Release WR Cole Beasley?

Jess Haynie

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Cole Beasley

Could the Dallas Cowboys release fan-favorite receiver Cole Beasley in the next few months? As crazy is that may sound to some, there are legitimate reasons that it might happen.

The notion of Dallas releasing Beasley would have been unthinkable this time last year. He was the team's leading receiver in 2016 and seemed to be Dak Prescott's favorite target in clutch moments.

But 2017 saw a major decline in Cole's production. He went from 75 catches in 2016 to just 36 last year, and 833 yards to just 314. He was fourth on the team in receptions, trailing third-place Terrance Williams by 17 catches.

That alone isn't reason to cut Beasley. Much of the decline had to do with increased focus to get the ball to Dez Bryant and other options, plus defenses focusing more on Cole than they did the year before. He still has plenty of value.

Is Ryan Switzer Being Mistakenly Used By The Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

The threats to Cole Beasley's job security are twofold; his own contract and the presence of Ryan Switzer.

Beasley will count $4.25 million against Dallas' salary cap in 2018, the final year of his contract. That isn't a bad number for a solid rotation player, but the Cowboys could get back $3.25 of that if he's released.

That's $3.25 million that can go to adding talent at other positions, or perhaps to keeping DeMarcus Lawrence around. Dallas has several needs this offseason, and they need cap space to address them.

The thought of losing Cole is made easier because of Switzer, last year's fourth-round pick who has been labeled as a Beasley clone from the moment he was drafted. Having already taken over as the return specialist on special teams, Ryan will be looking for a bigger offensive role in his second season.

If the Cowboys are confident in what Ryan Switzer could do with more opportunities, they will have a hard time turning down the cap relief from cutting Cole Beasley.

Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett, Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett with receivers Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and Terrance Williams.

One factor that could help Beasley is the uncertainty around Dez Bryant.

If the Cowboys do actually wind up releasing Bryant, which has been a hot topic as of late, they would be far less likely to lose another veteran from the receiving corps. Brice Butler is already likely to depart as a free agent, so that would leave the WR depth chart awfully thin.

But even in this scenario there is still concern with Cole. He turns 29 in April and was taken out of games last season. If Dallas did lose Bryant, they may need Beasley's money to work on acquiring a new franchise receiver.

Obviously, this isn't a fun topic. Cole Beasley has been one of our favorite players for a while now. He's one of many veterans we'd love to see be a part of the team's future success.

But the salary cap is cruel, and teams often have to make tough decisions on the road to success. This may be one of those times.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Nick Russo

    February 1, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    I don’t see any reason for releasing cole. His upside will likely outweigh his $4.25 million hit for this season. If Linehan was smart, he would find a way to get both Beasley and Switzer on the field together. I’d much rather see us get cap space back on a Terrance Williams with Noah brown on the roster or with Dez, with the potential to draft a receiver like DaeSean Hamilton from penn state in a mid round. Dak’s success with Beasley was no fluke and having a similar receiver like switzer on the field at the same time will make the offense more dak-friendly and take away from some of Beasley’s double teams. There’s no way you should get rid of a guy that has shown the ability to get open and actually catch the ball when we have two higher cap hits that struggle with those attributes.

    • Travis Diggs

      February 1, 2018 at 7:41 pm

      Well put. I agree with everything u said

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      February 8, 2018 at 1:33 am

      Williams isn’t going anywhere. He’s on a bad contract and releasing him would not be wise at this point. You can get out from his deal with less of a hit in 2019.

      Beasley is a good receiver, but is he the 2016 guy we saw or the guy that we saw before 2016?

  2. dallas1966

    February 2, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Jess. I think the Cowboys is one step ahead of you. I think the reason the drafted Switzer, was to move on from the Beas. Being 29, and no extra gear, qualify for the pink slip.
    I have a question. I ran an article, where the read o why the Patriots aren’t leading the league in penalties, is because, they prepare their game plan around the individual officiating crews tendencies.

    Do coach garrett and his motley coaching staff, do they prepare their game plan around the individual officiating crews tendencies, as well? Maybe that could be an area of emphasis starting in OTA’s through the playoffs run to the ultimate game, the Super Bowl.

    Thanks.

  3. Russ_Te

    February 3, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Not every team has a talented slot WR and if Beasley were a FA he’d get good offers I’m sure. He and Williams should both have some trade value, even if it’s conditional picks for them.

    I’m all for WR churn because the unit was a top problem last year. It’s not known if Switzer can match Beasley’s ability to find the soft spots in the zones, but he brings a lot more straight line speed and it’s worth that risk if there is value available for CB.
    Much rather move on from Williams than Butler. This unit badly needs speed, and just drafting 1 WR who has it is probably inadequate.

    This is a career crossroads year coming up for Dak, and they have to give him a potent receiving corps. Which involves Gathers IMO also.

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      February 8, 2018 at 1:34 am

      TWill’s contract will prohibit any teams trading for him. Beasley on the other could work for a team that wants to help out a young QB like San Fran or Cleveland. Given his expiring contract after this season, it wouldn’t be much of a risk for a team.

  4. Homer Price

    February 3, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Sure lets get rid of all our veteran players making over 3-4 million a season. Let’s get rid of Dez , he’s got to be the problem. Seems like getting a big contract from Dallas is the kiss of death now a days. Let’s get rid of our entire defensive backfield, we don’t need any veterans. There were several reasons the Cowboys lost last year. 1. Dak Prescott is inaccurate and not the quarterback of the future. 2. Zeke Elliott was suspended because Roger Goodell is a dictator! 3. Our young defensive backfield played better at the end of the season but blew several halftime leads. Sometimes they were in total disarray. 4. Shawn Lee was out 6 games and the Cowboys were 1-5 in those games. The Cowboys were 9-7 because Derick Carr fumbled the ball into the Dallas’ end zone trying to score the winning touchdown. If he just goes out of bounds Raiders are first and goal on the 1/2 yard line. In the last 8 games Dallas was 4-4 and scored 12 points or less in 5 of those games. 5. Jason Garrett is a mediocre coach 67-53 since he took over in 2010. All good teams have a good coach, quarterback and defense, the Cowboys will not win a Super Bowl without all of these elements.

    • Brandon Dixon

      February 6, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      So Dak isn’t the QB of the future because of a sophomore slump? Not having as solid run game is going to make the defense defend the pass more often, Dak had smaller holes to throw to thus leading him to be innaccurate on a lot of throws.

      As for Beasley, if he leaves Dallas I could see New England snagging him on a low deal and making him into the Wes Welker he was always known as.

      • Homer Price

        February 7, 2018 at 3:06 pm

        They had a good run game between Rod Smith and Alfred Morris filling in for Zeke. Dak can’t move the sticks and he is not going to get better next year. “Dream On”

        • Brandon Dixon

          February 10, 2018 at 3:13 pm

          Good run game? One time in the 6 games did Morris or Smith hit 100+ yards, if you combine their rush stats 112 yards against Philly, 109 against the Giants and 154 against the ‘Skins. Those aren’t numbers that are going to make a defense respect the run.

    • John Williams

      John Williams

      February 8, 2018 at 1:36 am

      It’s not about whether they are good or not, it’s about managing the cap. And while there are ways to work the cap to keep everyone under contract, if you think that Switzer, who is younger, cheaper, and offers a similar skill set to Beasley, can be the slot guy, you take a chance and save $3 million. Switzer caught 96 passes in the ACC his senior year with 6 touchdowns. He’s a dynamic player who can beat teams in a variety of ways.

  5. John Williams

    John Williams

    February 8, 2018 at 1:39 am

    I think you’re onto something.

    2016 seems to be an aberration. Aside from 2016, Bease had only topped 50 catches 1 time. He also had topped 500 yards only once.

    HIs 2017 looks like he fell back to earth after his incredible 2016. Is he one of the best Slot receivers in the league, or did we overrate him because teams were so focused on stopping the run and Dez Bryant.

    I don’t know if they should move on from him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

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Dallas Cowboys

Deep Dive into the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Salary Cap

John Williams

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into free agency, which opens March 13th, in really good shape. The Cowboys will be able to be aggressive in the free agent market if they want to. They have the 10th most cap space in the NFL. It could make for a fun free agency period for the front office and Cowboys Nation, however, we know how this team has felt about spending on outside free agents since being burned by the Brandon Carr signing.

In years past, they’ve opted to bargain shop. Last year was a departure from the norm though, as they chased the mythical unicorn that is Sammy Watkins last offseason.

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. 

They haven’t generally been a team that chased big-time free agents, though this could be the season that all changes with several free agent safeties that could be immediate upgrades.

We know they’re going to spend a lot of money on their own with Demarcus Lawrence coming free and Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott looking for contract extensions, but they’re could Ben opportunities to bring in a star from another player to come where The Star.

I hope Jerry Jones has his signing hand ready, it’s going to be putting in a lot of work over the next couple of months.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had people on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, AOL Chatrooms, and via USPS correspondence express concern about whether the Dallas Cowboys will be able to afford all their guys and chase free agents.

Not to worry Cowboys fan, with a little salary cap and contract gymnastics, the sky’s the limit.

Let’s take a look.

Current Cap Space

According to OverTheCap.com, the 2019 Salary Cap is estimated to be around $190 million. After the release of Terrance Williams, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to have nearly $48 million in cap space available to them when free agency opens on March 13th.

When you look at that number by itself, it doesn’t look like a lot with big money contracts coming to DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and Byron Jones. Remember, though, the salary cap may be a fixed number, but contracts are pliable, meaning the team can do several things to create cap space through releases, how they structure new contracts, and restructures.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the Dallas Cowboys will have the money they need to sign the players they want to sign.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 2

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

Likely Releases

Sean Lee, Linebacker

Age and injury catch up to everyone and this is where we are with All-Pro Linebacker Sean Lee who will be turning 33 in July. Lee’s career has just been unlucky from the time he set foot in Dallas.

Since coming to the Cowboys in the 2010 draft, Lee has only played in 64% of the possible 149 games that the Dallas Cowboys have played in that time frame. Contrast that with a player like Zack Martin who has played in all but two games in his five-year career. That’s a 92% availability rate for his career.

The Dallas Cowboys don’t typically pay age. The difficult choice with Lee is that he’s long been a leader for the Dallas Cowboys. However, with the emergence of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, it’s extremely difficult to justify a $7 million cap hit to a part-time player.

Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver

Allen Hurns was a roller coaster ride in 2018.

First, it appeared he was brought in to be an upgrade at the number two spot. Then when the Cowboys shocked the world and released Dez Bryant, he immediately moved up the wide receiver pecking order, but was generally ineffective. After the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper, Hurns became somewhat of an afterthought in the wide receiver snap distribution. Then he was lost in the win over the Seattle Seahawks with a gruesome ankle injury.

Allen Hurns is a fine player, but the Cowboys could get $5 million in cap relief by parting ways with the former 1,000 yard receiver.

A couple weeks ago, I outlined why I think Hurns could be a solution to the problem facing the Cowboys if Cole Beasley walked away. Hurns best attributes shine when deployed in the slot and asked to run over the middle of the field.

Coming off of the ankle injury, the Cowboys could easily move on and use that $5 million to extend one of their own or go after a big name in free agency.

Unlikely, but not Impossible Releases

The next few players are players that will most likely be on the squad in 2019. But as we saw with Dez Bryant, there can always be surprises.

Joe Looney, Center

The 2018 season seemed almost sunk when news came down that Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillen-Barre Syndrome during training camp. One of the stories of the 2018 season, was the play of Frederick’s backup Joe Looney. Looney may not have been the most valuable player, but you can’t understate how important he wasn’t to the success the Dallas Cowboys had in 2018.

We’ve seen what happens when backups who are incredibly inferior to the starter they play behind see action. Think back to Atlanta in 2017. If the Cowboys get better play from Chaz Green and Byron Bell, that game and perhaps the season turns out differently. Kind of like when Cameron Fleming filled in for Tyron Smith this season. It was a completely different result. Was Fleming perfect? No, but he wasn’t a disaster and the Cowboys were able to win games without their All-Pro left tackle.

Joe Looney is going to be with this team unless someone loses their center and wants to trade for him. In the event the Cowboys wanted to get some cap relief, they could save $1.5 million in 2019, with only $125 thousand in dead money on the cap.

I don’t see them making this move, but for those of you curious, there are the numbers.

Joe Thomas, Linebacker

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch got all the glory at the linebacker position in 2018, and for good reason, but Joe Thomas was an important piece to the puzzle as well. He provided excellent depth and a lot of good snaps for the Cowboys in 2018, which is why I think he’s back next year.

He only saves you about $2 million on the cap, but if you didn’t want to pay a  backup linebacker $2 million, then you could part ways with him.

Jeff Heath, Safety

Jeff Heath is a solid player, but gets relied upon for a little more than he should. He’d probably be best served with being a rotational safety in the NFL. He has a penchant for making plays, but also has some maddening snaps as well, like the final play against the Rams where Jared Goff was able to scramble for a first down. Heath never saw the bootleg and was late getting to Goff to keep him from picking up the first down.

The Dallas Cowboys like him as a player and he’s likely to stay with the team. He helps on special teams and provides valuable depth.

If they were to move on, they could save $2.5 million.

La’el Collins, Tackle

It’s not often you hear people talk about releasing a starting tackle, and I’m certainly not here to advocate for that.

Collins has had some up and down games, but in his short two-year stint at right tackle he’s been pretty good. He’s stood tall against some of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

His contract will carry him through the 2019 season, but if the Dallas Cowboys wanted to part ways, again, not saying they should, they could save a whopping $8.5 million in the salary cap.

$8.5 million could be the cost of Earl a Thomas or a Tre Boston. That’s  pretty big chunk of change.

Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick

Potential Restructures

When it comes to restructures, the Dallas Cowboys have been selective over recent years with who they choose to flip the switch on.

A restructure doesn’t change the money owed to the player, just changes when the pay out happens. When a team and a player agree to a restructure, the cap hit or base salary is lowered to a more manageable amount and the difference is paid out as a bonus. The bonus is then spread out evenly over the remaining years of the contract.

For example.

Player A has four years remaining on their deal with a cap hit of $16 million per year for the rest of the contract. The team and player A agree to restructure the contract to decrease this season’s base salary to $1 million dollars. The $15 million difference is then paid out as a bonus and then the cap hit is added to the final three years. So instead of the cap hit being $16 million per year for the remainder of the contract, it is now $21 million per year.

The problem with restructuring contracts is that you better hope that the players you restructure make it to the end of their contract otherwise you could end up with big dead money holds on your cap.

The Dallas Cowboys could restructure the following players:

Tyron Smith, Tackle

The Dallas Cowboys All-Pro Left Tackle may be the best draft pick they’ve made in the last 10 years. He’s been one of the best in the game at his position for nearly his entire NFL career and until recent seasons, had been incredibly reliable.

According to Over The Cap, if the Cowboys decided to restructure Smith’s contract, they could get $7.26 million added to the salary cap this season.

That’s a big number, which would help you get your hands on a top safety or defensive lineman in free agency. The reasons why you wouldn’t do it surround Tyron’s health.

He’s missed games each of the last three seasons because of back issues. He’s signed through the 2023 season, which is his age 33 season. It’s entirely possible that he continues to play at a high level through the end of the contract, but you’ll always be a bit concerned about his back.

Zack Martin, Guard

If Tyron was the best draft pick, Zack Martin is a close second. He’s been the definition of reliability as he’s provided elite guard play through the first five years of his career making the All-Pro team each of his first five seasons.

If I were managing the cap for the Dallas Cowboys, it would be a no brainer to restructure Martin who is signed through the 2024 season; his age 34 season. Offensive lineman can play at a high level well into their 30’s barring injury and Zack has the ability to be one of those guys. At his current pace, he could one day end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

By restructuring Martin, the Dallas Cowboys could save $7.36 million on the 2019 salary cap.

Travis Frederick, Center

Last summer was a scary situation for Travis Frederick and by all accounts his recovery is going well. It sounds like he should be ready to go by training camp, and if that’s the case, there’s no reason to believe that Frederick won’t be the player we’ve all come to expect and missed during the 2018 season.

He’s a leader on the offensive line. He’s an excellent communicator and really good at blocking other big humans.

Getting Frederick back for the 2019 season is as big of an upgrade as you could have on an offense. He changes everything. He helps set protections and call out stunts. He will make Conor Williams a better guard just by being present. The offense as a whole will be better by having Frederick available.

Like Smith and Martin, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t play out his current contract at a high level. Even if he’s only 75% of his previous self because of the illness, that’s still a really good football player who is worth every bit of the $10 million a year he’s getting paid.

Travis Frederick has five more years left on his contract. If the Cowboys were to restructure his deal, they could gain another $4.1 million in cap relief this offseason.

Tyrone Crawford, Defensive Line

If ever there was a player that was a victim of his contract it’s Tyrone Crawford. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to an extension thinking he would be the answer at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot. He was good on his rookie deal but his contract was more of a projection than a deal based on prior production.

Unfortunately, Crawford hasn’t lived up to his deal, but he’s been a reliable and versatile player for the Dallas Cowboys. His ability to play both at defensive end and defensive tackle has been huge over the years and he’s come up with some timely defensive plays.

Crawford has two years remaining on his contract that runs through the 2020 season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cowboys keep him around. He’s a leader on the defense and he gives you good quality snaps. As they continue to wait for Randy Gregory and/or Taco Charlton to take steps forward, Crawford is a guy that they like and will continue to find snaps for.

If the Cowboys restructured Crawford’s contract, they could get a little over $3 million in cap savings this year. $3 million may not sound like a lot, but in combination with the other moves they could make with the cap, it can help. Every bit helps when constructing a roster. That money could go to paying for the 2019 draft class.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Dak Prescott #4 and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Grand Total

The Dallas Cowboys front office has a lot of decisions to make this offseason and several of them will be in the form of extensions for their own players. They’ll have to figure out a way to use the contracts to their advantage.

If they did everything that could be an option to them, they could create another $48.22 million in space in the salary cap. If they didn’t release any of the “unlikely releases,” they could still free up another $33.72 million by releasing Lee and Hurns and restructuring Smith, Martin, Frederick, and Crawford.

So, they’ll be going into the offseason with at least $48 million in cap space, but through a few moves could have as much as $81-$96.22 million in cap space when it’s all said and done.

None of this even accounts for the way the Cowboys could structure the contracts of Elliott, Dak, Cooper, Lawrence, and Byron Jones. With some smart salary structuring, they won’t necessarily have to eat much of their cap hits in year one of their new contracts.

Don’t worry Cowboys fans. The Cowboys will be able to create enough money to get the things done that they want to get done. If they don’t sign anyone of note in free agency or extend your favorite player, it won’t be because they couldn’t afford to.

It’ll be because they didn’t want to.



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Player News

Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie

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David Irving

The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time https://t.co/vqMNZty6Aq via @sportsdaydfw

Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.

The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.

The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.

But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.

Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.

It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.

Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Player News

BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.

Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.

David Moore on Twitter

Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.

After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.

The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.

While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.

While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.

The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.



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