Since they first played each other in 1960, the Cowboys and Cardinals franchises have met 88 times. They spent nearly 30 years together as NFC East opponents. Though not still in the same division, games between the two teams still have that rivalry feeling. Tonight's showdown on Monday Night Football will be no different, and it's a game that Dallas desperately needs to win.
After their 42-17 shellacking suffered last week in Denver, the Cowboys are looking to get their season back on track. The Cardinals are coming off a narrow overtime victory over the Colts, but still have yet to show if they can be competitive against the league's better teams. Both teams are 1-1 and want to stay on the right side of the win-loss columns.
The Cowboys have lost their last four meetings against the Cardinals, going back to 2008. The first three losses occurred in Arizona and the most recent, in 2014, was at home. The series returns to Glendale, AZ tonight, an environment and a team that have not been kind to the Cowboys for a while now.
Over their last 15 meetings the Cardinals have a 9-6 record against the Cowboys. This began with a playoff meeting between the two in the 1998 season, the only time the two clubs have ever met in the postseason. Including that victory, Arizona has won 60% of the time over the last 16 years.
Even though the Cardinals left the NFC East in 2002, their games with the Cowboys still have that rivalry air about them. Even when the Cowboys are having a dominant season, such as their last meeting in 2014, the Cardinals still find ways to give them trouble. The old saying that "you can throw out the record books when these two meet" certainly applies here.
Sometimes it feels like the last 15 years are the universe's way of restoring balance, because this rivalry was as lopsided as it gets in the 1990s. Not even Jason Witten was playing back then, but most of us remember how badly the Cowboys dominated the Cardinals during their dynasty era.
Before that playoff loss in 1998, the Cowboys had gone 16-1 against the Cardinals. They won 13 straight games from 1990 to 1996. While everyone in the NFC East spent most of that decade looking up at the Cowboys, nobody was their whipping boy like the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals.
In fact, Dallas' greatest eras have historically included domination of the Cardinals franchise. From 1966 to 1981, the Cowboys were 21-7 against the St. Louis Cardinals (as they were then known). This coincided with their time of being a perennial playoff team and their other two Super Bowl championships.
These sustained periods are why Dallas has won 55 of those 88 career meetings between the two clubs. With the momentum of their 2017 season on the line tonight, the Cowboys need to get back those winning ways against Arizona. If they could start a renewed run of victories against them, all the better.
Whether it's the recent winning or the ever-painful sight of Emmitt Smith in that red jersey, the Arizona Cardinals have been a thorn in our side for a while now. Tonight needs to be a palate cleanser, not just from the loss last week but for the last several years of history between the Cowboys and their longtime rivals.
It's time to remind them who their daddy is.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security
There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.
Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.
Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.
Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.
If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.
Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.
Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.
As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.
Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.
If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.
Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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