"Amazing" and "inspiring" are far from the first words anyone would use to describe the 2017 Dallas Cowboys. In fact, they truthfully shouldn't be used at all following the Cowboys' 9-7 season that fell short of the playoffs. Both of these terms -- along with just about every other positive one there is -- apply to linebacker Jaylon Smith, however.
Playing a full 16-game NFL schedule that few thought would ever be possible, the 34th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft made the Cowboys' investment in him more profitable by the week.
It took a "redshirt" year to start his career out of Notre Dame, but now Jaylon Smith has declared himself back to normal -- just in time for the team to enter an offseason of self-reflection and roster evaluation.
Jaylon Smith: "There are no more tests or anything that's going on. All of that stuff is out of the picture. It's just a matter of timing. But for me, I can tell you and my play can tell you from the past weeks that I'm back.
Jaylon Smith finished his season with 81 tackles and one sack, good for fourth on the team.
For over a year, the Cowboys tried to sell their fans on nothing but optimism for Smith through his terrific approach at working to see the field. Perhaps unfairly, they put Smith in a position where he had to produce as much as he did in 2017 once returning to ever vindicate his draft selection.
Week by week, following a win or loss, Jaylon Smith made progress this season. There were outstanding highs mixed with lows that made even the loudest Smith supporters swallow their pride just a bit -- myself included when I called for the team to protect their developing defensive leader by placing him on IR.
The most important stats for Smith to take away from this season still shouldn't be that incredible total of tackles. The number of games played (16) and number of regular trips he'll have to make to trainers, doctors, and surgeons (a happily decreasing total) moving forward are much more important.
With the reliable Anthony Hitchens set to hit free agency this offseason, the Cowboys have learned that they can rely on Jaylon Smith.
A player that never doubted himself, the team chose him as their nominee for the Ed Block Courage Award this season. This nomination was a tip of the cap to not only Smith, but all of his teammates and the medical staff members who made his return possible.
Adding talent at linebacker around the 32-year old Sean Lee, who missed five more games this season, will again be an important discussion for Cowboys Nation leading up to the draft and free agency.
Does this look like the Jaylon Smith we saw in college? https://t.co/MfcRK9ZgUh
Having Jaylon Smith himself say that he feels ready to put a difficult past behind him and focus on being this team's middle linebacker of the future is as exciting of an offseason development as you'll find though.
All of the Dallas Cowboys plans on defense for 2018 will include Jaylon Smith continuing to find ways to defy the odds and make big plays. A deeply talented player with the traits to line up at multiple positions across any front seven, a lot could (and should) be asked of Smith moving forward.
They believed in me. America's Team ❤️ #ClearEyeView https://t.co/ZylnXCtJGw
After all, moving forward isn't anything new to #54.
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
REPORT: Police Detain Cowboys DL Tyrone Crawford After Bar Fight
According to TMZ, Tyrone Crawford was involved in a brawl at a bar in Panama City, FL last Friday night. The Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman and team captain was detained by police but apparently was not arrested.
The level of Crawford's involvement has not been substantiated, but TMZ's report does have him shoving police officers at some point in the action. The incident was reportedly captured by surveillance equipment at the bar.
Given that he was not arrested, one could assume that Tyrone was not one of the primary players in the melee. But that doesn't mean the NFL won't still review this matter as it relates to the personal conduct policy, and Cowboys fans know too well how "fair" that process can be.
This is certainly not a story you'd expect to see attached to Tyrone Crawford, who has been a model citizen and leader since entering the league in 2012.
Dallas elected to keep Crawford this season despite solid potential savings. He will count $10.1 million against their 2019 salary cap, which is high for his average production. However, he can play multiple positions and is one of their most experienced players.
Even if Tyrone were to get suspended by the league, it likely wouldn't be more than a one or two-game ban given his record and reputation. It shouldn't change anything about his status with the team.
REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Eric Berry Tuesday
According to Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys have a meeting scheduled to visit with Free Agent Safety Eric Berry Tuesday at The Star.
Source: Former #Chiefs S and new free agent Eric Berry is visiting the #Cowboys on Tuesday. His first visit. They have a need there...
Eric Berry has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs after they drafted him fifth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. After signing Earl Thomas last week, the Chiefs decided to part ways with their former All-Pro Safety.
Berry, 30 is an intriguing free agent for the Dallas Cowboys. When healthy, he is arguably one of the best safeties in the league. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field these last few seasons causing him to only start in only three games since 2016.
This is a move many of us expected to happen after the Cowboys decided not to get into a bidding war for Earl Thomas, a player linked to Dallas for over a year now. In Berry, Cowboys Nation would be getting a similar player with the same kind of red flags. Both Thomas and Berry have to be approached with caution due to their injury history the past few years.
Depending on his asking price, Eric Berry absolutely makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys. He would be an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would pair well with the Cowboys up-and-coming three-year safety Xavier Woods.
This is still just a visit, so we should probably get our hopes up that a signing is imminent. But, I think we can all agree Eric Berry is exactly the "right kind of guy" Jason Garrett is always preaching about. He's a cancer survivor, five-time Pro Bowler, and All-Pro player. What's not to like!?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Realistic Free Agents Cowboys Should Sign Before the Draft
NFL Draft5 days ago
Hypothetical La’el Collins Trade Could Recoup Cowboys a 2019 1st-Round Pick
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Cowboys Show Interest in Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Player News6 days ago
Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
REPORT: Cowboys Keeping OL Joe Looney, WR Tavon Austin, WR Allen Hurns in 2019
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should the Cowboys Use Their 2020 First Round Pick in 2019?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign DL Christian Covington