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Dallas Cowboys

Don’t Forget About These “Special” Cowboys

Jess Haynie



Dan Bailey

Ask a hundred football fans what the Dallas Cowboys' strongest position is and at least 75 to 80 of them would say the offensive line. It might even be more than that, and none of the would be wrong.

However, if someone said "kicker" or even "specialists," you couldn't really argue with them.

We've started to take for granted the remarkable luxury that the Cowboys now enjoy with kicker Dan Bailey, punter Chris Jones, and long snapper L.P. Ladouceur. Positions that have all given the franchise grief in the past, these are now manned by players who are either at or near the top of the league.

Dan Bailey

The Star News - [WATCH] Dan Bailey Recreates "Damn Daniel" Internet SensationI could just tell you he's the most accurate kicker in NFL history. That's about all that needs to be said, right?

Bailey's career field-goal percentage of 90.5% over the last five seasons is the best ever. The next closest are are the Ravens' Justin Tucker at 87.8% and the Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski at 87.3%.

What's more, Bailey's contract just became a bargain. A few weeks ago, Baltimore re-signed Tucker to a four-year, $16.8 million contract. Tucker's new average annual salary of $4.2 million exceeds the $3.2 million that Dallas will have paid to Bailey over the course of his deal, which expires in 2020.

In fact, five other NFL teams are paying their kickers more than Dallas is paying Bailey.

Best of all, Bailey is still just 28-years-old and has at least a few more years before you start worrying about his prime. You do always have the thought of how quickly a great kicker can fall apart, which Dallas experienced during our one bad year with Mike Vanderjagt.

For now, though, Dan Bailey is the best in the biz and in the history of the biz. We'll take that.

Chris Jones

Cowboys Headlines - Where Does Dallas' Chris Jones Rank Among NFL Punters?

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Last April, Dallas re-signed Jones to a two-year extension. You can understand why when you look at his 2015 performance.

Jones is the thinking man's punter. He isn't about the booming punts but more strategic ball placement and field position. He does an exceptional job of taking the other team's return game out of the equation.

Dallas was in the top five last year in net return yardage, which is the length of the punt minus the amount of the return. Only 24 of Jones' 61 punts were actually returned. Dallas was also in the top five in forcing fair catches.

Jones has shown a great talent for placing the ball right on the sidelines. He maximizes distance while also taking the return man out of the play. He may not have the biggest leg in the NFL but he get some of the best results.

L.P. Ladouceur

Cowboys Headlines - Don't Forget About These "Special" CowboysThe second-oldest player on the team at 35 years (Tony Romo is 36), the long snapper is the least talked about guy on the roster. Even the fifth or sixth wide receiver or the seventh linebackers gets more ink than Ladouceur.

And that's just fine, because he's a guy who loves to go unnoticed.

You will only hear about your team's long snapper when they make a mistake. That's why Ladouceur has been on the field since 2005, longer than anyone other than Jason Witten, and yet you hardly know his name.

It's a thankless job, other than the money. Ladouceur has the third-highest cap hit of any long snapper at $1.17 million. Given that he is involved on every play for both Dan Bailey and Chris Jones, that is a small price to pay for perfection.

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!

Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



Deonte Thompson

The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.

By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.

While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.

Byron Jones

The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.

Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.

Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.

Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.

Chaz Green

Okay, hear me out.

The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.

Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.

Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.

Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.

La'el Collins

It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.

Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.

Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.

Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.

If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



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.

Jon Machota on Twitter

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.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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