The understatement of the 2017 NFL season thus far would be, here on August 12th, to tell you that there was a shortage of reactions to yesterday's news that Dallas Cowboys star RB Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for the first six games of the season per a violation of the league's "personal conduct policy".
The NFL world reacted accordingly to the ever-changing but all important details that continued to emerge throughout a day that was incorrectly viewed by some as the merciful end to a 13-month NFL investigation into one of their brightest young players.
This was not the only misconception in circulation, as another one of the most common comparisons I saw being made was that of Elliott's six game suspension coming off as too harsh when weighed against former New York Giants' kicker Josh Brown's one game suspension handed down on August 17th last year.
The Josh Brown case originally got 6 gms, was reduced to 1... I wonder if the NFL does something like that just to get the thing over with
Brown's suspension was of course another violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy, occurring in May of 2015 with a much clearer picture of Brown - according to his ex-wife Molly - physically abusing his partner more than 20 times over the course of several years.
It is very important to note that the NFL's investigation into Brown still took a lengthy ten months, as they arrived at the conclusion that, "investigators had insufficient information to corroborate prior allegations. In addition, no criminal charges were brought forward regarding the incident in question or prior allegations. The NFL therefore made a decision based on the evidentiary findings around this one incident as provided to us by the District Attorney."
Ezekiel Elliott's case is eerily similar to Brown's when it comes to the cooperation of key witnesses and handling by the league as an above-all-else enforcer of policy, although the NFL reportedly reduced Josh Brown's suspension from the expected six games down to one for two key reasons that can further help Zeke in his potentially upcoming appeal of a six game ban.
"...there were two mitigating factors, from the league’s perspective. First, the NFL didn’t regard the incident as a serious instance of domestic violence, since Brown simply grabbed his now-ex-wife’s wrist. (Many would say that any incident of domestic violence is serious.) Second, the NFL considered its difficulty in getting cooperation from Brown’s now-ex-wife or from law enforcement to be a mitigating factor."
An Ezekiel Elliott appeal and "war" as Mike Fisher from 105.3 The Fan has been eluding to will only bring public more damning details about both Elliott's involvement with Tiffany Thompson and the NFL's handling of this case - perceived as so erroneous that long-time Cowboys reporter Charean Williams believes it will cost the Commissioner Roger Goodell his job.
On @ESPN_SA just now, @NFLCharean says "I truly believe Roger Goodell will lose his job over this
A ready-to-fight Jerry Jones and Ezekiel Elliott may very well know that there is even less wrongdoing by Zeke here than a "grab of a wrist", even with pictures of the victim Thompson surfacing again yesterday (signaling the start of this battle in the court of public opinion if nothing else).
Ezekiel Elliott responds via attorney @nflnetwork
As for the second point regarding Brown's case above, it appears that Elliott's camp has already taken a stance against any accusations of a lack of cooperation on their end or by the District Attorney in Ohio that dismissed this case.
Ezekiel Elliott did not "do nothing" here. That much is nothing but another misconception muddying the waters of an already blackened trail that began - and will end - with Elliott insisting his innocence against all charges of domestic violence that he committed with Tiffany Thompson.
Just how much of Elliott's suspension decision came down to that initial domestic violence incident remains unclear after reading the official letter Commissioner Goodell sent to Elliott.
I'm told #Cowboys Zeke Elliott is willing to take this whole suspension appeal through courts if he has to. This could drag out a long time.
A harsh truth here as Cowboys Nation digs in mentally for the "end" of this Ezekiel Elliott story to truly only be just the ugly beginning is that facts may never win out.
The NFL can and will do what it wants, proving so emphatically yesterday by enforcing a full six game suspension against Elliott that is consistent with a domestic violence offense that the league did not provide additional evidence of in regards to Elliott and his perceived guilt via Roger Goodell.
The shield could very well stick their foot in the ground and do everything possible to hold up this six game suspension, making an example out of Elliott - perhaps only that empowering victims beyond reasonable plausibility will be their new by-the-wayside standard when the next Ezekiel Elliott, or should I say Tiffany Thompson, comes along.
Conversely, Elliott could win out legally behind the support of the Dallas Cowboys and specifically Jerry Jones, following in the footsteps of Josh Brown well before he was blacklisted from the NFL - something the Cowboys have no intentions of doing with a player they'll continue to invest significant resources into as a face to America's Team.
What cost will this impossibly well-known face now have on the NFL, Roger Goodell, the NFLPA, and the Dallas Cowboys though? The answer to this cannot be derived from anything that occurred in Josh Brown's swift exit from the league unfortunately, as a suspension of any length will do nothing long-term to keep Ezekiel Elliott away from the brightest public spotlights and nearest official willing to hear his case of innocence.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
Though Not A Direct Beasley Replacement, Randall Cobb Would Bring Value To Cowboys’ Offense
When the news broke Monday that veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb was visiting the Dallas Cowboys, most immediately assumed he would be a logical replacement for the departed Cole Beasley.
When you take a look at the film and each of their skillsets, however, you quickly see this is likely not the case.
While Cobb would be able to play in the slot as a receiver for the Cowboys if he signs, his value extends much further than just a slot receiver. Where Beasley makes his mark with precise route running, short area quickness, and 3rd down reliability, Cobb is much more of a threat after the catch. He's not the route runner that Beasley is, and really isn't an upgrade over Beasley as a receiver, but Cobb would be able to help the Cowboys' become more diverse in their offensive schemes.
Similar to Tavon Austin, Randall Cobb can be used in pre snap motion and jet-sweep packages, as well as a traditional running back. A college quarterback, Cobb's versatility is what makes him so attractive to NFL teams. Cobb would actually fit more of the Lance Dunbar "scat back" role of sorts for the Cowboys than that of the Cole Beasley slot receiver role. His versatility, however, allows him to carve out a lane within the offense which they haven't quite had before.
Another area Cobb could help the Cowboys is when the play breaks down. With experience in the Packers offense playing with arguably the greatest improviser we've ever seen in Aaron Rodgers, Cobb would be able to help Dak Prescott down the field when he breaks the pocket and the play is off schedule.
So often last season we talked about how the Cowboys offense is reliant on remaining on schedule, staying in front of the chains and not having to force the ball downfield. Unleashing the Mississippi State version of Dak Prescott, where he can improvise and use his legs to create big plays, tends to be when this offense is at its best, however.
Randall Cobb won't be a Pro Bowler if the Cowboys sign him, and depending on the money he receives, it might not even be a lock that he makes the final roster. But Cobb would be an exciting addition to a Cowboys offense which has lacked "creativity" over the last few seasons, and is looking to reinvent themselves to a certain extent.
A receiving corps headlined by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, with versatile weapons such as Cobb and Tavon Austin behind them, is a pretty good one to head into draft day with.
Signing Cobb would keep the Cowboys from "needing" to take a wide receiver early in the draft, and would allow them to easily shed Allen Hurns if a receiving weapon did fall to them at 58th overall.
Should Cowboys Inquire About Trading for 49ers DL Solomon Thomas?
When it comes to making trades, the Dallas Cowboys are typically the buyer and not the seller. They proved that last season when they acquired Tavon Austin, Jamize Olawale, and Jihad Ward via trade and could be looking do the same once again this offseason. That's why today I want to talk about the Cowboys putting in a call to the San Francisco 49ers to inquire about potentially trading for Solomon Thomas.
New 49ers Defensive Line Coach Kris Kocurek is rumored to be evaluating Solomon Thomas' film in order to determine his fit and future with the organization moving forward. This is no easy task. In his two years in the league they've tried Thomas at DE and DT, but unfortunately the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has yet to find his footing at either position.
Being a man without a position doesn't bode well for Solomon Thomas, especially after the 49ers acquired Defensive End Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs last week via trade. The 49ers are suddenly stacked along the defensive line. That's not all though, things could actually get worse for Thomas.
To further complicate matters, the 49ers could use their second overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft on the either Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. If that's what indeed happens, someone is going to be the odd man out. If you haven't guessed it yet, I think that player could be Solomon Thomas.
As a former high first-round draft pick, Thomas would count $7,678,468 against the salary cap in 2019 and $8,958,213 in 2020. That's probably more than the 49ers want to pay for a rotational/backup defensive lineman. And cutting him this season would create $16.6 million in dead money, so a trade is the logical solution.
With all that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me if San Francisco put Solomon Thomas on the trade block any day now. He is only two years into his four-year rookie deal and comes with a fifth-year option as a former first-round draft pick. That means if a team does trade for him they have him under contract for essentially three more years.
If you add all of this up, it makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They need defensive line help and Solomon Thomas needs a fresh start. The Cowboys would get a young versatile defensive lineman and the 49ers get to dump his contract while also receiving some compensation in return. It's a win-win for all parties concerned.
I know what you're thinking though. What would the Cowboys have to give up in the trade? Well, it might not be as much as you think.
Fortunately, Thomas' failure to make an impact his first two years in the NFL favor the buyer, in this case the Dallas Cowboys. He has only four career quarterback sacks, three of which came in his rookie season. Stats of course don't always tell the entire story, but game film does. Unfortunately for Thomas, he can't escape his poor play.
I believe it wouldn't take more than a 2019 fourth-round draft pick to get Solomon Thomas away from the 49ers. Remember, just last season the New England Patriots sent a third-round draft pick to San Francisco and received Offensive Tackle Trent Brown and the fifth-round pick in return. Brown was a more proven player and was in the last year of his contract.
I don't know about you, but I kind of like the idea of Solomon Thomas in a Dallas Cowboys uniform. If anybody can tap into his potential, Rod Marinelli can. Giving up a 2019 fourth-round pick is well worth the gamble in my opinion.
Do you think the Cowboys should inquire about trading for Solomon Thomas?
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