There's a certain fallacy to saying that NFL free agency begins today, given how much news has already come out in the last 48 hours. However, none of it is official until 4:00 pm EST and even the handshake agreements we've already seen reported could suddenly evaporate.
Outside of giving restricted free agent tenders to Jeff Heath and Ron Leary the Cowboys have made little news so far. Will that change today? As we all await the action, here are some final thoughts on how I think Dallas should approach free agency.
It's been apparent that Dallas intends to let Greg Hardy leave. However, given recent developments in the defensive end market, could they be having second thoughts?
Defensive ends Mario Williams, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Charles Johnson have all already agreed to deals. That leaves Olivier Vernon, Robert Ayers, and Adrian Clayborn as the top names with some other decent options behind them.
Take all personal issues aside and Hardy is probably the best talent on the market. He turns 28 this year and has proven himself on the field more than any remaining options. You could chalk up his lack of performance last season to all of the stress and distraction that came from his personal life, hoping that another year removed would allow him to fully recapture his former level of play.
I think Jason Garrett's cold, detached statement that "Greg Hardy is a free agent" a few weeks ago said everything about where he stands on Hardy's return. However, the same owner/general manager that added Hardy last year is still here. If Jerry Jones feel Hardy is their best option then Garrett may have to deal with it.
If Dallas is truly done with Hardy then I expect they'll add one of Ayers or Clayborn when the market opens. I also expect one of their own free agents, either Jack Crawford or Jeremy Mincey, to be re-signed.
Carr & Claiborne
Stephen Jones has said that the Cowboys want to bring back cornerback Morris Claiborne. Dallas will need answers from soon or else they could miss out on other options to replace him. With news breaking this morning Rolando McClain's return then perhaos a Claiborne announcement is also coming soon.
There's also the lingering question of what's going to happen with Brandon Carr. The assumption that he will be released becomes less solid every day that passes. Perhaps the Cowboys are still wanting to find a way to keep him and lower his cap figure, either through a negotiated pay cut or by extending the deal and spreading money out over more years.
I've always felt like keeping Carr and re-signing Claiborne were mutually exclusive. Not only did they seem financially incompatible but it would mean, essentially bringing back the same cast who has struggled greatly the last two years.
However, sometimes free agency turns into a classic case of "the Devil you know." If Dallas is unwilling to pay what guys like Janoris Jenkins or Casey Hayward are asking for then how much better are the remaining options from what you already have?
Here are some final quick-hit considerations for today:
- Colt McCoy was my favorite backup QB option and he's just re-signed with Washington. I can't say there's anyone else in play who stands clearly above Kellen Moore as an option. Last year I would've sworn Matt Cassel was a superior backup QB and we saw how that ended.
- Lance Dunbar is a forgotten man these days but maybe we should be paying him a little more attention. There's no free agent who matches his skill set and Dallas may be looking to bring him back. That said, Dunbar's return shouldn't change much about how they approach the position.
- If Nick Hayden was coming back I think he'd already be signed. He's the kind of player who I think would jump at a contract from Dallas if one was actually on the table. This may be a sign that the Cowboys look be looking to find an upgrade.
I'm sure the unofficial news will continue rolling in as the day progresses and things will get really fun tonight and tomorrow. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @CowboysAddicts for my ongoing commentary and reaction to free agency developments as they come.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR 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.
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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