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Former Redskins RB Rob Kelley Could Be Shrewd Signing for Cowboys

Jess Haynie

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Rob Kelley

The Dallas Cowboys have arguably the NFL's best running back in Ezekiel Elliott. But behind him on the depth chart are two rookies and two other players with almost no pro experience. If Dallas wants to bolster the RB group for 2019, signing former Redskin Rob Kelley may be a cheap way to do it.

Kelley has spent three years in Washington since joining them as an undrafted free agent in 2016. His rookie season was his best one; Rob started nine games after an injury to Matt Jones. He rushed for 704 yards and had six touchdown, plus another score and 82 yards off receptions.

In 2017, Kelley lost playing time to Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine. He still started seven games but was eventually used more for short-yardage situations. He finished the season on injured reserve from a high ankle sprain in mid November.

Last season, Kelley again found himself on injured reserve after an early-season toe injury. Before then, Washington had already added Adrian Peterson as the new starter. However, Rob had made the team at final cuts in a continued reserve role.

Rob Kelley became an unrestricted free agent after the Redskins decided not to place an RFA tender on him this offseason. He remains available, and at this point could probably be signed for the veteran minimum.

Over the last few years, the Cowboys have typically had an experienced player as their number-two running back. From Rod Smith to Alfred Morris to Darren McFadden, the team has had solid depth throughout Ezekiel Elliott's time as the starter.

Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys RB Mike Weber

But currently they have two rookies, fourth-round pick Tony Pollard and seventh-round pick Mike Weber. While he has some exciting athleticism, Pollard is considered more of a gadget player in the mold of a Lance Dunbar. He may not hold up with the pounding of full-time touches if Elliott were to go missing.

Weber is the more traditional back but, again, is a late-around rookie. Other options include Darius Jackson and Jordan Chunn, who have almost no playing time on their resumes.

Rob Kelley isn't a dynamic player but he's still young and brings valuable experience. His physical running style also suit this team well; he can get a head of steam with the running lanes that the Cowboys' offensive line creates.

While Kelley's injuries the last two years are worth noting, they weren't major knee issues or anything that should linger into another season. If anything, they've kept his mileage down.

Even if Dallas is hoping for success out of its two rookies running backs, it wouldn't hurt to sign Kelley for the minimum and let him compete. There would be no risk and you might get more out of him than Washington, with their offensive issues the last few years, ever could.

The Cowboys are always looking for good deals, and Rob Kelley offers one of the better combinations of youth, experience, and minimal expense among the current free agents. If they want to add more depth to the running back position, he could be a smart way to go.



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!

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Dallas Cowboys

Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition

Brian Martin

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Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2

With the Dallas Cowboys training camp just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to draw attention to their current roster. From top to bottom, the Cowboys have one of the deepest rosters at their disposable heading into the 2019 season. But in order to get under the league mandated 53-man roster Dallas will have to release quite a few talented players.

With that in mind, I thought I'd take a shot at predicting which Dallas Cowboys players should be considered roster locks right now. I tried to narrow down to the players who I am the most confident in right now, not the ones who can eventually secure a roster spot at some point in training camp or preseason.

I should probably warn you right now… I tried to avoid any "pet cats", roster bubble guys, or players I would personally pound the table for. The players listed below are the ones I'm nearly 100% sure make the Dallas Cowboys final 2019 53-man roster.

Dallas Cowboys 35 Roster Locks

Position Player Player Player Player Player Player Player
QB Dak Prescott
RB Ezekiel Elliott Tony Pollard
FB Jamize Olawale
WR Amari Cooper Michael Gallup Randall Cobb
OL Tyron Smith Connor Williams Travis Frederick Zack Martin La'el Collins Cameron Fleming Connor McGovern
DE DeMarcus Lawrence Robert Quinn Dorrance Armstrong Tyrone Crawford
DT Antwaun Woods Maliek Collins Tryston Hill
LB Sean Lee Jaylon Smith Leighton Vander Esch Joe Thomas
CB Byron Jones Chidobe Awuzie Anthony Brown Jourdan Lewis
S Xavier Woods Jeff Heath George Iloka Donovan Wilson
ST Chris Jones L.P. Ladouceur

35 out of 53 may seem like a low number of Dallas Cowboys players who I believe have already locked up a roster spot, but with the depth this team has it's really not. There's no way of really knowing how many players the Cowboys will keep at each position, which makes predicting these roster locks that much more difficult. Regardless though, the 35 players listed above are the ones I am the most confident about.

Biggest Surprise Roster Locks

If you look over the 35 players who I believe have locked up a roster spot already, there's not a whole lot of surprises. I think the only player I would consider a surprise would be Safety Donovan Wilson. As a rookie, and a sixth-round pick at that, Wilson seems like a longshot to even make the final 53-man roster, but not if you look at the current the depth at the position. I believe all he has to do is beat out Kavon Frazier, which shouldn't be that difficult.

The only other player that could possibly be a surprise is Cornerback Jourdan Lewis. The only reason I mention him is because the Cowboys "supposedly" put him on the trade block last year. I think they've learned though he is someone who needs more playing time, which is why I have him listed above.

Biggest Surprise Roster Snubs

You may have noticed a few names who I snubbed as roster locks for the Dallas Cowboys, but which ones were the biggest surprises?

The first player you may have noticed missing was WR/RB Tavon Austin. He's a dynamic player when he can get the ball in space, especially in the return game, but in no way do I view him as a roster lock this year. Tony Pollard, the Cowboys third-round pick this year, is a similar player that could make Austin expendable.

The next player you may have noticed missing is C/OG Joe Looney. He filled in nicely for Travis Frederick last year and quite possibly saved the Cowboys 2018 season. His versatility to play along the OL could be important, but rookie C/OG Connor McGovern could fill that role as well. Despite that though, Looney still has a good chance to make the final 53-man roster.

The last player I think who might be a surprise is Defensive End Taco Charlton. He is entering the ever important Year 3 with the Dallas Cowboys, but despite being a former first-round pick he's no sure bet that to make the roster. The Cowboys have some talented depth at DE who could push Charlton off the roster.

Who would be your Dallas Cowboys roster locks ahead of training camp?



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Dallas Cowboys

Should Cowboys Consider Bringing Back Alex Tanney as Backup QB?

Jess Haynie

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Alex Tanney

If the Dallas Cowboys aren't happy about their quarterback depth by the end of preseason, they should be looking to add someone from other teams' roster cuts. One player that could become available is a former Cowboy, Alex Tanney, and he may be one of the best options they'll have.

Tanney is currently with the New York Giants and served as Eli Manning's backup last year. He's floated around the NFL since going undrafted in 2012, being part of eight different teams.

Alex's tenure in Dallas came in 2013 when the Cowboys signed him just before training camp. Tanney flashed his potential during the preseason but it wasn't enough to get him on the 53-man roster. Dallas kept just two QBs that year, Tony Romo and Kyle Orton, and signed Tanney to their practice squad.

In November of that season, the Cleveland Browns poached Alex and signed him to their roster. Then came a series of stops with other teams' practice squad before finally landing with the Tennessee Titans, where he got his first and only playing time in a regular season game.

In 2015, Tanney finished the Titans meaningless regular-season finale. He completed 10-of-14 passes for 99 yards and one touchdown.

Alex Tanney

New York Giants QB Alex Tanney

After spending last year with the Giants as the backup QB but never having to play, Tanney re-signed with New York for a two year deal this past March. But that was before the Giants spent their first-round pick on QB Daniel Jones

New York has kept three quarterbacks on the roster the last two years, but only kept two in 2016. With a clear top-two of Manning and Jones, and Daniel obviously their QB of the future, could they decide to let their other passers go at final cuts?

By only giving Tanney $75,000 in guaranteed money on his new contract, the Giants certainly left themselves the option of cutting him.

Alex Tanney now has seven years of NFL experience with multiple teams. He'll have just spent a full year and a second offseason with one of the Cowboys' division rivals, perhaps offering some insights into Pat Shurmur's system.

Ideally, the Cowboys will be content at quarterback if Cooper Rush or Mike White can earn their confidence over the next two months. But after reported struggles from both during mini-camps and OTAs, there is reason for concern.

This will all be moot, of course, if the Giants decide to keep Alex as a their third quarterback. But there is reason to think he could hit the open market, and if so he may be one of the few decent options that Dallas has to try and improve their QB depth.

In the end, Alex Tanney may not be a better option than Rush or White. But if the Cowboys find themselves desperate by September, he should at least be worth a second look.



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Saints WR Michael Thomas Will Drive Up Price for Cowboys’ Amari Cooper

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Saints WR Michael Thomas Will Drive Up Price for Amari Cooper

Since he became part of the Dallas Cowboys, Amari Cooper has proved himself worthy of a long-term contract extension. The offense saw a complete turnaround once the former Oakland Raider arrived, picking up way more first downs and moving the ball down the field. With a solid #1 wide receiver, Dak Prescott's game improved and with it, the rest of the offensive performance. At this point, most of Cowboys Nation agrees on how important Amari Cooper is for the Cowboys' future.

At only 25 years old, Cooper has an entire career ahead of him. He's young, yet experienced. The front office is aiming to make Dak Prescott the team's quarterback in the long-term and it only makes sense to give him such a strong weapon in the passing game.

However, if the Cowboys are to keep Cooper, they are to pay a price tag. An expensive one. And the more time they take to sign him, the more they'll have to pay. Of course, this is true in just about every position in the NFL. But when it comes to WR, there's a bit more urgency.

Michael Thomas, Saints

Both Julio Jones and Michael Thomas, two of the best in the game, are seeking long-term extensions. Now granted, these two players may be in different scenarios given their ages (Julio is 30, Michael is 26) and the fact that Jones still has two remaining years on his current contract. Even still, both are in the discussion for being the top receiver in the NFL. In other words, they could be asking to become the highest paid receivers in the league.

In fact, Michael Thomas is reportedly asking for $22M per year. To put it in perspective, Odell Beckham's contract with the Browns, which made him the top paid receiver, averages $18M annually. Thomas is absolutely great, but he's asking for too much money. Whether he'll get it or not remains to be seen.

Amari Cooper

As much as we love Amari Cooper, he isn't in the conversation for being the best wide receiver in the NFL like Thomas is. Despite that, he'll surely land among the highest-paid. For Cooper, it seems like the floor for his deal is Adam Thielen's contract with the Minnesota Vikings, which averages $16.2M per year. He isn't getting paid anything less than that.

The ceiling though, could drastically change. He's not going to become the top paid in the league, but he could be very close. The thing is, that number could change quickly. At the moment, Odell Beckham sits atop the NFL pass-catchers averaging 18 million. We can only guess, but that could lead to Cooper getting paid around $17M per year.

But if Michael Thomas or Julio Jones get their deals done before, that price could drastically go up. If Thomas gets what he wants (and it's a big if), the ceiling for Cooper's annual salary would have become $4M more expensive.

Hopefully, the Dallas Cowboys get a deal done quickly. Amari Cooper is a great player, and in less than a season he clicked with Dak Prescott, who's also waiting for payday. Right now, we can only be glad neither is threatening to hold out and both are excited for training camp.

Tell me what you think about "Saints WR Michael Thomas Will Drive Up Price for Cowboys’ Amari Cooper" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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