On March 10th the Cowboys had a visit with free agent quarterback Matt Moore. The 31-year-old ultimately decided to re-sign with the Miami Dolphins and we have no idea if the Cowboys made him an offer, let alone what the financial terms of it were.
What we do know is that Dallas didn't bring Moore in just to catch up with an old friend. The Cowboy were clearly in the market to add a veteran passer and there's no reason to think they aren't still interested. So, who else is out there?
Here's a look at the best of the remaining free agent quarterbacks and my thoughts on how they'd work in Dallas. I've ranked them in the order by which I'd like to see them signed.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
The obvious first choice, Fitzpatrick threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns last year with the Jets. He will likely end up signing somewhere as a starter, perhaps returning to New York or landing in Denver. However, at 33-years-old, there's always the chance that Fitzpatrick won't get the starting job that he probably deserves.
The chances of Fitzpatrick coming to Dallas are slim. Not only would he a guaranteed backup behind Tony Romo but there's no way Dallas would pay him more than a few million per year. Money has been the big hangup between Fitzpatrick and the Jets so it's hard to see him taking such a massive pay cut on top of not being able to compete for the starting job.
However, something is always better than nothing. If Fitzpatrick gets desperate then he may look at Romo's health issues and see an opportunity in Dallas. Even if it's only for one year, it may be a chance to get in some games and stay relevant for next year's free agent market. It's highly unlikely, of course, but not entirely impossible.
The drop off from Fitzpatrick to the rest of the pack is steep, but that's what happens in the fourth week of free agency. Clausen, a former second-round pick, will turn 29 in September and has played with three teams since entering the league in 2010.
Last year Clausen, the third-stringer in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub, ended up starting in back-to-back games in December. At home against two very good defenses, Seattle and Kansas City, Clausen had two solid stat lines: 274 yards and a pick against the Seahawks followed by 281 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks against the Chiefs. He also had five runs for 30 yards against Kansas City.
Obviously I don't think Clausen is anything great, but he has a good arm, quick release, and the mobility to do well in our offense. He has a lot more experience than Kellen Moore and would at least be competition for the backup job.
Still just 28, Freeman isn't that far removed from the guy everyone was projecting to be a breakout star in Tampa Bay. He was out of the NFL for most of 2015 but got signed for a single game by the Colts in Week 17.
It's no secret that Freeman was highly immature and blew his chance with the Bucs with poor behavior and lack of leadership. There's always the chance that Freeman has been humbled and matured from those experiences. If so, his raw talent is probably better than anyone on this list. He's worth a look, if nothing else.
At this point you can just start throwing out names. Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Whitehurst, Kellen Clemens... they've been hanging around depth charts for years. If you have one whose skill set you thinks fits well with your offense then you can bring them in to compete with Kellen Moore.
While I would've liked Matt Moore a lot better than this group, you could argue that the talent difference may not be much. Moore has just proven more from time as a starter and I liked that he's been here before with both Romo and Garrett, albeit nine years ago. Ultimately, plenty of guys have comparable talent.
5. Johnny Manziel
Only if everyone is gone and Quincy Carter refuses to come out of retirement.
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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