After their magical 2016 season, it appeared the Dallas Cowboys were on the road to greatness. They were 13-3, the best team in their division, and led by a young core of promising stars.
Just one year ago we discussed how the Cowboys could parlay their late first round pick into the War Daddy pass rusher they needed to take the next step in the postseason. How if they could land one of the many talented defensive ends in the draft class, they might be on to something in 2017.
But today we sit and wonder, how have the Cowboys fallen so far behind?
What a difference a year makes.
Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. The nine year veteran is a 3 time Pro Bowler who tallied 8.5 sacks in 2017, and adds another dangerous rusher to an already ferocious Eagles' front. And all it took to get him from Seattle was a fifth round pick and a practice squad wide receiver.
Those same Eagles are the defending Super Bowl champs. The team which traded for running back Jay Ajayi in the middle of their championship season, and made smart free agent moves after their average 2016 campaign. The team that went up and got quarterback Carson Wentz, and the team that employs a head coach who has no fear about being aggressive in big games or on big downs.
They trust their players. They trust their scouting. And they trust their analytics department. And all of that trust has led them to become the clear favorite in the NFC.
So where does this leave the Cowboys?
Well, Dallas is sort of the anti-Eagles. They have struggled evaluating their own talent, getting them into contract trouble with players like Tyrone Crawford. They have been cautious in free agency, and the signings they have made simply haven't panned out. And, while they hang their hat on their ability to draft, the jury is still out on much of the talented 2016 draft class.
I don't think the Cowboys are doomed. In fact, I think they are far from it. With a smart offseason and some development from now third-year quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys can get right back into the mix in the NFC. But make no mistake about it, they have allowed themselves to fall well behind the Eagles in terms of team building, talent, and coaching.
2018 is a make-or-break year for much of the Dallas Cowboys roster and coaching staff, and the development of the Philadelphia Eagles has put even more pressure on the Cowboys' shoulders.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber
A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.
The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber: https://t.co/TaC6cqjval
Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.
Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.
The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.
Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick
After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.
This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.
Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.
In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.
Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.
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