Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Hurt Runs Deep: When Free Agency Most Pained Cowboys Fans

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines -  56

At this point in the year, just about all major professional sports besides baseball are in a "dead" period. Football is still weeks away from training camps opening up, hockey and basketball have just finished their seasons, and well, I don't know what happens in any of the other sports.

This past weekend was a big one for NBA fans, however, as free agency opened up and record-high deals were signed. While some had larger dollar amounts, none of these deals impacted the power struggle in the league the way Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors did.

This isn't a basketball site, so I don't need to go into any of those details, but this was obviously a huge signing. Golden State gained a top player in the league while Oklahoma City lost the first superstar they had ever known, a player who had a great impact on their community on and off the court.

Predictably, many of their fans reacted poorly to the news. Jerseys were burned, expletives were used, and hate was spewed towards their former "homegrown son," Kevin Durant.

From the outside looking in we may think these fans are acting like fools, but as Cowboys fans we have certainly been left by a few players through free agency before. I am all for players getting their money, and if the Cowboys aren't willing to pay it, then you should go find someone who will. That doesn't mean it is easy to see your favorite players leave the team, however.

Let's take a little trip down memory lane to remember some of the free agents that decided Dallas was no longer the right home for them.

DeMarco Murray, Running Back, 2015

Cowboys Blog - Welcome Home, DeMarco Murray 3

Aug 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Just one year ago we saw DeMarco Murray walk away from the Dallas Cowboys to join the hated Philadelphia Eagles, signing a multi-million dollar deal which the Cowboys were not willing to match.

Just about every Cowboys fan knew that Murray was all but gone once the 2014 season ended. He was coming off of a record breaking year in which he rushed for over 1,800 yards and was in the MVP discussion, giving him the leverage to command a boat-load of money.

Even though we knew he'd be gone, it still hurt to see him go to Philadelphia. ANYWHERE but the Eagles, DeMarco.

The Cowboys undoubtedly got the better end of this deal, however, as Murray had a disastrous season in Philadelphia before being traded to Tennessee, and our Cowboys later drafted Ezekiel Elliott.

Only bad things happen when you voluntarily go to Philadelphia, remember that kids.

Emmitt Smith, Running Back, 2003emmitt cardinals 1

Emmitt's situation was a lot different than Murray's was, but it still hurt to see him go.

The Cowboys released the NFL's all time rushing leader following their disappointing 2002 season, mostly in an attempt to get younger, but also because they didn't want to pay the price which Smith was asking.

Smith decided to sign with the "sort of-rival" Arizona Cardinals on a two year deal in 2003. While he didn't willingly leave the Cowboys like Murray did, it was still hurtful and weird to see him in another uniform.

Like they always say, though, business is business.

Ken Norton Jr., Linebacker, 1994

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 13: Linebacker Ken Norton #51 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a play during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick Park on November 13, 1994 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 21-14. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 13: Linebacker Ken Norton #51 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a play during a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick Park on November 13, 1994 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won 21-14. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

As we all know, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers epitomize football royalty in part due to what they did during the early 1990's. Cowboys then-head coach Jimmy Johnson once said that he felt like they had already won the Super Bowl after beating the 49ers during the 1993 NFC Championship game, and all he had to do was make sure his team stayed focused for Buffalo in order to win the actual Super Bowl.

While we remember those 90's Cowboys teams largely for their offensive triplets, we should never forget how all-time great their defense was as well.

Linebacker Ken Norton Jr. was the leader of that fearsome defense, but when faced with free agency in 1994, he decided to leave the Cowboys to join the hated 49ers.

Norton won a third straight Super Bowl in 1994, but did so in a 49ers uniform, something many Cowboys fans will never get over.

What was your worst free agency memory?

Whether it was one of these three players or another instance such as DeMarcus Ware joining the Denver Broncos, let us know in the comment section when you were most hurt by a players departure!

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


Player News

BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie



George Iloka

The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.

He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have...

This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.

However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.

Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.

We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019

John Williams



Amari Cooper

In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.

Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.

The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?

Let's take a look.

Outside Receivers

As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.

Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.

As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.

Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.

Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.

There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.

Slot Receiver

Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.

While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.

Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.

In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.

Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.

With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka

John Williams



Why Cowboys Should Acquire Recently Released S George Iloka

As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.

It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.

The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.

Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.

Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.

Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at

Continue Reading

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here