The 2016 Rio Olympics has come to an end. We have all witnessed some the best athletes from around the world coming together to compete in different athletic events.
I for one always hate to see the Olympic Games come to an end. I love watching these athletes give every bit of themselves in the events there competing in. They train for years for the chance to represent their country and perhaps put themselves in a position to win a medal.
While watching all of the different Olympic events, I really started thinking if there were any current Dallas Cowboys players that could have perhaps become an Olympian and what event they might be best suited to compete in.
Below are just a few of the Cowboys players I personally think would've made good Olympians if they would have chosen a different career path.
Tony Romo, Golf
The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics was the first time that golf was an Olympic event since the 1904 Summer Olympics. Golf might not be one of the more popular events at the Olympic Games, but that doesn't mean the players competing aren't all trying to win the gold medal.
We all know that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a passion for golf and if he was to compete in an Olympic event this would be the one he would be most qualified to participate in.
Over the years a lot of Cowboys fans believed that Romo's willingness to spend his downtime on the golf course had a negative impact on his QB performance, but he reluctantly gave up the sport after his second back surgery.
Could you see Tony Romo representing USA as an Olympic golfer?
Byron Jones, Decathlon
Byron Jones is arguably the most athletic player on the Dallas Cowboys roster, if not the entire NFL. He already holds the unofficial world record for the standing long jump with a leap of 12'3". So, you would think his best Olympic event would be the long jump, but I think his rare athletic ability would serve him better competing in the decathlon.
The decathlon is 10 events total and is graded on a point system depending how each individual athlete finishes in the 10 events. The decathlon events include the 100 m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 m, 110 m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 m run.
I'm basing my decision that the decathlon would be his best of Olympic event because he was one of the top performers in the 200 m and 400 m events in high school. He ran the 200 in 22.13 seconds and the 400 in 48.43 seconds.
If you combine his speed/athletic ability and then give him the time to train, you might be looking at an Olympic medalist.
Travis Frederick, Discus & Shot Put
Just looking at Travis Frederick you wouldn't consider him as being Olympic material, but just because he plays center in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys doesn't mean he couldn't excel at a different sport.
In fact, in high school he was a top performer in both discus and shot put. In 2008, he finished second in shot put at the BDN Invite, with a throw of 15.23 m (49'11"). He also took second in the 2008 WIAA Sectional Championships in discus with a throw of 49.30 m (161'10").
Frederick's athleticism is underrated by a lot of people, but if you've ever watched anyone throw a shot put or discus you would notice that these participants have to rely on their athleticism to be able to spin around several times while throwing a heavy object.
I have no doubt Frederick could do that. Plus, he's already used to flipping around a football.
Dez Bryant, Triple Jump
There is no denying that Dez Bryant is one of the most dominant wide receivers in the NFL. It's that fact alone why I had a difficult time deciding which Olympic event he would be best suited to compete in.
Not only did Bryant excel on the football field in high school, but he was also a top performers in a track and field. One of his better events where the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles. He ran the 110 hurdles in 14.56 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 40.70 seconds.
The hurdles however wasn't his best event, that was triple jump. He was one of the top performers in the state and his best personal jump was 14.17 m. That is why I decided this was his best Olympic event.
Can you imagine the excitement and electricity Dez Bryant would bring to the triple jump at the Olympics?
Ezekiel Elliott, 110 & 400 Hurdles
Deciding Ezekiel Elliott's best chance to compete in the Olympics was probably the easiest of all the players that made this list.
Elliott was a standout track and field athlete and was a state qualifier in different hurtling and sprinting events. In fact, he won four championships at the Missouri Class 3 state championships.
He won the 100 m dash with the time of 10.95 seconds and the 200 m dash with a time of 22.05 seconds.
Those are both really good times for a high school athlete, but I think the 110 and 400 m hurdles would be his best Olympic event. This is based on the fact that he ran the 110 m high hurdles in 13.77 seconds and the 300 m hurdles in 37.52 seconds.
Out of all of the Dallas Cowboys players on the list I think Ezekiel Elliott might have had the best shot to compete in the Olympics if he hadn't decided to pursue a career on the football field instead.
Do you think any of these Dallas Cowboys players could've possibly been Olympic athletes?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
If You Could Only Pay One: Ezekiel Elliott Vs. Byron Jones
But last week a couple of Twitter polls got me very interested in this topic, and I wanted to expand on my thoughts.
It all started when longtime Cowboys reporter Mike Fisher wrote that as the Cowboys look to sign their own free agents, Byron Jones will likely be the one who gets squeezed out. So while Elliott, Dak Prescott, DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper, and Jaylon Smith remain with the team, Jones will likely be off to find a new home.
if you can only pay one it should be
I put up this poll, pitting Jones against Elliott, and Jones came out as the winner. My colleague John Williams put out the same poll, but with Elliott running away for the victory.
Inspired by my teammate @KevinBrady88, if you can only pay one, which would it be?
His had many more votes, which likely makes his poll a bit more representative of the fan base's feelings (which reminds me, follow me on Twitter @KevinBrady88.) Plus, I have been carrying the Byron Jones flag for quite some time, so it's possible my followers are biased towards Jones.
Either way, let's examine the situation here.
On one hand is Ezekiel Elliott. The former fourth overall selection in 2016, Elliott has led the league in rushing two of his first three seasons in the NFL. While this is true, his ability (and usage) as a receiver deserves to be questioned, and his lack of touchdown production in comparison to some other elite-level backs is concerning as well.
Yes, this is not totally his fault, as Scott Linehan and an overall lack of offensive weapons outside of Elliott have handcuffed him a bit. But if we are going to place the blame for his faults onto others, then we should at least attribute some of his excellent raw rushing totals simply to opportunities.
Elliott carried the ball 304 times in 15 games, averaging 20.3 rush attempts per game. The next closet player in terms of total carries? Saquon Barkley, who carried it 261 times in 16 games, averaging 16.3 rushes per game. That's a massive gap.
No individual running back is taking the wear and tear that Elliott is on a per game basis. And while it helps make his raw rushing totals look outstanding, it is also likely hurting his shelf life as an elite runner in the NFL.
The main argument I received supporting paying Elliott over Byron Jones was that while cornerback is more important than running back in a vacuum, Elliott is such a special player that his importance is greater than that of a normal running back.
Maybe. But let's talk about how special Byron Jones is and can be.
Jones' spider chart puts him in elite company, with the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Antonio Cromartie, and Terence Newman. Except, Jones was even more athletic that each of these Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks.
Cornerbacks with the athletic profile that Byron Jones has rarely ever miss, and most of the time they reach an All Pro level. This is exactly what Jones did in 2018, getting named second team All Pro and to his first Pro Bowl in the same season. Both these honors also came during his first season as a full-time cornerback. Imagine what his ceiling can look like as he continues to work with Kris Richard and get more comfortable in his permanent home.
There's no doubt that Jones struggled a bit more in December last year than he did in September, but he was playing at a pace few players ever have played at or kept up over a long period of time. Even accounting for these "struggles," Jones was graded as the sixth best cornerback in all of football by Pro Football Focus. Elliott, on the other hand, had his overall value questioned by PFF.
Of course PFF is not the be-all-end-all here, but it's certainly a piece of the argument. Both Elliott and Jones will command top money at their position whenever it is their turn to get signed. The Cowboys have struggled for years to find themselves a number one cornerback. Despite paying Brandon Carr big money and trading up for Morris Claiborne, it simply hasn't worked. Really since Newman began aging, they haven't gotten that guy.
On the other hand, Dallas produced two 1,000 yard rushers back-to-back seasons before Elliott even became a Cowboy. Running back is a more replaceable position at the top than cornerback is, and if Dallas believes that Jones should be considered "at the top" of his position group, than the choice between the two becomes clear.
I will say, however, that there is a human element to this as well. Elliott is a clear leader on this team, and if the Cowboys strong-armed him out of town, it could have serious implications across the roster. Jason Garett loves Zeke, Jerry Jones loves Zeke, and quarterback Dak Prescott loves Zeke.
Zeke is going to get paid by the Cowboys, I have no doubts or issues with that, but if all these guys getting paid squeezes an All Pro corner out of town, that could bite this franchise in the butt down the line.
Jason Garrett Has Hard Road Ahead in Contract Year
It seems like every year we talk about how hot is Jason Garrett's seat. This year though, it will be one of the biggest storylines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys. Garrett will enter the 2019 season without an extension. However you feel about the Cowboys head coach, being in a contract year automatically means dealing with low job security.
What is clear though is that Garrett's contract year might be a difficult one.
First of all, the Dallas Cowboys haven't managed to get their superstar 26-year old pass rusher signed to a long term deal. DeMarcus Lawrence has made it clear that he will not play under the tag and until a contract is signed, he'll even postpone his pending shoulder surgery.
Cowboys Nation is hoping to see D-Law get his long term deal before it's too late, and as we know, the Cowboys want to sign him. Who wouldn't? But there's a reason it hasn't happened yet and if this drags out, it won't be good for the team. Jason Garrett can't be happy about not having his best defensive player ready to work.
Rather than an unfortunate situation, this feels more like a bold approach by Garrett. After firing Scott Linehan, the Cowboys promoted Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator. Moore's potential has since been praised by players and coaches around the country and I'm actually excited about what he can bring to the table. But he's still a rookie OC. Young coaches like Sean McVay have taken the league by storm but it still feels like a bold move by Garrett to put Moore in this position. This was undoubtedly a Jason Garrett move and it only makes sense for the Cowboys to let him put together his own staff before the season.
Under the "Cowboys are one player away" narrative, many believed a big free agency signing was bound to happen in Dallas. Specifically, the discussion revolved around one of the newest members of the Baltimore Ravens, Safety Earl Thomas. So far, though, it's been same old, same old for the Cowboys during the start of free agency. Top free agents are off the shelves and Dallas has been pretty quiet so far.
Also worth noting is that the Cowboys will not have a first round pick during the 2019 NFL Draft. Now granted, that first round pick they don't have was worth it thanks to Amari Cooper's arrival but it's still a difficult situation for a football team that has many needs, including one at wide receiver after letting Cole Beasley leave for the Buffalo Bills.
A potential holdout by DeMarcus Lawrence, a rookie offensive coordinator, no splash in free agency and no first round pick... Jason Garrett's approach to his contract year certainly seems like a risky one. Not to mention this is only what we're talking about now. What if Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Cooper decide to holdout (even if it's just for a while and eventually come back)? Hopefully this isn't the case, but with the way things go in the NFL today it wouldn't be a surprise.
The Dallas Cowboys will play in an NFC East that might sound like an easy division but surprises happen every single year. If Jason Garrett manages to lead his team to a successful season under such circumstances, he should earn the respect of many fans that want him out of the picture. The question will of course be: "How much does he needs to accomplish to keep his job?" Will making it to the playoffs be enough? Or will he need to make a bigger statement?
Would Cowboys Trade Joe Looney if the Saints Came Calling?
The hits keep coming for the New Orleans Saints. Not only are their fans extremely disappointed in the way the Saints 2018 season ended, and rightfully so, but now they have to deal with the fact that one of their best offensive players has decided to retire. Ouch!
Source: Saints C Max Unger has retired. Wow.
No matter how you slice it, Max Unger's decision to retire is a huge blow to the Saints offense. The three-time Pro Bowl center is still one of the best in the game at his position and he's a huge reason why New Orleans has been so successful on the offensive side of the ball since he joined the team in 2015.
Unger's ability to keep the middle of the pocket from collapsing on Quarterback Drew Brees, while also blocking for Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the running game is the lifeblood of the Saints offense. Without him, the entire offense could be in trouble. Finding someone to step in and fill those huge shoes won't be easy.
As luck would have it, the Dallas Cowboys may have the answer to their problems. Joe Looney had to step in and replace Travis Frederick, another one of the top centers in the NFL, and filled in admirably during his absence. He could do the same thing for the New Orleans Saints.
With Frederick set to return to the Cowboys starting lineup in 2019, Looney suddenly becomes nothing more than a backup C/G once again. Because of that, he could become expendable, making him an intriguing tradable asset for teams looking for a starting caliber offensive lineman with versatility to play any interior position. This could be exactly the kind of player the Saints are targeting.
Unfortunately for New Orleans, they don't have a lot of draft capital in the 2019 NFL Draft to find a starting caliber center. Like the Cowboys, they don't have a first-round pick this year and don't make their first selection until the second-round. After that, they don't have another draft pick until the fifth-round. This further complicates replacing Unger as well as trading for anyone, such as Joe Looney.
It's highly unlikely the Saints are willing to part ways with their second-round pick and the Cowboys would probably want more for Joe Looney than a fifth-rounder. Looney after all has proven to be a serviceable starter, which is probably more valuable for Dallas considering the unknown about Travis Frederick's health moving forward.
So, even if the New Orleans Saints picked up the phone and called the Dallas Cowboys to acquire about trading for Joe Looney, I just don't think the two teams would be able to come together on trade compensation. I guess that means we can put this potential trade rumor to bed.
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