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Interview With Dave Halprin On The T.O. Situation

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Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of communicating with the creator and author of Blogging the Boys. Our conversations have covered many subjects. Dave, Raf and the rest of the guys at Blogging the boys do an exceptional job at covering the Cowboys. When Lee and I started this blog we tried to build it in the image of BTB. We continue to learn from those guys, and they have been a great help to us.

Last week Dave and I started chatting about the Terrell Owens situation. I had originally planned on this piece being a sort of round table discussion between Dave and I, but after talking with Dave for a while, decided to just approach it as an interview.

A Cowboy Nation: Do the Cowboys need Terrell Owens to win?

Dave Halprin: That's the 9 million dollar question that we're all asking. But the reverse question is just as applicable if not more so - can the Cowboys win with Terrell Owens? So far the answer is no in the sense of post-season/Super Bowl victories. The guy is obviously a tremendous talent on the field but is there a point of diminishing returns? You see this kind of problem a lot in the NBA; super-talented players who for whatever reason end up creating a situation where they are successful but the team is not. Only when they subvert their game for the betterment of the team does it end up paying off in ultimate victory. For a while, T.O. has been a pretty good teammate by not criticizing his own team but this year you could feel his frustration mounting. If things don't go well early next year, will his frustration explode? I think the odds are that it will.

A Cowboy Nation: Is T.O. taking the heat for their collapse unjustly?

Dave Halprin: Sure he is, but because he is so vocal about things that bother him he directs the media and the fan spotlight his way. This benefits him in keeping a high-profile and gets him plenty of attention which he seems to crave, but when things go south it also puts him in the cross hairs; it cuts both ways. He is absolutely not the only one responsible for the collapse, there are plenty of players/coaches to share that blame. But his past and his constant need to be in the spotlight ends up hurting him in situations like this.

A Cowboy Nation: There has also been a rumor that Jason Garrett gave the Cowboys an ultimatum, Terrell goes or he goes! While I am still on the fence with Garrett, the thought of starting over with a new OC and a new system is not high on my list of things to do. Do you think there is any truth to this? Or was it something to sell more papers?

Dave Halprin: I think there is truth to this. Garrett's comments from today at the Senior Bowl highlights the fact that he doesn't want to work with T.O. any longer.

"I certainly have a lot of respect for him as a player," Garrett said. "And we'll just leave it at that."

Garrett is basically saying he's a great player but outside of that he's killing me. That was the most explicit, non-explicit answer he could have given. Whether Jerry Jones acts on the ultimatum or tells Garrett he'll just have to deal with it is another question all together, one none of us can answer.

A Cowboy Nation: There are a lot of people that believe the mental state of this team was more the problem than the scheme or coaching. Is it possible for this coaching staff to work through those issues and keep Terrell Owens "happy"? Or do those two things simply not go together?

Dave Halprin: It's possible in some situations but I get the feeling it's not in this one. Jason Garrett and Tony Romo obviously like Jason Witten as a main target, they will also try to emphasize the run more next year. They need to get Roy Williams more involved in the offense, too. All of that will take away from the amount of times plays are directed at Owens. I think it's a situation that would deteriorate as time goes on.

A Cowboy Nation: I am of the belief that the Cowboys have painted themselves into a corner on this Terrell Owens thing, whether they meant to or not. Whomever the anonymous source is (there seems to be several of these in Valley Ranch) has forced their hand. If they do not release him they run a very serious risk of a large T.O. explosion, I already can see another shirtless T.O. doing push ups in his driveway. Is there even a way for them to keep T.O. now without a large explosion? And if this is possible does that come at the risk of another year of Tony forcing the ball to T.O. just to try and keep him happy?

Dave Halprin: The only way for they can keep the T.O. situation from getting worse is if they manage to find a way to get him the ball regularly and not do it at the expense of having a balanced offense that can win games. If they lose games, he won't be happy and will continue to highlight his unhappiness. If they win games but he's not a major factor, he'll be less unhappy but will still probably voice his opinion that he should be involved more. If they can find a way to win and get him his numbers, things will be fine but that's the problem. For the Cowboys to be successful they need to emphasize the running game more, we have a trio of extremely talented running backs, and they will always need Witten for those clutch third downs plays. Add they need to get Roy Williams more involved, he'll be here much longer than T.O. will, making it all work will be very difficult.

Hope you all enjoyed the Interview with Dave! Make sure you all go by and see Dave and the guys.



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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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