Lately it seems that most in Cowboys Nation have already moved on from J.J. Wilcox. I'm starting to wonder if we're not being a bit premature.
A fourth-year pro and Dallas' 2013 third-round pick, J.J. Wilcox is assumed to be the odd man out now that Byron Jones has moved to safety. I've seen roster projections that don't have Wilcox making the team at all, let alone starting. I've seen a suggestion that a move to linebacker might be the only way to save his job.
Given the status of Dallas' defensive backfield as a whole, there's still plenty of room for Wilcox to make the team and perhaps even retain his starting job. Let's consider a few key factors:
J.J. Wilcox is only entering his fourth NFL season. What if he's a bit of a late bloomer?
There's still an entire training camp and preseason for Wilcox to show that he can at least match the production of Barry Church. If he can give the Cowboys at least that much confidence, then Church becomes a much more attractive cap casualty with a higher salary.
J.J. Wilcox would have a good excuse for developing slower than other players. He started his college career as a running back before converting to safety later on. This easily could have hindered his growth, even if it didn't prevent him from being a third-round pick. Dallas knew he'd be a project player.
Who's to say that Byron Jones will get to stay at safety? Our recent history with cornerbacks suggests he may be recalled there at any time.
Let's face it; none of Dallas' corners are sure things. Orlando Scandrick is coming back from injury, Brandon Carr has struggled here and is only getting older, and Morris Claiborne is shaky both with his health and performance.
If Dallas wants to get all of their best players on the field, there's a chance that an improved Wilcox could still be better at his job than one of these guys. That could prompt them to move Byron Jones back to corner and keep Church and Wilcox as the starting safeties.
One injury in the secondary, at corner or safety, could change everything. J.J. Wilcox has started a lot of games and is relatively cheap for his experience level. Even with some of his struggles over the last two years, has he really fallen below guys like Deji Olatoye and Jeff Heath in terms of trust?
"The Devil you know" is a strong factor in roster management. Unless there is a clear upgrade in making a change, teams often favor sticking with the guy they know and that knows their system. J.J. Wilcox may not be great, but he doesn't have to learn a playbook or vocabulary. The further we get into the camp and preseason process, the more valuable that becomes.
We're putting a lot of faith in Anthony Brown and Kavon Frazier, aren't we, to assume they're making the team?
Dallas has cut plenty of sixth-round rookies over the last 10 years. These guys are as much a crap shoot to make the team as some of the undrafted guys. Given the solidity issues along the secondary, should we be so quick to decide that Dallas would rather ride with one of these kids over a veteran?
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This isn't to say that I think J.J. Wilcox will make the team. I could easily see excluding him in my next roster projection. He's certainly on the bubble as much as any player from last year's squad.
Still, I think we've started putting dirt on Wilcox's grave sooner than needed. His salary is a bargain for a starter and reasonable for an experienced backup. Those guys don't get cut easily.
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety 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.
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... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
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 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.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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