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?
~ ~ ~
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.
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.
Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space
Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.
C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed
Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.
Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.
Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.
With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.
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