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.
Could Cowboys DT Datone Jones Earn Starting Role with Maliek Collins Out?
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins is out for Sunday's game at the Seahawks with a sprained knee, further opening the door for Datone Jones to earn his spot among the "Hot Boyz". The moniker given to the Cowboys front seven this season, the team's depth up front has been a strength in totaling nine sacks through two games.
Last season, Datone Jones was a part of this rotation late in the year. Coming on strong at the 3T position while Maliek Collins played at the 1T, Jones is the type of versatile defender with veteran experience that Rod Marinelli can get the most out of.
Returning from a knee injury himself, Jones may take some time to be the disruptive interior player we saw at the end of 2017. Through two games, the Cowboys had played Collins at his original position of 3T, with Antwaun Woods doing more than enough to continue playing at 1T.
This potentially makes Collins and Jones two players fighting for one spot. Collins followed up his performance at the Panthers with a sack of Cam Newton by constantly playing in the Giants' backfield last week.
Guessing that means no Irving, I'd say Tyrone Crawford then Antwaun Woods. I have high hopes for Datone Jones once he returns though. https://t.co/9frjFK2J9J
A player determined to not let his team's misuse slow down his progress, after an incredible rookie season at 3T, Collins is returning from his second broken foot in three years.
Through his five years in the NFL, Jones has only played a full 16 games once.
The most games Datone has started in a season is four. Maliek Collins should like his chances of playing over Jones once both are healthy, and the Cowboys should be equally thrilled with the opportunity to keep both fresh in rotation.
Following Sunday's game in Seattle and next week against the Lions, the Cowboys can return David Irving from suspension to play all over their defensive line - his best position also being at three technique.
Without the wealth of talent they now have at all four positions up front, the Cowboys have had too many bodies to fill similar roles in the past. Thanks to the addition of Kris Richard along with strong edge play from Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong, the Cowboys defensive line can do no wrong in 2018, and using Jones in week three and beyond should only add to this.
The Cowboys biggest key to success against the Seahawks will be containing Russell Wilson. Pressuring him in his face to collapse the pocket gives Dallas a chance to really slow the Seahawks offense, something they'll be relying on Jones to help them do as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory also work with favorable match ups at defensive end.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Facing Multi-Game Suspension
An arrest last May for public intoxication may finally result in a suspension for Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams.
David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who reported the pending suspension, outlined the details of Williams' case. Charges were ultimately dropped once Terrance completed an alcohol education course and paid damages to the city.
Sources: Cowboys WR Terrance Williams faces suspension stemming from May arrest for public intoxication https://t.co/3RmwQOllim via @sportsdaydfw
However, as Cowboys fans know too well, the NFL reserves the right to suspend players under the Personal Conduct Policy regardless of legal outcomes. The 2017 season was marred by the league's persecution of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence despite no arrests or charges coming from any legal or police entity.
In Williams' case, there's no dispute of his guilt. It is unlikely he will appeal any decision the NFL makes.
The potential that Terrance will be missing for 2-4 games helps explain the Cowboys' move earlier this week to bring back WR Brice Butler. With both currently active, Dallas has an unusually high seven receivers on their 53-man roster.
It's already Friday, so the suspension is doubtful to come for this week's game in Seattle. But Terrance could easily be one of the seven inactive players on game day, having received the fewest snaps of any Cowboys WR last week against the Giants.
We'll see soon enough, likely as soon as next week, just what the league has in store for Terrance Williams.
Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler
The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.
According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.
Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.
Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.
Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.
He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.
To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.
If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.
If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.
This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.
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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.
Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?
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