In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks drafted safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, laying the groundwork for their Super Bowl winning "Legion of Boom" defense. Orchestrated by new Dallas Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, the Seahawks have seen a steady decline in talent from their once intimidating defense. Leading the way as their enforcer and making four Pro Bowls for Seattle was Kam Chancellor, who announced yesterday that he is no longer medically cleared to play.
Chancellor's NFL career coming to an end does not come as a complete surprise to the Seahawks, who knew the severity of his neck injury suffered in week 10 of last season. Perhaps Earl Thomas' ongoing holdout will be of greater shock to the Seahawks however. Now more than ever, the Seahawks should be expecting Thomas to emerge as a leader, but instead he's made his intentions for either a long-term extension or trade very clear.
'Earl Thomas' and 'trade' is all that's needed to link the former Texas Longhorn back to the Cowboys, ever since he caught up with Jason Garrett at AT&T Stadium following his team's week 16 win against the Cowboys.
"Come get me," was Thomas' message to Garrett, whose focus at the time was on getting the Cowboys back to the playoffs. Leading the way with 11 tackles, Thomas and the Seahawks had just crushed these playoff hopes, eliminating the Cowboys from contention in 2017.
It's this type of impact player that could help assure the Cowboys return to the top of the NFC East this season, especially with so much promise in their young secondary. Reuniting Thomas with Richard is the type of move that puts a team over the top. Not just a step in the right direction, a leap into an open opportunity to win. The Cowboys would be doing so with Quarterback Dak Prescott still on his rookie contract, which the Seahawks were able to take advantage of in Super Bowl XLVIII.
For the first time in years though, the Cowboys offense around Prescott may be entering the season with more uncertainty than Rod Marinelli's defense. This is why the Cowboys went ahead and drafted Left Guard Connor Williams with the 50th overall pick they were prepared to offer for Thomas at the draft.
Williams crossed the stage in Dallas and absolutely floated his way up through the stadium as he went through his media tour in the stadium he now calls home. With such an impressive young player in front of us, nobody in the Dallas media was presently thinking about Earl Thomas.
The Cowboys did offer their next pick, 87th overall in the third round, to the Seahawks but it was not enough for Thomas -- instead turning it into rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, an expected day one contributor.
Come training camp, the Cowboys and Seahawks could be two teams going in opposite directions. While the Cowboys focus will be on trimming a very deep roster down to 53 players, the Seahawks are stuck searching for replacements to All-Pro players like Kam Chancellor.
If Earl Thomas isn't the answer anymore in Seattle, trade talks are sure to pick back up, with the Cowboys holding even more leverage the next time they pick up the phone. Players on the bubble in Dallas may be of interest to a Seahawks team looking to retool on the fly.
As a football fan, it may be hard to imagine the Seahawks without both Chancellor and Thomas, but the chain reaction from one player's career ending bringing a star to The Star would surely be a joyous moment for Cowboys Nation.
Did another domino in this Earl Thomas to the Cowboys game fall yesterday afternoon, a Sunday in July? It's possible, but nothing definitive needs to come from the Cowboys front on this matter, meaning only time for the Seahawks to look in the mirror can develop this story further.
Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long
Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.
“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”
Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.
But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.
Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.
"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com
If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.
Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."
The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.
Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.
Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?
Who is the Cowboys best player?
As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.
"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein
Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?
For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.
Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.
Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.
I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.
So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.
Amari Cooper Says He’s Focused On Football, Not His Next Contract
It seems like all anyone has talked about this offseason is who the Cowboys should re-sign, and how they can go about doing so.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper, of course, is heavily involved in those conversations. The Cowboys used their 2019 first round pick to trade for the Pro Bowl wide out last season, and Cooper's emergence helped to turn their struggling offense around immediately.
In just 9 games with the Cowboys last season, he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. He quickly gained the trust of quarterback Dak Prescott, and exhibited a chemistry with the young passer that no one else really has to this point. Outside of maybe Cole Beasley in 2016, perhaps.
While the football world seems to be focusing on what Amari Cooper's contract will look like after 2019, the receiver himself claims to be solely focused on the upcoming season. Cooper spoke with ESPN's Todd Archer about this very subject, emphasizing where his mind lies at this time.
"I just handle my business...I'm more anxious about camp and actually playing football." - Amari Cooper.
Amari Cooper has just one year left on his contract as he plays under the fifth year option from his rookie deal. Cooper will make $13.9 million this season, putting him behind some of the league's other WR1s like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins.
There had been speculation around whether any of the Cowboys left with just one year on their contract would hold-out through parts of offseason activity, but Cooper alluded that it never seemed to cross his mind.
"I just want to get better and I love football. That's why I'm here" - Cooper.
Of course, Amari Cooper will play a huge role in the Cowboys offense in 2019. Combining him with a second year version of Michael Gallup, and new versatile threats like Tony Pollard and Randall Cobb, will help make the Dallas passing game as multiple as it's been in years.
The Cowboys will eventually need to get Amari Cooper locked up long term, but for the time being it seems like both he and the franchise are more focused on what will happen on the field in 2019 than in the negotiating room next Spring.
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