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Lance Dunbar and Gavin Escobar Making Rapid Progress

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Lance Dunbar and Gavin Escobar Making Rapid Progress

All offseason I've been assuming that two injured players, running back Lance Dunbar and tight end Gavin Escobar, would not be ready for the Week One roster. I imagined they would be on the Physically Unable to Perform list early in the year as they continued to work their way back.

However, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones has just given us some new information.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Jones said that both Dunbar and Escobar were having fast recoveries and the team is optimistic that they will be ready for the start of the regular season. This is great news for the players especially; both are in contract years.

lance-dunbarLance Dunbar suffered a major knee injury in Week 4, tearing both his ACL and MCL. Before he went down, Dunbar was emerging as a breakout weapon in the Cowboys offense. He led the team in catches up to his injury.

As for Gavin Escobar, his year ended with a torn Achilles in Week 15. It would especially remarkable for him to make such a quick comeback; just over eight months between the injury and the start of the 2016 season.

The tricky issue with this is that the players can't be put on the PUP List if they report to practice anytime during training camp or preseason. Dallas may want to preserve that option so that they can ease the players back in while keeping rosters spots open.

Because both Dunbar and Escobar are in contract years the Cowboys are in a tough spot between managing their status and thinking about the future. How willing are you to discard prospects at their positions for guys who don't project in your long-term plans?

I would argue that neither player is going to be in Dallas next season. Dunbar has had chronic injury issues and will see his touches reduced now that Ezekiel Elliott has arrived. Escobar, a former second-round pick, has shown no signs of being a future starter. Plus, Dallas just gave James Hanna a three-year deal that pays him like the number-two tight end.

Cowboys Headlines - Lance Dunbar and Gavin Escobar Making Rapid Progress 1Because they will both miss most, if not all, of training camp then younger players will get chances to emerge. Dallas may not be willing to cut sixth-round rookies Darius Jackson (RB) or Rico Gathers (TE) to make room for the veterans. Dunbar and Escobar might be better in 2016, but cutting those drafted rookies means losing their four-year contracts.

That's why keeping Dunbar and Escobar on the PUP list would be ideal. It leaves more time for things to happen during the season that could create more need. By Week 7, when the PUP list guys are first eligible to return, you could've had other injuries or performance issues that make an opening.

It just goes to show how little margin there is between being a significant, useful player and losing your job. Dunbar was emerging as the Cowboys' own Darren Sproles and now he may not have a role. Escobar was supposed to the eventual heir to Jason Witten and now he's just hoping that Gathers and Geoff Swaim don't play him off the team.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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Cowboys’ Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans

John Williams



Cowboys' Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans

With only two preseason games remaining, opportunities to make a statement are growing thin. The Dallas Cowboys have very few spots on the roster available, especially at the tight end position where Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz appear to have the depth chart locked down. The problem is, Jarwin and Schultz have been dealing with injuries and missed the second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams and probably won't play against the Houston Texans tonight.

Enter Marcus Lucas.

Marcus Lucas hasn't been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for very long, but he's already made an impact.

In his first preseason game with the Dallas Cowboys, Lucas caught four passes on four targets for 20 yards. His receptions went for two, seven, five, and six yards for an average of five yards per reception. He did have a holding penalty that cost the Dallas Cowboys 10 yards on a first down play that didn't go anywhere anyway.

Though Lucas has bounced around NFL practice squads, he's never really found a home. After going undrafted in 2014, Lucas was signed by the Carolina Panthers in May of that year but wasn't able to stick on the 53-man roster and was released and placed on the practice squad. In 2015, he was on the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears practice squads. In 2016, the Panthers brought him back in the summer after the Bears released him from their 90-man roster. That September after cut-down day, the Seattle Seahawks signed Lucas to their practice squad where he spent all of 2016. From 2017 to the end of 2018, Lucas spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, the Seattle Seahawks again, and the San Francisco 49ers. He was with the 49ers in 2019 before joining the Dallas Cowboys about two weeks ago and will get an extended run in these final two preseason games.

At Thursday's practice, Lucas was the only tight end available with Jason Witten getting a rest day and Jarwin, Schultz, and fellow Tight End Cody McElroy dealing with injuries.

Todd Archer on Twitter

With Jason Witten getting a day of rest, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Codey McElroy injured, the Cowboys have one tight end practicing today: Marcus Lucas, who has been with the team for about two weeks.

It's possible that Lucas may get an extended amount of playing time tonight with an opportunity to show the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL that he's ready to land on a 53-man roster. With likely only Jason Witten being the only other tight end active for the game against the Houston Texans, Lucas will get a lot of playing time. If his last preseason exposure is any indication, he'll get the chance to display his receiving prowess.

At 27, Lucas likely has few opportunities left to make his mark for an NFL franchise. On a team that proclaims the "next man up" as a battle cry, after Witten, Lucas is the next man up for tonight and depending on his performance could make the Dallas Cowboys front office or another front office around the league take notice.

Depending on the long-term health of the Dallas Cowboys' tight end position, Lucas may find his path to a roster spot simply dependent upon the health of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. Though a job may not come with the Dallas Cowboys, tonight is an extremely important audition for his next suitor. How he performs tonight could land Marcus Lucas a job after the Dallas Cowboys trim the roster to 53 next week.

They say "preseason games don't matter," but to Marcus Lucas, this might be the most important game of his career.

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REPORT: Signs Point to Elliott, Cowboys Finalizing Contract Extension

Jess Haynie



Will No Preseason Work Hurt Ezekiel Elliott's Early Season Production?

Our long Cowboys National nightmare may close to ending. According to Kevin Turner of 105.3 The Fan, there's news coming in that points to Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys soon reaching an agreement and ending Zeke's holdout.

The following was just tweeted this morning from Turner's account:

Kevin Turner on Twitter

BREAKING: Hello, talented media personality KT here, same source tells me Zeke is booked to return from Cabo tomorrow. Another source tells @Shippyfunsports the Cowboys and Zeke were in contact late last night, and that a deal could come together over the weekend. @1053thefan

We had just heard yesterday that Dallas offered Zeke a deal that would make him the second-highest paid RB in football behind Todd Gurley. Was that enough to get Elliott to sign, or perhaps the basis that Zeke's team used to make a final counteroffer which Dallas agreed to?

Hopefully we'll find out all those details very soon. For now, we can just take hope in these signs of light at the end of this contract dispute tunnel.

The Cowboys aren't the same team without Ezekiel Elliott. With so much at stake in this 2019 season, it's time to get this deal done and get ready to win.

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Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL’s Second Highest-Paid RB

Matthew Lenix



Report: Cowboys Offer Ezekiel Elliott a Contract to Make him the NFL's Second Highest-Paid RB

Negotiations are picking up in Dallas. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Dallas Cowboys have offered All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott a new contract that would make him the second-highest-paid running back in the NFL.

Ed Werder on Twitter

Sources: The most recent offer in negotiations between holdout Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys came from the team. Elliott has been offered a contract making him one of the NFL's 2 highest-paid RB. That would suggest team offering more than LeVeon Bell and less than Todd Gurley.

This would put Elliott just below Todd Gurley's four-year 60 million dollar deal and just ahead of Le'Veon Bell's four-year 52.5 million dollar deal. He's currently set to make 3.9 million in 2019 under his current contract. Deadlines make deals and it appears the Cowboys understand this. More to come.

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