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Moves the Dallas Cowboys Should Explore at Trade Deadline

Shane Carter

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Are the Dallas Cowboys in for Another Quiet Free Agency in 2018?
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The NFL trade deadline is tomorrow at 4:00 pm, and it’s expected to be another wild one. There have already been a number of reports of prime players who are on the trading block. So, should the Dallas Cowboys make another big move?

Teams who are expected to finish in the bottom 5-10 in the league will move on from players they think can bring them solid draft compensation.  The teams either fighting for the playoffs, or even teams with likely Super Bowl aspirations, will decide if they’d rather have the late draft picks or a player to help win now and potentially the future.

The Cowboys made the first move, trading a first-round draft pick for wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders. It was a wild and polarizing movie that reminded some of the old Jerry Jones, who would ship prime picks for players and these players would end up not producing at the level expected.

Nonetheless, wide receiver was a position of need and one that the Cowboys possibly would have looked at with that 2019 pick. Jerry and company must have decided that no rookie in next year's class was better than Amari Cooper and decided he was the better option.

The team is currently at 3-4 and still in the NFC East title race. They shouldn’t stop at Cooper. The team should explore all players on the trade block who could potentially fill any of the remaining holes the team has.

I highly doubt that they go for another wide receiver. So, I apologize to anyone who was hoping DeVante Parker, Demaryius Thomas or DeSean Jackson could be a target. I also doubt they go for another running back like LeSean McCoy or Le’Veon Bell. Sorry.

There are some noteworthy players the Cowboys could and should consider. It will all come down to compensation and that both parties are willing to bite. If so, then the Cowboys have a shot at getting at least one of these players.

Trades the Dallas Cowboys Should Explore

Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

A bit of a shocking move, but reports circulated yesterday that the Packers safety was on the trade block. Clinton-Dix has had a great year so far, totaling 24 tackles, three interceptions and three pass breakups, so it seemed odd that they’d be willing to give up such a productive player.

It would seem that the Packers believe a few things here:

1) Clinton-Dix is in a contract year and they might not want to pay him. 2) The Packers have more depth in the secondary than in years past 3) They know they can get great compensation for him and still succeed this season.

The Cowboys missed out on trading for Earl Thomas but that shouldn’t stop them from sifting through the safety market. Especially when they’re ask skilled as this.

A player of his talent would fetch anywhere from a first to as low as a third round pick. The Cowboys were willing to give up a first for Cooper. I wonder what they’d be willing to give up for this man?

Charles Clay

I tweeted out a while back that the Cowboys should trade for Amari Cooper and Charles Clay.  After the Cooper trade became a reality, I immediately reiterated that they need to go after the Buffalo Bills tight end.

Again, I seriously doubt they go after another big name receiver, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t give Dak Prescott another weapon. Prescott relies on his tight ends in case he gets in trouble, and the ones Dallas currently have haven’t been as reliable as hoped.

Geoff Swaim has been the top receiving threat among that group with 19 catches, 205 yards, and a touchdown. This his best year in terms of stats, but it’s not enough.

Blake Jarwin has been disappointing and rookie fourth-round pick Dalton Shultz has been inactive most of the season. While Rico Gathers has gotten more looks in recent weeks, it hasn’t been consistent enough for the Cowboys to comfortably throw it to him.

Charles Clay in Buffalo has been outstanding. Prior to this year, he had 157 catches, 1,638 yards, and nine touchdowns. This year, with a new quarterback, he’s been massively underused; only 16 catches and 133 yards to his name. He’s much better than that and deserves much better.

Giving Dak Prescott a legitimate receiving threat at tight end would make him much more comfortable under pressure and we could see this team move the ball.

Charles Clay is still under contract through next year and doesn’t turn 30 until the end of the season. Buffalo is in rebuild mode and could use all the compensation that they can muster. Clay may only cost as much as a fifth-round pick, and if that’s the case the Cowboys should pull the trigger.

Trades the Dallas Cowboys Should Explore 1

New England Patriots WR Cordarrelle Patterson (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Cordarrelle Patterson

I said no BIG name receivers. However, this team could definitely use a return man. Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the league's best return men, playing on a team who’s not afraid to trade some of their best players.

After trading away Ryan Switzer during the draft (a move I personally hated) the Cowboys were down a return man. They started the year relying on Tavon Austin.  He’s got serious speed but can’t stay healthy.

Cole Beasley has been used lately but mostly fair catches punts, and Deonte Thompson generally takes the touchback on kick returns. This team is getting zero help in the return game.

Patterson is a player who takes risks but has the size and speed to allow it. The two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl player has six returns for touchdowns in his career and has a career average of just over 30 yards per return.

While not really a punt returner, he would still be an improvement in that area as well. That would also allow Beasley to solely focus on his slot play. It would be the smart move.

The Cowboys need a return man and the Patriots are notorious for trading their best players (sans Tom Brady). If the Cowboys could offer a sensible pick and/or player to compensate then this move might be the most important on this list. You need to win all three facets of the game, and the Cowboys have seriously lacked in this area.

Duke Johnson

The Cowboys miss that Lance Dunbar-type. They miss having a third down/receiving back to spread the offense around, and give the team burst out of the backfield win Ezekiel Elliott is not in.

Despite a contract extension from the Browns this off-season, Duke Johnson (arguably their best offensive weapon) has barely been used. While he’s no threat to Elliott as the lead man, he is the kind of player the Cowboys were hoping Tavon Austin would be.

However, even after trading Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson still hasn’t gotten the looks he’s being paid for. Yes, he’s gotten plenty of catches but he deserves better.

The Cowboys like those extra speed backs. They throw to them out of the backfield and in the slot, run sweeps and screens successfully, and in case Prescott is being pressured, he’s another security blanket they can rely on.

Ezekiel Elliott is an elite running back but they can’t keep forcing him to play every snap if they want him healthy for the rest of the year. Rod Smith is a reliable second option but speed kills, and this team would kill for some speed. Jerry Jones, make it happen!

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out? 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns

 Trade In-House

When you get halfway through a season, you start to figure out which players mesh and which players, who you want to keep for the long-haul, and which players you believe are expendable. The Cowboys are there right now.

The Cowboys have both types. They have players who are not only expendable, but could fetch solid compensation. At this point in the season, they’re still in it but they need to also have building blocks for the future, especially now that they no longer have a first-round pick next year.

Here are some current Cowboys that the team could consider moving:

1) Allen Hurns is probably the most popular option. He recently expressed he was displeased that he wasn’t seeing more targets and, despite coming off his best game of the season, his targets look like they’ll be even lower now.

With Cole Beasley going nowhere, Michael Gallup getting more and more snaps each game and improving each week, plus the addition of Amari Cooper, Hurns will likely be even more frustrated.

Realistically, he might not fetch more than a fifth-round pick. However, the Cowboys should do him a favor. Send him somewhere that needs him, get something back for him, and everyone can move on.

2) This may not be very popular, but I believe Randy Gregory is a possible trade chip. Despite his off the field concerns, when he has played he's produced for this team.

Taco Charlton has taken a serious step forward this season and DeMarcus Lawrence is going nowhere. David Irving looks like he’ll also get an extension and Dorance Armstrong has shown promise. Randy Gregory could be the odd man out.

Every team needs a pass rusher and, while Gregory has had his moments this season, I wonder how much longer Dallas will want to hold on to him. He may be worth a draft pick or the right player to move on from.

3) Finally, Sean Lee is a name that might pop up. Personally, I’d like to keep him for the rest of the season but his time here is numbered.

As great a player as Shawn Lee is, he has always had a history of injuries and he is heading towards the wrong side of 30.  There is a reason that Dallas drafted Leighton Vander Esch in the first round this year. Not only has he progressed well alongside Jaylon Smith, he’s made Lee expendable.

Sean Lee is  a perfect fit for a team making a playoff or even a Super Bowl run this year; a veteran with experience and plenty of talent left in his tank. I’m not sure he will be on the Cowboys' roster next year, so they might make the move now and get something out of him while they can.



Lifelong Cowboys fan, who doesn’t mind telling the harsh truth. I’ve got a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Media and Communications from Texas Tech University. I welcome all opinions but I will shut down any troll.

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BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka

Jess Haynie

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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.

Todd Archer on Twitter

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 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.



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What to Expect from Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Group in 2019

John Williams

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Amari Cooper

In a span of a week, the Dallas Cowboys have solidified their wide receiver group with the resigning of Tavon Austin to a one year deal and the signing of former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. Despite the loss of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys have a created a really good group of receivers for Quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.

Cobb joins a really nice group of players that includes incumbent starters on the outside in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as well as solid depth players in Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Throw in Cedric Wilson, the Dallas Cowboys sixth round pick from the 2018 NFL Draft and the Cowboys may have one of the deeper receiving corps in the NFL.

The question is, how will the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff delineate the roles?

Let's take a look.

Outside Receivers

As I mentioned before, the Dallas Cowboys are returning their top two options on the outside in Amari Cooper, who is the X wide receiver and Michael Gallup, the Z receiver. Both players will go into week one as the starters at their respective positions in two-wide receiver formations.

Despite some of the overthrows from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Gallup had a really nice rookie season and got better as the year went along, even leading the Cowboys in receiving in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Gallup recorded the first 100 yard game of his career. Sure, it was in an attempt to comeback by the Dallas Cowboys, but it is impressive nonetheless. His touchdown catch against the Seattle Seahawks the week before was clutch. The Cowboys needed that to take the lead at the end of the first half. 2018 was only the beginning for Michael Gallup. He showed an ability to win with a full offseason to work with Dak Prescott, their chemistry and connection should only improve.

As for Cooper, his presence was felt right away as the offense just looked different once he stepped on the field. It's no coincidence that Dak Prescott's two best career games in terms of passing yardage came with Cooper in 2018. He's such a threat that he opens up space for the rest of the wide receiver group. His route running, speed, ability to run after the catch make him a threat to score any time he's targeted.

Behind Cooper and Gallup, you have options in the event that one of them gets hurt. Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Noah Brown are all players who took snaps on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and did so with effectiveness. Hurns best game of the year came just before the Cooper deal was made as he went for five receptions for 75 yards.

Tavon provided down field speed on several occasions and provides some gadget quality that the Dallas Cowboys love to have. Noah Brown is a player that the Dallas Cowboys love to deploy as a blocker in the running game. While it looked like he might get more run in the passing game in 2019, the depth additions will limit him again to a specialty role. If needed, though, he could be an option to take snaps on the outside as his big frame allows him to box out defensive backs down the field.

There will be snaps on the outside for someone when the Cowboys go to 11 personnel, because of Amari Cooper's ability to slide into the slot.

Slot Receiver

Obviously, the writing is on the wall with who the Dallas Cowboys are planning on deploying in the slot as things stand right now, and that's Randall Cobb.

While Cobb should be penciled in as the starter in the slot, I doubt that he's going to get 100% of the snaps there in 11 or 10 personnel groupings. Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson could all push for playing time from the slot.

Last month, I wrote a piece about Allen Hurns and his effectiveness in the slot and why the Cowboys should feature him there. With Cobb coming off an injury laden season, the Cowboys would be wise to give some snaps to Hurns along with Tavon Austin.

In Jacksonville, Hurns was incredibly effective from the slot running posts, slants, and ins and outs. His size and route running made him an effective mismatch against linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks alike. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Hurns had a 1,000 yard season with Blake Bortles at the helm.

Tavon Austin's quickness is an asset that could be very effective in the slot as well. Though he lacks size, he's a player that opposing defenses have to account for because of his ability to make big plays once the ball's in his hands.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys haven't been shy about carrying seven wide receivers on their 53-man rosters and it's possible, though unlikely that they could do it again in 2018. As things stand now, I see Noah Brown and Cedric Wilson as the potential odd men out. Of course, this could all get reshuffled if the Dallas Cowboys use a top 100 pick on a wide receiver in the draft.

With Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, and Randall Cobb only under contract through the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to invest at the position despite the strength of the position in 2019.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys Set to Meet with Safety George Iloka

John Williams

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Why Cowboys Should Acquire Recently Released S George Iloka

As the Dallas Cowboys continue the process of building a roster capable of taking them back to the playoffs, and hopefully to a Super Bowl, this next season, they’re bringing in another safety to try and strengthen their top 10 defense. This time it’s free agent safety George Iloka, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dallas Cowboys are set to meet with

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys are hosting former #Vikings and #Bengals safety George Iloka for a visit tomorrow, source said. They're still looking to add in the secondary.

It will be the third meeting this week that they’ve had with a veteran safety after hosting recently resigned Indianapolis’s colts Safety Clayton Geathers and former Kansas City Chiefs Safety Eric Berry.

The Cowboys feel really good about Xavier Woods at safety, but definitely could use some depth at the position as they head toward the 2019 NFL Draft.

Iloka is coming off a season where he was relegated to a reserve role for the Vikings. In five of the last six seasons, Iloka’s played all 16 games, and the one season he didn’t, he played 12. He has nine career interceptions, and has three seasons with more than 70 total tackles.

Back in August of last year, Brian Martin argued that the Dallas Cowboys should pursue Iloka after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He would play the strong or box safety role in the Cowboys defense if they were to come to an agreement.

Stay tuned for more Free Agency coverage from us here at InsideTheStar.com.



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