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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.

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Will McClay Breaks Down Cowboys Vision for New WR Amari Cooper 1

Just when all hope was lost, the Dallas Cowboys went on the road and surprised fans with a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Both on defense and offense, it was a game that showed us plenty of silver linings to be excited about. While a playoff run certainly remains pretty difficult to accomplish, at least the team isn't leaving without a fight.

The last Cowboys' victory came approximately a month ago, so it is with great pleasure that I share with you this week's edition of "Takeaway Tuesday!"

Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time

Vander Esch Among Best Cowboys' Players

Just before last game, I wrote about how Leighton Vander Esch could be in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Playing on Sunday Night Football (on national TV), the rookie helped his case a lot with 13 solo tackles and an interception.

Little by little, he's making sure the Cowboys know they can move on from frequently injured Sean Lee down the road. Vander Esch can play. Forget about him being an impressive rookie, he's currently one of the best players on this roster.

Scott Linehan Shouldn't be Off the Hook

As any Cowboys fan, I loved the win. There were quite a few things to like about the offense on Sunday, but there's no denying play calling could've been way better. As much as the Dallas Cowboys are still in the hunt in a mediocre division, Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan should remain on the hot seat.

Ezekiel Elliott took the Cowboys to the 5-yard line by leaping over a human at full speed and right after the Cowboys stopped using him on that drive. Against the Titans, the offense found itself on third and 16 twice and ran a running back screen pass. In Philadelphia, they were on third and 16 once and they ran a RB screen once again.

Dallas has left a lot of points on the field this year and in big part thanks to play calling. Linehan shouldn't be safe right now.

Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It

After two games wearing the Star, Cowboys Nation is feeling a lot better about trading a first rounder for Amari Cooper. On the field, he's proven to be an impact player. An impact that has been felt immediately, by the way. Out of 11 catches, Cooper has gotten the Cowboys' offense ten first downs.

Versus the Eagles, though, his impact is felt beyond his single stat line.

On Sunday Night, he accounted for six catches and 75 yards. He helped QB Dak Prescott get 270 yards through the air and most importantly, to spread the football.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

7 different Cowboys have a reception of at least 13 yards tonight.

That stat above is an underrated one. No wide receiver in next year's Draft would have the kind of impact Amari Cooper is having on this football team. In the long run, lots of people could be eating their words after heavily criticizing the Cowboys' trade for the two-times Pro Bowler wide receiver. Hopefully, that's the case.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver

The Dallas Cowboys offseason approach at wide receiver was doubted by just about everyone outside of The Star, forcing Cowboys fans to turn down outside noise and once again trust the direction this front office was going. Releasing Dez Bryant, signing Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson (who was released last week), and waiting until the third round to draft a receiver were all questionable moves for a team entering an all-important year three under Quarterback Dak Prescott.

It took a mid-season trade to free Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders for the Cowboys to establish any threat at wide receiver, but with Cooper realizing his first win in Dallas on Sunday night at the Eagles, the Cowboys deserve plenty of credit for this cast of pass catchers.

Cooper has been the key to unlocking rookie Michael Gallup as a second option for Prescott. Gallup attacks the football and runs routes like a number one target, but at this point just nine games into his career lacks the refinement to play at the 'X' position every snap.

Gallup will benefit the most from Cooper stepping into this role for the Cowboys offense. His 25-yard catch and run on a screen pass to set up the Cowboys score before the half was a fine example of how the Cowboys passing game should operate for the rest of the season.

With an emphasis on getting the ball out of Prescott's hands to his home run hitters on the outside, the Cowboys not only have their starters at WR but plenty of depth options below.

It's no secret this team has shied away from the top-tier of free agency in recent years, using the signing period much more for depth players. This should have been the expectation for Allen Hurns coming over from the Jaguars, elevated to starter status out of necessity during training camp.

Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns

Hurns has settled in to a rotational role behind both Gallup and Cooper. Like a change-of-pace running back, Hurns is a big and physical target the Cowboys have used to catch defenses off guard. On the same touchdown drive as Gallup's big gain, Hurns was on the receiving end of Prescott's best throw of the night.

Sliding in behind the Eagles coverage, Hurns caught a dime from Prescott and went down a yard short of the end zone, setting up Dak's rushing score on the very next play. In the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys driving for the winning touchdown, Hurns converted a third and long beating Rasul Douglas on a slant.

Douglas was easily beat across the face on a violent move from Hurns to the inside, squaring his front shoulder to Prescott who made a simple pitch for the 23-yard catch and run.

The one thing the Cowboys didn't improve on from their loss to the Titans before this week was getting Cole Beasley involved, as he was targeted just five times. Catching four of these attempts in the win, Beasley understands his role as a team player better than most, and knows his importance in the top three of the Cowboys new depth chart at WR.

The Cowboys trusted themselves enough to enter this season with uncertainty at wide receiver and come out winners in Philadelphia by week ten thanks to a drastically improved corps. Just how much trust the Cowboys deserve with ensuing decisions because of this is a slippery slope.

If recent history is any indicator, a patched leak at WR is only going to spring one in an unexpected place when the Cowboys next take the field.

The most pressing decision for the Cowboys coming up is on the future of Head Coach Jason Garrett and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Thanks to his play calling on Sunday night, Linehan earned high praise from Jerry Jones. The Cowboys GM even backtracked to dispute a report that Linehan's job was on the line through the Cowboys bye week.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jerry Jones said on @1053thefan that it was "never a thought" to discuss possibly replacing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the bye week. "We've never even contemplated the idea of Scott not calling plays.

Whether or not such confidence will come back to burn the Cowboys as they return to the site of the "Burning of Atlanta" could be determined as early as Sunday. I believe another loss in Atlanta would have to come in embarrassing fashion for an immediate coaching change, but the Cowboys offense has shown more than enough to be evaluated from this point on.

The Cowboys played in the Georgia Dome with Alfred Morris, Terrance Williams, and Dez Bryant as starters in last year's beginning-of-the-end 27-7 loss. If Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup aren't upgrades enough for Dallas to earn a win against Atlanta, returning home off a loss in Cleveland, another look in the mirror may be needed for the Cowboys.

Gone are the days of Prescott throwing interceptions off the hands of Deonte Thompson or forcing red zone fades to Allen Hurns. With it, the expectation that the Cowboys should win arrived with Amari Cooper, whose been worth a first round draft pick in every way.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Deserve Credit for Mid-Season Rebuild at Wide Receiver" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Cowboys Wide Receivers Now a Strength They Can Count On

John Williams

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Cowboys Wide Receivers Now a Strength They Can Count On

The Dallas Cowboys (4-5) came away with a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) on Sunday Night Football 27-20 and the wide receiver group had an excellent day. What once looked like a weakness for the Cowboys, now looks like a strength on \ offense. With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, and Allen Hurns, the Cowboys have four players that can hurt opposing defenses all over the field.

Since the Amari Cooper trade two weeks ago, the Cowboys wide receiver group has been better positioned moving forward to help Dak Prescott and the Cowboys move the football. With Cooper, Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, and Allen Hurns, the Cowboys have really nice depth.

On Sunday Night Football each of the Cowboys top four receivers had a reception that went for more than 20 yards. They accounted for 11 of the team's 14 passing first downs. Of Quarterback Dak Prescott's 270 yards passing, wide receivers accounted for 186 or more than two-thirds of the passing yards. Explosive plays from the wide receivers was something that was lacking for much of the season, but they seem to be turning it on at the right time.

On Sunday night, they all had their moments in the Cowboys win.

Per Pro Football Reference, Cooper was the leading receiver on the team with six receptions on 10 targets for 75 yards. Five of those receptions went for first downs and he averaged 12.5 yards per reception.

Michael Gallup led the wide receiver group in snaps on Sunday and logged another nice game as he continues to assert himself during his rookie season. It may not have been as explosive as the three receptions for 83 yards that he put up against the Washington Redskins a few weeks ago, but he had possibly one of the plays of the game.

With the Dallas Cowboys attempting to extend their lead with under two minutes to play in the first half, they faced a 3rd and 15 from their own 35 yard line with 0:58 seconds left on the clock. Scott Linehan dials up a tunnel screen to Gallup who goes for 25 yards  helping to set up the touchdown just before half time. If Gallup doesn't make that play, with help from the blocking downfield, the Eagles get the ball back with enough time to tie the game or potentially take the lead. It was a huge play in the game to allow Dallas to go up by 10 at half time.

Cole Beasley's line wasn't flashy, but he was his typical efficient self, hauling in three receptions for first downs and making a play for 15 yards to get the Cowboys into the red zone after the Eagles had scored on the previous possession in the third quarter to make it 13-13. Beasley's catch helped the Cowboys answer the Eagles touchdown with a touchdown of their own to retake the lead 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Beasley finished the night with four receptions for 37 yards on five targets.

Down in the depth chart with limited snaps, but not at all forgotten is Allen Hurns. Hurns only had two catches (on two targets) for 40 yards on the night, but both catches set the Cowboys offense up with first and goal situations. With 0:40 seconds to play in the first half and the Cowboys looking at a second and nine, Dak Prescott hit Hurns on a deep out route for 17 yards to the Philadelphia Eagles' one yard line. Prescott hurried them to the line of scrimmage and then snuck the ball in for a touchdown to make it 13-3 at halftime. The second reception occurred with the Cowboys facing a third and eight on the game winning drive. Prescott found Hurns for a 23 yard catch and run that helped set up Ezekiel Elliott's game winning touchdown run.

They have four players that can hurt you at various levels of the defense. All four are good to great route runners who can create separation and find the soft spots in zone coverage. Their starters with Cooper, Beasley, and Gallup are a dynamic trio, but being able to bring a guy like Allen Hurns off the bench in sub packages is huge. He's had a thousand yard receiving season in the NFL and showed that he can still win his matchups when he's not required to be a team's WR1.

The move for Amari is proving to be an excellent trade for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the struggles last week in Tennessee, the Dallas Cowboys were able to move the ball through the air as Cooper opens everything up for everyone else on the offense. If you saw some of the windows he provided Dak, you see that Cooper literally makes everything easier.

The Dallas Cowboys took advantage of a bad secondary on Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles were missing three of their top defensive backs, but they also looked like a unit that is starting to find a groove offensively. For the Dallas Cowboys to continue their upward trajectory that hopefully ends with a playoff berth, the wide receivers are going to have to continue to make big plays down the field.If the last several weeks are any indication, more big plays are coming.

Get your popcorn ready. 



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