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NFC East Outlook: Quarterbacks

Kevin Brady

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NFC East Outlook: Quarterbacks

Given it is the offseason, this becomes a valuable time to look around the league and analyze who the Cowboys will be up against in their upcoming campaign.

Of course, the most important off all their match ups come within their own division, as they play each of their hated rivals twice per year. Because of this, understanding what the strengths and weaknesses of each NFC East foe are, and where the Cowboys stack up in the divisional hierarchy is important.

Today, I kick off an important offseason series, providing an overview of each position group around the NFC East. To start the series off, we will examine arguably the most important position in football, the quarterbacks.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: Ranking Top 5 Most Indispensable Players 5

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01: Dak Prescott #4 warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Let's start with the obvious.

Now that former franchise quarterback Tony Romo has retired, the Dallas Cowboys are officially Dak Prescott's team. After taking the league by storm in 2016, Prescott looks to improve further and continue his dominance during his sophomore season.

Behind Dak, the Cowboys depth chart gets pretty thin.

Kellen Moore is the current backup quarterback in Dallas, though some have speculated Romo to be the team's emergency option. Though there are some others currently on the roster, most notably former Florida Gator Austin Appleby, Dallas is most likely to only keep two QBs on their final roster.

New York Giants

Fantasy Football - #FantasyFootball Hot Sauce/Weak Sauce and Waiver Wire Adds for Week 9 2

Sep 25, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) prepares to throw the ball during the first half against the Washington Redskinds at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

For what seems like the one hundredth year in a row, Eli Manning is the starting quarterback of the New York Giants. A Super Bowl champion, Manning is beloved by much of the Giants fan base, but has clearly seen his play decline a bit over the years.

Still, with an abundance of weapons on the outside Manning should have little trouble ripping through most NFL defenses this year.

Behind Manning sits former New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith. While Smith had a rough go of it with the Jets, there is a chance he can resurrect his career as the backup for Manning.

The Giants also added California quarterback Davis Webb in the third round of this year's NFL Draft, and many have speculated he will be the heir to Manning's New York throne.

Washington Redskins

NFC East - Washington Redskins Use Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag on Kirk Cousins 2

In this photo taken Oct. 25, 2015, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Landover, Md. If Kirkthrows an interception in a game, he throws a second, and the Washington Redskins lose. If Cousins plays a pick-free game, the Redskins win. It really is that simple so far this season. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Though it seemed he wouldn't be through much of the offseason, Kirk Cousins remains the starting quarterback in Washington for 2017.

Cousins has gained much fanfare over the last two years, but is probably the third best starting quarterback in the division by my own rankings. After losing both Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon this offseason, it should be interesting to see how Cousins plays in 2017.

Former Texas Longhorn Colt McCoy sits as the QB2 in Washington behind Cousins, with Nate Sudfeld fighting for the third roster spot.

As a whole, the Redskins quarterback situation is solid, with a pretty good starter and serviceable backup as well.

Philadelphia Eagles

Tyrone Crawford, Carson Wentz, Eagles

Finally, we have Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philly traded up to select Wentz second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, and while they think they have found their franchise quarterback of the future, some critics are not-so-sure. Considering they went in the same draft, the inherent rivalry between Wentz and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott will be a ton of fun to watch through the years.

The Eagles also brought Nick Foles home to Philly to be the backup quarterback this season. Overall, Philly must depend on a young guy to get it done in 2017, but Wentz did flash signs of being worthy of such a high selection during his rookie season.

How I Rank Them

To me, this is pretty simple. While Eli Manning is the veteran of this group, and Kirk Cousins has been a good starter over the last two seasons, Dak Prescott is the best and most talented quarterback in this division.

As an overall quarterback situation, I like what Washington has going for them with the best backup QB in the NFC East. Still, Dak Prescott should be the best starter out of the bunch in 2017, and is in the most comfortable situation offensively.

Maybe I'm a little biased, but his play last year earned him this top spot to me.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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1 Comment
  • George_Johnson

    I think K Moore is a solid 2nd team backup but with limited experience and reps. I wouldn’t be surprised if K Moore out played Dak Prescott in preseason games. With Dak Prescott and K Moore, the Dallas Cowboys may have the best QB team in the NFC east. What K Moore needs to get critics off his back is to be able to play and prove himself. This almost happened last year, but may never happen. K Moore’s performance in three and one half games in 2015 was mediocre overall but this was his first time playing against 1st team defenses with limited reps to get ready. Per S Linehan he did some really good things and was able to move the ball but made too many mistakes. Before criticizing this performance it needs to be compared to other starting QBs in the NFL for their first three and one half games.

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Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?

Fortune favors the bold. It's a rough translation of an old Latin proverb and the mantra I believe the Dallas Cowboys should indoctrinate this offseason.

I think it's time the Dallas Cowboys start to make a few bold moves. I truly believe they are close to competing for a championship title and one or two offseason moves could increase those odds. One such move would be to sign restricted free agent (RFA) Shaquil Barrett to an offer sheet.

It's expected that the Denver Broncos will place a second-round tender on Barrett and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to explore the possibility of signing him to a contract sheet. If Denver declines to match the offer, the Cowboys would then send them their second round draft pick as compensation.

You on board?

Probably not at this point, but let me try to explain why I believe this is a good move on the Cowboys part, even if it is an uncharacteristic one.

You see, the Cowboys could definitely use someone to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence and I think Shaquil Barrett could be the solution.

I know it sounds like a lot to give up a second round draft pick, but the Cowboys have been deplorable at drafting players in the second round the past decade. Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, and possibly Jaylon Smith have really been the only "hits" the Cowboys have found in the second round. That's simply unacceptable!

So, why not use that second rounder to acquire a player who is already a proven commodity in the NFL?

Shaquil Barrett

Denver Broncos OLB Shaq Barrett (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

I know the first thing a lot of you are going to do is to look up Shaquil Barrett's stats to see what he has accomplished in the NFL. But, stats don't always show the big picture.

You see, Barrett has been stuck behind some pretty talented pass rushers in Denver, so his statistics aren't going to jump off the paper. But, when given the opportunity he has proven he deserves a larger role. That's where the Dallas Cowboys come in.

The Broncos probably don't have the money to keep Shaquil Barrett if the Cowboys sign him to a contract sheet. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a big money contract offer. The Broncos simply don't have the salary cap to do much, especially considering they are still looking for a starting quarterback.

I honestly like the idea of the Cowboys going after Barrett. You may have forgotten, but he gave a healthy Tyron Smith fits last season.

With an injured Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett got the start against the Cowboys in 2017 and finished the game with two quarterback hits, six QB pressures, and five stops. No other player found that kind of success against Tyron Smith all season, even when he was banged up.

Unfortunately, when Shane Ray returned, Barrett's usage on defense declined. That's why you can't always judge a players productivity by statistics. You have to judge him more on a per-snap basis, and if you do that you will discover he was very effective as both a pass rusher and run stopper.

I believe Barrett is ready for a full-time role. Yes, he has been used as a standup 3-4 OLB with the Broncos, but he has the required traits to put his hand on the ground and maintain his effectiveness.

The downside to all of this is the Dallas Cowboys would have to give up their second-round draft pick, but draft picks are sometimes overvalued anyways. Shaquil Barrett is probably better than anybody the Cowboys could draft in the second round, so I say pull the trigger.

Should the Cowboys sign Shaquil Barrett to a contract sheet?


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Could a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin

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Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?


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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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