What is salary cap? It's a number the league sets on how much their players will make for a NFL season. They adjusted it for this season, allowing teams roughly ten million dollars more to spend. The number comes to 133 million dollars.
Thirty one teams would love to use free agency to get better on both sides of the ball, filling their roster with players that have experience and can make a real impact for the team, in a positive way, to try and win the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks are the one team who wants to try and keep their core group together, or add new role-players to try and repeat as the champions. But how does salary cap interrupt some of these plans?
Manage Current Assets:
First, teams need to cut players, to get under the given cap number. One of those teams happen to be the Dallas Cowboys. This is why we should expect to see restructured contracts within the next week or so, or even releasing players that are well known. The National Football League is a business, and this could mean we see people like Miles Austin or DeMarcus Ware, or another player paid a lot of money released.
If a team is under the cap, such as the Oakland Raiders or the Indianapolis Colts, they don't need to do much, if anything at all about their role players. They find themselves in a comfortable place, and yet a releasing of a high paid, veteran player isn't ruled out, it's not a necessity either.
Stick To The Plan:
Second, teams need to look at their space when March 11th rolls around, along with their team needs and the players available. The free agency period is going to be crazy tracking it and watching it happen, but front offices need to be sane during this period. Good management doesn't overpay for a player, and they agree on a price range for a player before free agency begins. Overpaying for a player could mean cap casualties and troubles further down the road. They also, obviously, will be looking at team needs. There is not a quarterback of elite caliber out there, but you wouldn't pursue one with a big contract, if you had Andrew Luck on the team. Teams need depth at some positions, to compete in their division or their conference. The Seahawks built depth at the defensive line, and that helped them win their division, gain home-field advantage in the NFC, and the rest is history. It's a necessity to be smart and aware of your team's needs when bidding for players around the league. Teams should also be careful to be careful of who they give big contracts to, such as Matt Flynn when he signed with the Seahawks.
Character & Longevity:
Third, they need to look to the future when it comes to free agency. Is this player a good scheme fit? Will this player make the immediate impact we need from him? Is this player loyal and dedicated to the team, and will he continue to work hard and compete? Will we possibly regret giving this player a big contract, two years down the road? And in some cases, if the player is coming off a serious injury, they need to look at their durability in the tough, grinding league.
Teams can give themselves a new identity through the free agency period. Will Dallas create a new identity this offseason? Will Dallas fill their defensive line with dependable depth? Only time will tell. And that time is called Free Agency.
Why I’m Not Buying The Jason Witten Rejuvenation Story
Last week, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made headlines with some quotes about the return of Jason Witten. Neither Garrett nor Witten tend to make headlines with their words often, but the two combined to do so with a quote this week.
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.” - Jason Garrett on Witten.
Multiple Cowboys' media outlets ran with these quotes, looking to show that the Cowboys have found a version of Jason Witten that they have not seen in quite some time. They are, publicly, stating that they believe a year away from the game did Witten some good, and that he will be a much healthier and fresher player in 2019 than he was back when he last played in 2017.
As a fan of the team, I sure hope this is the case. But as a realistic human being, I can't get behind this at all.
Jason Witten hasn't been very good for quite some time now. I know he's a Cowboy legend, and will forever be a fan favorite, but the facts are the facts. As a run blocker Witten has regressed greatly in his later years. More often it seemed he was re-adjusting his jersey after a missed block than he was making blocks to spring Ezekiel Elliott on the edge.
As a receiver, Witten's much slower than he used to be. And while he was never a blazer who relied on his speed to win, his lack of speed certainly holds him back in today's game. And if the Cowboys want to be multiple and versatile on offense, I'm not sure how a greatly-aged tight end helps them to do so.
He's still the smart, instinctive route runner he's always been, but at 37 years old what can we realistically expect from him?
I'll be honest, I'm very skeptical that Jason Witten is going to give the Cowboys anything in 2019. Maybe earlier in the season he will look better than expected, but can he withstand a full NFL season? It's impossible to say for sure now, but I'm absolutely not buying that he's rejuvenated or extra-fresh after a year off from football.
Connor Williams Hopes Added Weight, Experience Aids Him In 2019
Offensive lineman Connor Williams had himself an interesting start to his young career. The second round pick was expected to be a plug-and-play guard for the Cowboys, earning the starting left guard spot from just about the first day of training camp.
The results from Williams' play were mixed, however. At moments Connor Williams looked like his athletic, technically sound self, working well on the Cowboys outside zone runs. Other times, though, he was simply overpowered by bigger and stronger defensive tackles.
Williams lost his left guard spot due to injury late in the season, and when Xavier Su'a-Filo came in and played relatively well, fans soured a bit on the then-rookie lineman. Still there was no question that Williams was the better player between the two, and he rightfully started in both the Cowboys playoff games last season.
Now entering year two, and with third round pick Connor McGovern potentially competing for a guard spot and rumors of a move to right tackle swirling around him, Williams believes he's done enough to improve before his Sophomore year.
Connor Williams spoke to DallasCowboys.com, and gave some decent quotes on what his offseason preparation has looked like thus far. Williams emphasized that his main goal was to add strength and size, something he looks to have clearly done based on recent photographs.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good position. Now it’s just about refining the technique and feeling comfortable.” - Connor Williams
According to Williams he played at a "light 300" pounds in 2018, but is now tipping the scales at 315 pounds. That's quite the difference, especially considering that Williams carries the weight pretty well in his frame.
All Pro veteran guard Zack Martin has taken Williams under his wing, as the young lineman credits Martin for being his lifting partner this offseason.
Right tackle might be in Connor Williams' 2020 future, but as of now, he has to ready himself to compete at left guard against the heavier defensive tackles he once struggled with. It's very encouraging to see the progress he has made so far.
Travis Frederick’s Return Highlights Start Of Cowboys’ OTAs
The Cowboys opening of voluntary OTAs came with some serious excitement from football-starved fans. But as we all know, these workouts are just about meaningless in terms of storylines for the upcoming season.
I say "just about meaningless" because there are some storylines which matter, though. Travis Frederick's return, of course, is one of those storylines.
After missing all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, Frederick appears to have gained his strength and ability back heading into 2019. Now he is back where he belongs, as the starting center for the Dallas Cowboys.
@tfrederick72 🔙 at it! 💪🏼 #OTAs https://t.co/wht2Lh5yr5
Travis Frederick's importance to the Cowboys cannot be understated. In addition to being one of the best linemen in all of football, the All-Pro veteran center is responsible for much of the pre-snap communication across the offensive line. His absence was clearly felt in 2018, even as Joe Looney played well-above the preseason expectation level.
Frederick returns to anchor an offensive line which is surrounded with some serious pre-season hype. With Zack Martin back to full health, Connor Williams having a year under his belt, and newly-drafted Connor McGovern comes in with high hopes of starting on the interior.
Regardless of how the rest of the Cowboys' offensive line works itself out, it was great to see Travis Frederick back in action, even if it was during a non-contact voluntary practice.
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