There seems to be a divide among Cowboys fans on Twitter these days. You have those who are ready to jump off the ledge with regards to the 2016 season, and those who are criticizing the ones who are ready to jump. The truth of the matter is that nobody should be happy with the Cowboys decisions during this off season. Period.
The Cowboys had a golden opportunity to position themselves as kings of the NFC East. Yes, you can blame the 2015 season on injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Yes, you can say that they went 12-4 in 2014 and were a poor call away from the NFC Championship Game. However, this doesn't preclude you from trying to make your team better than it was in either season. Getting Tony Romo and Dez Bryant healthy will be instrumental to success for this team. Even with that, I think it is simple-minded to think the Cowboys teams in 2014 and 2015 were anywhere near perfect or comfortable enough to be declared a "sure thing."
Instead, the Cowboys are now relying on a formula similar to the one from 2014. Do you feel comfortable with that? I, for one, do not. A lot of things went right in 2014. They beat the odds against them in being an extremely shallow team with clear deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball by hiding it through the offense.
You can hide a poor defense as much as you want but I'll compare it to what happened with Sean Lee's knee prior to the 2014 season. It was well-known that eventually something would have happened to Sean Lee's knee. It was a matter of when more than it was if. On a random play in non-contact pre-training camp drills, Sean's knee finally succumbed to the ACL tear.
The Cowboys defense being exposed will be an issue of when rather than if, as well.
It is far from being a good defense as is and a draft will likely not do much to change that. They may have some good role players and rotational guys, but they are lacking elite talent all throughout the defense.
An offense can hide these deficiencies by controlling the time of possession. Deep rotations (which they do not have right now) can keep fresh bodies on the field to help get away from not having elite talent.
The one thing that cannot be argued is that they made this a lot more difficult than it had to be... So a lot of things will have to go right in 2016 for this to be a successful team.
When I say a lot of things have to go right, I mean A LOT.
- Tony Romo must stay healthy.
- Dez Bryant must stay healthy.
- Demarcus Lawrence's back issue must be something that wasn't important.
- Tyrone Crawford cannot sustain another injury.
- The secondary can't have another preseason injury like Orlando Scandrick's.
- They must find a running back that can grind out long drives.
- They must completely own the time of possession battle.
- Sean Lee and Rolando McClain must stay healthy and play at a high level.
The list goes on and on and on...
This team can have success in 2016; I'm not here to argue that. My point is that they have made this task an extremely difficult one.
Instead of packing this team with depth and high-end talent at positions of need, they have done virtually nothing. They are relying on a draft to fill in the holes on this team, some of them being massive.
If things go right and they are able to stay healthy and cover their holes, this team can still be very good.
The way to win is by having something utterly dominant.
The Broncos had a dominant defense, particularly their defensive line. The Patriots defy all rules but were led through a short, quick passing attack. The Seahawks had a dominant secondary. The list goes on and on.
The Cowboys can win through their offensive line. That is the one thing the Cowboys have that a lot of teams do not have. They can say that one of their units is the best in the league. If the Cowboys can use their offensive line to control the running game and time of possession, providing Tony Romo with clean pockets to counter off the running game, that is the way the Cowboys can find success in 2016.
This won't be easy. It could have been a lot easier. They could have improved all of their holes AND had the running game from 2014 to control the time of possession and make the defense even more dominant.
A lot will have to go right, but this is far from over.
Terrance Williams Contract Creates 2018 Job Security
There's been a lot of talk about what the Dallas Cowboys will do at the receiver position this offseason. While there's a great divide on what the team should do with Dez Bryant, there's a fairly unanimous opinion that Dallas should find an upgrade over Terrance Williams. No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, though, Williams' contract should keep him on the roster in 2018.
Last offseason, Terrance signed a four-year, $17 million deal to stay in Dallas. Because we are now just in the second year of that deal, it is cost prohibitive against the salary cap to release or trade him.
Williams is scheduled to count $4.75 million against the 2018 cap. If Dallas were to cut him, it would accelerate his remaining guaranteed money and create $7.25 million in dead money this year. He would cost more against the cap off the roster than on it.
Even the June-1st provision doesn't help. Williams' dead money in 2018 drops to $4.75 million, which is a net zero against his existing cap hit. It would also push $2.5 million of dead money to 2019. There's no benefit there, and you lose an experienced player who knows your system.
If the Cowboys do like their WR depth enough to want to move on from Terrance, one option is to try to trade him. A trade would lower the cap penalty to $3.75 million and save $1 million. If he's traded after June 1st, it would save $3.5 million against this year's cap.
Of course, it takes two to tango in this scenario. Williams hasn't scored a touchdown since 2016 and has never proven he can take on a significant role in an offense. He was serviceable when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten commanded more attention, but he's a low-end WR2 at best and many teams likely wouldn't want him in their top 2-3 receivers.
Perhaps something could happen during training camps or preseason, when injuries may make other teams desperate. Then again, something could happen in Dallas that makes them less willing to part with Terrance.
As it stands, it seems unlikely that Terrance Williams won't be a Cowboy in 2018. And really, that's not bad thing.
Even if he gets pushed down the depth chart, Terrance would be a good insurance policy against injuries or any other issues that could happen between now and September. $4.75 million is more than you'd like to pay your fourth WR but it's a one-year problem.
If the Cowboys do add more WR talent this offseason, there is a trickle-down effect that strengthens the entire club. Williams, with his experience, is an upgrade over Brice Butler as the fourth receiver.
Therefore, unless circumstances both here and elsewhere allow Dallas to find a trade partner, Terrance Williams should be back next year.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys to Re-Sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for 2018
Continuity is the key to good special teams play in the NFL. Already losing long-time Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the Raiders - who promptly snatched ST aces Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber in free agency - the Dallas Cowboys have announced their intentions to re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur for the 2018 season.
Returning on a one-year deal, the fan favorite Ladouceur will be back to do what he does best in cleanly executing almost every special teams snap for Chris Jones or Dan Bailey to handle.
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur will re-sign with the Cowboys on Monday, according to sources, on a one-year deal. He will be in his 14th season with the franchise. Only Jason Witten, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Bill Bates and Mark Tuinei will have more years of... https://t.co/yTQbMYyrIv
While Jones has improved as the Cowboys' punter with each passing season, Kicker Dan Bailey actually enters 2018 as another question mark on this unit. With the general belief around the team being that Bailey will be just fine moving forward, the Cowboys will no longer have to worry about who handles long snaps next year either.
L.P. Ladouceur is back in the silver and blue, and in this moment, everything can be alright with the world.
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