A week ago the Dallas Cowboys were preparing for the season finale against the NFC East Division Champion Washington Redskins. Today? They're chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool... welcome to the off-season.
There has already been a few tectonic shifts in the NFC East this off-season as some of our division rivals made some big moves.
You know already know how the Philadelphia Eagles waved the white flag and fired Chip Kelly. Well this week the New York Giants sang a similar tune when they said goodbye to their two-time Super Bowl winning Head Coach, Tom Coughlin.
Jason Garrett is now the longest tenured Head Coach in the NFC East, but one of his men may be on his way out. It was announced on Wednesday that secondary coach Jerome Henderson is expected to interview with the Cleveland Browns regarding their vacancy at Head Coach. Seriously. You do you, Cleveland.
There are other vacancies in the NFL besides those Head Coach gigs. The Detroit Lions have an opening at their General Manager position - which Will McClay declined to interview for. This is a big deal for all of Cowboys Nation as McClay has been the architect behind what the Cowboys have been doing for the past few seasons. He wants to get things right here in Dallas and it's great to know how committed he is to us.
In terms of player news... the Dallas Cowboys cleaned out their lockers on Monday. A few of them took to Twitter to express some thoughts regarding the 2015 season.
Thank you #CowboysNation for all of your support through the good and the bad. We will get it right!
Rookie year in the books! Couldn't be more fortunate and blessed to be a part of this team. We'll be back stronger in 2016. #CowboysNation
I want to genuinely thank The Dallas Cowboys Organization for the opportunity. Got chance 2 Live a childhood dream. #superhungryagain
The writing seems to be on the wall regarding Jeremy Mincey that he may not be back in the blue and silver come September.
Speaking of the guys that might not be back next year, Over The Cap is a great resource for all of those with questions regarding free agency.
Our own Bobby Belt spoke with Jason Fitzgerald, founder of Over The Cap, regarding what the Cowboys could be doing this year in free agency on Cowboys Cast. It's a great listen that'll help prepare you for the exciting days of March.
There are obviously free agents coming off of stints with other teams that the Cowboys will be looking to put a Star on this year.
My fellow Inside The Star Staff Writer Nick Cocchiaro wrote up a potential free agency plan that details who the Cowboys could target. If you've read any of my work before then you know how much I love "plans" and Nick's gets my official thumbs up!
Speaking of Inside The Star, the Dallas Cowboys are coming Inside The Star! Staff Writer Sean Martin tells you here all about how the Cowboys new home of all football operations, The Star, is opening in 2016. You're already Inside The Star... the Cowboys are joining you in 2016!
Regular X-Thrower-Upper (what?) Dez Bryant successfully had surgery on his foot and ankle on Wednesday morning. It became more and more obvious as the season went on that Dez simply wasn't right, and this surgery will go a long way in correcting that. He's already feeling better, too.
Thank you everyone for the prayers...I'm already up and running baby #throwupthex lmao!!!
The 2015 season is over largely due to the ineptitude of the Dallas Cowboys Offense and the backup quarterbacks that were given the keys to it. It's no secret that this position is a high priority for Dallas this off-season and that they'll be looking for key ways to address it.
If the Cowboys choose to draft a quarterback there are plenty to choose from. Senior Analyst Ryan Ratty has film reviews on Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Connor Cook, and many others if you want to catch yourself up on the potential future franchise quarterback.
Of course Tony Romo will be the man at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. Our own Jess Haynie wrote up a great piece here detailing how Carson Palmer's resurgence into NFL stardom gives Cowboys Nation and Romo hope for the future. It's one of those articles that's going to get you completely jacked for next year. Give it a read and thank me later.
Make sure and stay tuned to us here at Inside The Star as we'll be having this weekly progress report all throughout the off-season. It's a great way to catch up on what you might have missed or chat with your favorite RJ.
Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?
February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.
DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.
Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.
After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.
There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?
Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.
For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.
In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys
What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?
First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.
It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.
It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.
Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.
Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.
This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.
It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.
The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.
So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.
He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.
Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats
2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.
But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?
Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.
A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.
According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.
Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.
David Carr 6, Dak Prescott 1 pic.twitter.com/rV532Q3Cob
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) 6 de febrero de 2018
Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.
Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.
It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.
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