With Brandon Carr's departure in free agency, Orlando Scandrick is now the elder statesman in the Cowboys secondary. Even though this offseason came with a little rift between Scandrick and the Cowboys front office, he is still going to be relied upon as a starter and leader in 2017.
Scandrick is all that remains from the Cowboys cornerback core for the last several seasons. Carr and Morris Claiborne are both gone; in their place are veteran free agent Nolan Carroll, second-year stud Anthony Brown, and rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.
Between the drafting of Awuzie in the second round and Lewis in the third, rumors started flying that Orlando Scandrick was on the trade block. The rumor started with Ian Rapaport, giving it some added weight, as did the fact that Awuzie scouted as a very similar player to Scandrick.
When Dallas took another cornerback with their next pick, that made the notion of unloading Orlando even more believable. The rumor picked up steam so quickly that, the next day, Jerry Jones had to step in and make it clear that the Cowboys had no intention of trading Scandrick.
Still, it didn't stop there. Just a couple of days after Jerry's response, Orlando tweeted the following from his personal account:
Who this message was directed at is hard to say. Was it a shot at Rapaport and other media who started the fire, or was it at Jerry for the denial?
This wouldn't be the first time that a Cowboys cornerback had some worries following the draft. In 2012, Mike Jenkins asked for a trade after Dallas signed Brandon Carr in free agency and then spent a first-round pick on Morris Claiborne. His request was not granted; Jenkins played out the year as the fourth corner behind those two and Orlando Scandrick.
Did observing that situation give Orlando a little concern after this year's draft? We'll probably never know for certain. Thankfully, so far there's been no sign of lingering turmoil. Last month, after spending the summer working as a starting corner on defense, Scandrick sounded fully on board with the Cowboys and the 2017 campaign.
"My time is now, and I ain't looking over my shoulder, wondering what's going to happen."
The Cowboys certainly don't want Orlando looking behind him. They not only need him to be focused on his major role in this year's defense, but also on leading their very young defensive backfield. If Anthony Brown starts as most expect, Dallas' next-oldest starter in the secondary will be Jeff Heath. He is a veteran at 26, but still would be in his first year with the first-team defense.
Scandrick's veteran presence will be even more critical early this season. Nolan Carroll will likely be facing a two-game suspension for his DWI incident a few months ago. The most likely scenario during his absence is that Chidobe Awuzie will be used in the slot, the role that Scandrick has occupied for many seasons. Orlando will be a vital asset in helping the rookie prepare for significant playing time.
With the 2017 Cowboys looking to push through to a championship, they need all hands on deck. This will especially critical in Week One with Carroll, David Irving, Damien Wilson, and potentially other defenders missing while the New York Giants come to town. Scandrick not only has to lead in the secondary but, along with guys like Sean Lee and Tyrone Crawford, be the veteran stabilizers for the entire defense.
Hopefully Orlando's health and his mental outlook will both work in the Cowboys favor. Despite whatever rumors may have suggested a few months ago, Scandrick is very much needed in 2017.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agency: Week One Recap
It's been just a week since NFL free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, but it feels like a lifetime for anxious Cowboys fans. Dallas' seemingly passive approach to 2019 free agency has left many disappointed. Still, there are some moves to recap.
As has become their strategy in recent years, the Cowboys have focused on filling up their depth chart and trying to avoid any glaring holes prior to next month's draft. They've re-signed several backups and added at least one likely rotation player.
It's still far too early to judge Dallas' activity. Comparing the 2019 roster to last year will depend heavily on the draft, growth from current players, and other factors. But with the "second wave" of free agency upon us, it's a good time to look at who's come, gone, and stuck around so far.
- TE Jason Witten (unretired)
- TE Codey McElroy (Rams)
- DT Christian Covington (Texans)
The biggest addition so far this offseason wasn't even a free agent, at least not in the purest sense of the term. Jason Witten's surprising return from retirement helped shore up one of Dallas' biggest needs, though it may not preclude them from drafting a tight end high in April.
Also at tight end, Dallas signed developmental project Codey McElroy. His experience is in baseball and basketball, having played just one year of college football. But at 6'6'" and 255 lbs., and having spent last year working with the Rams, the Cowboys must see something they're intrigued by.
Last week Dallas signed Christian Covington, who had 3.5 sacks for Houston in 2018 playing as a 3-4 defensive end. He should move to DT in the Cowboys' scheme and should be a solid addition to their rotation.
- WR Cole Beasley (Bills)
- TE Geoff Swaim (Jaguars)
- DL David Irving (shenanigans)
- LB Damien Wilson (Chiefs)
Beasley is heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $29 million deal. It appeared the relationship soured between Cole and Dallas over his playing time last year, and clearly the Cowboys didn't fight hard to keep him.
Damien Wilson followed Anthony Hitchens to Kansas City to help round out their linebacker corps. Once it was announced that Dallas was hanging on to Sean Lee in 2019, it was fairly certain that Wilson wouldn't be back.
Also not expected back was TE Geoff Swaim, who signed with Jacksonville. Even before Witten came back, Dallas appeared likely to stick with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz for returning talent and then add an upgrade via free agency or the draft.
While still a free agent, nobody expects David Irving back in Dallas or even the NFL after recent activities. Irving appears focused on a Hollywood career and advocating for medical marijuana use at this point.
- FB Jamize Olawale
- WR Tavon Austin
- WR Allen Hurns (team option)
- OT Cam Fleming
- G/C Joe Looney (team option)
- DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchise tag)
- DT Daniel Ross (ERFA)
- LB Justin March-Lillard
- S Darian Thompson
While Dallas put the franchise tag on prized pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, his return in 2019 is far from settled. Lawrence has previously sworn he wouldn't play under a second franchise tag this year, and last we heard the two sides are far apart on a long-term deal. Could a holdout be on the horizon?
The Cowboys doubled-down on WR depth by re-signing Tavon Austin and exercising their team option on Allen Hurns' contract. Both are able to play out of the slot, meaning we could see more of a rotation approach to replacing Cole Beasley next year.
Dallas also re-signed fullback Jamize Olawale, which was a surprise given his low usage rate last year. Perhaps the change to Kellen Moore at offensive coordinator was behind this one, hoping to take better advantage of Olawale's receiving skills going forward.
Joe Looney and Cam Fleming will also be back as valuable backups on the offensive line. Looney started 16 games last year at center and also helps at guard, while Fleming will be the swing tackle once again for his second season in Dallas.
On defense, Dallas kept Daniel Ross in their DT rotation after solid performance in 2018. Justin March-Lillard return at linebacker, particularly for his value on special teams. And Darian Thompson, a former third-round pick by the Giants, is back as an ongoing developmental player.
~ ~ ~
If this is any indication, next week's recap may have a lot more to discuss.
REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent S Clayton Geathers Today
The Cowboys appear to be waking up in 2019 free agency. After a report earlier that they're meeting with WR Randall Cobb, now they're also visiting with Safety Clayton Geathers. He's spent the last four years with the Indianapolis Colts and was a starter and team captain in 2018.
Geathers missed four games last season with a neck injury but still had 89 tackles on the year. He has yet to get an interception since entering the league in 2015, but hasn't been a full-time starter for much of that time.
Free agent S Clayton Geathers is visiting the Cowboys today, per source. He was a team captain for the Colts last season, starting 12 games and recording 89 tackles.
At 6'2" and 220 lbs., Geathers is every bit of a strong safety. He is likely being considered to compete with Jeff Heath for the starting role and otherwise provide depth.
Clayton's rookie contract expired this year, making him available as a free agent. He turns 27 in June and was a fourth-round pick in 2015.
This is still just a visit and a signing is hardly guaranteed. But at the least, the Cowboys seem to be becoming far more active in this second wave of free agency.
REPORT: Cowboys Visiting With Free Agent WR Randall Cobb Today
The Dallas Cowboys are hosting free agent Receiver Randall Cobb today at The Star, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Cobb has spent all eight of his NFL season thus far with the Green Bay Packers.
After losing Cole Beasley to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, and with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup entrenched as starters, Dallas must be considering Cobb to help them at slot receiver.
The Cowboys are hosting free-agent wide receiver Randall Cobb at The Star today, according to a source. With the departure of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys are looking for help at slot receiver and Cobb can also play on the outside. In eight years in Green Bay, he had 470 catches...
This move is a bit surprising after Dallas chose to keep both Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns from last year. Both veterans are capable of playing out of the slot, as is Amari Cooper.
Cobb, however, may bring more upside. He's struggled injuries lately but was a key part of the Packers' offense for several years. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2014 with nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Turning 29 in August, Randall's contract expired in Green Bay and he remains a free agent. The Cowboys are likely hoping to replace Cole Beasley's skill set at a discounted price.
It's been a slow free agency period for Dallas thus far, and Randall Cobb wouldn't be a glamorous addition. However, any activity would make anxious Cowboys fans happy at this point.
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