The Dallas Cowboys have to be thinking that they are cursed when it comes to keeping their quarterbacks healthy. First, it was Kellen Moore who was injured in practice, then last week Tony Romo goes down and is out for an unknown amount of time with a broken vertebrae in his back.
If you're keeping count, that's your projected starter and backup quarterback for the 2016 season.
How many teams in the NFL would be completely devastated and thinking their season was pretty much done before it even officially starts?
That would obviously be the Dallas Cowboys if not for the inspiring play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who is likely the Week 1 starter for America's Team.
Prescott has shown the ability to lead the Cowboys offense and put points on the board, but the organization would likely prefer having a veteran QB on hand if things don't go as planned.
When Kellen Moore went down with an injury I took a look at the available free agent quarterbacks, but the Dallas Cowboys decided to take a wait-and-see approach with Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers instead. That approach seems to be paying off, but they could be once again looking for a veteran QB.
Instead of rehashing the available QB's, I decided to take a look at the quarterbacks around the league that could be released by their respective teams and claimed via waiver wire by the Cowboys.
Below are a few of the quarterbacks that I think could be possibly released.
Austin Davis / Josh McCown (Cleveland Browns)
When projected backup quarterback Kellen Moore went down with an injury, the Dallas Cowboys explored the possibility of trading for veteran QB Josh McCown. The rumor is that the Cleveland Browns were wanting a third or fourth round draft pick in return, but that asking price was too steep for the Cowboys organization.
Robert Griffin III is slated to be the starter, so both Austin Davis and McCown are battling for the backup spot. The loser of that battle possibly being released, depending how many QB's they keep on the roster. I prefer Davis over McCown, but both players would provide veteran experience behind Dak Prescott.
Bryce Petty / Geno Smith (New York Jets)
Neither Bryce Petty or Geno Smith would likely be any better than what the Dallas Cowboys already have at the quarterback position.
Personally I don't want anything to do with Geno Smith. It seems like he has an attitude problem, but that could possibly just be with the Jets organization.
The Dallas Cowboys took a hard look at the former Baylor quarterback, Bryce Petty, prior to the draft last season and should have a good understanding of the type of player he is. If released he could be a possibility to bring in and develop, but they might be looking for a more veteran quarterback instead of a developmental project.
Sean Mannion (Los Angeles Rams)
Personally, Sean Mannion is probably my favorite quarterback on this list and I would absolutely love for the Cowboys to bring him aboard if he is released by the Rams. Mannion has rare size (6'6", 230) and mobility that would intrigue a number of teams in the NFL.
The Rams drafted him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft and the Dallas Cowboys saw firsthand what he can do when he replaced the injured Jared Goff in the first preseason game against the Cowboys. Mannion's play against the Cowboys was one of the reasons the Rams were able to come back and win the game.
We still aren't 100% sure if the Dak Prescott we've seen in the preseason is the one we will continue to see. Mannion has all the intangibles to develop into a starting quarterback in the NFL or at the very least a very good backup QB.
Shaun Hill (Minnesota Vikings)
If the Dallas Cowboys are indeed looking for a veteran quarterback, then Shaun Hill could possibly be at the top of the list if he is released by the Minnesota Vikings.
Hill has previously been a backup quarterback for offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during their time with the Detroit Lions. He already has the knowledge of the offensive system and could provide that veteran leadership for the young quarterbacks on the Cowboys roster.
Hill is however 36 and is at the age where a quarterbacks arm starts to decline, so the Cowboys would definitely have to do their homework and determine if he has anything left in the tank.
Alex Tanney (Tennessee Titans)
Alex Tanney was a member of the Dallas Cowboys briefly in 2013. He played in five preseason games and completed 40 of 73 passes for 423 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. He was released and then re-signed to the practice squad, only to be poached by the Cleveland Browns.
Tanney and the Cowboys obviously have a working knowledge of one another, but I honestly don't think the Cowboys organization would go this direction. I just think there are better options available, but I could be wrong.
EJ Manuel (Buffalo Bills)
If EJ Manuel is released by the Buffalo Bills, the Dallas Cowboys could bring him in and see if they can bring out the talent that made him a first-round draft pick in the first place.
I may be mistaken, but the Cowboys showed interest in Manuel last season when they were looking for a backup quarterback. At the time, the Buffalo Bills weren't interested in trading him, but this is a year later and Manuel hasn't developed the way they had hoped.
The Dallas Cowboys seem to like to bring in former first rounders and EJ Manuel certainly fits into that category.
Mark Sanchez (Denver Broncos)
It is already rumored that the Denver Broncos are planning to release Mark Sanchez. If released would the Dallas Cowboys be interested in the former first-round quarterback?
I personally don't see any interest from the Cowboys in bringing in Sanchez, but he is however a veteran player with playoff experience. They should be familiar with who Sanchez is as a player due to his time with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, so the decision could possibly already have been made.
Do any of these quarterbacks interest you?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide your thoughts and opinions or to share with us what quarterback you would like the Dallas Cowboys to bring in.
WR Randall Cobb Named Cowboys “Surprise Standout” for Offseason
NFL teams have wrapped up their offseason activities with the close of OTAs, especially where the players are concerned, and await the start of training camps next month. In reviewing the last few months, ESPN had their local reporters each pick a surprise standout from their team's practices. Todd Archer, who covers the Dallas Cowboys full time, selected veteran receiver Randall Cobb.
Cobb is in his first season with Dallas after signing as a free agent last March. He's spent the last eight years with the Green Bay Packers and was a Pro Bowler in 2014, but has struggled with injuries the last few seasons.
Here were Archer's observations on how Randall is doing so far with the Cowboys:
Normally a player with Cobb's résumé -- 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career -- would not be considered for a category like this. But injuries limited him to only nine games and 38 catches for Green Bay in 2018, and it was hard to know what the Cowboys were getting in the veteran receiver.
If the offseason work is any indication, they have found a replacement for Cole Beasley. Cobb's versatility can expand the offense for others, such as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cobb looked quick in and out of his breaks and fast enough to make plays down the field. Will he put up the 1,287 yards he had in 2014? No, but he gives Dak Prescott a security blanket in the slot who can turn a small gain into a big one.
The notion of Cobb replacing Beasley is a big one. While we'd like to think that Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will provide plenty of firepower for the Cowboys offense, Dak Prescott has enjoyed a reliable threat from the slot position since he arrived.
Randall Cobb, when healthy, can do more than just make clutch catches. He has good run-after-catch skills and perhaps bring more big play potential than Beasley did.
If Cooper and Gallup do emerge as a dangerous starting duo on the outside, Cobb should have even more opportunities to punish defenses than Beasley did.
If nothing else, it's very encouraging to hear that one of the Cowboys' few 2019 free agent moves is already reaping benefits. Cobb still needs to bring it over a full season to really justify the move, but these early reports are cause for excitement.
BREAKING: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Receives One-Game Suspension
Tight End Rico Gathers already had an uphill climb to return to the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2019. But that climb just got even steeper; the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Gathers today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
If he does make the team this year, with Dallas or anyone else, Rico will have to sit out Week One of the season without pay.
Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse. This is from his arrest in 2018 for marijuana possession.
Gathers' chances of returning in 2019 were already hurt by Jason Witten's reversed retirement. He dropped to fourth on the TE depth chart behind Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz, and Dallas only kept three tight ends last year.
The Cowboys also added Codey McElroy as a developmental player during the offseason.
While the suspension is news, the incident that led to it is not. Dallas already knew about the arrest, which occurred in early September of 2018, and have kept Gathers around up until now.
The NFL's substance abuse system is pretty formulaic, so the Cowboys likely anticipated this suspension all along. This may not change anything about how they value Rico Gathers for the 2019 season.
Nevertheless, a player who can't help you in Week One and is a liability for ever longer suspensions down the road is definitely a red flag against Gathers' job security.
Antwaun Woods: Cowboys DT is Just Getting Started
Antwaun Woods went undrafted in 2016 coming out of USC. After two years with the Tennessee Titans, he would only see one game of action. In May of 2018, the Cowboys signed Woods to a two-year contract worth 1.05 million. Probably seen as nothing more than a practice squad guy, Woods would quickly show he was much more than that.
The newly acquired Woods started his climb to stardom in Oxnard during training camp, and not for making plays. One day during practice he got into a friendly game of fisticuffs with All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. The team even posted the video on social media, which had fans buzzing and wanting to know who he was.
All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott echoed those thoughts when he saw Woods during camp. "Honestly, when we first got him, we were like, 'Who is this guy?'. He was giving Travis Frederick, one of our best players, hell all camp. Just trying to figure out where this guy came from," Elliott said.
Once the regular season started it was clear the Cowboys had found a hidden gem. Although the sack numbers won't dazzle you, seeing as he only registered 1.5, you could forget about running the ball anywhere near him. Woods has amazing quickness for a 300 pounder which allows him to extend his arms before offensive lineman can get a hand on him.
How significant is that? It becomes that much easier to bull rush and blow running plays up in the backfield.
When you can get your hands on an offensive lineman immediately when the ball is snapped, he's basically under your control. You can move him around like a puppet on a string. Essential for a 1-technique nose tackle. With that being said, there should be no surprise the Cowboys finished fifth against the run in 2018 with Woods manning the middle.
Woods draws a lot of double teams, and he handles them well. Having the ability to take on multiple linemen frees up your other playmakers. As the anchor in the middle, Woods made life a lot easier for not only his fellow defensive linemen but the team's two young star Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Allowing them to roam freely like Lions in the Serengeti makes running backs essentially Zebra's carrying the ball, cooked food. So much so that both tallied over 120 tackles and were the only teammates in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in that category.
There's nothing but upside with Antwaun Woods. He's only had 18 games of experience in three years. He's already a stud, but with limited snaps, it can only mean he'll be even more formidable going forward.
The Cowboys have a loaded defensive lineman group with around 15 bodies, plenty of competition. All signs point to him remaining the starter, but it's not guaranteed. Even with that being said I don't expect a complacency from Woods, especially with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn looking like the only sure starters on the defensive line. Plus this is a contract year for him, so you know he'll be even more motivated as he tries to maximize his dollars. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg from this raw talent, setting up for a potential breakout year for him in 2019.
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