The Dallas Cowboys have officially closed out their OTA and mini-camp practices, and won't take the field again as a team until July 30 in Oxnard, California at the start of training camp. That's not to say that players won't continue working out or practicing on their own, it just means that we have about a month before any official practices get underway once again.
This is a slow time in regards to any Dallas Cowboys related news, and unfortunately any news that makes headlines is probably going to be of the negative nature (let's hope that doesn't happen).
So, I thought I would take the opportunity to try and predict the final 53 man roster for the Dallas Cowboys.
Analysis: Tony Romo is without a doubt the #1 QB and the team's success will likely be determined by his health. Kellen Moore is the backup as of now, but how he performs in training camp will ultimately decide if the organization looks for someone more experienced. Dak Prescott gets the nod over Jameill Showers because of his draft status, but I'm hoping the Cowboys can find a way to keep Showers around somehow.
Analysis: Ezekiel Elliott is going to receive a heavy workload as a rookie and should be a stud running behind the Cowboys dominant offensive line. Alfred Morris is guaranteed to make $1.8 million, so he will provide the veteran leadership and backup duties behind Elliott. I gave rookie Darius Jackson the nod over Darren McFadden because owner/general manager Jerry Jones has said before that he wants his third running back on the depth chart to contribute on special teams, and that's not part of McFadden's game anymore. Lance Dunbar likely starts of the year on the PUP list, but if Jackson performs well enough, Dunbar could become expendable.
Analysis: I think the top four receivers (Bryant, Williams, Beasley, and Butler) are probably pretty set, so that leaves an intense battle for the final WR spot. This is the first real shocker about my roster projection and Lucky Whitehead gets beat out by UFA Andy Jones. Jones received the opportunity to practice with the first team unit and might offer more as a WR than Whitehead.
Analysis: Rod Smith offers an interesting skill set that is intriguing because of his versatility to play both fullback and essentially be the fourth running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Smith also plays special-teams, but he really made my roster because offensive coordinator Scott Linehan can really get creative in the way that they decide to use him on offense.
Jason Witten, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim
Analysis: No, Rico Gathers doesn't make the final 53 man roster. He is still is just too raw to justify a roster spot. Gavin Escobar may not be fully healthy when the season kicks off, but even if he is, I'm still not sure I would keep him around. Honestly, I would see if I could find a trade partner if possible. Jason Witten and James Hanna aren't going anywhere, but this will be a big training camp for Geoff Swaim. The Dallas Cowboys could keep a watchful eye on the waiver wire and see if there is a better option for the third tight end.
Analysis: Ronald Leary could be a tradable commodity, but he is valuable because he provides a backup with starting experience. Charles Brown is the swing tackle as of now, but if Chaz Green can beat him outright it could possibly allow the Cowboys to go a little lighter along the offensive line. Who knows, maybe Green can even push Doug Free for a starting role. Joe Looney was signed to be the backup at both center and guard and the rest of the starters along the offensive line is as good as there is in the NFL.
Ryan Russell, David Irving, Benson Mayowa, Jack Crawford, Charles Tapper, Mike McAdoo, Tyrone Crawford, Cedric Thornton, Terrell McClain, Maliek Collins
Analysis: DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are expected miss the first four games of the season due to suspension, but we're still waiting to get word of Lawrence's appeal, so his suspension could be lessened. I went a little deeper at the defensive line position because of those suspensions and as a result Mike McAdoo makes the roster. I expect the Cowboys to keep a close watch on the waiver wire and possibly add another pass rusher via trade.
Sean Lee, Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Damien Wilson, Andrew Gachkar, Mark Nzeocha
Analysis: There are no real surprises here. Sean Lee and Rolando McClain will once again be the focal point of the linebacker position, but keep a close eye on Mark Nzeocha. He could challenge for the starting strong side linebacker position and be a key member on special teams as well.
Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Anthony Brown, Deji Olatoye
Analysis: The cornerback position is a little concerning but, like it or not, the top three spots are locked down by Scandrick, Carr, and Claiborne. The fourth and fifth spots on the depth chart are up for grabs. Rookie Anthony Brown is intriguing and has been practicing as both an outside CB and in the slot. Deji Olatoye showed a little something towards the end of the 2015 season and has a size advantage over other Cowboys cornerbacks.
Analysis: It may not be a big surprise to some of you, but I have the Dallas Cowboys saying goodbye to J.J. Wilcox. He is in the last year of his rookie contract and has failed to develop the way that the organization had hoped. Kavon Frazier doesn't really have to show a whole lot to make Wilcox expendable, but he does have to prove that he has more upside. Byron Jones, Barry Church, and Jeff Heath are all but locked in, but if there was an odd man out it would likely be Church if someone proves to be a better option.
Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur
Analysis: Barring some unfortunate injury, the specialists for the Dallas Cowboys are chiseled in stone. I don't foresee any changes at all here. You simply don't mess with a good thing, and the Dallas Cowboys have a real good thing going with Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, and L.P. Ladouceur.
Thoughts? Opinions? Snide remarks?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide any information that you believe is worthy of further discussion. I look forward to hearing from you..
Cowboys WR Allen Hurns: Number 88 Is “All Dez”
Friday, the Cowboys "finally" made a splash in free agency, and did so in a big way. By signing former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns to a two year deal worth $12 million, Dallas bolstered their weak receiving corps with another big-bodied threat.
Due to some similarities in their game, and the number of resources already invested into that wide receiver room, some have anticipated that the signing of Hurns signals the end of Dez Bryant's time in Dallas.
Allen Hurns, however, clearly has different plans.
Not sure what number I'll be rocking yet but that 88 all Dez
Hurns took to Twitter to state that the number 88 is "all Dez," hinting that both he and Bryant will be on the roster in 2018. A receiving corps with both Hurns and Bryant can be dangerous, especially if used correctly.
Allen Hurns may "look" like an X receiver, but he has the ability to move into the slot as well. He can be used as a compliment to what Bryant does, and is a legitimate number two option for the Cowboys going forward.
While Hurns may believe that Bryant is safe, Terrance Williams may not be. Williams has struggled with inconsistencies and bone-headed plays during his time in Dallas, and most fans believe it's time to move on from him. The problem is, the Cowboys just paid him.
According to cap gurus, Dallas gets basically nothing back from cutting Williams, meaning they may need to find a trade partner if they want to move on. Reacting to the public reaction of the Hurns signing, Williams also took to Twitter to voice some frustrations.
Lol at people seriously!
Yes, it appears he read your tweets.
The Cowboys now have a lot of wide outs on their roster, all fighting for roster spots and playing time. Hopefully, this competition breeds success in the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
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