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Does Recent News on Jaylon Smith Make Linebacker An Offseason Need?

Kevin Brady

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Jaylon Smith

After spending the 34th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft on stud linebacker Jaylon Smith, the Dallas Cowboys may be back in the linebacker market in 2017.

Smith, who suffered nerve damage is in his knee during his final collegiate football game with Notre Dame, missed the entirety of his rookie season with a condition known as "drop foot." Lately, we have seen videos of Smith working out, running, cutting, and looking like an absolute beast.

The video clips got Cowboys Nation amped to see Smith's return, but recent reports have put a damper on that excitement.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

With #Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith's nerve not firing, he'll have to play in a game with a brace for drop foot. Would likely be the 1st to do it

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday morning that Jaylon Smith is still suffering drop foot, as the nerve in his knee has not regenerated. The Cowboys are still hopeful that he can play wearing a brace in 2017, but if he can, it will be one of the only times it's ever been done.

While Dallas can hope for the best with Jaylon Smith, it may be time to prepare for the worst. This means, they need to start looking at both the free agent market and the 2017 NFL Draft class to see if there are any worthy linebackers that can contribute this season.

Free Agency

The biggest name on the free agent linebacker list is New England Patriots' Dont'a Hightower. The former Alabama blue-chip, Hightower finished the 2016 season with 65 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and a Super Bowl ring.

He is the golden boy of this free agent class, and while Dallas would be ecstatic to have him, there is virtually no chance of this happening.

A more realistic option for the Cowboys may be someone like Perry Riley. Riley has been a solid player in the NFL for awhile, and at 29 years old he could be a cheaper signing and a productive addition to the Cowboys defense.

Then again, we know how the Cowboys go about free agency in the Stephen Jones era.

NFL Draft

Here is where things get interesting.

This year's inside linebacker class isn't great, but if Dallas decides to draft one in the first round, they will ultimately find good value.

LSU's Duke Riley has flown under the radar for much of the draft process, but has begun to rise with my fellow Twitter scouts. Riley is a fast and physical linebacker who could make his home in the Cowboys 4-3 defense from day one.

Some other names to look out for during this draft process are Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham, Ohio State's Raekwon McMillan, and Flordia's Jarrad Davis.

While I still believe the Cowboys number one focus this offseason should be adding a dynamic pass rusher, a replacement for Jaylon Smith might need to be made number two on that to-do list.

Hopefully, Jaylon Smith can return and play at a high level while wearing a brace. But the Cowboys must prepare as if he will not be able to, and cover their bases for next season.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Dallas Cowboys

Though Promising, We Need To Relax About Safety Kavon Frazier

Kevin Brady

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Evaluating The Future Of Kavon Frazier, Byron Jones, And The Safety Position

With the addition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to the Cowboys' defensive coaching staff, fans are hoping that Dallas will create their own "Legion of Boom." Of course this is a lofty goal, but one worth pursuing nonetheless.

If the Cowboys are to recreate the Legion of Boom they will need their version of two vital pieces: Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

The Seahawks defense works, in many ways, because of these two players. Thomas' ability to play centerfield and literally defend sideline to sideline gives the Seahawks the freedom to use Chancellor where he's best, as a box safety. Chancellor is a big, physical safety who defends the run effectively in the box and can blanket tight ends in man coverage with his size and athleticism.

These safeties are arguably the most critical pieces to the Legion of Boom, though having a shutdown corner in Richard Sherman certainly doesn't hurt.

Realizing Chancellor's importance, Cowboys fans are hoping that current safety Kavon Frazier can fulfill this role in Dallas. Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 Frazier has made his home on Special Teams. As an impressive tackler in both punt and kick coverage, Frazier earned himself time at safety down the stretch of the 2017 season.

Kavon Frazier

S Kavon Frazier

All in all, Frazier played rather well. Against the Washington Redskins he stepped in and made a few splash plays at the line of scrimmage, causing Cowboys Nation to lose their minds. After that impressive Thursday night game, however, Kavon Frazier didn't really reach that same level of performance.

Frazier is still a liability when asked to cover, especially when asked to play as a two deep safety. He also struggles when taking angles at times, though playing downhill as a tackler is his best attribute. Frazier actually reminds me a bit of Barry Church, though over time Church became more refined in coverage than Frazier currently is.

Some have argued that Kavon Frazier's presence should stop the Cowboys from considering a first round safety. I would disagree, and actually believe that if Florida State's Derwin James is available, the Cowboys should consider making that pick.

If you could combine the athleticism and coverage abilities of Byron Jones with the physicality and "box safety" qualities of Kavon Frazier, you'd have a fantastic safety. Unfortunately, this isn't the Marvel Universe and we are left without any super heroes in the back-end.

Hopefully Kris Richard will figure out how to correctly place all of these pieces in the Dallas Cowboys secondary going forward.


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Dallas Cowboys

Maverick Carter: LeBron James Considered Cowboys During NBA Lockout

Kevin Brady

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Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Maverick Carter is a pretty important man in the world of sports. As a business man, entrepreneur, and manager of one of the best basketball players of all time in LeBron James, Maverick Carter is certainly used to making headlines.

This week, while on former NFL running back Arian Foster's podcast "Now What? with Arian Foster," Carter claimed that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once attempted to negotiate a contract with LeBron James.

During the 2011 NBA lockout, Carter claims that Jones contacted LeBron James and discussed bringing him in as a Cowboy while the NBA was without games.

"Jerry Jones, being the smart marketer he is...one day out of the clear blue sky LeBron got a contract I think it was for like one year, a couple million bucks to play for the Dallas Cowboys." - Maverick Carter.

Carter then states that LeBron may have the paperwork framed in his house to remember these discussions with Jerry Jones. LeBron's fandom for the Cowboys has been well documented, as has been his high school football prowess.

We may never know how "real" these discussions were, and of course it is long over now, but just imagining LeBron James getting a chance to play for the Dallas Cowboys would break the internet.

You can check out the full episode of the podcast here, and I highly suggest listening to the other episodes Arian Foster has to offer.


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Player News

Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Planning

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?

David Moore on Twitter

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.

Jess Haynie on Twitter

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.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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